Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI) Use & Validity: What an Investor Should Know

At a recent business forum with potential investors in the Nigerian market, one question that lit up the room was how to legally repatriate returns on investment from Nigeria. This question as simple as it appears, weighs so much on the minds of investors in Nigeria, potential or otherwise, particularly given the experience in the telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy, where the Apex Bank and regulator of the banking industry Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), ordered one of the leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited (MTN Nigeria) to “refund a total of US$8.134 Billion repatriated from the country in breach of the foreign exchange regulations’’.

In summary, the CBN had alleged that its investigation into the activi-ties of 4 Banks in Nigeria had revealed that between 2007 and 2015, the Banks used irregular CCIs to illegally repatriate foreign exchange in the sum of US$8.134 billion on behalf of some offshore investors of MTN Nigeria. The CBN reasoned that the act was in violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual made pursuant to the Act. The affected Banks were fined a total sum of NGN 5.87 billion and MTN directed to return the sum of US$8.134 Billion to Nigeria.

What is a CCI?

This may sound elementary, but it may interest you to note that from experience, a good number of foreign investors are oblivious of this important document. A CCI is a foreign exchange control document which is issued upon the importation of foreign capital into Nigeria for investment or otherwise in an enterprise. It represents capital inflow (which can be in the form of cash, plant or machinery or any combination) as well as, indicating the purpose of the capital inflow which may be or loan, equity or investment purposes.

Following the CBN’s decision to introduce Electronic CCIs (eCCI) in 2017, investors now receive eCCI which are issued, managed and monitored via an electronic platform referred to as the Electronic Certificate of Capital Importation System (eCCIS). The platform is
administered by the CBN, and the Authorized Dealers and investors have access to same. The eCCI will replace all paper CCIs already issued to investors through an automated process by migrating to electronic CCIs (e-CCIs). The original physical CCI will be dematerialized after full details of the records have been captured electronically into the eCCIS.

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