By Salim Yunusa
The Central Bank of Nigeria says it has ended the sales of forex to Bureau De Change operators, saying the parallel market has become a conduit for illicit forex flows and graft.
The bank said it will also no longer process applications for BDC licences in the country.
Weekly sales of foreign exchange by the CBN will henceforth go directly to commercial banks, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said Tuesday in a live TV broadcast after announcing that the bank has retained its benchmark policy rate.
Announcing the committee’s decision, Emefiele said, “The MPC made the decision to hold all parameters constant. The committee thought by unanimous vote to retain the Monetary Policy Rate at 11.5 per cent.
It also retained the Cash Reserve Ratio and Liquidity Ratio at 27.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.
“We are concerned that BDCs have allowed themselves to be used for graft,” Mr Emefiele said,.
He said international bodies, including some embassies and donor agencies, have been complicit in illegal forex transactions that have hindered the flow of foreign exchange into the country.
He said the organisations have chosen to channel forex through the black market than use the official Investors and Exporters (I&E) window, called Nafex.
Mr Emefiele said the regulator will “deal ruthlessly” with banks allowing illegal forex dealers to use their platforms and will report the defaulting international organisations to their regulators.
“We will deal with them ruthlessly and we will report the international bodies,” he said.
Cusromers not attended to by the banks are to report to the CBN through a toll free number: 0700 22 55 226 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This measure is not punitive on anyone, but it is to ensure the CBN is able to carry out its legitimate mandate of serving all Nigerians,” Mr Emefiele said.
Accordingly, Mr Emefiele said banks are mandated to “immediately” and transparently sell forex to customers who present the required documents. All banks are to immeidtaely create dedicated tellers for the same purpose.