ABCON seeks more cash centres, insists on rates’ review

ABCON President,Aihaji Aminu Gwadabe

Licensed bureau de change operators in the country have called for the opening of additional payment centres by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
 
The cities include Port-Harcourt, Ibadan, and Benin to save its members the trouble of travelling a distant journey for collection of foreign exchange, and the risk of carrying it about.
 
Under the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), which comprised over 3,500 members, they also frowned at delayed payments beyond 3pm, which they described as risky venture.
 
At an emergency meeting at the weekend in Lagos, the group said the members would boycott any further foreign exchange disbursement to them that did not commence on or before 3pm.
 
Meanwhile, the operators have resolved to push further until the regulator responds to its calls for review of the rate (N360 per dollar), which it sells to them.
 
The National Treasurer of ABCON, Gbadamosi Moh-Murtala, who represented the National Chairman, Aminu Gwadabe at the meeting, explained that the group is also seeking the extension on the deadline for its members’ licence renewal.
 
At the meeting, where the group launched a logo, as an identity to differentiate them from those not licensed by CBN, they insisted that they cannot meet their operational costs with the N2 margin.
 
Raising concerns that their members may be forced out of the business by the challenge, Moh-Murtala noted that the development might affect the efforts to reach consumers and people resorting to parallel market.

He said: “We want the CBN to review the BDC rate to ensure that currency speculators do not return to the market.

“Many forex users prefer to buy at the parallel market instead of the BDCs since there are no longer rate gaps, and where there is no requirement for documentations. That is why we are calling on the CBN to review the rate band for the BDCs.
 
“For instance, the rates at which CBN sells to the commercial banks is N358 per dollar, and we are given at N360 to a dollar. And we (banks and BDCs) are meant to sell the same products (PTAs, BTAs and schools fees) to members of the public.

“In view of that, our members are operating at a loss. That is why we are calling on the management of the CBN to consider our plight.

“A lot of our members are withdrawing from participating in the market and the implication of that is that there would be little supply of forex to the market, which can destabilise the market.”

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