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BDC operations resume after raids

After a week of sustained raids, the operations of Bureau De Change (BDCs) will resume nationwide today (Tuesday), it has been learnt. Daily Trust reports…

After a week of sustained raids, the operations of Bureau De Change (BDCs) will resume nationwide today (Tuesday), it has been learnt.

Daily Trust reports that many BDCs had suspended operation last week after the raid by the security agencies comprising the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the police, among others.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mal. Nuhu Ribadu, had set up a task force to end issues of currency speculation.

Ribadu spoke through Zakari Mijinyawa, the head of strategic communications in the Office of the National Security Adviser, saying the office had to wade in at this point because some individuals and organisations had continued to undermine proactive measures of the CBN to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities.

This was why the security agencies raided Bureau de Change hubs in Lagos, Kano and Abuja, the nation’s capital, during which many BDC operators were arrested.

Our correspondent reports that the development had sent away many street BDC operators on Allen Avenue, Sabo Yaba, Eko Hotel and many hubs in Lagos as was observed yesterday.

But following the raids, the leadership of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), the body of registered and licensed BDC operators, had an interface with the authorities to further streamline the activities of the BDCs and work out modalities to reduce activities of the licensed operators plying their trade on the streets of Lagos, Abuja, Kano and other parts of Nigeria.

Also at the weekend, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a draft guideline to further sanitise the BDC space, an important retail segment of the foreign exchange market.

The ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, in a chat with our correspondent, however, confirmed that BDC operations would resume today with improved monitoring by the CBN, even as he stated that operators would initiate reforms on their own in line with the new guidelines.

“The good news is that we have just finished discussions to ensure that the BDCs are back into business. By Tuesday, BDCs would return to the windows, through strategic partners, with CBN monitoring. Every BDC would now at least start doing something…”

Daily Trust reports that part of the draft regulations will require amongst others that sellers of $10,000 and above to BDCs will have to declare the source of the foreign currency.

Also, for payments to customers for cash purchases of foreign currency, the equivalent of above USD500, shall be by transfer to the customer’s naira bank account.

If the customer is non-resident (whether Nigerian or not), a BDC shall issue the customer a prepaid NGN card.

Meanwhile, the dollar exchanged for N1,690 on Monday at the parallel market on the first working day of the week amidst the proposed reforms in the BDC operations.

This was an appreciable rate compared to N1,900 it exchanged last week at the unofficial parallel market.

A bureau de change operator, Abu Dollar, told our correspondent that the rate is likely to go down this week, hinging the projection on the steps taken against speculative activities in the BDC space.

Also yesterday, the Nigeria Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM)’s official rate which closed at N1,665 on Friday last week, opened the week on a positive note by closing at N1,582.94.

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