Nigeria’s lower chamber of parliament, the House of Representatives is considering a law that will make it illegal for individuals or companies to move hard currencies outside Nigeria.

The draft law which is aimed at curbing dollar shortages passed its second parliamentary reading on Wednesday.

The bill, read in the House of Representatives, is designed to replace a law passed in 2004.

It would ban individuals and companies from exporting more than $50,000 in cash without written approval of the Central Bank.

A failure to comply by the law will attract heavy punishment including up to two years in prison.

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The law also provides that anyone importing more than $10,000 would have disclose the source of and use for the funds.

The bill, which would have to be passed by the upper house to become law, also seeks to extend the time for issuance of capital importation certificates to 72 hours from 48 hours.

Recall that the senate agreed in September 2016 to investigate whether Africa’s biggest telecoms company, MTN, unlawfully repatriated $13.92 billion between 2006 and 2016, because it allegedly did not obtain certificates declaring it had invested foreign currency within the deadline.

MTN had denied any wrongdoing.

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