27 March 2016

Nigeria: EFCC Moves to Tackle Hoarding, Round Tripping in Forex Market

Worried by the unsavoury developments at the nation's foreign exchange market, the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has unveiled plans to check activities bordering on round tripping and foreign exchange diversion to address economic uncertainties.

According to the EFCC, the huge demand-supply gap in the forex market has continued to impose real threats to the running of businesses and manufacturing activities in the country.

The Acting Executive Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, explained that the commission is aware of various nefarious practices and is fully prepared to tackle and deal decisively with anyone perpetrating and benefitting from such crimes.

Magu, who was represented by the Deputy Director of Operations, Iliyasu Kwarbai, during the Institute of Directors of Nigeria's (IOD's) members evening tagged "Aligning corporate Nigeria to the fight against corruption", stressed that practices such as round tripping, rendition of false data, non-repatriation of export proceeds, non-reporting of legal foreign exchange users, use of expired and forged documents among other malpractices, are condemnable and unpatriotic.

He, however, lamented manifest low capacity in investigating all petitions brought to the commission, pointing out that Nigeria needs more regulatory agencies to tackle corruption in the country.

He stressed that the issue of corruption as we have it today, has become a monster of dangerous tendencies. "It is an enemy of our national aspirations. The prevalence of corruption in our society has not only done serious damage to our development as a nation but, has over the years, resulted in the diversion of the larger society. The corrupt ones in our midst have brought down the walls of our economic preservation, ruined our value system and exposed us to global ridicule and reproach. No issue has constituted a colossal threat to the survival of our country than that of corruption.

"Our estimation by our international partners and watchers have become slow that corruption is now viewed as an industry in Nigeria. The situation should no longer continue. The issue of foreign exchange malpractice in Nigeria is weighty and worrisome. The nefarious activities of some players at the parallel market, banks and other operators in the economy constitute a dangerous threat to the survival of our economy.

"Undoubtedly, the wide gap between the official rate of the naira and the parallel market rate is disturbing, it is an artificial creation by those desperate to reap a questionable harvest from the inadequacy of forex in the economy. Hoarders and diverters of dollars have created a huge demand-supply gap causing real threats to the running of businesses and manufacturing activities."

He added that small and medium scale industrial operators are groaning while international business operators are not at ease as a result of activities of some unscrupulous elements in the country.

"This unpatriotic element must not be allowed to ply their illegal businesses and must be checked in their strides. I want to say here that manipulators of the foreign exchange market will no longer have peace, those making unhealthy personal gains at the detriment of our national economy must be exposed and dealt with," he stated.

He said stakeholders must play crucial roles because corruption puts the nation on precipice, saying that the nation cannot afford to fold its arms and watch helplessly while its future and the future if its children are being mortgaged.

"We have a stake in the anti-corruption fight and we are sure of victory only if we combat the scourge of graft together. Let us be reminded that economic growth cannot be achieved without zero tolerance for corruption. Let us resolve to restore our nation to the path of sanity and progress. Let us heal our country of the wounds inflicted by decades of unbridled corruption," he added.

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