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EFCC stops dollar transactions, asks embassies to charge in naira

EFCC
EFCC

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has barred foreign missions based in Nigeria from transacting in foreign currencies and mandated them to use Naira in their financial businesses.

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

The anti-graft agency said the move is to tackle the dollarisation of the Nigerian economy and the degradation of the naira

The Commission, therefore, asked the government to stop foreign missions in Nigeria from charging visa and other consular services in foreign denominations.

The EFCC gave the advisory in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Yusuf Tuggar, for onward transmission to all foreign missions in the country.

In the letter, the EFCC said it issued the advisory because the practice of paying for consular services in dollars was in conflict with extant laws and financial regulations in Nigeria.

In a letter dated April 5, 2024, which was addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, titled: “EFCC Advisory to Foreign Missions against Invoicing in US Dollar,” 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 ($).

“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 further stated that the rejection of the naira for consular services in Nigeria by certain missions, along with non-compliance with foreign exchange regulations in determining service costs, is not just unlawful but also undermines the nation’s sovereignty embodied in its official currency.

The letter continues: “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.”

Diplomatic sources said yesterday, May 10, that some embassies were wondering whether the EFCC’s advisory represented the position of the Federal Government.

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