The Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday announced its decision to stop the sales of foreign exchange to all Bureau De Change operators in the country.
Announcing the ban in Abuja yesterday, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele said the 2,786 licensed BDC operators in the country would now have to source for foreign exchange from autonomous sources.
With the ban in place, Emefiele said commercial banks can now accept cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers.
According to him, BDC operators that are not satisfied with the apex bank decision should return the operational license to the CBN and ask for the refund of their N35m deposit.
The central bank governor said Nigeria was the only country in the world where the CBN provides BDC operators with foreign exchange adding that with the continued depletion of the foreign reserves, such funding was no longer sustainable.
He disclosed that between July 2014 and January this year, the country’ reserves had suffered great pressure from speculative attacks, round tripping and front loading activities by actors in the foreign exchange market.
He said while the CBN would no longer provide the BDCs with foreign exchange for their operations, the apex bank would deploy more resources to monitoring their sources of foreign exchange to ensure that no operator is in violation of the bank’s anti-money laundering laws.
He added that the decision was not a punitive measure, but one meant to ensure that the CBN was better placed to carry out its mandate in an effective and efficient manner, which guarantees preservation of its scarce resources.