The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has made it mandatory for all the Bureau de Change (BDCs) operating in Nigeria to access Foreign Exchange from it thrice a week. A statement from the CBN acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, on Sunday indicated that the new directive would allow eligible travellers more access to foreign exchange and allow more liquidity to the market. “All BDCs shall henceforth access forex from the CBN on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. ”It is compulsory that all BDCs access forex at least three times weekly.
”Any BDC that fails to access the forex window at least three times weekly shall have its licence reviewed by the CBN,” Okorafor said. According to Okorafor, the CBN has also authorised all commercial banks to buy and sell foreign exchange to travellers whether they operate an account in the said bank or not. He said that the banks were mandated to do this once a customer or non-customer presents relevant, valid travel documents such as visa and travel ticket. “All travellers shall be attended to immediately at the banks’ counters. Any contravention shall be sanctioned by the CBN,” he said.
This new directive is coming after the CBN announced on Wednesday that some banks were turning back customers that come to purchase Foreign Exchange for Personal and Business Travel as well as for pilgrimage. According to the CBN, it has supplied enough dollars to the banks to meet needs in the invisible segment. Customers were enjoined to report any bank that refuses to attend to their legitimate demands within 24 hours. Reacting to the new directive on BDCs, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau de Change Operators in Nigeria (ABCON) said it would further increase the existing rate multiplicity in the market.
“Our immediate response is to call for an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council to put up our demand for clarifications. It is totally unfair to the BDC sub-sector. “Our recommendation is that the thrice market days for BDCs per week should be reviewed to twice with only the amount being reviewed up from 20,000 dollars to 30,000 dollars per market day. “Also, both the banks and BDCs transaction rates should be merged to be the same. We also demand that BDCs should be allowed to return their unsold position to the CBN as is the practice by banks,” he said. Gwadabe said that the association would schedule a meeting with the CBN to get more details about the new directive.
Top on the list, he said would be the trading rates under the new directive and also if the same compulsion of thrice bidding per week by BDCs also apply to the banks. Meanwhile, the Naira had begun to depreciate against the dollar in the BDC segment. It went from N363 to a dollar last Monday to N367 dollars as of the close of market on Friday.