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Forex scarcity: ABCON plunges into action, stops street hawking of dollars

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ABCON

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators (ABCON) has vowed to start ‘Operation No Street Trading’ to stop the hawking of foreign exchange by BDC operators.

The President, ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, explained that the plan is in line with resolutions made unanimously by BDC directors at the meeting of the operators in Lagos.

A copy of the resolutions read: “All operators to collaborate in bringing down the forex rates in the market; street trading by BDC should be discouraged/banned and ABCON will commence operation ‘no street trading’.

“BDCs should improve return rendition to regulatory authorities; margin review to meet operational requirements; widening the scope of transactions; digitalisation of BDC operations.

“ABCON to punish errand members; ABCON compliance officer and staff to commence nationwide supervision of BDC operations.”

The ABCON president also urged foreign exchange users and the general public to patronise only BDC operators licensed by the CBN in order to get dollars at the approved rate.

Gwadabe explained that the parallel market activities had for years become major drivers of the exchange rates, adding that control over such transactions had become burdensome.

Gwadabe added that the forex speculators were capitalising on the state of the forex market and the naira to sell dollars above the CBN-approved margin.

According to him, the CBN-licenced BDCs were not selling dollars to end-users above the N2 per dollar margin set by the regulator to protect the naira against forex speculators and ensure exchange rate stability.

In his remarks, a professor of economics, Babcock University and past President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Segun Ajibola, said there was a need to redefine, re-examine and restructure the entire ownership, operations and everything that had to do with the operations of BDCs in Nigeria.

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Ajibola said: “To say there are unlicensed BDCs operators is very annoying to hear. Where are the illegal BDC operators getting their forex?

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“If there are illegal BDCs operators, which we have been hearing about for ages, it will take just a bold step from the regulators to close their shops within 24 hours.”

He added, “I have never seen the type of forex dealers who hawk dollars on the streets even in other African countries that I have visited. Why are they in business in Nigeria? We have had lots of laws pronouncing the street hawkers as illegal. So, why are they still in business?

“Unless we regulate all these segments of the market, we cannot get our forex management right in this country. There is a need for political will, strong determination and courage on the part of regulators to do all these.”

 

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