The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has changed its initial decision to halt sale of foreign exchange to bureaux de change (BDCs), by conceding $50,000 to each BDC weekly.
CBN’s acting director of corporate communications Isaac Okorafor said the decision was not a policy reversal but a response to the needs of Nigerians.
The policy aims to close the gap between the interbank and parallel market rates of the naira to other currencies.
Earlier in 2016, the CBN halted forex sale to the BDCs, stating that they were exploiting the apex bank. The CBN however reversed that decision in August, authorising banks to sell $30,000 to BDCs on a weekly basis, a decision the BDCs lauded but claimed could be better.
This Tuesday, however, the CBN conceded again: it yielded to the yearnings of the BDCs, and increased forex sale to $50,000 per week.
The decision was made at the Bankers Committee meeting in Abuja and communicated to the press by Kennedy Uzokam, managing director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), at a briefing after the meeting.
“As you all know the issue of making foreign exchange available to Nigerians has been very topical and the CBN has been working hard to address this,” he said. “About two weeks ago, a policy was released that made banks sell monies to BDCs, and BDCs are supposed to pass these monies to Nigerians to meet various needs.
“At the meeting today, and as expected, we got feedback from the market and the CBN being a responsive regulator has decided to move the limit from $30,000 per BDC to $50, 000.
“We believe that this development will make more cash available to the BDCs and increase the supply and this will help to drive down the price.”
He said the decision was due to the fact that the CBN expects that many Nigerians are returning to school and are in need of forex.
“CBN and the Bankers Committee have reviewed this and we know people are going back to school. They need money. People have other responsibilities like travelling abroad during this period. Should we say let us hold to our position when we know the reality?”