•Manufacturers flay high interest rate, forex •To get 60% forex from authorised dealers
Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has decried the poor compliance of banks to the sale of foreign exchange to its members.
Gwadabe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday, in a telephone interview that only about nine per cent of BDCs currently had access to forex sales from banks, a situation he described as “worrisome’’.
According to him, the level of compliance by the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) is poor and the sale is only to BDCs located within Lagos.
Gwadabe said available records showed that BDCs operating outside the Lagos metropolis had not benefitted from the sale of forex by the banks.
The ABCON chief said that there was need for the banks to be patriotic at this period of the nation’s economic history by opening their doors to the BDCs in the sale of forex.
Banks are complaining of liquidity challenges. There is need for banks to be patriotic now to ease the challenges in accessing forex,’’ Gwadabe said.
He explained that since banks were out to make profit, any directive that would affect their profit margin would be resisted.
The president said that some of the conditions given by some of the banks were cumbersome, adding that they sold at between N330 and N335 to the dollar.
According to him, so far, the banks have sold about 6million dollars of forex to the BDCs.
Meanwhile, manufacturers in the country have decried the high interest rate and poor access to foreign exchange, which according to them has hindered growth in the manufacturing industry.
Ambrose Oruche, the Director, Economics and Statistics, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said this at the stakeholders dialogue on the manufacturing sector in the country, on Tuesday, in Abuja.
Oruche said that the decision by the Federal Government to increase the interest rate to 14 per cent was not ideal.
He added that what should have been done was to increase growth in the economy rather than contract it.
He said that there had been government policy mismatch in the country and the decision by government to exclude 41 items was not in the interest of the manufacturers.
Since the crash in crude oil 2014, manufacturing has been almost impossible in the country. The major challenge is that of maintaining sizeable capacity utilisation due to the unavailability of productive raw materials.
Unfortunately, some policies implemented to resolve the eroding Naira were inimical to manufacturing industries and MAN ought to have been consulted before the ban of the 41 items.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed authorised foreign exchange dealers to allocate at least 60 per cent of forex to the importation of raw materials for the manufacturing sector.
A CBN circular signed by Mr W.D. Gotring, its Assistant Director, Trade and Exchange Department, said that the gesture was to address an observed imbalance to the sector.
According to the circular, the apex bank notes that a negligible proportion of foreign exchange sales are being channelled towards the manufacturing sector.