The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has banned cash withdrawal from all federal, state and local government accounts.
Modibbo Tukur, NFIU director-general, spoke to journalists at a conference in Abuja on Thursday. He said the ban would take effect on March 1, 2023. He said the agency will launch investigations against any public officials engaged in cash transactions after the end of February this year.
It warned that defaulters that withdraw cash from public accounts risks collaborative investigation by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
Tukur, who said defaulters risk three years jail term, explained that under the guidelines, only the President can give a waiver for any cash above the approved daily threshold to be withdrawn for any urgent or emergency reasons. He also said the decision was in line with Nigeria’s transition to a fully cashless economy initiated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The director-general added that the directive to go cashless will help to curb corruption in public offices, saying that the country’s money laundering laws as well as other anti-graft laws will be fully applied on erring government officials.
The NFIU therefore directed federal, state and local governments in the country to put necessary measures in place to ensure the smooth operationalization of the new policy.
He advised the different tiers of government in particular, to deploy technology and train their staff to be able to apply the new policy from the stipulated date.
Modibbo said, “With the implementation of this guideline, Nigeria has been taken into a non-cash economy with effect from March 1, 2023”. The rate of withdrawals above the threshold from public accounts has been alarming, over N701 billion has been withdrawn in cash from 2015 till date,” he said.