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EFCC monitors international schools charging in foreign currency amid naira pressure

Nigerian Anti-Graft Agency Cracks Down on Dollar-Denominated Tuition Amid Economic Concerns

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has initiated surveillance on international schools charging tuition fees in foreign currencies as part of efforts to alleviate pressure on the naira.

Dele Oyewale, Head of Media and Publicity for the EFCC, confirmed the move, highlighting the agency’s intention to clamp down on institutions, including schools, found to be conducting transactions in foreign currencies within the country.

Oyewale emphasized the illegality of such practices, reiterating that it contravened Nigerian law for businesses to charge for services in currencies other than the naira. The EFCC’s 7,000-man special task force, operating across various zones, has been tasked with monitoring and addressing cases of currency racketeering.

In February, the anti-graft agency summoned proprietors of private universities and schools that charged tuition fees in dollars, marking a proactive step in addressing the issue. Additionally, raids were conducted in Abuja, targeting currency traders suspected of undermining the naira.

The move comes amidst concerns over the naira’s depreciation, prompting discussions between Finance Minister Wale Edun, Central Bank Governor Yemi Cardoso, and EFCC Chairman Ola Olukoyede to explore solutions to stabilize the currency.

Responding to queries about the EFCC’s strategies, Oyewale underscored the agency’s commitment to enforcing adherence to legal tender regulations. He warned of sanctions for entities found violating currency laws, stressing the significance of the naira in Nigeria’s economic landscape.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) voiced support for the EFCC’s initiative, citing the potential economic repercussions of dollar-denominated transactions. NUT President Titus Amba underscored the importance of conducting business in the national currency to safeguard the economy.

Civil society groups echoed similar sentiments, urging the government to review agreements with foreign institutions demanding payments in foreign currencies. The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy emphasized the need for regulatory oversight, calling attention to the strain placed on public schools due to currency-related practices in the private sector.

Emmanuel Onwubiko of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria called for decisive action from law enforcement agencies to curb unlawful practices and protect the naira’s value. He emphasized the importance of upholding the country’s currency in all transactions, advocating for measures to bolster its integrity.

As the EFCC intensifies efforts to address currency-related infractions, stakeholders underscore the broader significance of preserving the naira’s stability and legality in Nigeria’s economic landscape.

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