Some Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in Lagos State, have condemned the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to stop the sale of foreign exchange to them.
Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, had announced on Tuesday after the meeting of its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), that the apex bank will no longer sell foreign exchange to BDC operators in the country.
Emefiele said the BDC operators have become “conduit for illegal financial flows”, adding that the bank will halt the registration of new BDC operators.
While announcing that the current foreign exchange allocation will be channeled to commercial banks, the CBN governor noted that the MPC also observed “abuse of CBN regulations by BDC operators”, as well as the practice of manipulating the bank’s policy as a strategy for increasing profits.
“Commercial banks to dedicate teller points in every branch for sale of forex to customers. Customers to report banks who fail to sell forex to them despite meeting requirements,” Emefiele added.
But reacting, one of the operators, Abdullahi Usman, who spoke to Newsbreak in the Ikorodu area of the state on Thursday, lamented that he does not have any other means of livelihood.
“God knows that it is wickedness. Someone like me doesn’t know how to do any other business. I have been doing this for 12 years now. Will I go and learn how to do another business now?” he queried.
Another operator, Danjuma Danladi, complained that his gold business is not as profitable as trading foreign currencies.
“I also buy gold and resell but sometimes, I may not even sell one in a month. This is the only business I know I can get something from, government just want to make us suffer. There is hunger and poverty in Nigeria. Even people who went to school don’t have jobs to do”, he bemoaned.
One of the operators, Shehu Bako, however, said that the ban will not have immediate effect on them.
He said some of the big merchants who buy foreign currencies directly from the CBN and sell to them, have millions of dollars in their accounts.
“I heard about the ban. Do you know how many BDC operators we have in Nigeria?” he asked.
“It means all of us will not have jobs to do? Government has never done anything for us. This thing we are doing for ourselves, they want to take it away. God is bigger than them. We may not feel it now because those who sell dollars to us have millions of those currencies. They buy from central bank directly.”
Samaila DanBauchi, also an operator, opined those importers, some of whom he said are his customers, will feel the impact of the CBN policy the most.
He noted that they (importers) always relate their frustration with bank protocols.
“Some of my customers are importers and when they sometimes go to the bank to get dollars, they come back to relate their ordeal.
“Eventually, this thing will affect everybody in this country. Prices of things may go up. I just pray the Central Bank will reverse the decision because it won’t be easy for all of us,” he stated.