By Nike Popoola
More than two months after the Central Bank of Nigeria stopped the sale of forex to its licensed Bureau de Change operators, workers in the sector are being laid off over scarcity of forex, findings have revealed.
Operators in the sector have also estimated that their losses could hit N300bn if the situation deteriorate further.
To salvage the deteriorating situation, the operators are seeking other means of survival by seeking permission to get involved in diaspora remittances business.
The President, Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, confirmed the crisis in the BDC sector to our correspondent.
He said, “The majority of the licensed BDCs are in dire zero of supply sources since the CBN policy on the discontinuation of sales of forex with the attendant consequences of job losses in several thousands of both direct and indirect employment with a capitalisation value of N300bn to fade away.
“This is indeed worrisome and the reason for the consistent advocacy of ABCON for CBN to include BDCs in remittances.”
The CBN was supplying $10,000 to each BDC twice a week before the forex supply cut.
The CBN declared its decision after expressing disappointment that the BDCs had defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail users, but instead, had become wholesale and illegal dealers.
However, since then, the naira had fallen by about a margin of about 40 to the dollar as it was bought and sold for N575 and N580 on Tuesday in the parallel market.
Speaking on why the CBN should consider the BDCs as diaspora remittances agents, Gwadabe said, “Considering the BDCs potent notable roles in exchange rate management stability in 2006, 2017, 2020 and liquidity vehicles in the market, I think the CBN should review and consider BDCs becoming payout agents of International Money Transfer Services Operators in the remittance space as contained in their guideline of 2014 for BDCs reforms.
“The BDCs have over 15 years been strong allies of the CBN and effective in ensuring forex liquidity and price stabilisation discoveries.
“Excluding the BDCs from the payment agents of remittance companies in the remittance space and the reallocation of their supply is like throwing the baby with the bath water or excluding the man who owns water tanker that supply water in the street from owning a water business.”
He added, “The BDCs in Bangladesh, India, Lebanon, Kenya play active roles in payout agencies. Therefore, Nigeria should not be an exception.”
Gwadabe disclosed that ABCON had introduced innovations and platforms embraced by its members like SAAs master for rendering returns online real-time to CBN by the BDCs.
According to him, ABCON has also on-boarded BDCs on the Nigerian Interbank Settlement systems for BVN verifications.
He said that the BDCs were also on board of the Nigerian financial intelligent platform for rendering suspicious and cash transfers transactions.