Bureau de Change operators' licences - The operating licences of 236 Bureaux de Change (BDC) in Nigeria have been withdraw by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), local media reports indicated Thursday, quoting a circular from the bank. According to the reports, the revocation took effect from 14 January.
The circular read in part: “This is to inform all authorized dealers and buyers (BDC operators) and the general public that the operating licences of the Bureaux de Change companies listed herein are hereby revoked, with effect from January 14, 2013.
“Consequently, all authorized dealers, buyers and the general public are advised that any foreign exchange transactions, including sale to and purchases from these BDCs, as well as transfer of funds through them and or on their behalf is illegal,” the CBN said.
In 2010, the apex bank cancelled the issuance of class ‘A’ BDC licences, following its review of the two-tier structure of the market.
The bank said the latest appraisal of the policy initiative revealed gross abuses of the enhanced official funding of the Class ‘A’ category of the BDCs and the negation of the expected benefits to the economy.
According to the circular: “The CBN has also been inundated with complaints from foreign countries that some Nigerian travellers indulge in cross-border transportation of large sums of foreign currencies in cash.
“Indeed, returns from the Nigerian Customs Service on foreign currency declaration by travellers show that large amounts, up to US$ 3 million in cash, have been taken out of the country by individuals in single trips.”
It pointed out that the Class ‘A’ BDCs, whose licenses had been so withdrawn were, however, free to apply for Class ‘B’ licenses, with the attendant privileges by fulfilling the stipulated licensing requirements.
The CBN has already restructured the BDCs into categories ‘A’ and ‘B’ in order to further liberalize the foreign exchange market and enhance its efficiency.