As part of measures to stop excess cash withdrawals by public office holders, the Federal Government through Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has imposed a ban on cash withdrawals from accounts belonging to the Federal Government, all its agencies, and also state and local governments.
NFIU said that the ban would take effect from March 1, 2023, to checkmate political appointees and officeholders from excessive cash withdrawal from public accounts without adherence to the limits set by the country’s Money Laundering Act.
It said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), and the Nigeria Police Force have been alerted for possible prosecution of public officials that could be found contravening the ban across the country.
The agency noted that the decision was in sync with the full transition of Nigeria into a cashless economy which the Central Bank of Nigeria has been leading.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the NFIU CEO, Moddibo Tukur, said the ban was necessary to curb the rate at which monies are withdrawn from public accounts, aiding corruption in the country.
Tukur said all financial institutions have been instructed to stop cash withdrawals from government accounts from March 1, 2023, adding that any government official who flout the order will be prosecuted alongside his or her accomplices.
He said, “The rate of withdrawals above the threshold from public accounts has been alarming, over N701 billion has been withdrawn in cash from 2015 till date.
“The NFIU had told banks and government agencies at all levels to go fully digital by moving online, as all transactions involving public money must be routed through the banks for the purpose of accountability and transparency.
“This is not reversible as we are only enforcing the law. As far as we are concerned, Nigeria will become a full non-cash economy by March 1, 2023 this year. As a consequence, any government official that withdraws even one naira cash from any public account from March 1 will be investigated and prosecuted in collaboration with relevant agencies like EFCC, ICPC, and the NPF.”
The NFIU boss, however, added that the President is in the position to grant waivers to government officials based on considerations.
He added, “For government exigencies, only the President has the power to grant any waiver to any government official considering the importance of the situation; either for national security, health, or other important reasons.”