The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-licenced Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators have declared operational war against foreign exchange speculators and black market dealers distorting the Naira exchange rate against the dollar and other global currencies.
Speaking during a virtual meeting with members of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) across all the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, ABCON President, Alhaji (Dr) Aminu Gwadabe, said the BDCs will not allow forex speculators and street hawkers to take over BDC business in Nigeria through their illegal practices.
The ABCON boss, who spoke on the theme: “ABCON Sensitisation Against Volatility in the Exchange Rate”, with the event held simultaneously in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Onitsha, Benin, among others, and attended by over 5,000 BDCs, said licensed BDCs will continue to defend the Naira through regulatory compliance and constantly supporting the CBN to achieve stable exchange rate and attract forex into the economy.
He said the sensitization programme will upscale BDCs’ compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT).
Gwadabe said: ” Please, now is the time to support the CBN to achieve stable exchange rate. Do not allow forex speculators, street hawkers to take over our business. Constantly comply with CBN’s regulations on rendition of returns and corporate governance practices because aside helping in stabilizing the naira, the CBN examiners can visit your offices and defaulting members will be sanctioned”.
According to him, members can be spot-checked by the CBN examiners at anytime and should therefore put in necessary measures to align with the regulatory policies.
“Be vigilant in your operations because you can be spot-checked by the CBN examiners at any time. All BDCs should appoint Compliance Officers and Data Protection Officers as directed by the CBN which is also in-line with the global best practices. Also, avoid sending your returns late, selling dollar above CBN approved rate,” he advised.
Gwadabe said that by following set rules, the operators will set a good example in their operational modalities and make forex buyers lose confidence in black market dealers.
He said every BDC operator needs full knowledge and understanding of how to raise and submit both the Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) to regulators, understand the obligation of registering and filling reports on the NFIU goAML -Anti-Money Laundering portal and proper documentation of all forex sales.
He said all BDCs should file their reports as and at when due on weekly basis to Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, and CBN and also Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as Know Your Customer (KYC) and due diligence reports.
He recalled that the digitization of BDCs operations, remained a priority for the ABCON management.
He said the digitization vision was realized with the official launch and take off of the ABCON Live Run Automation Portal. The project, which has the backing of the Central Bank of Nigeria ended decades of manual filling of regulatory reports by BDCs, enhances global competitiveness of operators and raises hope of higher transaction margin.
“We believe that the full digitization of BDCs operations is a boost for financial system stability and Nigeria’s standing on the regular Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment for Nigeria,” he said.
The portal, which is a game changer in the Nigerian BDC Industry, is the final phase of automating all BDCs’ operations and integrating them with the operations of CBN, NFIU and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) for improved compliance with regulation and seamless operations.
The platform allows BDCs send their reports online real time, thereby removing the challenge of manual rendition of reports that has been confronting operators for decades.
He said the ABCON has fully upgraded its Information Communication and Technology (ICT) platforms, to achieve full digitization of BDCs operations in line with its goal of sustaining transparent operation and prompt rendition of weekly returns to regulatory agencies.
Gwadabe said that ABCON is committed to the regulatory compliance of its members and has consistently educated them on the dangers of money laundering and terrorist financing to their businesses and economy.
He said ABCON has not only automated BDCs operations, but understands the exercise will boost compliance and make monitoring of operators businesses easier.
Gwadabe disclosed that ABCON Executive Council under his leadership will continue to promote transparency and efficient market dealings among BDCs for sustained exchange rate and economic stability.