CBN Moves to Criminalise Possession of Foreign Currency for more than 30 Days without Depositing it in the Bank | Offenders to Face 2 years Imprisonment or pay 20% of Amount Involved
In a document titled “Working Paper” shared to members of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is seeking powers to amend the Foreign Exchange, Monitoring and Miscellaneous Exchange Act (FEMM) which was signed into law in 2014 and allows for foreign investors to import and repatriate money to and fro Nigeria freely.
Notable among the amendments to be made is that possession of foreign currency for more than 30 days without depositing it in the bank will make one liable to 2 years imprisonment or a fine of 20% of the amount of the foreign currency involved.
According to Nairametrics, the following are some of the amendments the CBN is seeking to make:
- The CBN says the act allows for “foreign currency purchased from the market to be repatriated without restrictions” and thus will like this amended. .
- The CBN also believes the act “prohibits the seizure, forfeiture or expropriation of imported money by the government without providing exceptions. As such, the CBN wants to have powers to seize any foreign currency”.
- The CBN is also unhappy that the law “allows foreign currency in excess of five thousand dollars imported or exported subject to declaration of statistics reason only.”
- The CBN is also recommending that it be granted powers to restrict or prohibit the exportation of foreign currency when and where necessary to “protect the economy”.
- The CBN also wants powers to “approve and where necessary restrict or prohibit repatriation of foreign currency to save the Nigerian economy”
- The CBN also wants an amendment that allows it have the powers to “prevent monopoly and hoarding and a time limit (30 days) for deposit of foreign currency in the bank”.