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CBN suspends Bureau de Change operations

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CBN suspends Bureau de Change operations

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has halted the operations of the Bureau de Change (BDC) segment of the foreign exchange market as part of the grand nationwide scheme to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

A response to the request by the BDC operators in the country for a market holiday, the break will last for a fortnight, beginning from today (Friday).

Aminu Gwadabe, President Association of Bureaux de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) disclosed in a circular to operators and directors that foreign exchange (forex) sales from the CBN to the BDC had been put off indefinitely.

“This is to urgently bring to the notice of our members nationwide that following our letter of recommendations to the CBN to grant us market holidays on our bidding days as a proactive and preventive measure on the scourge of the novel COVID-19 epidemic and the ban on all air/land travels, the CBN has granted our request, effective Friday March 27, 2020,” the document reads.

Mr Gwadabe enjoined customers to refrain from hoarding, panic buying, and trading with street BDCs while the suspension lasted, given that the apex bank had abundant stock of forex to sustain the currency exchange market once activities resumed.

He emphasised the imperative of taking precautions against the covid-19 outbreak, reinforcing the campaign for wearing of masks and gloves as well as regular washing of hands.

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“We also want to advise members to strictly comply with their regulatory obligations on their daily operations.

“If you are trading, be cautious not to fall into the hand of security agencies. Don’t be involved in giving black market rates, street trading as doing so might create regulatory breach.”

He called for caution in the market, saying the CBN/Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit were currently on a mission to detect outrageous flow of funds in the financial system.

“Once again accept our continuous assurances on serving you better as we continue to ponder on lasting solutions to the growing challenges facing our operations among them crowd management, expansion of scope of our business, lesser penalties, and automation.”

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