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The Central Bank of Rwanda has warned those who price in foreign currency and engage in illegal foreign exchange

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The Central Bank of Rwanda, BNR, has issued a statement stating that there are activities that use foreign currency, and BNR is based on article 6bis of Law No 48/2017 of 23/09/2017, which governs the Central Bank and has been amended to date. The statement states that all monetary obligations or transactions made in the Republic of Rwanda are considered to be expressed and settled in Rwandan francs, unless otherwise provided for by laws or lawfully agreed upon between the parties.

BNR says that pricing goods and services in foreign currencies is prohibited and punishable by law.

Non-licensed persons (such as hotels, duty-free shops, casinos, travel or tourism companies, international schools, etc.) that regularly do business with non-residents are authorized to receive foreign currency under the conditions mentioned in the Directive on transactions in foreign currency by non-licensed intermediaries.

BNR reminds that other non-licensed persons must apply to the Central Bank for authorization to transact in foreign currency according to the requirements set in the above Directive.

BNR continues to say that it is prohibited to conduct foreign exchange business without a license.

“The business of buying or selling foreign currency is only done by intermediaries licensed by NBR to do so, including banks, deposit-taking microfinance institutions, and Forex Bureaus,” says the Rwanda Central Bank.

Rwanda Central Bank is asking people to always ensure that the Forex Bureau they are about to do business with has a valid license granted by the National Bank of Rwanda. They should also always buy or sell currencies using the exchange rates displayed on the notice board.

Whoever is going to buy or sell any foreign currency must present their identification card or valid passport.

Additionally, whoever buys or sells any foreign currency must request a receipt clearly showing the transaction details.

Report any case where the forex bureau refuses to provide the foreign currency even though it has such currency.

According to a statement by the Rwanda Central Bank, any person who, by any means, illegally sells or exchanges national or foreign currency commits an offense. Upon conviction, they are liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than six (6) months and not more than two (2) years or a fine of not less than two hundred thousand (FRW 200,000) Rwandan francs and not more than three million (FRW 3,000,000) Rwandan francs, or only one of these penalties as provided in Article 223 of Law n° 68/2018 of 30/8/2018, which determines offenses and penalties in general, as amended to date.

BNR concludes the announcement by saying that any person selling or pricing goods or services in foreign currency without authorization shall be punishable by the seizure and confiscation of the amount involved in that transaction, as per article 34 of Regulation n 42/2022 of 13/04/2022, which governs foreign exchange operations.

When illegal foreign exchange activity is noted, please report promptly to the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR) or Law Enforcement Authorities (Rwanda National Police, Rwanda Investigation Bureau, or Local Authorities), BNR reports.

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