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CBN Threatens to Prosecute Landlords & Schools Collecting Payment in Dollars

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Godwin Emefiele - Bella Naija

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday stated that it is illegal for school proprietors and landlords to demand that school fees and rent be paid in dollars.

Emefiele spoke on the issue in Abuja at the conclusion of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, Premium Times reports.

“The official currency for doing business in Nigeria remains the Naira. Collecting rents or school fees in dollars in Nigeria is illegal. We like to advice those involved in these practices to desist from them, because CBN would very soon begin to go after them,” he said.

Emefiele also spoke on other issues, including the Naira-Dollar exchange rate stating that “the outlook based on the interbank rate N198 to the dollar, was appropriate, given the pressures seen in markets as a result of the drop in crude oil prices and the impact the national currency.”

31 Comments

  1. NIRA

    March 25, 2015 at 10:51 am

    This is a good decision. I sincerely hope it can be implemented. I know a lot of them in Abuja and Lagos.

    • adelegirl

      March 25, 2015 at 11:55 am

      They are plenty in Abuja that demand payment in dollars especially these so-called “international” schools that already charge exorbitant rates never mind having to pay in dollars! CBN knows them, please don’t just threaten start to prosecute and penalise them with immediate alacrity.

  2. Bleed Blue

    March 25, 2015 at 10:56 am

    “The official currency for doing business in Nigeria remains the Naira. Collecting rents or school fees in dollars in Nigeria is illegal.”

    First statement is clear but the 2nd statement introduces some ambiguity on legality.
    Is it only dollars?

    My kids’ school requests fees in Euros oh. Hian!

    • Ebony

      March 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      He cannot start listing all the currencies. Dollar is usually the major one in Nigeria, so the first statement covers that.

    • Bleed Blue

      March 25, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Ah! But I’m a lawyer and I know what we go through when statements are ambiguous and therefore open to different interpretations. A statement can seem nice and simple to the average man in the Clapham Omnibus but alas…….k-leg can enter the story quite easily.

      Shall we talk about the rules of interpretation? The golden rule? The mischief rule? The presumptions of interpretation? It’s always better to clarify explicitly…for the avoidance of doubt.

      Mz Socially Awkward, where are you my fellow legal negotiator, biko no be so?

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      March 25, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Iz true wey you talk so, my sista. Dem for just leave the mata inside “foreign exchange or currency other than the Nigerian Naira (NGN)”… thus precluding the application of any of those rules you’ve patiently enumerated above. 🙂 🙂

      Otherwise na partiality and indirect discrimination against $$ be that… and even sef, a whole CBN oga suppose know say many different kinds of dollar dey, including USD, Australian dollar & Canadian dollar… so winch one sef wey he wan ban? You dey talk sense, nwa nne m.

  3. o

    March 25, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Why did they even allow it in the first place???? As far as we cant pay in Naira when we go to the UK ,US, or Europe or wherever, the same should apply here!! But authorities keep turning a blind eye to the little things that matter. So annoying!!!….anyway better late than never

  4. dearestzee

    March 25, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Thank God,now we are getting there,IT HAS TO STOP.Most of this schools are in Lekki and Ikoyi i can help with names if needed and yet they don’t pay their staffs well

    • CC

      March 25, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Please say it!! I find it utterly disgusting when I here schools in Nigeria ask for tuition in dollars or any other foreign currency, it’s the same way I feel about importing white “principals or head teachers” very colonial and elitist and just plain DISGUSTING!!!

    • EllesarisEllendil

      March 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      Realise you live in a country where structures and cities are still named after colonial masters. No be today wahala start.

    • Ebony

      March 25, 2015 at 12:11 pm

      *Staff

  5. ms.b

    March 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Intelli child in Abuja collects skoolfee in dollars. All those service apartments in ikoyi and Duane in abuja. If u know any, calll them out and help CBN stop this nansense.

  6. Omalicha

    March 25, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    i applaud this decision abeg… pay in Naira

  7. joliebebe

    March 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    You got it right …dearestzee.
    It is really very annoying that their teachers cannot afford to send their own children to those schools. Highest level of extortion!!!!!

  8. Mz Socially Awkward...

    March 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Permit me to be the voice of dissent because this is going to be hard as heck to enforce. I know for certain that major IOCs & MNCs with established country offices in Nigeria, request some of their contractors (also based in Nigeria and with Nigerian accounts) to submit invoices in dollars and that’s the payment currency in many of their agreements that I’ve seen. I’ll concede that the payments are usually split between NGN and USD (40% and 60%, respectively) but my question is whether the Nigerian Government, via the CBN is going to implement this new rule across the board with those companies as well? My spirit tells me that enforcement will be skewed so that higher ranked “untouchables” may not be affected, whilst the smaller businesses (schools, shops, etc.) are targeted.

    And to be honest, it’s not unusual to for people to transact privately and agree for payments to be made in currencies other than the national currency. Maybe the head-office of the paying/receiving party is in another country and all accounting is done there; maybe they’ve chosen to work with a stronger currency. It happens all the time but I’ll accept that what’s happening with USD in Naija right now done pass “be careful”.

    So, if this is the new way forward then that’s within our prerogative to fix our own laws on the subject but CBN’s chief needs to be aware of how far he’s able to intrude on the private rights of people to contract as they will. And he needs to apply the same rule uniformly for every commercial entity in that country.

    • NagosBigBoi

      March 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      I love reading well thought out, informed and intelligent comments like yours. BN commenters as a whole just rock!

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      March 25, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Thank you, sir. At the risk of sounding like I’m returning the kind words for the sake of it, allow me to admit that I’ve also been impressed with your maturity displayed in the political posts because even despite your clear stance as an APC supporter, you’ve shown plenty grace in appreciating valid points made by the PDP camp without throwing the baby out with the bath water.

      So add yourself, kwanu, in the multitude of BN’ers who rock. 🙂

    • NagosBigBoi

      March 25, 2015 at 7:29 pm

      Ahhhh…..Mz Socially Awkward…..u don shade me….:)
      Na me wey be “Youths” na him u dey call sir. I be “Youths” like u o! I just have an old soul.

    • Bleed Blue

      March 25, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Excellent argument Mz S.A. but make we yarn 🙂

      Let me extract from the article:
      “Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday stated that it is illegal for school proprietors and landlords to demand that school fees and rent be paid in dollars.”

      First let’s talk about the IOCs requesting for invoices in dollars from contractors. This is entirely different from “demanding” payment in dollars, no? Whereby the reverse would have been the case, i.e. the contractors will demand payment from the IOCs in USD… so methinks this isn’t the transactional audience that the Gov is addressing.

      Also, about transacting privately…oh absolutely yes! Parties may agree privately to transact in whatever currency BUT the ugliness comes from where the receiving party “demands” that the currency be in USD or other Forex. Which kain wahala?

      By law (the Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) Act (“CBN Act”) and the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (”Forex Act”) ) , the party receiving payments in foreign currency must ensure that the payer has a FUNDED DOMICILIARY ACCOUNT or OTHER OFFSHORE SOURCES from which to source the foreign currency; the Forex Manual published by CBN requires that payment for local transactions in foreign currency shall only be from these sources.

      The IOCs will undoubtedly have a domiciliary account or an offshore source where the Forex can be paid from, so their payments to their contractors are completely within the law.

      How many of these schools and hotels give a toss about where the money has come from? Do they not know that most people have to resort to the mercy of expensive local transactions for exchanges? Not even with the crazy downward spiral of the Naira. And by law, they do not even have a right to “demand” this payment in USD!

      You sef, think am nau. Sikira’s $10,000 dollars school fees may be frozen for 2 years, but meeeeeyn, except if Baba & Mama Sikira have a dom account that serves them at $1 for $1…….the $10,000 they paid last year is having a different face from the $10,000 to be paid this year.
      But if the fees were frozen at 2m-Naira for 2 years, then Baba and Mama Sikira can plan with peace of mind!

      No oh! Abeg make dem no vex, they should stop it already!

      Chineke, see epistle I’ve written oh.

    • Sholzzy

      March 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Bleed Blue! LMFAO! This is really an epistle. I can forgive you, because it’s very informative. Next time sha….

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      March 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Okay, I “has” finished work for the day so make I enter this yarn wella with you. BN, we need a stage, two podiums and dramatic overhead lights… 🙂

      So, regarding the “demand” for payment in dollars – interestingly, after reading this article, it came back to mind at some point in my afternoon when I got one of those targeted marketing emails to some join some legal seminar or the other (“book now and take advantage of our xx% discount!”). I noted at once that the course was being sold in dollars. Now, if I choose to attend it, I’ll have to make payment in dollars and have also had to make payment in Euros for others I’ve gone to in the past, regardless of the fact they sold me the course here in the UK. So my rebuttal to your point is to say that the vendor of the service – proprietor, salesman, etc. – has the right to demand payment in any currency which suits him and it’s up to the buyer to agree to his/her terms or else negotiate more favourable ones.

      Always bearing the balance of bargaining power in mind as well, which is where market issues like monopoly and demand/supply, comes into mind with economic considerations which are far too detailed for me to delve into right now. Suffice to say that a puny contractor to a Nigerian-based IOC won’t be able to force the client to change their NGN/USD payment terms because he knows he’ll just lose the contract to someone else who’s able to accept them. And trust me, I’ve tried. 🙂

      Your private contract is your private contract and as long as you said, “yes, I do” to the proposal made by the other party and unless you can prove duress, misrepresentation, illegality or any other element which shows you did not intend to enter the agreement at all, na your own cross you go dey bear so.

      However, if you introduce the matter of receiving payment in dollars otherwise than as required by banking laws – ehen. Now we’re talking about another matter which certainly needs to be investigated. Again, if these matters are known to those making payment in dollars and they STILL continued to make the payment in other ways, I think they may have lost the opportunity to denounce the transaction.

      I do feel you on the fluctuation of currency and how much it affects the pockets of parents paying school fees. Although, my honest thoughts are that even if the schools change the currency to NGN, they’ll continue milking parents for the equivalent of the USD rates.

      Apologies for anyone who had to read this tiresome epistle intended for BleedBlue. 🙂

    • NagosBigBoi

      March 25, 2015 at 7:19 pm

      Thank you for the very informative/educative comment!! You and Mz Socially Awkward for be professors of economic law 🙂 abi na legal economics? 🙂

  9. poison ivy

    March 25, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    @ CC, chop kiss
    That is how I carried my k leg enter one boutique like that because of the handbag that was displayed oooo.
    Madame said the price of the bag is $4oo.
    I no even talk anything, just nodded and walked away.

  10. NagosBigBoi

    March 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    If as Mz Socially Awkward’s says those naira/dollar contracts are legally acceptable in Nigeria, what stops schools and apartments from doing the same?
    I understand that even at MMA some bars like the Heineken Bar have their menu in dollars. A friend who travelled recently was so disgusted he just walked out.
    If a country cannot make their currency stable and ensure access to foreign currency then companies will act to protect their investment and profit margin by asking for payment in foreign currencies.

    • Dee

      March 25, 2015 at 6:53 pm

      The naira/dollar contracts are acceptable because they’re meant to be lawful. Those are mature companies dealing in what they’ve agreed to deal with. Nobody is forcing anyone. A contract has been negotiated and signed.
      But the hotel and schools don’t care whether you agree or not. That’s where they do not act lawfully. In short just have patience and read bled blue’s comment. She understands the matter.

    • NagosBigBoi

      March 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Many thanks! I have picked up a lot I did not know. Great discussions!

  11. NaijaPikin

    March 25, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    My friend is a pay master in the Nigerian Airforce. He mentioned that certain high ranking military officers receive their salaries in $. go figure. My guess is that this will only affect a targeted few.

  12. girl

    March 25, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    my sister’s school too – centagon international school abuja… go and get them LOOL

  13. imose

    March 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Una well done ooo @MZA and @BLEEDBLUE . Here’s isiewu and box juice served along side with grilled catfish and water to help step down the foregoing discussion!!! cheers from a learned colleague via marriage and association bwahahahaahahaa 😀
    BNERS rock always!!!
    **************************************************************************************************************************************
    Back to the matter on ground i say its a welcome initiative . i pray and hope they implement it effectively! Have a blessed day everyone ***mwahh**

  14. nnenne

    March 26, 2015 at 1:10 am

    Nigerians never cease to amaze me.What in the world?
    Hope CBN implements this initiative. Ridiculous!!

  15. Aliyu

    August 3, 2015 at 1:13 am

    Am surprised that CBN is yet talk on the shipping companies that still receive USD for payment of freight from fellow exporters and the later NO longer access USD from their export proceed account today.

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