EFCC Stops Dollar Transactions, Asks Embassies to Charge in Naira

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued directives barring foreign missions operating in Nigeria from conducting transactions in foreign currencies, mandating the use of the Nigerian Naira instead.

In a bid to combat the dollarization of the Nigerian economy and protect the integrity of the Naira, the anti-graft agency has also instructed Nigerian foreign missions abroad to adopt the Naira for their financial activities.

This move comes amidst concerns over the devaluation of the Naira and the prevalence of dollar transactions in the country. The EFCC has called on the government to enforce the use of the Naira, urging foreign missions to cease charging visa and other consular services in foreign denominations.

The EFCC conveyed these directives in a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, for dissemination to all foreign missions operating within Nigeria.

Expressing its dismay over the invoicing of consular services in dollars, the EFCC cited Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which designates currencies issued by the apex bank as the sole legal tender in Nigeria.

In the letter dated April 5, 2024, the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, emphasized the need for compliance with existing laws and financial regulations in Nigeria, underscoring the importance of upholding the Naira’s status as the official currency.

The letter read, “I present to you the compliments of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and wish to notify you about the commission’s observation, with dismay, regarding the unhealthy practice by some foreign missions to invoice consular services to Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country in United States dollar ($).

“It states that ‘the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be the legal tender in Nigeria on their face value for the payment of any amount’.

“This presupposes that any transaction in currencies other than the naira anywhere in Nigeria contravenes the law and is, therefore, illegal.”

The commission further stated that the rejection of the naira for consular services in Nigeria by certain missions, along with non-compliance with foreign exchange regulations in determining service costs, is not just unlawful but also undermines the nation’s sovereignty embodied in its official currency.

The letter continues: “This trend can no longer be tolerated, especially in a volatile economic environment where the country’s macroeconomic policies are constantly under attack by all manner of state and non-state actors.

“In light of the above, you may wish to convey the commission’s displeasure to all missions in Nigeria and restate Nigeria’s desire for their operations not to conflict with extant laws and regulations in the country.”

Diplomatic sources said yesterday, May 10, that some embassies were wondering whether the EFCC’s advisory represented the position of the Federal Government.

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