The Senate has said that it will reject a proposal to punish people for keeping foreign currency for more than 30 days.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi (APC-Niger) said this in a press statement on Monday in Abuja.
“We are surprised at a recommendation by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission for a review of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Act in order to empower the Central Bank of Nigeria to jail people for up to two years or fine them for 20 per cent of the amount of the foreign currency held in their possession for more than 30 days.
The senate with its focus on boosting investor’ confidence in the nation’s economy, such move as proposed by the Commission that will prevent investors from making free entry and free exit from the market will be out rightly rejected by its members,” he said
Abdullahi described the measure as disruptive and counterproductive and will undermine many of the reform efforts already underway in the legislature and by government ministries intended to boost investor confidence.
“The Senate would never pass such a punitive and regressive proposal. Overall, some of the Commission’s recommendation has many sound attributes and could help Nigeria’s investment climate. We believe the CBN should have the authority to regulate the FOREX market and determine the exchange rate policy as already enshrined in its enabling Act,” he added.
He said that a market-oriented exchange rate policy was the best recipe for guiding the operations of the foreign exchange market which would ensure the supremacy of market mechanisms in efficiently allocating the scarce forex resources.
Abdullahi added “we will continue to work with the Executive to halt the worsening recession and return to economic growth.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), had, in a document titled “Working Paper” shared to members of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), sought powers to amend the Foreign Exchange, Monitoring and Miscellaneous Exchange Act (FEMM) which was signed into law in 2014 and allows for foreign investors to import and repatriate money to and fro Nigeria freely.
Notable among the amendments to be made was that possession of foreign currency for more than 30 days without depositing it in the bank will make one liable to 2 years imprisonment or a fine of 20% of the amount of the foreign currency involved.