The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has banned all banks from executing demands for cash withdrawals from all public accounts.
Addressing newsmen on Thursday, December 5, NFIU CEO, Moddibo Haman Tukur, said the decision became necessary to stop the rate at which cash was being taken out of public accounts.
Tukur also said that the decision is in line with the full transition of Nigeria into a cashless economy which the Central Bank of Nigeria has been leading.
According to the NFIU CEO, from 2015 to date, state governments alone have withdrawn N701 billion from their various accounts.
He added that federal bodies withdrew N225 billion while Local Government Council Authorities have withdrawn over N156 billion cash within the same period.
Tukur further disclosed that all financial institutions have been instructed to stop cash withdrawals from government accounts from March 1, 2023, adding that any government official who flout the order will be prosecuted alongside his or her accomplices.
The statement read;
“The rate of withdrawals above the threshold from public accounts has been alarming, over N701billion has been withdrawn in cash from 2015 till date.
“The NFIU had told banks and government agencies at all levels to go fully digital by moving online, as all transactions involving public money must be routed through the banks for the purpose of accountability and transparency.
“This is not reversible as we are only enforcing the law. As far as we are concerned, Nigeria will become a full non-cash economy by March 1, 2023 this year. As a consequence, any government official that withdraws even one naira cash from any public account from March 1 will be investigated and prosecuted in collaboration with relevant agencies like EFCC, ICPC and the NPF.”
The NFIU boss also said only the President is in the position to grant waivers to government officials based on considerations.
“For government exigencies, only the President has the power to grant any waiver to any government official considering the importance of the situation; either for national security, health, or other important reasons.”