The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has suspended all banks in Nigeria except First Bank, from selling dollar proceeds of International Money Transfer Services (IMTS) to Bureaux De Change (BDCs).
Two months ago, the CBN had directed banks to sell proceeds of their international money transfer services to BDCs in a bid to address the steady and sharp depreciation of the naira in the parallel market.
However, investigations revealed that most of the banks were not complying with this directive, preferring to do brisk business with the proceeds. This generated several complaints from the BDCs, with the Association of Bureaux De change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) calling for a review of the policy measure which caused the CBN to sanction the banks, 19 in all following a thorough investigation.
A source who spoke on conditions of anonymity disclosed that:
We discovered that all the banks were not selling to the BDCs, while a few that did so occasionally short-changed them by selling at higher margin. “The only exception was First Bank, which had 500 BDCs and sold to them on regular basis. So we decided that since the bank was selling the dollars as directed, we would allow it to continue to do so. But we have stopped the other banks and directed them to give up 25 per cent of the dollars received through international money transfer services to us.
This development was also confirmed by ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe. In a message to BDCs, he said:
This is to inform members of the directive of CBN to deposit money banks with the exception of First Bank Plc, to suspend the sales of the proceeds of international money transfer to BDCs till further notice. Please be guided when buying through the bank window. Members should please note that the reason for the stoppage of other DMBs except First Bank in selling proceeds of IMTSOs is to mop-up the held dollar position by non-compliant banks and make it available to all BDCs nationwide soon. Please we advise members to be patient and await ABCON’s further directives soon.