The use of foreign currencies for local transactions or as a medium of exchange in the country is now a punishable offence, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) warns.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who made the announcement yesterday added that anyone convicted of such crime risked a six-month jail term.
The central bank observed that some individuals and corporate bodies had been using foreign currencies, especially the US dollar in daily transactions and this is against the provisions of the CBN Act, 2007.
A statement issued by the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Ibrahim Muazu, reads, “The attention of the bank has been drawn to the increasing use of foreign currencies in the domestic economy as a medium of payment for goods and services by individuals and corporates.
“It has also been observed that some institutions price their goods and services in foreign currencies and demand payment in foreign currencies rather than the domestic currency (the naira), which is the legal tender in Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the attention of the general public is hereby drawn to the provision of the CBN Act of 2007, which states inter-alia that ‘the currency notes issued by the bank shall be legal tender in Nigeria…for the payment of any amount.”
“Furthermore, the Act stipulates that any person(s) who contravenes this provision is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a prescribed fine or six months imprisonment.
“This prohibition, however, is without prejudice to foreigners, visitors and tourists who are encouraged to continue to use their cards for payments or exchange their foreign currencies for the local currency at any of the authorised dealers’ outposts.
“The general public is hereby advised to report any contravention of the provision of this Act to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the CBN for appropriate action.”