EFCC Halts Dollar Transactions, Requests Embassies to Charge in Naira

by Ohepo Ohepo

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has issued a directive to all foreign missions in Nigeria, insisting on the exclusive use of the Nigerian Naira for all consular transactions within the country. This directive also extends to Nigerian foreign missions abroad, which are now required to accept Naira in their financial operations.

The move is part of a broader effort by the EFCC to combat the “dollarisation” of the Nigerian economy, a practice that has contributed to the weakening of the local currency, according to the commission. In an advisory to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, titled “EFCC Advisory to Foreign Missions against Invoicing in US Dollar,” the commission expressed its concern over the persistent use of the US dollar for consular services within Nigeria by some foreign missions.

In the letter dated April 5, 2024, EFCC Chairman Ola Olukoyede highlighted the illegality of this practice, citing Section 20(1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which stipulates that the Nigerian currency issued by the central bank shall be the sole legal tender in the country.

The EFCC’s letter to the Foreign Ministry states, “This practice not only contravenes the extant laws and financial regulations in Nigeria but also undermines the sovereignty of our national currency. It is a direct challenge to our monetary policy and the aspirations for sustainable economic development.”

The commission has called for immediate compliance from all diplomatic missions in Nigeria, emphasizing that any transaction conducted in any currency other than the Naira is illegal and cannot be tolerated. The EFCC warned that such actions represent an affront to Nigeria’s sovereignty.

The enforcement of this policy has already seen the EFCC resuming operations against irregular currency trading activities. In recent efforts to stabilize the Naira, EFCC operatives conducted a series of raids in the Wuse Zone 4 market in Abuja, targeting illegal Bureau De Change (BDC) operators. The operations, which involved the arrest of several currency speculators, have been met with resistance, culminating in altercations and minor damages during the enforcement activities.

This initiative by the EFCC is seen as a crucial step towards reinforcing the standing of the Nigerian Naira in the economic transactions within the country, especially in dealings that involve international actors such as foreign missions. The commission has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring that all financial activities within the borders of Nigeria align with the national laws and financial regulations.

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