The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday urged banks and other financial institutions to be vigilant and alert to possible emerging risks resulting from the circumvention of measures taken to protect the international financial system.
The central bank stated this in an administrative circular dated June 6, 2023, and signed by CBN Director, Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Chibuzo Efobi, which was addressed to banks and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) following the outcome of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) plenary held between June 21-23, 2023.
The CBN further alerted the banks on the addition of Cameroon, Croatia, and Vietnam to the list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring by FATF.
The apex bank further stressed that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, and Myanmar remained on the list of high-risk jurisdictions subject to “Call for Action”, urging that enhanced due diligence should be applied, and in severe cases, countermeasures may need to be implemented to safeguard the international financial system.
The bank emphasised that the suspension of the Russian Federation’s membership in the FATF remained in effect.
In light of the development, the central further directed financial institutions to note all additions to jurisdictions under “Increased Monitoring” as well as high-risk jurisdictions subject to a “Call for Action” and take necessary measures to mitigate these risks effectively.
The FATF is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog which sets international standards that aim to prevent illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
THISDAY however, gathered that the jurisdictions under increased monitoring are actively working with the FATF to address strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing.
“When the FATF places a jurisdiction under increased monitoring, it means the country has committed to resolve swiftly the identified strategic deficiencies within agreed timeframes and is subject to increased monitoring. This list is often externally referred to as the grey list,” it noted in a statement posted on its website.
Essentially, the high-risk jurisdictions have significant strategic deficiencies in their regimes to counter money laundering, terrorist financing, and financing of proliferation.
“For all countries identified as high-risk, the FATF calls on all members and urges all jurisdictions to apply enhanced due diligence, and, in the most serious cases, countries are called upon to apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing (ML/TF/PF) risks emanating from the country.
“This list is often externally referred to as the ‘black list’. Since February 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FATF has paused the review process for Iran and DPRK, given that they are already subject to the FATF’s call for countermeasures”, the task force added.
Meanwhile, the CBN has organised a fair to sensitise business owners and other residents in Bauchi State on the policies and strategic interventions of the bank aimed at ensuring sustainable economic development in the country.
Similarly, the apex bank urged the business community and other stakeholders in the state to partake in its mission of returning the nation to the path of greatness.
In his opening remarks at the CBN Fair which was held at Gombe, the Director, of Corporate Communications Department of the Bank, Dr. Isa Abdulmumin stated that the event was designed to serve as a platform to interact with members of the public on the policies and strategic interventions of the apex bank for a sustainable economic development in Nigeria.
According to him, “The objectives of this engagement are among others, to sensitise members of the public on how the bank’s interventions can grow their businesses and contribute to Nigeria’s economy.”
Represented by Esu Imo, Assistant Director in the Department, Abdulmumin also said the “the bank, as a responsible and responsive corporate citizen, has demonstrated the most passionate commitment to supporting businesses and promoting diversification through the array of interventions in agriculture, health, manufacturing, and other key sectors of the economy.
“The CBN will sustain efforts towards ensuring the availability of currency. We, however, urge you to see naira as our critical symbol of national identity. Respect and keep it clean. Do not spray, hawk, mutilate, or counterfeit the naira,” he added.
Speaking further, the CBN spokesman said: “While soliciting the support and cooperation of everyone to partake in our mission to return Nigeria to the path of greatness, I wish to crave your indulgence to be attentive as we sensitise you on the various modern payment infrastructures for ease of business transactions.”
In his welcome address, the Branch Controller (BC), CBN, Bauchi, Haladu Idris Andaza, said that the fair was to also explore the vital roles of the CBN in shaping the Nigerian economy and ensuring financial stability as well as fostering prosperity.
The Branch Controller represented by the Acting Branch Controller, Salahu Bello Mohammed said, “the CBN is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring monetary price stability, issuing legal tender currency in Nigeria, maintaining external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency among other mandates.”
According to him, “I am also happy with the presentations of this year’s fair arranged to sensitise the public on the eNaira, payments system, consumer protection, currency operations and other policies and programmes initiated by the bank.
“The whole essence of the fair is to ensure that Nigerians are educated about the bank’s policies and programmes and learn how they can benefit from them.
“This fair will provide a unique opportunity to delve into the intricate workings of the CBN, understand the challenges faced, and exchange knowledge and best practices. It will also serve as a beacon of innovation, showcasing the transformative power of technology and digital advancement within the central banking domain.”