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Banks shun CBN’s directive on dollar remittances to bureau operators




Sell to only 10% of BDCs

Three weeks after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered banks to sell Diaspora dollar remittances to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, they have remained adamant.

But for the few of the banks, which agreed to sell in compliance with the directive, it is only about 10 per cent of the BDCs they were able to transact with.

CBN had last week directed banks to increase weekly sale of dollar to the operators from $30,000 to $50,000 out of the Diaspora remittances.

Few of the bureau operators that spoke with The Guardian yesterday said they were yet to get from the banks after putting in their request for weeks.

President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, who confirmed the development, said only 10 per cent of his members in Lagos have accessed dollars from banks since the directive by the CBN three weeks ago.

He said from their records, only eight banks complied with the directive.

Gwadabe therefore, called on the CBN to outsource the dollar distribution role to independent distributor since the banks have failed in their assigned role.

“Our members across the country have funded their accounts since two weeks ago but the banks are not selling to them. The BDCs that met the CBN’s policy guidelines on the disbursement and cleared by the banks have still not received a dime from the banks.

But more worrisome is the allegation that those selling are doing at the rate beyond the interbank market rate, citing yesterday’s transactions at between N345 and N355 to dollar, against interbank rate of N305 to dollar.

Meanwhile, the CBN has read riot act to banks against continuous use of what it described as “free funds”, which the dealers do not account for in their returns, warning that such infraction would be dealt with in line with relevant guidelines.

A circular signed by the Acting Director of Trade and Exchange Department, W. D. Gotring, also directed banks to henceforth devote 60 per cent of forex at their disposal strictly to importation of plants, machinery and raw materials for industrial purposes.

It explained that the decision was taken after a review of forex sales returns filed by authorised dealers, which revealed that huge portion of the sales were used otherwise.

Gwadabe further said: “I think the banks are compromising the policy and CBN’s directive on the matter. And like I said earlier, since the banks are not co-operating, I expect the CBN to take that role from them and assign it to a reputable independent distributor,” he said.

Meanwhile, BDCs have called on CBN to license new international money transfer operators to deepen the market.

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  • Ernest Aigbavbiere

    The BDC should be buying from the Central Bank. The banks themselves need to sell directly to end users . Diaspora remittance is not what any serious authority should depend upon. Imposing Western Union and Moneygram as the only means to send money to Nigeria is a backward directive. That will make most people to send less money. Keep hoping for diaspora remittance!

    • abiamone

      Nigeria is not sure which way to go – capitalism or socialism. If we believe in capitalism, then our granting monopoly powers to Western Union and Moneygram will fail in the long run. I wonder how a nation can feel happy to rely on remittances from abroad as an effective monetary policy instrument. The best thing is to grant more licences to more money transfer companies at home and abroad, with some guidelines. To tell them whom to sell to or the rate they should sell is not part of capitalism.

  • emmanuel kalu

    our monetary policy is so messed up, with every operator doing what it wants to do. how can the central bank be depending on money from Nigeria abroad. This goes to show how badly we need to reduce our need for forex and focus the limited forex we have on just manufacturing and improving our local production. every sector of the economy is asking for forex concession because we are still importing massively.