The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on
Tuesday it decided to review its decision
to stop the payment of foreign exchange
to Bureau De Change operators to provide
a window for Nigerians in the Diaspora to
remit money back home to help boost the
country’s economy.
The CBN had halted the official sale of
dollars to the BDCs and non-bank
operators, opting for commercial banks
as a way of curbing abuse and shoring up
dwindling foreign reserves.
But at the end of the Monetary Policy
Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday,
the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said
considering the the size of diaspora funds
that could flow into the country from
Nigerians abroad to help help the
economy, there was need to review the
policy.
In 2015, Nigerians in the diaspora
transferred home about $21 billion, the
sixth largest remittance in the world, the
Migration of Remittance Factbook 2016
showed.
Mr. Emefiele said the CBN had already
commenced discussions with
international monetary transfer
organisations like Western Union,
Moneygram and others to ensure that the
arrangement kicks in as soon as possible,
to allow all money flows from the
diaspora into the country to come through
the BDC market to help moderate inflation
and dampen the effect on price.
“In January we said that the CBN would
not continue to use its scarce reserves,
which is entirely cash, to fund the
operations of the BDCs. We also said that
the BDCs are allowed to source their
foreign exchange from autonomous
sources.
“We went further to say that CBN would
seek ways to open channels where the
BDCs can access FOREX from
autonomous market to continue to do
their business and provide a source of
livelihood to those in that business.
“Between January and June, we all know
the size of diaspora funds that could flow
into the country and we thought what
should be done through international
monetary transfer organisations –
Western Union, Money Gramm, through
the BDC market to help moderate and
dampen the effect of price,” Mr Emefiele
said.
He allayed fears that the review of the
policy would bring back the abuses the
CBN sought to check, saying the
involvement of the BDCs would not only
moderate the prices and bridge the gap
between parallel and the inter-bank
FOREX markets rates, but also eliminate
speculators from the market.
On the performance of the floating foreign
exchange policy recently introduced in the
market, the CBN governor said it had
been excellent so far, given the 16
months inactivity in the FOREX market.
Except for a few activities that the CBN
would want to correct in the new policy,
he said he was optimistic that things
would improve and the positive trend
would be sustained.
The CBN governor reaffirmed his
confidence in the country’s banking
system, saying it remained not only
strong, despite the pressures from global
economic shocks, but also resilient
enough not to allow any cause for
depositors to panic.
“The strategic health of the Nigerian
banking system remains strong at this
time. There is no need to panic or worry
that any bank is in distress. We took
certain actions about the activities over
the misdemeanor in the activities of the
Board members and management of a
bank. Doing that does not mean that the
bank is distressed.
“Since 2009, the CBN has always come
out to say very boldly that no Nigerian
depositor in a Nigerian bank will lose his
deposit. We stood by that to the extent
that the CBN even issued guarantees in
favour of any depositor at the inter-bank
market to say that we would not allow
anybody to lose his money.
“Those guarantees have not crystallized
since 2010. What the CBN continues to do
is to monitor the Nigerian banking system,
the activities of directors, shareholders,
members of management of the banks.
“Where we find that we are not happy
with the dealings or activities of
shareholders or directors that undermine
their positions to the detriment of that
bank, we would take action by removing
that management, director or take action
against that shareholder to ensure that he
does not by his activity precipitate a
distress in that bank,” he warned.

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