Only Legitimate FX Users Can Convert Naira to Dollar—CBN

July 21, 2022
Osita Nwanisobi Only Legitimate FX Users

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has maintained that any bank customers caught withdrawing the Naira with the intention of converting it into Dollar to prosecute the 2023 general elections would be prevented from using the nation’s banking system.

Spokesman of the central bank, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, while addressing reporters in Lagos on Wednesday, disclosed that only legitimate foreign exchange (FX) users are allowed to change their local currency to the American currency.

Mr Nwanisobi, who is the Director of the Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, said this clarification became necessary after the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, was misquoted when he spoke on the issue on Tuesday while briefing the media on the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

Mr Emefiele had warned Nigerians, especially politicians, against putting pressure on the Nigerian Naira in the currency market by mopping up the scarce forex from the market.

“As far as we are concerned, we monitor liquidity in the subsystem. We will use our powers to mop up cash and for those taking money from banks to buy dollars, it is illegal to do so. If the security agencies hold you, you will know the implication of that.

“We are monitoring customers and banks and any bank involved would be sanctioned. We will place Post no Debit on the defaulting customer’s account. It is a very injurious tool to stop you from conducting illegal flows, either domestic or foreign currency. We will conduct investigations, and we will have proof and you will not be able to conduct transactions in any Nigerian bank,” the CBN Governor had said two days ago.

His remarks went viral, generating mixed reactions also from FX users, who asked what happens to those who need hard currencies to carry out their legitimate businesses and transactions, including payment of medical and school fees abroad.

While making clarification on the issue, the image-maker of the CBN said the warning was directed at those who sought to convert the Naira from their accounts into FX for election campaign and not those who want to carry out legitimate purposes such as payment for tuition and other personal expenses.

He blamed the media for making deliberate attempts to misrepresent Mr Emefiele, noting that the bank has the discretionary powers to prevent persons from conducting unauthorized transactions, urging bank customers not to get involved in the unauthorized movement of funds for currency conversion in order not to fall foul of the extant laws of the land.

Dipo Olowookere

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

Mr Olowookere can be reached via [email protected]

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