Despite the pressure from both local and foreign investors to see Nigerian government devalue its currency, the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said it does not intend to devalue the naira but will support it at current levels.

In addition to this, the apex bank has recertified 3,147 BDCs and 71 finance companies, following the payment of N786.8 million (N250, 000 per BDC) annual license renewal fee.

The President, Association of Bureaux de Change operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe on Thursday said that the central bank governor Godwin Emefiele told the group in a meeting that it was looking at ways to boost dollar liquidity on the official market to eliminate the spread to the parallel market.

The government has been pressing retail operators to narrow what it says is a damaging gulf between the naira’s official rate – currently 305 to the dollar – and the parallel rate, which has been as weak as 490 in recent days.

“With the recovery of oil prices, CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) has no intention of devaluing the currency and intends to support the naira at the present level,” Gwadabe said, quoting the central bank governor.

The bank appealed to operators to follow the rules in order to avoid sanctions and curb speculation on the currency.

Meanwhile, the updated list of BDCs posted on the apex bank’s website has revealed that the number of BDCs increased from 2,998 at end-June 2016 to 3,147 as at January 10, 2017. This indicated that the CBN granted operating licences to 149 new BDCs in the second half of 2016 which added to 159 new licences it granted in the first half of the year, to bring the total to 308 in 2016.

CBN also revealed that the number of FCs increased from 69 as at June 2016 to 71 as at year end indicating that the apex bank licenced two new FCs in the second half of the year, bringing the total new FC licences in 2016 to five.

According to the CBN half year report for the finance companies sub-sector, “The number of licenced finance companies (FCs) stood at 69 at end-June 2016, including the three (3) newly licenced that were yet to commence operations.

But total assets of FCs at end-June 2016 stood at N109.43 billion compared with N128.58 billion at end-December 2015, reflecting a decrease of 14.89 per cent. Nevertheless, funds available to the sub-sector increased significantly to N1.19 billion at end-June 2016 from N0.12 billion at end-December 2015, arising from the injection of new capital.

FCs’ balances with banks increased by 24.48 percent to N3.33 billion from N2.68 billion at end-December 2015, resulting in increased liquidity in the subsector.

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