Senate ‘We will not jail people for hoarding forex,’ Lawmakers say

The FG is planning to amend the Foreign Exchange Act to enable the imprisonment of anyone who holds foreign currencies for more than 30 days.

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Bukola Saraki play

Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

(NAN)
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The Nigerian Senate has said that it will not support attempts by the Federal Government to jail persons found hoarding foreign currency.

The FG is planning to amend the Foreign Exchange Act to enable the imprisonment of anyone who holds foreign currencies for more than 30 days.

The move is the latest attempt by the government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to solve the forex crisis in the country.

The Senate, speaking through spokesman, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, however expressed surprise at the recommendation.

“The measure is disruptive and counterproductive, threatening to undermine many of the reform efforts already underway in the legislature and by government ministries intended to boost investor confidence,” Abdullahi said.

“The Senate would never pass such a punitive and regressive proposal. Overall, some of the Commission’s recommendation has many sound attributes and could help Nigeria’s investment climate. 

“We believe the CBN should have the authority to regulate the forex market and determine the exchange rate policy as already enshrined in its enabling Act.

“A market-oriented exchange rate policy is the best recipe for guiding the operations of the foreign exchange market.  This will ensure the supremacy of market mechanisms in efficiently allocating the scarce forex resources. We will continue to work with the Executive to halt the worsening recession and return to economic growth,” he added.

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The government had earlier been criticized for using the Department of State Services (DSS) to arrest Bureau De Change operatives who were caught selling forex at a high rate.

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