The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a stern warning to banks that are found to be engaging in illegal foreign exchange (forex) sales.
The acting Chairman of the CBN, Folashodun Shonubi, revealed that plans are underway to establish a commission dedicated to addressing these illicit activities.
The proposed commission will have the responsibility of conducting surprise inspections of banks that are accused of unlawfully selling dollars.
Shonubi emphasized that any bank found guilty of such actions will face severe consequences for their actions.
Shonubi made these statements during a lecture titled “Diaspora Remittances and Nigerian Economic Development” held in Abuja.
He stressed the importance of identifying and publicly exposing commercial banks involved in malpractices related to forex sales.
The acting CBN Chairman highlighted the urgent need to take measures to curb the flow of illegal forex remittances and redirect them through legitimate channels to stimulate economic growth.
Despite Nigeria receiving approximately $16.7 billion in remittances, a significant portion of these funds operates outside the legal framework.
Shonubi criticized the current remittance system, noting that Nigeria has the highest costs associated with transferring money from the diaspora in comparison to other Sub-Saharan African nations.
He cited the excessive 8–9 percent transaction fee on every $100 as a major impediment.
The implementation of incentives to encourage individuals to engage in formal market transactions was discussed by Shonubi.
However, the use of N5 refunds as incentives did not yield the desired outcomes.
Shonubi conveyed the CBN’s efforts to motivate individuals to channel their funds into the formal sector rather than relying on informal channels that are challenging to regulate.
Additionally, he revealed the plan to rename the foreign exchange market, known as the I & E market, to the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market, signifying its exclusive recognition by the CBN.