CBN begins sales of dollars to BDCs

The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced plans to offer foreign exchange worth $20,000 to any eligible Bureau De Change operator in the country.

This comes more than two years after suspended former CBN governor Godwin Emefiele prohibited the sale of foreign exchange to BDC operators in that area of the FX market.

The apex bank announced this in a new circular signed by Hassan Mahmud, Director of the Trade and Exchange Department, on Tuesday.

The circular titled, “Sale of Foreign Exchange to Bureau de Change Operators to meet retail demand for eligible invisible transactions” said the move aimed at rectifying the persisting distortions in the retail segment of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and bridging the widening gap in the exchange rate.

It said the allocation will be sold at a rate of N1,301/$, reflecting the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market as of the previous trading day, dated February 27, 2024.

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The circular read, “Following the ongoing reforms in the foreign exchange market, aimed at achieving an appropriate market-determined exchange rate for the Naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria has observed the continued price distortions at the retail end of the market, which is feeding into the parallel market and further widening the exchange rate premium.

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“To this end, the CBN has approved the sale of foreign exchange to eligible Bureau De Change to meet the demand for invisible transactions. The sum of $20,000 is to be sold to each BDC at the rate of N1,301/$- (representing the lower band rate of executed spot transactions at NAFEM for the previous trading day, as of today, 27th February 2024).

“All BDCs are allowed to sell to end-users at a margin NOT MORE THAN one per cent (1 per cent) above the purchase rate from CBN.”

It further directed eligible BDCs to make Naira payments to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation.

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“All eligible BDCs are directed to make the Naira payment to the designated CBN Foreign Currency Deposit Naira Accounts and submit confirmation of payment, with other necessary documentation, for disbursement at the appropriate CBN Branches ABUJA, AWKA, LAGOS and KANO,” it added.

The CBN in frantic efforts to save the free fall of the naira has made a number of significant reforms towards addressing Naira depreciation, such as probing and clearing FX backlog, limiting forex for foreign education and medical tourism, increasing BDCs’ minimum share capital, and curbing FX speculators, among others.

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