GIABA TO TRAIN NIGERIAN FOREIGN EXCHANGE BUREAUS ON AML/CFT COMPLIANCE
The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) will organise a National Workshop on Enhancing AML/CFT Compliance for Foreign Exchange Bureaus / Bureau De Change in Nigeria. The 3-day programme will hold at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria, from Tuesday April 4 to Thursday April 6, 2023.
A report on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing through the Informal and Illegal Currency Exchange Service Providers in West Africa published by GIABA in 2020 found that currency exchange services, including bureau de change services is one of the fastest growing sectors in the West African financial services industry in terms of the numbers of institutions that have sprouted in recent years.
While the Mutual Evaluation Report of Nigeria noted that the country has 4,798 registered forex dealers with an asset base of $469,734,000.00USD, the 2017 National Risk Assessment (NRA) of the country identified this sector as the most vulnerable to money laundering. The NRA identified several vulnerabilities in relation to the foreign exchange bureaus/BDCs, including limited awareness of ML/TF risks, poor implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures and weak supervision / monitoring for AML/CFT compliance. In addition, the NRA noted concerns about the preponderance of unlicensed BDCs (black market operators), and the fact that a number of the dealings are cash-based, which constitute serious ML/TF risk.
The primary objective of the Workshop, therefore, is to provide a platform for participants to share experiences and foster cooperation and collaboration for effective implementation of AML/CFT preventive measures in the currency exchange sector.
Specifically, the Workshop seeks to (i) raise awareness, develop a common understanding among stakeholders and enhance the capacity of participants on ML/TF issues within the foreign exchange bureau sector; (ii) enhance risk-based supervision of the sector; (iii) provide platform for sharing of experiences and good practices on AML/CFT issues; and (iv) promote cooperation, coordination, and engagement amongst and between relevant competent authorities, self-regulatory authority (ABCON) and foreign exchange operators on how to effectively implement AML/CFT preventive measures.
One Hundred and fifty (150) participants will be drawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), and the foreign exchange bureau operators.
At the end of the Workshop in Abuja, it is expected that there would emerge: (a) enhanced cooperation and collaboration between relevant competent authorities, ABCON and foreign exchange operators in the implementation of AML/CFT measures, (b) better and coordinated responses to emerging ML/TF issues by competent authorities ABCON and foreign exchange operators, and (c) improved future performances of Nigeria with relevant FATF Recommendations and Immediate Outcomes.