The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) has announced the prohibition of cash withdrawals from accounts belonging to the federal government, its agencies or parastatals, as well as state and local governments.
Addressing journalists in his office in Abuja on Thursday, NFIU Head, Moddibo Haman Tukur, said this was necessary to arrest the rate by which monies are taken out of public accounts without recourse to the money laundering laws and sometimes for corruption purposes.
According to him, the rate of withdrawals above the threshold from public accounts has been alarming, adding that over 701 billion naira has been withdrawn in cash from 2015 till date.
The NFIU boss said he had instructed all financial institutions 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.
He said the NFIU had told banks and government agencies at all levels to move fully into online, as all transactions involving public money must be routed through the banks for the purpose of accountability and transparency.
Tukur emphasised that this move is in line with the resolve to fully transit the country into cashless economy which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been leading.
“As far as we are concerned, Nigeria will become a full non-cash economy by March 1 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 and ICPC.
“This is not reversible as we are only enforcing the law,” he added.
Talking about those who may want to flout the regulation under the excuse of government exigencies and all that, Tukur noted that only President Muhammadu Buhari has the power to grant any waiver to any official.