CBN not planning to amend Forex Act’

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday
said it was not planning to amend the Foreign
Exchange Act or recommend jail term for
anyone that holds the dollar for more than 30
days.
Acting Director, Corporate Communications
Department, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor stated this in
a statement issued yesterday in response to a
report by Reuters titled: “Nigeria considers
foreign exchange reforms as dollar shortages
bite”.
Okorafor stressed that the CBN, in line with its
mandate, was committed to safeguarding the
international value of the country’s legal
tender. He, however, denied knowledge of the
proposed clause recommending a jail term for
as long as two years or a fine of 20 per cent
of the amount for any holder of foreign
exchange in cash.
“To the best of my knowledge, the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has not proposed any
bill seeking to arrest and jail persons holding
foreign exchange for more than 30 days,”
Okorafor said.
He also denied that the CBN was planning to
confiscate funds in domiciliary accounts of
individuals, saying any such claim was false.
It will be recalled that media report broke
suggesting that the Federal Government and
the Central Bank of Nigeria were considering
imprisoning anyone who holds foreign
currencies, particularly the United States
dollars, for more than 30 days as a way of
stemming the volatility in the exchange rate
and strengthen the international value of the
Naira.
Reuters had reported that a draft bill prepared
by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission
(NLRC), contains provision to amend the
foreign exchange laws to curb illegal fund
transfers and insider dealing and stop
individuals holding hard currency outside the
banking system. The new proposals were
aimed at promoting the orderly development
and maintenance of the currency market in
Nigeria.
Its provisions include making it an offence to
hold hard currency in cash outside the
banking system.
“The possession of foreign currency by any
person without depositing same in a
domiciliary account within 30 days of its
acquisition constitutes an offence liable on
conviction to two years imprisonment or to a
fine of 20 percent of the amount of the foreign
currency involved,” the draft bill said.
The NLRC said the existing currency law made
it difficult to regulate foreign exchange
transactions in Nigeria, which the reform
seeks to address.
The law currently “prohibits the seizure,
forfeiture or expropriation of imported money
by the government without providing for
exceptions” and is “narrow in scope”, it said.
The NLRC said the amendments were
necessary to “strengthen the framework for
effective monitoring and control, and to
ensure probity in foreign exchange
transactions in Nigeria”.

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