‘We can’t sell FX to people who buy arms to hurt us’ — CBN maintains stance on BDC ban

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that the ban on sales of foreign exchange (forex) to Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators still stands, saying that the practice is used to carry out graft and corrupt tactics.

Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, announced this after the apex bank monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Friday.CBN had placed the ban in July 2021, explaining that BDC operators have become a conduit for illegal financial flows working with corrupt people to conduct money laundering in Nigeria.Emefiele, at the MPC meeting, said the bank will go after illegal operators in the forex market, describing their activities as frustrating CBN’s policy measures towards a stable naira.

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He also said forex sold to BDCs sell the currency to criminals and terrorists to buy arms and ammunition which are used to hurt Nigerians.“Nobody ever mentions the rate of Bureau de Change in the city of London. It really beats my imagination that Nigeria carried on with this kind of practice that tended to support illegal activities of people who are involved in graft and corrupt practices,” Emefiele said.“We have supported the activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country and go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them into the country to commit crimes.

“We, the Central Bank, take our country’s dollars and sell to people to buy arms and ammunition to come and hurt us. That is what we are saying that people want us to do, we cannot do that any longer.“The only exchange rate market is the Investors and Exporters window, which is the market that we expect everybody that wants to buy or sell dollars should use.“I am sorry to say, I do not recognise any other market. We’ve asked ourselves at the CBN, why did we have to wait so long?“CBN remained the only central bank in the world to dip its hands into our commonwealth and pack dollars to BDCs all in an effort to stabilise the exchange rate.

For me, it’s a wrong decision. It has stopped for good. The Bank of England, or U.S. Federal Reserves do not sell dollars to BDCs even though they exist.”The official exchange rate of a dollar to the naira closed at N412.88/$1 on the investors and exporters (I&E) window on Friday, while on the parallel (black) market the exchange rate closed at N570/$1.

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