Naira Pares Losses as CBN Reviews Dollar Rate for BDCs


Obinna Chima

The naira appreciated Monday as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) approved an upward review of the trading margin for Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

With the review, BDC operators will now buy the United States dollar from the CBN at N357/$ and sell same at N360, leaving the currency dealers with a margin of N3. The revision also means that BDCs will buy forex at the same rate that banks buy from the CBN for retail transactions such as BTA, PTA and for school fees.

Previously, BDCs bought the greenback from the central bank at N360 and sold same at N362 to the dollar.

Following the announcement, the naira gained N2 to close at N361 on the parallel market, higher than the N363 at which it sold last Friday.

On the Investors’ and Exporters’ window, the naira also gained marginally to close at N361.32 to a dollar Monday, as against N361.12 last Friday.

Confirming the review of rates for BDCs, the acting Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the decision was aimed at giving the BDCs a level playing field to enable them to compete favourably with other authorised foreign exchange (forex) dealers.

Okorafor, in a statement, urged BDC operators to abide by the new guidelines and not seek to exploit eager customers by selling above the N360 band, just as he warned that erring BDCs will be sanctioned in the event an infraction is established against them.

Speaking on the development, the acting president of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, welcomed the development and assured the central bank that his members would ensure that “any spike in rate in the market is wiped out”.

“We are calling on our members to comply. Whoever goes contrary to this directive would be summarily dealt with and if possible suspended or we will push for the CBN to revoke the licence of such a person.

“We assure the CBN of our continuing support. This is a target that has been given to us and we would continue to achieve it,” he said.

The CBN in March last year had released new forex guidelines, whereby it directed licensed BDCs in the country to purchase forex from it at N360 to a dollar while selling same to customers at no more than N362.

At the time of the directive, the aim of the CBN was to achieve a convergence between the rates in the official interbank window and that of the BDCs.

In a related development, the CBN in its first sale of the month Monday, offered $100 million to dealers in the wholesale segment of the market to meet the requests of customers.

Similarly, it offered $55 million each to customers in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) window as well as those in the invisibles segment (retail transactions).