The number of Bureaux de Change approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for transacting forex has been steadily increasing. As at last count, the number has swelled to 3,239 from 1,400 initially. Despite this increase, the President of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe still expects more approvals from the CBN.
On the CBN’s part, it explained that the new approvals were given in order to increase the liquidity in the foreign exchange market as well as deepen it. In addition, the CBN noted that the increased willingness of BDCs to ply their trade by the rules set by it has resulted in more approvals.
As if to buttress that point, Gwadabe said “We have continuously assured the CBN and taken appropriate measures to ensure that purchased funds are disbursed to end users and for eligible transactions only. We also render weekly returns on purchases from the banks to Trade and Exchange Department of the apex bank.”
An indirect implication of the growing number of BDCs in the country is that the amount of dollars the CBN dispenses to BDCs is continually on the rise. This is because according to the forex policy of the CBN, each BDC is entitled to $40,000 weekly. For instance, latest figures show that for the past 4 weeks, the CBN has been disbursing about $130 million weekly to registered BDCs nationwide.
However, despite the fears of many, the CBN continues to insist that it can and will continue to fund relevant aspects of the forex market to ensure that all Nigerians with legitimate dollar needs are satisfied. While many detractors of the policy will point to dwindling oil prices, the recent strengthening of the Naira in the parallel market is likely to buoy the CBN into more interventions.