Nigeria: Senate Rejects 2 Year Jail Term for Holding Foreign Currency for More Than 30 days

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2yr Jail Term for Holding Foreign Currency for over 30 days

The Nigerian Senate has said it won’t support the call to jail for two years any Nigerian who keeps any foreign currency for more than 30 days or fine them 20% of such funds.

The Nigerian Law Reform Commission had made this submission while calling for an amendment of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Act. In the proposed amendment, no Nigerian will be legally allowed to hold on to any foreign currency for more than 30 days.

Anyone who contravenes this directive will be required to face a two year jail term of pay a fine of 20% of the funds in question. According to the group “The amendments are necessary for effective monitoring and control, and to ensure probity in foreign exchange transactions in Nigeria.”

The Senate through its spokesperson Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, called the proposal “punitive and regressive.”

He said “The measure is disruptive and counterproductive, threatening to undermine many of the reform efforts already underway in the legislature and by government ministries, which are intended to boost investor confidence.

“The Senate will never pass such a punitive and regressive proposal. Overall, some of the commission’s recommendations have many sound attributes and could help Nigeria’s investment climate. We believe the CBN should have the authority to regulate the forex market and determine the exchange rate policy as already enshrined in its enabling Act.

“A market-oriented exchange rate policy is the best recipe for guiding the operations of the foreign exchange market. This will ensure the supremacy of market mechanisms in efficiently allocating scarce forex resources. We will continue to work with the Executive to halt the worsening recession and return to economic growth.”

The CBN has also distanced itself from such a move. This was made known by Mr Isaac Okorafor, The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN who said “To the best of my knowledge, the Central Bank of Nigeria has not proposed any bill seeking to arrest and jail persons holding foreign exchange for more than 30 days.”

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