CBN teams up with NSA to hunt down foreign exchange speculators

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) have entered a partnership to investigate and penalise those involved in illicit activities within the foreign exchange market.

This was made know in a press release signed by Zakari Mijinyawa, ONSA’s head of strategic communications on Tuesday.

He said the CBN and ONSA’s efforts to combat illicit activities in the FX market are being undermined by speculators — both domestic and international — operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian naira and contributing to inflation and economic instability.

“Recall that to address the exchange rate volatility, CBN initiated a comprehensive strategy to enhance liquidity in the forex market, including unifying FX market segments, clearing outstanding FX obligations, introducing new operational mechanisms for Bureau De Change operators, enforcing the Net Open Position limit for commercial banks, and adjusting the remunerable Standing Deposit Facility cap,” the statement reads.

“To reduce the pressure on the naira, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has raised a 7,000-man special task force across its 14 zonal commands to clamp down on dollar racketeers.

“Yet, recent intelligence reports have highlighted continued illicit activities within the Nigerian foreign exchange market. The ONSA and CBN are therefore, embarking on this collaborative approach to tackle these infractions.”

According to the statement, the partnership will involve a coordinated effort with key law enforcement agencies, including the Nigeria police force (NPF), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Mijinyawa said the joint efforts demonstrate the Nigerian government’s commitment to improving its anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) framework and exiting the grey list of the financial action task force.

He added that the efforts will make progress in ensuring a stable and transparent FX market, fostering investor confidence, and advancing the nation’s economic wellbeing.