Senate says will reject punishment for dollar hoarders

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ABUJA, NOVEMBER 21, 2016 – The Senate has rejected the recommendation by the Nigerian Law Reform Commission on the review of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Act, which will empower the Central Bank of Nigeria to jail people for up to two years or fine them for 20 per cent of the amount of the foreign currency held in their possession for more than 30 days.

The Senate, in a statement signed by the Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, stated that with its focus on boosting investors’ confidence in Nigeria’s economy, such move, as proposed by the NLRC, which would prevent investors from making free entry and free exit from the market, would suffer outright rejection by the senators.

The statement read, “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.

“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.”

The upper chamber of the National Assembly stated that it was committed to working with the executive to halt the worsening recession and return the country to economic growth.

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