The Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has said it will not reverse the cash withdrawal limit guidelines issued earlier this month.
NFIU, on January 5, directed banks in the country to stop executing demands for cash from public accounts, as well as payment of estacodes and travelling allowances, effective March 1, 2023.
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) had faulted the directive and sought the understanding of the agency regarding reconsidering the cash withdrawal guidelines.
In a statement signed by its Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, NFIU stated that it had given enough time for all entities in the country to withdraw cash above the approved daily limit and it was no longer in the interest of the country and its citizens to continue to indulge in such violation.
According to the statement, the Director of the NFIU, Modibbo Hamman Tukur, had said at the end of his meeting with the governors that the agency was ready to cooperate with the six-man committee set up to work with it.
Modibbo said: “We acted within our functions and the law. We issued the guidelines to control the barrage of investigations that we saw coming. Our guidelines are meant to help the governors not to fight them or any public servant.
“We reached a stage that if we allow the present scenario to continue, all public institutions will drift into STRUCTURED CASH WITHDRAWALS of certain amounts of money which by law, standards and best practices MUST be investigated continuously which is neither desirable nor reasonable.
“We feel communities must move on by accommodating changes and adjusting to new developments,” he added.
He argued that the Last time the NFIU issued the Local government guidelines, they were taken to court but won the case.
“But more importantly we need to understand that in recent past the United States FIU and United Kingdom FIU penalized Nigerian banks with fines of millions of U.S Dollars due to non-compliance. Internally, non-compliance with sections cited in the recent guidelines comes with heavy penalties on financial institutions. We did, on gentlemanly pretext, avoid until this moment putting a fine on financial institutions expecting, gradual learning and adjustments,” he insisted.
He said: “But to eternally guarantee this kind gesture is to automatically keep abusing our laws. We want every stakeholder to appreciate that we have cooperated for too far and long. We held deep breath while defending these deficiencies internationally, just to continue to remain in the international pay points and competing with others.”
He said the entire financial system suffered excess liquidity and liquidity ratio infringements which put hedging pressure of demand for foreign currency and gradually destroying the value of the Naira and above all creating wide room for money laundering and terrorism affecting significantly the rural populace on top of general inflation in the open market place.
“We are in support of working together to stop these challenges and in most progressive manner,” he added.