The Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) has said the noninclusion of nonprofit organisations (NPOs) as designated nonfinancial institutions (DNFIs) is an important win for the sector in Nigeria.

The NNNGO made the remarks following President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) bill, and Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) into law.

According to Section 30 of the money laundering bill 2022, nonprofits in Nigeria are no longer listed among DNFIs.

The noninclusion of NPOs as DNFIs followed years of advocacy by civil society organisations (CSOs) in the country.

‘I would like to express my excitement and congratulate the National Assembly and federal government for creating an enabling environment for civil society to thrive by removing nonprofits from the DNFI list’, NNNGO Executive Director, Oluseyi Oyebisi, said in a statement.

‘The inclusion of our sector on the list has hindered the operations of many organisations. With this noninclusion, a regulatory burden is taken off organisations in the areas of monthly cash transaction reports and SCUML examination visits’.

The NNNGO boss urged other African countries with shrinking civic space to learn from Nigeria and work on critical national priorities that will make the civic space more robust for CSOs.

For her part, the Executive Director of Spaces for Changes, Victoria Ibezim Ohaeri, said the delisting of NPOs as DNFIs is a victory for the whole of civil society in Nigeria.

Spaces for Changes’ 2019 research report, Unpacking the Official Construction of Risks and Vulnerabilities for the Third Sector in Nigeria, had challenged the official classification of NPOs as DFNIs.

‘What this delisting means is that NPOs will now be exempt from the onerous compliance requirements as well as multiple registration and reporting obligations foisted on DFNIs on account of their high-risk spectrum to money laundering and terrorism financing’, Ohaeri said in a statement.

‘By this exemption, NPOs will now be relieved of excessive paperwork associated with regulatory compliance, giving them more time and less disruptions for their legitimate charitable operations’.

With the delisting of NPOs as DFNIs, it is understood that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced a standalone terrorist financing risk assessment of the nonprofit sector in the West African country.

Photo source: Femi Adesina

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