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EFCC To Move Against Schools Charging Dollars

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has placed international schools charging tuition in dollars and other foreign currencies under surveillance as part of measures to reduce the pressure on the naira.

The Head, Media and Publicity, EFCC, Dele Oyewale, confirmed the development on Thursday, and said the agency would clamp down on schools and other organisations charging foreign currencies.

He reiterated that it was illegal for schools, hotels and firms operating in the country to charge for services in foreign currencies.

He explained that the 7,000-man special task force on dollar racketeers operating across the EFCC zonal commands was monitoring the schools and other organisations that might be involved in the illegality.

In a move to curb the free fall of the naira against the greenback, the anti-graft agency in February summoned the proprietors of private universities and other schools charging tuition in dollars.

The task force also conducted several raids in Abuja, arresting currency traders suspected to be speculating against the naira.

Worried by the depreciation of the national currency, the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, had met with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Yemi Cardoso and the EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, to proffer solutions to the naira crisis.

Speaking with Punchng on Thursday, in response to questions about the agency’s efforts to address forex racketeering and stabilise the naira, the EFCC spokesman, Oyewale, said the task force was set up ‘’to ensure that those breaking the rules find their way back to the right path so that the wrath of the law will not be on them.’’

Oyewale said it was illegal for any business operating in the country to charge for its services in foreign denominations apart from the naira, vowing sanctions for any breach of the law.

He stated, “The task force is not just to monitor naira abuse alone but for the whole economy. So, the EFCC is working to ensure that those breaking the rules find their way back to the right path so that the wrath of the law will not be on them.

“Yes, everyone knows that it is illegal to charge in other denominations apart from the naira. Whether in Chinese or American currency, any transaction that is not denominated in naira in Nigeria, the EFCC is against it.

“So, the task force is in place to check that and Nigerians should be happy about that. It is not just schools, hotels but other entities across the country that are doing this must come back to the naira as our legal tender.’’

He added, “Naira is the symbol of our economy and everything that has to do with the economy in Nigeria must be done in naira.’’

Asked if the schools, hotels and other businesses under watch would be punished if caught violating the law, Oyewale responded, ‘’Certainly, they are aware that we are watching them.’’

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