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BDCs advocates mainstream FX business return as naira nears N600/$

THE Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) is seeking a return of its members to mainstream foreign exchange (FX) activity eight months after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ceased supporting their operations.

The umbrella organization is requesting that the CBN reverse its decision to improve its efficiency in servicing the retail end of the market.

The appeal comes as the dollar consolidates at N590/$, two weeks after breaking through the N580/$ resistance. As N580/$ was a ceiling, for the third quarter of last year.

In a note sent to its members across the country, the ABCON National Executive Council (NEC) urged the regulator to reconsider the suspension of dollar sales to BDCs as part of its efforts to address market volatility.

It slammed allegations that the naira has stayed relatively constant since the suspension of FX allocation to its members, claiming that its activity is part of the market’s stabilization mechanism.

According to the NEC, BDCs have remained the most effective tool the CBN has used to manage foreign exchange rates in the retail sector.

“Our position to CBN is that our members should be considered in whatever mechanism of dollar supply to the end-users as it is done in other countries instead of a total blanket removal from the market.

“We, therefore, reject the statements claiming that the naira exchange rate has improved following stoppage of dollar sales to BDCs and urge our members to ignore those pronouncements,” it stated in the notice.

The group stated that it would continue to take steps to ensure that its members’ businesses are restored and that they can continue to operate legally in other areas of the world.

“We are not sleeping in our responsibility to ensure that our members’ businesses are sustained. We, therefore, call on all our members to continue to ignore statements against the BDCs and continue to give us the necessary support in ensuring that normalcy is restored to the market,” the statement said.

The ABCON management also stated that it would continue to collaborate, advocate, campaign, and engage stakeholders to ensure that BDC operators receive the proper assistance and have the same opportunities as their counterparts in other areas of the world.

BDCs, according to ABCON NEC, are not to blame for naira volatility and have helped to stabilize the market.

It added that : “The naira now exchanges at N416.25/$ at the official market. However, at the parallel market, where the majority of forex is sourced by manufacturers while it exchanges at N587/$ at the retail end. That represents over N170 premium between both markets

“It is on records that the stoppage of FX sales to BDCs did not only create higher demand pressure but also made the value of our national currency useless. It is also a reality that the majority of foreign exchange retail end-users cannot meet their demands from the preferred professional banks.”

It opined that including BDCs in dollar supply mechanisms will help to alleviate the difficulties faced by FX end-users while also promoting market stability.

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