FakeNewsAlert: X Users Recirculate Old CBN Circular Banning Use of Dollar For Transactions in Domestic Market

By Oluwaseye Ogunsanya 

Claim

Multiple users on X share a CBN circular which bans the use of Dollar for transactions in the domestic market. 

Verdict

The claim is misleading. The trending circular was released by CBN in 2015 and not 2024 as purported.

Full Text

Multiple users on X share a CBN circular banning the use of Dollar for transactions in the domestic market.

The circular which is titled THE USE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY AS A MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE IN NIGERIA frowns at the increasing use of foreign currencies in the domestic economy as a medium of payment for goods and services by individuals and corporates rather than using the domestic currency (Naira) which is the legal tender in Nigeria. 

Quoting the provisions of the CBN Act of 2007, which states that “the currency notes issued by the Bank shall be a legal tender in Nigeria for the payment of any amount” the press release further added that the act stipulates that any person(s) who contravenes the provision is guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a prescribed fine or six months imprisonment with the exemption of foreigners. 

The general public were thereby advised to report any contravention of the provision of the act to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the CBN.

The press release which was shared by many prominent users of X including Kalu Aja and Daniel Bwala is coming on the heels of a series of news and policy announcements made by the apex bank in the last one week as part of its efforts to reform and stabilise the dwindling foreign exchange market.

 

Some of the news and policy announcements made by the apex bank include the bank’s conclusion of the payment of all verified foreign exchange (FX) claims by airlines with an additional $64.44 million to the concerned foreign aviation firms, the injection an additional $500 million into the foreign exchange market, the review its policy guiding the activities of international money transfer operators (IMTOs), the apex bank’s decision to stop daily cash reserve requirement (CRR) debits of deposits in commercial banks as well as the release of new measures by the apex bank for financial institutions which directs them to sell dollars to prevent losses among others. 

However, in the same breath, the apex bank also debunked a claim by Saturday PUNCH stating that the Federal Government (FG) is considering converting $30bn domiciliary deposits to naira as part of an operation to rescue Naira.  

Verification

FactCheckAfrica observed that the circular in question bears no date nor reference number making it difficult to ascertain its veracity at a glance. We further went on to Google search the title of the circular, this led us to a Business Day article titled Currency Substitution and the Dollarisation of the Economy – Matters Arising (1). The article mentioned that the circular was released on 8th April, 2015. 

Similarly, another article on The Guardian titled CBN and Foreign Currency in Local Transactions also made reference to the circular claiming that it was released early in April 2015.  

We also observed that a former SA to former President Muhammadu Buhari on digital and new media, Tolu Ogunlesi confirmed that the circular is old on his X page

Ogunlesi who provided some insight to the circular which was also published (now deleted) by Leadership Newspaper as a breaking news yesterday explained that it is actually from April 2015. 

He added that the first clue that it is old is that the individual who signed the statement, Ibrahim Mu’azu stopped being CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications in Feb 2016. He went on to berate the newspaper for reporting it. 

Conclusion 

Findings revealed that the trending circular was released by CBN in 2015 and not 2024 as purported.