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.

“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.

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