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CBN to refund licensing fees of new BDC promoters

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A man exchanges Nigeria’s currency Naira for US dollars in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 19, 2021. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

•We’ll develop a national BDC policy, says ABCON
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has commenced the process of refunding licensing fees and capital deposits to promoters of bureau de change, whose registrations were being processed before Tuesday’s announcement.

The apex bank had, on Tuesday, announced the suspension of funding of BDCs and registration of new ones, accusing them of money laundering and other anti-market activities.

In a circular, yesterday, the apex bank said it “will commence the immediate refund of capital deposits and licensing fees (where applicable) to promoters who have pending bureau de change (BDC) licence applications with the CBN”.

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The regulator, thus, called on affected parties to file requests for the refund through the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

It also directed banks to “henceforth stop accepting instruction from customers to transfer the capital deposit of N35 million to the designated CBN account for the purpose of applying for BDC licence”.

Meanwhile, the Association of Bureau de Change of Nigeria (ABCON) has broken silence, assuring that its members still provide foreign exchange (FX) services.

President of the association, Dr. Aminu Gwadabe gave the assurance that the CBN pronouncement does not stop BDCs from providing FX services, as guaranteed by their operating licenses and contained in the operating guidelines.

“BDCs are licensed to provide retail FX services, including buying from the public and also selling to end-users for allowable transactions namely Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), payment of medical and school fees,” Gwadabe was quoted.

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He continued: “While the CBN has stopped dollar sale to BDCs, it has not cancelled their operating licenses, or banned them from providing FX services to members of the public. At ABCON, we urge our members to see the CBN pronouncement as a wake-up call and opportunity to widen their customer base and deepen their business.

“ABCON has always worked with the CBN to ensure proper working of the FX market and in line with this principle, we will engage with the apex bank to address and resolve all the issues that led to the recent action, including identification and sanctioning of earring BDCs, where necessary.”

He said the association would work with relevant stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, “to develop a national BDC policy with the aim of enhancing the contribution of the BDC subsector to the nation’s economy”.

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