BDCs:Banks shun CBN’s $50,000 sale directive

Deposit Money Banks have yet to comply with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive asking them to sell $50,000 from Diaspora remittances to Bureau De Change operators on weekly basis, the President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, has said.

In a statement on Monday, the ABCON boss said only 10 per cent of the BDCs from the Lagos market had accessed dollars from the DMBs since the CBN gave the directive about three weeks ago.

According to him, the banks that have been involved in the dollar sales so far include First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Ecobank Nigeria, Fidelity Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc and Unity Bank Plc.

Others are Diamond Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC Bank.

Gwadabe regretted that the BDCs in Port Harcourt, Kano, Abuja, Onitsha, Maiduguri, Benin and Enugu had yet to get  dollars from the banks.

He said that the BDCs were also selling the dollar between N345/dollar and N355/dollar, far above the interbank rate of N305 to the dollar on Monday.

The banks, he added, were supposed to sell to the BDCs on the same day within the week, but had  failed to do so.

He said, “Instead of staggering the payment, the banks should sell to the BDCs on the same week’s day, so that the impact will be felt in the market. We also want the CBN to license new International Money Transfer Operators to deepen the market

“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.”

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

“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 cooperating, I expect the CBN to take that role from them and assign it to a reputable independent distributor,” he said.

The CBN had directed, through a circular to authorised dealers, that all agents to approved IMTOs sell foreign currency accruing from inward money remittances to licensed BDCs.

The directive was meant to ensure stability of the exchange rate and encourage participation of critical stakeholders in the foreign exchange market.

Speaking further on the Diaspora remittances, Gwadabe said, “The proceed of the international money transfer fund, is not the CBN money. It is not from the foreign reserves of the CBN. This is money that Nigerians in Diaspora are sending into the economy. Before, this money comes through unofficial means, some sending through hands, and at the end of the day, the beneficiary will not even get the money”.

According to him, the CBN is trying to increase liquidity, and deepen the market. “Before the circular on Diaspora remittances, the proceeds were exclusive reserve of the banks. And in other climes, it is not like that. That kind of money is exclusive to the BDCs in other countries. But what we have here is the reverse case. It became monopolised by the banking sector,” he said.

“This money should all go to the BDCs. But we want the banks to give us part of it, so that we begin to see activities in the market. And based on that submission, the CBN saw reasons in what we are saying. And they issued circular directing banks to sell part of the funds to the BDCs so that we can ensure that the demands of the critical retail sector are being serviced.”