CBN To Bar Importers Of 41 Items From Operating Bank Accounts In Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday moved beyond merely accusing the nation’s banks of circumventing its ban on 41 items from accessing the official foreign exchange window made during the Bankers’ Dinner on Friday, November 30, 2018.
In a letter to all banks titled: “Foreign exchange restriction on the importation of 42 items,” the CBN said its Economic Intelligence Unit, in collaboration with the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) would commence immediate investigation of the accounts of the corporate and entities engaged in such unwholesome act with a view to visiting severe sanctions on all culprits
Such sanction on the culprits, according to the letter by signed by Kevin N. Amugo, Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, include “blacklisting the corporate and their directors; closure of their bank accounts; and restricting them from maintaining any bank accounts in any bank under the CBN remit.”
Meanwhile, banks that provided their platforms for such economic abuse would also be appropriately sanctioned,” it warned.
The CBN therefore reiterated its call for strict compliance with its Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Customer Business (KYB) requirements.
It cited trade information showing that circumvention of the policy has led to the dumping of the items in the country, said it “views this development with trepidation.”
If the act of economic sabotage is not immediately checked, the apex bank added that “the growth and employment benefits arising from the policy may be eroded, if not checked.”
Speaking at the Bankers’ Dinner organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had hinted that its “Banking Supervision Departments will work very hard with the EFCC to expose and sanction any, bank, company or Fx operator that colludes with unscrupulous individuals / companies to undermine the policy on 41 items.
“Such sanctions will include, but not limited to prohibiting the banks from maintaining any bank accounts for such institutions or persons in Nigeria.
“If we turn a blind eye to the opportunities that are being created as a result of our policy on 41 items, we will be spelling doom for our nation. We can no longer afford to depend solely on imports given the size of our population, and the need to create jobs for our people. This is precisely the purpose behind our intention to restrict access to forex on 41 items, and I urge all stakeholders to come onboard, as we intend to be vigorous in our pursuit of this objective,” Emefiele added.

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