The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has acquired high definition scanners and electronic platforms to cross-reference and verify data on trade finance and logistics documents.

The new technology aims to identify discrepancies in documents that indicate possible under- or over-invoicing and other trade based financial crimes.

The platform will also assist the Nigerian Customs Service identify smuggling and alert tax authorities to revenue evasion.

Tracking capabilities

The technology cross-references data on all trade facilitation documents and against market prices of goods and commodities.

Trade facilitation documents cross-referenced include bills of lading, letters of credit, clean certificates of inspection and Nigeria’s Form M, which is used to monitor imported goods and enable the collection of import duties.

Corrupt practices

The platform will also help in tracking repatriation of foreign exchange proceeds and allow for online real time remote screening of inbound and outbound cargo or passengers.

As well as tackling trade-based financial crimes, the Nigerian authorities hope that the technology will replace the manual examination of cargoes and other processes that have proved prone to corrupt practices.

National network

The platform comprises a Network Operating Centre (NOC), a centralised command and control centre from where real time data from strategically positioned Operational Screening Stations will be monitored.

These stations will be deployed at land, air and sea entry and exit points across the country, and comprise high definition scanners and proprietary analysis software linked to a high speed data link back to the NOC.

Remote Screening Stations will be installed at the CBN, Nigerian Customs headquarters, the ministry of finance and the presidency.