What is an e-Form ‘M’?
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) with its enforcement arm – the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) created the Form ‘M’ in a bid to monitor the safety and quality of all the items that are being imported into Nigeria, as well as enable them in the collection of due import duties. End-to-end, the Trade Portal Under FIRS Services portal now caters for the registration from start to finish.
The CBN had earlier directed all importers to obtain their e-Form ‘M’ through the Trade Portal, and establish it with an authorized dealer bank of their choice. Value of the goods, payment terms irrespective.
What are the requirements for opening an e-Form M?
An importer needs to get some things set and ready to make sure that their e-Form ‘M’ application is successful.
- Good internet access
- Your login details into the Nigerian Single Window for Trade portal:
- Username is your TIN
- You need to create a new password.
- Certificate of Incorporation (CAC) of the company
- Proforma Invoice
- Insurance certificate
- Import Permit:
- SON Product Certificate (for new items)
- NAFDAC certificate for all edibles, chemicals, and Pharmaceuticals
- End User Certificate for explosives, fireworks, fertilizers, arms, and ammunition, treated vehicles, private security gadgets, etc.
- Ministry of Agriculture, Department of Fisheries permit for the importation of fish
- Pharmaceutical Certificate and Certificate of Retention of premises for the importation of medicinal drugs.
- NESREA for used items
- Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Permit for petroleum oil products
- PHCN permit for Generating Sets
What is the validity of an e-Form M?
- General Merchandise
- The validity is 360 days (with option to extend for another 180 days by an Authorized Dealer Bank)
- Plants, Machinery, and equipment
- The validity is 720 days (with option to extend for another 360 days by an Authorized Dealer Bank)
Step-by-step Procedure on How to Open e-Form ‘M’
Step 1: Register your TIN with the Trade Portal Under FIRS Services
- Enter your TIN
- Enter your Email
- Fill the Captcha Image, and Validate
*Note: It is advisable to go to FIRS Office in person for this validation to avoid delays.
Step 2: Log in
Log in to the Trade Portal using the TIN as username and the password created as password. Once you log in, your company name will be displayed in the top right corner.
Step 3: Start e-Form M Application
- Click on Consignment
- Under CBN Form Services, choose Fill Form ‘M’
- Fill in all the necessary fields that follow
Step 4: Complete all the Tabs
The tabs are explained below:
- Valid for FOREX (Yes or No)
- BA or CB Prefix
- Applicant Dealer Bank’s code
- Applicant Dealer Bank’s address
- Applicant Dealer Bank’s branch
Names and Parties
- Applicant and Beneficiary details (beneficiary is the seller or shipper stated in the Proforma invoice)
- Applicant’s TIN
- Applicant’s details e.g address, city, email, name, country code, state code, etc.
- Beneficiary’s details e.g address, city, email, name, country code, state code, etc.
- Select customs office
- Select mode of transport e.g air, road, sea, etc
- Select country of origin (this is where the goods were produced)
- Select country of supply (this is where the shipment originates from)
- Select port of loading
- Select port of discharge
- Inspection agent (displayed automatically)
- Select designated bank (choose your bank)
- Select source of funds
- Select currency code (as in the PFI)
- Enter exchange rate (must be between -10% and +10% of CBN rate provided)
- Total FOB (total value of goods + charges for support services)
- Enter total freight charges (as in the PFI)
- Enter insurance cost (must be in Naira, must be at least 110% of FOB)
- Total C&F value is displayed (FOB + Freight charges)
- Enter Proforma invoice number and date
- Select payment mode and date
- Enter goods description and click add
- Enter all necessary data about the goods
- Enter state of goods and other necessary details about the goods
- Select the required documents type and upload
- Enter document reference number, date, etc.
Once you click Submit, the entry immediately goes to the International Transactions Unit your preferred bank for necessary review and processing. If satisfactory, the bank then forwards the entry to the Nigeria Customs Service for review and subsequent approval.
FAQs on Opening of e-Form ‘M’
Is e-Form ‘M’ mandatory?
Yes, it is. It is a mandatory process to be completed by anyone intending to import tangibles/physical goods into the country irrespective of the value and whether payment is involved or not.
How can the Form M be accessed?
The Form ‘M’ is electronic and can be accessed online via a portal called the Single Window for Trade.
Users (Importers, Banks, CBN, NCS & FIRS) of the portal require unique log-on access for their respective profiles to enable submission and processing of the form ‘M’ applications.
Can a Letter of Credit or Bills for Collection e-form ‘M’ be processed on a Not Valid for FX Basis?
Yes. e-form ‘M’ can be processed on Not Valid for FX Basis with customer using their own foreign currency domiciliary account funds for settlement.
Can I amend an e-Form ‘M’ after opening?
Yes, you can. However, not all fields can be amended. Fields like Bank Code, Prefix, and Country of Origin, etc cannot be amended. A new one has to be opened when an info cannot be amended.