The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday solicited the support of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to fight economic crimes in the country.
An inter-agency meeting between CBN officials and representatives of the EFCC noted the abuses of the financial system and said culprits may be barred from opening bank accounts in the country.
A statement by the CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, at the end of the meeting at the Head Office of the CBN headquarters in Abuja, said participants shared experiences and identified challenges in the fight against economic and related crimes.
“The two agencies adopted strategies aimed at curtailing the unwholesome activities of economic saboteurs which include smuggling of commodities like rice, textile materials, fertiliser, wheat and other items on the prohibition list for accessing foreign exchange through the official window, as well as tracking illicit financial flows,” Mr Okorafor said.
He said other areas the CBN and the EFCC sought collaboration include anti-money laundering activities as well as monitoring of politically exposed persons in the country.
The inter-agency meeting, chaired by the Director, Governors’ Department of the CBN, Jeremiah Abue, also agreed to improve information-sharing and surveillance of the financial sector.
The CBN under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee had said that individuals or corporate bodies found complicit in economic crimes or attempting to circumvent the country’s economic laws and regulations may be barred from operating a bank account in Nigeria.
In June 2015, the CBN announced the classification of 41 items as “Not Valid for Foreign Exchange”.
The classification was part of the bank’s monetary policy to conserve the supply of foreign exchange to promote the growth of key sectors of the economy with potentials of higher productivity, to create jobs and contribute to the resuscitation of the economy.
Most of the items affected by the policy included those that could easily be produced in Nigeria, rather than spend the country’s foreign reserves to import.
The affected items include rice, cement, margarine, palm kernel, palm oil products, vegetable oils, meat and processed meat products, vegetables and process vegetable products, poultry, tomatoes/tomato paste, soap and cosmetics and clothes.
Other items are private aeroplanes/jets, Indian incense, tinned fish in sauce, cold rolled steel sheets, galvanized steel sheets, roofing sheets, wheelbarrows, head pans, metal boxes/containers, enamelware, steel drums and pipes, wire mesh, steel nails, wood particle boards and panels.
Also affected were security and razor wire, wood particle and fibre boards and panels, wooden doors, furniture, toothpicks, glass/glassware, kitchen utensils, tableware, tiles (vitrified, ceramics), textiles, wooden fabrics, plastic/rubber products, polypropylene granules and cellophane wrappers.
The list has since been made to include two other items, textiles and fertiliser.