The House of Representatives Finance Committee has decided to summon the Central Bank of Nigeria in response to allegations that the apex bank collects charges on foreign exchange meant for payment to Nigerian diplomats around the world.
The claim was made by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, during his appearance before the committee in Abuja, according to Punch.
On the issue of exchange rate, Nairametrics reported that the CBN was selling forex to foreign portfolio investors at a spot rate of N443/$.
What the Reps Committee is saying
The committee’s Chairman, James Faleke, questioned why the OAGF suggested paying foreign attachés at a rate of N425 to $1 whereas the 2022 Appropriation Bill, tabled by President Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was based on N410 to $1.
Responding to Hon. Faleke, Idris blamed it on the charges by the CBN stating, “The exchange rate is slightly higher because despite all these, we say we still encounter certain charges by CBN itself. There are charges by CBN; we cannot run away from that. And it is obvious; our records are there. We can verify this. Yes, the exchange rate is pegged at this (N410/$1) but the CBN…one way or the other, you have to pay a bit higher, yet lower than the black market rate. That is why we jacked it up slightly.”
Faleke, however, dismissed the explanation, saying, “Accountant-General, your statement is very pregnant. If the law says N410 to a dollar, there is no reason for you or your agency to pay anybody higher than that on an official assignment. And the CBN cannot flout the law of the land. Appropriation (Act) is a law. I think you need to get further clarifications on that. We would invite the CBN to come and clarify. It is a very serious issue that if we are talking about controlling our inflation rate in this country and the cost of doing business or cost of governance, and the CBN would be charging double rates, different from the actual approved rate, then that would be a serious issue.”