ABCON accuses banks of hoarding dollars

By Odunewu Segun

The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, has accused some commercial banks of refusing to sell the dollars to customers as directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Alhaji Gwadebe, who lamented the reversed fortune of the naira at N395/$, more than 11 per cent depreciation said the apex bank’s  knack for last minute solution in recent times is the reason for the misfortune of the naira at the foreign exchange market.

“It is evident that the injection of liquidity to the interbank market rather than the BDC sub-sector is not effective and transparent for sustained exchange rate convergence and unification.”

He said about 20 banks get $80 million weekly for invisible transactions, while $20 million weekly is shared among 3000 CBN licensed BDCs nationwide. “The banks will not help in this matter and transparency cannot be assured,” he said.

CBN, in a statement at the weekend, laid credence to Gwadabe’s claim, when it confirmed the worrisome development that some customers seeking to buy forex for business/personal travel allowances, medical and school fees are being frustrated by some banks with the false claim that the CBN is not allocating enough forex to them.

ALSO SEE: Naira sinks further despite CBN’s intervention

While the apex bank refuted the insinuations, which held down the free flow of forex in the liberalised retail segment of the market, it now urged any customer not attended to within 24 hours for BTA/PTA or 48 hours for tuition and medical fees to call 07002255226 or send an email to [email protected], with the name and branch of the non-cooperating bank.

“Indeed, on a weekly basis, the CBN has been selling at least $80m to banks for onward sale to their customers for these invisible items. No customer should accept to buy forex from any bank at more than the currently prescribed rate of N360/$,” CBN’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, said.

He warned commercial banks and other dealers to desist from sabotaging the efforts aimed at making life easier for foreign exchange end users. Similarly, there are strong indications that CBN is set to inject more fund into the foreign exchange market with a view to ensuring liquidity in the interbank market and crashing the parallel market rate.

This is in addition to the planned increase in sale volume to the bureau de change operators from $8,000 to $10,000 dollars per week. The move by the apex bank seems to be returning calm among traders against earlier apprehension over the ability of the CBN to sustain the intervention.