FX Crisis: Expert Urges FG to Criminalise Possession of Cash above $100 by Nigerians, Foreigners

FX Crisis: Expert Urges FG to Criminalise Possession of Cash above $100 by Nigerians, Foreigners

Sunday Ehigiator

Economic Expert and Chief Executive Officer, CFL Group, Mr. Lai Omotola has called on the federal government to criminalise possession of cash above $100 in the country as part of measures to address the foreign exchange crisis facing Nigeria.

While applauding the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) effort at finding solution to the crises, he proposed that President Bola Tinubu, sign an executive order banning all FX cash transactions across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

He urged the president to give a 90-day amnesty period for lodgment of excess FX in any citizen’s possession, activate the whistle-blower policy on possession of excess FX by any citizen, and also mandate economically vibrant states like the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers and Enugu to go 100 per cent cashless.

Omotola who made this known in a chat with THISDAY in Lagos, said if his proposal is followed to the letter, FX will drop by 50 per cent within a month.

According to him, “The way the country is going and if we say it belongs to everybody, then we also should contribute to the progress and betterment of the country.

“To save our naira, I am proposing that the president should sign an executive order, banning all cash dollar transactions across the length and breadth of Nigeria. All dollar transactions should now be bank-to-bank.

“The maximum cash any citizen and foreigner can hold should be $100. Any amount exceeding this would be automatically forfeited to the federal government. The total ban on street vending of dollars should also be included.

“Amnesty should be given to anyone paying dollar-cash for the next 90 days. People who have the dollar in their house and want to go and put it in the bank quickly should be given amnesty and such cash cannot be probed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) or any security agency. In as much as cash deposits cannot be probed, every dollar payment from the bank to the bank should be scrutinised.”

He added, “What I mean by scrutinised is that, whenever you want to make a dollar payment, you should be asked why you want to make that payment. There must be evidence of legitimacy. It must be a legitimate transaction, there must be evidence that what your dollar transaction is about, is a legitimate reason, hence, you must show evidence of legitimacy. This is different from the dollar cash-lodging transaction which I said should be given 90 days amnesty and not be probed by EFCC.

“The government should also activate the whistleblower act, such that a reward is made to anybody that can tell the federal government about anybody with hidden dollars and such person receives his reward seamlessly. This would put everybody on his toes.”

“Also, the following states should go 100 per cent cashless; Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, plus the federal capital territory. The maximum amount of cash anyone should hold within these states should not exceed N50,000. If the above is implemented to the latter, that also includes a stop or de-continuing the printing of the new naira notes, the new naira should not be printed, rather the old one.

“If all these things are done, within the next 30 days, the naira will appreciate by 50 per cent. That is within the next thirty days, you’d find naira moving between N700/$1 and N800/$1, in 30 days and by the end of the year, the true value of naira to the dollar will emerge.  That is my solution, ”he said.

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