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EFCC Arrests Abuja, Lagos BDC Operators

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

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Foreign currency notes

Operatives of the Nigerian ombudsman, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a recent raid in Lagos and Abuja, arrested some Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country’s twin economic and political capitals.

The latest release obtained by Investors King from EFCC revealed the exercise “was incidental to the Commission’s overall efforts in sanitizing the foreign exchange (forex) sector.”

EFCC Director of Operations, Abdulkarim Chukkol stated this on Monday, November 14, 2022, while fielding questions on “Good Morning Nigeria,” a breakfast programme on the Network Service of the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA). Chukkol who stood in capacity for the Commission’s Executive Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was among the prominent personalities invited to discuss the topic ‘’Sanitizing Ungoverned Operators in the Forex Sector.”

Chukkol confirms the arrest of BDC operators and currency speculators in the parallel market was not indiscriminate, but a product of intelligence. He said, “At EFCC, we work with intelligence and with other stakeholders; and when we talk of illegal forex operators you cannot just invite people on the street, even though sometimes you could, but generally you do not have a choice but to make arrest.”

He stressed that the Commission considers foreign exchange malpractice as an economic crime against the Nigerian state, adding that the Commission as far back as 2016 established a full-fledge Section known as ‘Foreign Exchange Malpractices Section.”

He revealed EFCC has for over ten years, maintained a visible presence at all airports across the country to checkmate incidences of bulk cash movement outside Nigeria – which is another aspect of this menace.

Through the Commission’s presence at major gateways into the country, many arrests of cash smugglers have been made and bogus amounts in foreign currencies recovered.

EFCC personnel in previous operations had apprehended many, with Chukkol affirming “Some were arrested with excess of $6 Million (Six Million United States Dollars), others with $2 Million (Two Million United States Dollars), and we know that these huge sums were not meant to be used in buying goods but stolen monies being laundered out of the country.”

The ombudsman further stated that EFCC not only recovered some of these funds but facilitated their forfeiture to the Nigerian Federal Government, while the culprits have since been prosecuted.

He emphasized the need for active inter-agency and stakeholder’s collaboration, pointing out that many of the over 6,000 registered BDCs do not belong to the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) and therefore out of the coverage of regulators.

He reminded that “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines are clear regarding returns by BDCs, but how many of them do this?” referring to non-compliance by the exchangers.

Other discussants in the programme include the Director of Monitoring Policy Department of CBN, Dr. Hassan Mahmud; President, Association of Bureau De Change of Change Operators of Nigeria, Dr. Aminu Gwadebe; a finance and investment analyst, Niyi Akinsuji; and a commentator on financial issues and Managing Director of Timeline Consult, Shuabu Idris. Their respective contributions identified the issue of Nigeria being an import driven economy, lack of adequate penalty, shortage of trained manpower, and identification of what truly constitutes ‘black market’ beyond the institutional banking system, as some of the problems impeding the fight against foreign exchange malpractice in the country.

EFCC is clamping down on illegal BDC operators owing to a recent report that the depreciation of the naira was in part due to the activities of black market.

Naira

CBN Will Redesign Naira Notes Every Five to Eight Years; Say Emefiele

The central bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years

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New Naira Notes

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said the bank will henceforth redesign the nation’s legal tender every five to eight years.

The apex bank governor revealed at the unveiling of the new naira notes on Tuesday. 

Godwin Emefiele explained that the naira redesign is in line with global best practice noting that the naira needed to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.

According to the CBN governor, previous administrations lacked the political will to approve the redesign of the naira notes. Stating that it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years. 

“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” the CBN governor stated. 

Emefiele added that going forward, naira notes will be redesigned at intervals to address some peculiar issues. 

 “After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and reissue the naira every five to eight years,” he said. 

Investors King had earlier reported that President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting today. 

Among those who joined the president with the unveiling include the CBN governor and the EFCC chairman.

Recall, in October, the CBN announced it will redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate.

Meanwhile, the CBN governor has disclosed that the new naira notes can not be counterfeited because of the features embedded in them. 

Similarly, he added that security agencies would be monitoring people making withdrawals at the counter to sniff out money laundering and unravel illegal usage. 

“The CBN has moved to a cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he concluded.

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Naira

President Buhari Unveils New Redesigned Naira Notes, See Pictures

Buhari launched the new naira notes as the CBN forges ahead with redesign plans.

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New Naira Notes

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday unveiled the new redesigned Naira notes at the State House in Abuja following a series of sensitisation to ensure that Nigerians are aware of the deadline for the old notes.

New Naira Notes

Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who was also present at the launching explained that the redesigned notes would help curb counterfeit, reduce hoarding and support the apex bank’s cashless policy.

Earlier in October, the central bank announced it was redesigning the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in line with its mandate. The apex bank further stated that the newly redesigned notes would be available on December 15, 2022.

However, Emefiele later announced the central bank won’t wait until December 15th before unveiling the new notes on November 2023.

He said, “100 days is enough for any person from any part of Nigeria to deposit his money in the bank and get his money when the new notes are released.

“For information, indeed, we are no longer waiting till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.

“By the special grace of God, tomorrow, which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.”

New Naira notes

Meanwhile, the central bank-led monetary policy committee raised interest rates by another 100 basis points from 15.5% to 16.5%. Bringing the total increase in 2022 to 500 basis points despite the challenges Nigerians are facing amid weak job creation and poor earnings.

The committee claimed the decision was based on the rising inflation rate that rose to 21.09% in October. However, given Nigeria’s economic structure and current situation, the persistent increase was mainly to lure foreign investors to invest in the economy against the developed economies that are equally raising rates to curb escalating inflation.

 

New Naira notes

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Naira

President Buhari to Launch New Naira Notes Today

CBN says Buhari is expected to introduce redesigned naira notes to the public today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.

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President Buhari - Investors King

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is expected to launch the redesigned naira notes today at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.

The launch will precede the circulation of the affected currency which is billed for December 15, 2022. The FEC meeting is a weekly (Wednesday) meeting of the executive arm of government often presided over by the President or the Vice President.

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed on the sidelines of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday, that the new naira notes will be displayed for public view on Wednesday. 

Therefore, the governor added that the CBN will not shift its deadline for all old notes to be returned to commercial banks in exchange for newly designed ones.

Investors King recalls that in October 2022, the central bank announced it will issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, effective December 15, 2022, while the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023.

However, in a sudden change of schedule, the CBN governor noted that the unveiling will be done by the president today stating that the bank will no longer wait till December 15th to unveil and begin to release the new notes.

” By the special grace of God, tomorrow, (today) which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the Federal Executive Chamber by 10am.” Emefiele started.

Meanwhile, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) which is the highest decision-making body for any issues related to Nigerian monetary policy has hiked the interest rates from 15.5 percent to 16.5 percent. 

According to CBN, the hike in interest rate is to curtain inflation and maintain economic stability. 

Speaking at the end of a two-day Monetary Policy Committee meeting yesterday, the CBN governor noted that the MPC voted to retain the cash reserve ratio at 32.5 percent and the liquidity ratio at 30 percent.

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