FG Bars Cash Withdrawals from Public Accounts

•Dismisses claims of plans to block all accounts by January 1

Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The federal government yesterday, ordered the stoppage of cash withdrawals from public accounts

The directive takes immediate effect.  The move is part of efforts to support the cash withdrawal limits to be imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that takes off  from January 9, 2023

According to the directive, henceforth, public officers are to open domiciliary accounts in foreign and local currencies ahead of the commencement of the new policy which follows the new naira withdrawal policy introduced by the CBN.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Modibo Tukur, gave the directive at a parley with the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmud Yakubu, in Abuja.

He said the introduction of the new policy became imperative, following the consistent devaluation of the naira and the introduction of a new naira policy in line with Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

In a statement, which was signed by the NFIU’s Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko,

It was gathered that the policy was activated following the observation that most cash withdrawals from government accounts including payments for estacode for public officials were often in excess of the cash withdrawal limit provided for by the Money Laundering Act.

The  NFIU boss said the practice exposed innocent public officials to the risk of  imprisonment.

Tukur also said the NFIU was in the process of developing an advisory to the secretary to the government of the federation, state governors and local government chairmen across the country to direct all public servants in their employ to open domiciliary and naira accounts ahead of the commencement of the policy which becomes compulsory by law.

Tukur said governors and local council chairmen were expected to organise training for traders on how to use ATM and PoS services. Tukur also dismissed as false claims in some quarters that the NFIU would block all federal government accounts from January 1, 2023.

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