The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has asked foreign exchange buyers not to patronise street traders because of the dangers associated with such transactions.
The advice came on the heels of a two-week market holiday granted to the bureaux de change (BDCs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) during which the regulator will not sell forex to the BDCs.
This followed a request by the ABCON to the CBN for the regulator to grant it the holiday given the ongoing challenges faced in local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a notice to BDC operators and directors, ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the CBN’s approval meant that sales of foreign exchange to BDCs would be suspended till further notice.
Gwadabe also advised the public not to go into panic buying, hoarding and patronising street traders as the CBN had enough reserves to sustain supplies when the BDCs return to operations.
Gwadabe added that the CBN had also acknowledged the contributions of BDCs in promoting a stable exchange rate in recent months despite challenging circumstances facing the forex market due to a drop in crude oil prices.
Gwadabe’s letter to ABCON members reads in part, “This is to urgently bring to the notice of our members nationwide that following our letter of recommendation to the CBN to grant us a market holiday 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, there shall be no market days henceforth for a tentative period of two weeks.”
Gwadabe advised members to observe strict guidelines on the preventive measures on the dangers of the COVID-19 by wearing their mask, gloves, and frequent washing of hands.
“We also want to advise members to strictly comply with their regulatory obligations on their daily operation. If you are trading, be cautious not to fall under the hand of security agencies. Do not be involved in giving black market rates as doing so might create regulatory breach,” he said.
Gwadabe said that the CBN and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) are tracking large movements of funds within the financial sector and urged ABCON members to be cautious.