Following the restrictions placed on importers of rice and other select items from accessing foreign exchange at the nation’s foreign exchange market, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed an ongoing massive smuggling of foreign currencies out of the country through the borders.
The apex bank, which made the revelation of the unwholesome practice to frustrate the latest policy to conserve foreign exchange in the country, said it has taken steps, working with other agencies of the Federal Government, to stop the illegality and punish those involved.
CBN in a statement by the Director of Trade and Exchange, Olakanmi Gbadamosi said: “The apex bank has noted the unwholesome practice of movements of huge foreign currency cash across Nigerian borders by individuals and corporate bodies without compliance to extant law of declaration to the appropriate authorities.
“The bank is already collaborating with other relevant agencies of government to ensure compliance to the provisions of the law.”
The bank also clarified that importers of the classified items could not access foreign exchange from any of the segments of the foreign exchange.
“The misconception has to do with the fact that some importers believe that they can access Bureaux de Change (BDCs) segment for funding of those classified items.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria has directed that BDCs are not authorized to fund import transactions in any form whatsoever, either by cash or wire transfer. Accordingly, authorized dealers are hereby barred from effecting wire transfers from the account of their BDCs’ customers henceforth,” CBN stated.
The statement added that Bureaux de Change operators could sell foreign exchange worth $5,000 per transaction but only for specific payments.
Transactions captured in that category were Business Travel/Personal Travel Allowance; monthly mortgage payment; school fees abroad; credit card payment; utility bills; and life insurance premium payment.
By Pita Ochai