EFCC Stops Dollar Transactions, Asks Embassies To Charge In Naira

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has read the Riot Act to foreign missions based in Nigeria, banning them from transacting in foreign currencies, and mandating the use of Naira in their financial businesses.

The EFCC has also mandated Nigerian foreign missions domiciled abroad to accept Naira in their financial businesses.

The move, the EFCC noted, is to tackle the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy and the degradation of the naira

The anti-graft commission, in an advisory to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, titled: “EFCC Advisory to Foreign Missions against Invoicing in US Dollar,” expressed reservations and displeasure “regarding the unhealthy practice by some foreign missions to invoice consular services to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in United States dollar(s).”

In a letter dated April 5, 2024, which was addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede expressed dismay over the invoicing of consular services in Nigeria by foreign missions in dollars.

The EFCC cited Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which makes currencies issued by the apex bank the only legal tender in Nigeria.

The letter read, “I present to you the compliments of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and wish to notify you about the commission’s observation, with dismay, regarding the unhealthy practice by some foreign missions to invoice consular services to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in United States dollar ($).

“This practice is an aberration and unlawful as it conflicts with extant laws and financial regulations in Nigeria. Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 makes currencies issued by the apex bank the only legal tender in Nigeria.

“It states that ‘the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be the legal tender in Nigeria on their face value for the payment of any amount’.

“This presupposes that any transaction in currencies other than the naira anywhere in Nigeria contravenes the law and is, therefore, illegal.”

The commission added that the refusal by some missions to accept the naira for consular service in Nigeria and also comply with the foreign exchange regulatory regime in fixing the exchange of the cost of their services is not only illegal but represents an affront to the country’s sovereignty symbolised by the national currency.

Such a situation, EFCC added, undermines Nigeria’s monetary policy and aspiration for sustainable economic development.

The letter continued, “This trend can no longer be tolerated, especially in a volatile economic environment where the country’s macroeconomic policies are constantly under attack by all manner of state and non-state actors.

“In light of the above, you may wish to convey the commission’s displeasure to all missions in Nigeria and restate Nigeria’s desire for their operations not to conflict with extant laws and regulations in the country.”

When contacted for comments, the spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale declined comments.

Meanwhile, the EFCC had resumed raiding in a bid to stabilise the naira.

Operatives of the EFCC had on Tuesday arrested some Bureau De Change operators at the popular Wuse Zone 4 market in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

However, traders also said some BDC operators resisted the arrest during a sting operation.

The operatives had embarked on routine raids to sanitise the market of street traders and eliminate arbitrary trading.

But this move was resisted on Tuesday, leading to gunshots and damage to the operatives’ vehicles.

Penultimate week, the commission arrested over 35 suspected currency speculators for alleged foreign exchange fraud.

Last week, it also paraded over 20 BDC operators arrested in the capital city.

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