Starting March 1, officials in Nigeria will be prohibited from withdrawing cash from government accounts, according to a statement from the head of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“Civil servants are becoming more and more vulnerable to money laundering and its predicate offences due to their exposure to cash withdrawals from public accounts,” NFIU director and chief executive Modibbo R. HammanTukur said in the statement.
These new rules, which apply to federal, local, and state officials, are intended to combat money laundering and corruption, and align with the government’s efforts to transition the country to a cashless economy.
“In the unlikely event that a public official feels he may need cash withdrawal, he may apply for approval for waiver from the presidency which may be granted on case-by-case basis,” HammanTukur said in the statement.
The NFIU found that from 2015 to 2022, officials withdrew approximately 1.1 trillion naira (about $2.45 billion) from government accounts, with most of the withdrawals exceeding previous limits.
In an effort to curb inflation and promote a cashless society, the Central Bank of Nigeria began circulating newly designed 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes and limiting weekly cash withdrawals last month.