Nigeria : BDCs can restore stability to FX market, Gwadabe insists

  • 07 June 2022 / News / 380 / Fares RAHAHLIA

Nigeria : BDCs can restore stability to FX market, Gwadabe insists

Amid the protracted currency market crisis, the President of the Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Dr. Aminu Gwadabe, says the bureau de change (BDC) operators could help to restore stability if re-integrated into the value chain.

His position comes close to a year after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) discontinued the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to BDCs and handed over the retail market to commercial banks.

Gwadabe had previously called for mainstreaming of BDCs into the FX formal market while giving them a role in the remittance business as a way of deepening the market. He also advocated the creation of a BDC autonomous window with well-formalised operating rules.

The crisis in the currency market worsened in the past two weeks with the dollar exchanging for over N600 at the parallel market. The dollarisation of the ongoing party primaries has heightened illiquidity.

At the weekend, Gwadabe called on the CBN to leverage the robust network of BDCs to stabilise the market and achieve its exchange rate convergence plan.

CBN FX operational manual defines BDCs as small retail end institutions licensed to carry on the business of selling personal/business travel allowance (P/BTA), overseas school fees, and medical bills payment abroad among others at the critical retail end of the market.

Gwadabe urged the apex bank to go back to begin to operationalise this role, calling for collaboration between the BDCs and the CBN to implement market-friendly policies that would make the former agents of stability and economic growth.

ABCON boss said the hasty generalisation that BDCs are responsible for the crisis in the market, as well as other accusations, are not in the interest of the economy and growth of the market, stressing that it is time to strengthen the sub-sector.

“It is because of this disturbing situation and the need to strengthen BDCs’ value chain as obtainable in organised economies, we urge the regulators and policymakers to consider BDCs as the most potent tool in liberalising the market and stopping multiple exchange rates,” he said.

He explained that the BDCs have, since 2006, provided policymakers with a blueprint to achieving exchange rate stability and price equilibrium goals and advised the monetary authority to consider integrating BDCs into the former market to sustain their impacts.

Gwadabe listed the creation of the Investors & Exports (I&E) window in 2017 as a result of agitations of ABCON leadership alongside foreign investors, Nigerians in diaspora and other stakeholders, arguing that BDC operators have played a critical role in the development of the market.

“To address the challenges facing the forex market now is the time to integrate BDCs into the market activities as an agent of stabilisation,” he said, adding that ABCON members have increased their capacity while promoting efficiency as well as transparency in the industry.

According to him, ABCON has trained compliance officers on tracking illicit capital flows and filing returns. He said the association would continue to work with CBN, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) on compliance with anti-money laundry and countering the financing of terrorism guidelines.

“In compliance with the provisions of Bank and Other Financial Institutions (BOFIA) as amended, every BDC operator renders returns to the CBN in prescribed format and within the deadline stipulated by the CBN. The records of the BDCs are made readily available to the CBN examiners as and when requested. We also carry out customer due diligence and comply with corporate governance and tax return policies,” he said.


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