From March, All Government Payments Must Be Cashless — NFIU

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All federal, state, and local government accounts cannot be withdrawn cash from, according to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

In a conference on Thursday in Abuja, the director-general of the NFIU, Modibbo Tukur, addressed media. The prohibition, he declared, will go into effect on March 1st, 2023. After the month of February this year, he declared, the agency will begin an investigation into any public officials who were involved in cash transactions.

It warned that defaulters who take money out of public accounts run the risk of being the subject of joint investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (ICPC).

According to Tukur, who stated that defaulters face a three-year prison sentence, only the President can provide a waiver allowing withdrawals of cash in excess of the permitted daily maximum for any urgent or emergency needs. He added that the choice was consistent with Nigeria’s move toward a fully cashless society, which was started by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The country’s money laundering laws as well as other anti-graft laws will be properly applied on guilty government personnel, the director-general continued, adding that the order to become cashless will help to reduce corruption in public offices.

In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the new policy, the NFIU instructed federal, state, and local governments across the nation to implement the appropriate procedures.

Specifically, he recommended the various levels of government to use technology and teach their personnel to be able to start using the new policy as of the specified time.

With the implementation of this directive, Nigeria has transitioned into a non-cash economy as of March 1, 2023, according to Modibbo. Over N701 billion in cash has been taken out of public accounts since 2015, which is a disturbing rate compared to the threshold, the official added.