As part of efforts to achieve official and parallel market rate convergence, over 3,000 directors of Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators in the country met on Monday, 10 of April, 2017 in Lagos to rally support for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN’s) exchange rate stability objectives.

Speaking at the emergency meeting of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officers of BDCs, Acting President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, charged operators to ensure gains of price stability, rate harmonisation and regulatory compliance.

According to him, “You also need to keep your eyes wide open to ensure that you do not breach any regulatory guidelines that will expose your business to CBN’s sanctions and penalties.”

Gwadabe, noted that with support of the BDCs, the central bank was able to narrow the exchange rate gap from N520 to present rate, adding that better results could be achieved as the apex bank continues to fund BDCs with increased dollar allocations.

“Let us remain ready to partner with the CBN to ensure there is rate convergence. Let us work together to make the market transparent, accountable and secure for the economy, investors and Nigerians in Diaspora so that more dollars will be attracted into the economy to strengthen the local currency”, he said.

The BDCs head added: “Remember also that you are the owners of the business, and should understand that you carry corporate governance burden, and will directly face sanctions when the business runs contrary to CBN’s guidelines.”

Therefore, I want you to fully take charge of their businesses, because you will be punished if anything goes wrong. I also want the public to know that BDCs are not criminals, but remain critical partners of the CBN in ensuring that price and exchange rate stability are achieved.

Commenting on the CBN’s weekly sale to its members, he said, “even though we are glad that the CBN gave us $20,000 last week, I want us to suggest how to harmonise rates and also attract more dollar allocations from the CBN.”

He, however, reiterated zero tolerance for non-compliance with regulatory requirement and unethical conduct amongst its members. Remember that we created the office of Compliance Officer at our National Secretariat and in all its zonal offices and also provided vehicles for the compliance officers to regularly visit BDCs under their jurisdictions.

 “ABCON under my leadership has continuously assured the CBN and taken appropriate measures to ensure that purchased funds are disbursed to end users and for eligible transactions only.

“Operators are expected to render weekly returns on purchases from the banks to Trade and Exchange Department of the apex bank and ensure strict compliance to the provisions of the anti-money laundering laws observance of appropriate Know Your Customer principles in the handling of forex transactions”, he explained.

 It is worthy of note that over the last couple of months, the Nigerian foreign exchange market has been at the centre of global and local attention as everyone watched the naira sink to new low against the dollar.

But the ABCON president said: “We can remember how the naira was exchanging at N520 to dollar several weeks back, before it started gaining grounds after the BDCs were brought back into the market by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”

 He pointed out that the development has showed that BDCs are the engine block of this economy and most especially the foreign exchange market.

“Since the CBN resumed selling dollars to BDCs, the market has gained more liquidity and naira strengthened to a large extent. The foreign exchange speculators have suffered major losses because of the role of genuine BDCs in helping the CBN to put them under sever check”, Gwadabe noted.

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