Ethnic youth leaders have backed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to ban to the sale of forex to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country.
In a press statement in Abuja on Monday, they said the ban on the sale of Dollars to the BDCs was necessitated by their dubious and unwholesome practices, adding that the operators have gone beyond their primary role of being retail dealers of forex to wholesale dealers.
The Coalition of Ethnic Youth Leaders is in collaboration with the African Centre for Justice and Human Rights and other partners Civil Society Organisations.
President of the Middle Belt Youth Forum, Godwin Meliga, who read the statement of the leaders, said it was because of the illicit businesses that BDCs had risen from a mere 74 BDCs in 2005 to 2,786 BDCs in 2016 and about 5500 today.
In addition, the CBN received close to 150 new applications for BDC licenses every month.
He said the move was likely to check the round-tripping of the forex and reduce the supply of forex in the parallel market.
He stated, “Further, speculative demand for forex is also likely to reduce. With the knowledge that BDCs have been accused of being vehicles for bribery and corruption, this will likely reduce.
“A more transparent forex market will improve confidence in the economy and would lead to increased foreign investments.
“It is at this point that we must state it to Nigerians again, the ban does not stop the operations of the BDCs; it only means operators will have to source forex from other suppliers but not the Central Bank.
“The CBN will be selling directly henceforth to commercial banks, from where customers who have legitimate and applicable transactions will be able to buy. People who have illegal or illegitimate needs for Forex cannot have access to such from the banks.
“Have Nigerians wondered how the bandits in the North West or the Boko Haram terrorist group in the North East purchase their weapons in the international market? Have they wondered what these merchants of death do with the huge ransoms they collect from families of victims?
“They convert these huge sums to Dollars in undocumented transactions and then use them to purchase weapons such as the Anti-aircraft guns with which they used to down a Nigerian Air Force jet just last month.
“This policy will throw these terrorists out of business because BDCs will not have the volume of Dollars they require thereby ultimately improving our national security.”