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page 23 opening FOREX: Bureau de Change market standstill over BVN request ..Naira hits 232 a dollar By Hamisu Muhammad & Sunday Michael Ogwu, Lagos…

page 23 opening

FOREX: Bureau de Change market standstill over BVN request

..Naira hits 232 a dollar

By Hamisu Muhammad & Sunday Michael Ogwu, Lagos

There was low patronage of Foreign Exchange (forex) at the Bureau de Change segment last week over the use of Bank Verification Number (BVN) in the transactions at the market.

BVN application on the BDCs transaction was enforced last Monday, where by all customers who demand forex must submit BVN to the BDCs operators.

However, many customers prepared not to submit their BVN to the BDCs operators for such transactions, the situation, that led to glut for dollar soured from the CBN by the BDCs.

The CBN released about $150 million to the BDCs operators last week but due to the fear of the repercussion of the new policy, majority of the amount was unsold.

President of the Association of the Bureau de Change Operators, Aminu Gwadabe who spoke to our reporter yesterday said the insistence on BNV by CBN has scared away many customers in the market.

He said many customers prepared to source the FOREX through other means. This, led to sharp increase of the forex in the market to about N232 a dollar.

“People are not comfortable, customers are afraid of fraud and that is why they don’t patronise us. If we ask them for BVN they don’t want to give us.’’

There are about 2,540 licensed BDCs in the country. The CBN releases $30,000 to $60,000 to each of them on weekly basis. Part of the requirements by the CBN is that no BDC operator should sale more than $4,000 per customer within a period of three months.

Sources said importers that were affected by the forex ban of the CBN uses the BDCs channels to source some dollars but with this BVN such transactions is halted.

Last week, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has insisted on providing BVN to Bureau de Change before any purchase of foreign currency can take place .

The CBN Director Banking and Payments System, Dipo Fatokun in a media chat over the weekend insisted that the apex bank is willing to stick with the policy because non of the current means of identification have been full proof.

He said: “We have seen people with more than one drivers license with different names, the truth is that your BVN is your Identity, so why do you want to hide your identity if you are doing a legitimate business.

The House of Representatives at its recent plenary passed a resolution to invite the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, over the directive requiring Bank Verification Number (BVN) for transactions with Bureau De-Change (BDC) operators.

The House also advised the CBN to consider less demanding operational guidelines for foreign exchange transactions as businesses of BDCs are being hampered by multiple regulations.

According to the house: “The attempt to use the BVN to stem money laundering will lead to the proliferation of the BVNs of Nigerians. This will make vital financial information of Nigerians easily accessible to dubious people,”

Fatokun also disclosed that the CBN has extended the registration of Nigerians living abroad to January 31, 2016. An additional window of 90 days

“Once you prove to your bank that you are actually living outside the country, they will allow you to operate the account with a BVN” he added.

He further disclosed that in less than 2 weeks, BVN center will come on stream in Germany.

He warned that The banks have the responsibility to ensure that the window is open only their customers living abroad.

Also speaking at the chat, the Project Manager for BVN at the Nigerian Interbank settlement System (NIBSS) Sheyi Ademosun said what the banks have done is to put a debit restriction on customers account but deposit can still be made into the accounts.

He said enrolment is a continuous process because new account owners will need to also come on board the BVN platform.

He said the BVN does not expire but after 10 years the customer need to re-enroll for fresh biometrics because aging affect the viability of the finger prints.

‘Using LPG can save Nigeria $10.38billion a year’

From Mohammed Shosanya,Lagos

Nigeria would gain about $10.38 billion if 50 percent of its population switch

to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG),otherwise called cooking gas by 2018,President of Nigeria LPG Association(NLPGA),Mr Dayo Adeshina, has said.

Adeshina,who spoke at a press conference in Lagos yesterday ahead of the association’s annual conference slated for December 2 in Lagos,said it is a shame that Nigerians still consume kerosene in large quantities at the expense of cleaner fuels like cooking gas which can save over 55 percent of Nigeria’s primary forest .

According to him, between 500,000 and 1 million jobs can be created in the LPG value

chain, in the next 2 years if the kerosene to LPG switch program is implemented nationwide

He said over 400,000 lives would be saved from pollution related health issues

through LPG promotion in Nigeria which would ensure reduction in deforestation ,carbon emission into the atmosphere and increased tax Revenue for government at various levels

He added that the Federal government can claim carbon credits if the Fuel switching

program can be implemented on a massive scale nationwide,while the power peneration sector can also take advantage of the LPG fired generators and turbines.

He said the LPG sector in Nigeria is still being challenged by factors such as massive inadequate supply of cooking gas equipment,insufficient number of jetties and few LPG inland storage facilities,which has stunted the consumption of the product in the country.

He also said the sector is affected increase in price of LPG due to logistic issues,excessive import duties and VAT on LP Gas equipment, inadequate road and transport network facilities and cumbersome access to long-term funds for LPG project is cumbersome.

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