The Association of Bureaux Des Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to harmonise the rate at which it sells FOREX to commercial banks and its members.
President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, Gwadabe, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, said the disparity between the rates had forced about 50 per cent of its members to boycott the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) window.
According to him, the CBN sells FOREX to banks at N357 per dollar, while banks are expected to sell at N360, on the other hand BDCs buy at N360 from the CBN and are expected to sell at N362.
The financial expert noted that its members incurred losses the moment they access the CBN window, which had forced many of them out of market.
“The direct implication of this will be the loss of about 20,000 jobs nationwide as the tactical edging of BDCs out of the market will result in the sacking of its workers across the nation,’’ Gwadabe said.
The ABCON chief appealed to the CBN to make BDCs direct agents of International Money Transfer Service Operators (IMTSO) since they were fully automated, and transparency had remained their watchword.
Gwadabe explained that the rate disparity in accessing the CBN window had elevated parallel market operators to the delight of the enemies of the Naira.
He said that the edging of BDCs out of the market would inhibit financial inclusion as BDCs make N30 billion weekly turnover which translates to commission for the commercial banks.
Gwadabe said that BDCs remain the potent agent for transparency and price stability in the market as exemplified during the peak of the recession when exchange rate volatility was blown out of proportion.
He noted that if the parallel market, which selling rate was presently lower than that recommended for the BDCs, was allowed to dictate the market price, there may be the resurgence of fake currency in the market.
“Allowing the parallel market operators to dictate the price in the market will erode investors’ confidence and that of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the nation’s economy.
“This also will be counterproductive to the mandate of the CBN and that of the IMF.
“It will run counterproductive to the IMF mandate of price discovery and stability.
“Allowing the parallel market to dictate the price will also fuel the existing multiple exchange rate regime,’’ Gwadabe said.
The ABCON chief recalled that at the peak of recession, with an external reserve of 27 billion dollars, and dwindling oil revenue, BDCs made a cogent suggestion to the CBN that gave birth to accessing the IMTSO window.
He said that accessing the window became an alternative to the depletion of the external reserve.
According to him, BDCs have remained strategic partners with the CBN in ensuring price stability and transparency in the foreign exchange market.
Prior to the commencement of aggressive interventions of the CBN in the nation’s foreign exchange market in Feb. 2017, the naira had exchanged at a scandalous N520 to a dollar.
At the peak of dwindling oil revenue, the BDCs had partnered strategically with the CBN to ensure that proceeds of IMTSOs were used to intervene in the FOREX market.
For a sustained partnership between the BDCs and the CBN, rate harmonisation should be looked into to save the FOREX market from the jaws of currency speculators who manipulate the market with the aid of parallel market operators.