BDC Operators Blame CBN for Increase in Prices of Food, Others

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

In the past months, the prices of food items, products and services in the country have been on the rise despite the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) saying the inflation rate was moderating.

For most consumers, when they go to the market today, they are not sure the prices of items would remain the same tomorrow and this has been very frustrating for them.

Many have wondered how long they would have to experience this situation but it seems the Bureaux De Change (BDC) operators know the major cause of the problem and like the popular saying, when an issue is known, solving it is not far away.

Recently, the president of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Mr Aminu Gwadabe, informed Daily Trust in an interview that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the brain behind all these problems.

He said the decision of the apex bank to ban the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to his members in July 2021 is what is pushing the prices of goods and services in the country higher.

Mr Gwadabe said the central bank must see street forex traders as an important part of the market and the economy at large, emphasising that things were still better before the July 27, 2021, directive.

“The impacts of the CBN action include direct job losses of about 40,000 employees and over N200 billion capital to go toxic,” the ABCON leader informed the newspaper.

He stressed that the action of the apex bank paved the way for the “dominance of un-official online and Hawala activities.

“Dearth of BDCs expertise developed over the years, increased volatility and confidence crises of the naira, security concerns and increase in prices of goods and services.

“In all the BDCs remained the potent tool for CBN exchange rate stability instruments and accessibility.”

Business Post recalls that nearly two months ago, the Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while addressing newsmen after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, said the bank would discontinue FX sales to BDCs over alleged round-tripping.

He said the operators were wasting the allocation to them, lamenting that the sale of $20,000 weekly to each of the over 5,500 BDC operators in the country taking a huge toll on the nation’s forex reserves. It was learned that in a year, the country was selling about $5.72 billion to the parallel side of the FX market in a bid to defend the Naira.

Since this policy commenced, the value of the local currency against the Dollar at the unregulated segment of the market has broadly nosedived. It traded on Monday at N532 to $1.

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