The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stopped the $110million weekly allocation and sale of foreign exchange (forex) to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also said the apex bank would not renew the operating licences of the BDCs.
Emefiele, who spoke shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, accused BDCs of deliberate economic sabotage and misusing the weekly allocation to them.
He also accused international agencies and embassies operating in Nigeria of illegally patronising BDCs.
According to him, international development finance institutions, embassies and others are supposed to patronise the importer and exporter window, where there is transparency.
Henceforth, previous allocation of foreign exchange to BDCs will now be given to banks to sell to customers, he said.
As of November last year, the CBN had licensed 2,991 BDCs.
Out of them, 1,777 were registered in Lagos and the entire Southern Nigeria, while the remaining 1,214 were registered in Northern Nigeria.
There is a wide gap of about N100 between the official dollar exchange rate and the BDC rate.
” The BDCs were regulated to sell a maximum of 5000 dollars per day, but CBN observed that they have since been flouting that regulation and selling millions of dollars per day.
“The CBN also observed that the BDCs aid illicit financial flows and other financial crimes. The bank has thus, decided to discontinue the sale of forex to the BDCs with immediate effect.
“We shall, henceforth, channel all forex allocation through the commercial banks,” he said.
He urged the commercial banks to ensure that every deserving customer got his forex demand, adding that any bank found circumventing the new system would be sanctioned.
“Once a customer presents all required documentation to purchase forex, the commercial banks should ensure they get the forex.
“Any customer that is denied should contact the CBN on 0700385526 or through the email- email@example.com ” he said.
Stakeholders have been calling on the CBN and its MPC to take urgent steps to halt unending depreciation of the Naira.
Recently, a past President of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, urged the MPC to focus on policy decisions that would curb rising inflation and stabilise the Naira.