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CBN directs Banks to create Mobile App for Forex over ban on sales of Forex to Bureau de Change Operators

The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed Deposit Monetary Banks (DMBs) in Nigeria to create mobile applications and alert systems to update customers of their foreign exchange movement.

This comes after the CBN banned sales of forex to Bureau de Change operators and directed DMBs to establish teller points to fulfill legitimate forex requests from customers.

The new directive was contained in a circular signed by the Director, Banking Supervision Department, Haruna Mustafa with the reference number: BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/14/082.

The circular reads: "Further to the Monetary Policy Committees (MPC briefing of July 27, 2021, of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs are hereby reminded to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX requests for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA Business Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, Medical payments, SMEs transactions, amongst others.

"In this regard DMBs are also required to adequately publicize the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and or electronically in compliance with extant regulations.

"DMBs are strongly advised to ensure that no customer is turned back or refused FX provided that documentation and all other requirements are satisfied equally.

“Undue delays rationing and/or diversion of FX is strongly discouraged whilst DMBS are required to establish electronic applications and alert systems to update customers on status of their FX requests.

"As communicated during the briefing, toll-free line have been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests." 

CBN assured that it will continue to closely monitor banks' conduct and compliance with the directive, adding that any breach of the directive will be severely sanctioned.

Speaking on the decision to stop forex to the BDCs, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had said the Monetary Policy Committee noted with disappointment and great concerns that the BDCs had defeated their purpose of existence to provide forex to retail users, but instead, they had become wholesale and illegal dealers.

He said: "Operators in the BDC have not reciprocated the gesture to help maintain price stability in the market since the CBN had been selling forex to them.

"They have remained renegade and so greedy, recalcitrant with abnormally high profit from these sales while ordinary Nigerians have been left to feel the pain and therefore suffer.

"Given this rent seeking behaviour, it is not surprising that since the CBN began to sell forex to the BDCs, the number of operators has risen from mere 74 in 2005 to over 2,700 in 2016, and almost 5,500 BDCs as at today.

"In addition, the CBN constantly receives nothing less than 500 new applications from BDC licences every month, and we therefore begin to wonder, what is in this business that everybody must be in it?"

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