The Naira slumped in value against the dollar on Thursday, exchanging for between N405 and N420 at Bureaux De Change (BDC) in the country.
The persistent fall in oil prices in the international market to as low as $35 a barrel stirred up speculations among BDC operators, said Aminu Gwadabe, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria President.
Mr Gwadabe said “with the fall in crude oil prices on Monday, we witnessed a lot of foreign investors portfolio dropping their assets, most especially to convert to cash.
“The movement was as a result of recklessness on the side of the operators, when they want to speculate, but there is no reason for such because the Central Bank of Nigeria had continued to maintain support for liquidity to the BDC sub-sector.”
He confirmed that even though the dollar sold for as high as N400, it eased at around N375 at the close of business yesterday.
In his word, the CBN was able to maintain stability in the exchange rate at N360 for over three years.
The CBN in its meeting with BDCs on Thursday cautioned them against flouting the rules guiding their operations.
Gwadabe revealed that the CBN intended to withdraw the licenses of a number of BDC operators over several offences but opted to fine more than 100 of them.
The CBN, in a statement, lamented how the trend was evolving by condemning the speculative activities of some foreign exchange market players, which it said derived from the assumption that the CBN was about devaluing the Naira, thereby causing jitters in the market.
“These rumours are false, unwarranted and calculated to serve their dubious and selfish ends.
“We have begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and FX dealers who are creating this panic, and the full weight of our rules and regulations will be meted out to them, including, but not limited to, being charged for economic sabotage,” the CBN said.
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