Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to remove restrictive controls that makes it difficult for Bureaux De Change, BDCs, to compete for the $20 billion inflow in the unofficial forex market.
This was even as the Association lamented the rising import bill of the country and called on the Federal Government (FG) to deploy measures to tackle the challenge given its grave implication for the Naira exchange rate.
The Association stated this in its Quarterly Economic Review Report for the the fourth quarter of 2021 (Q4’21), noting that the stoppage of Dollar sales to BDCs by the CBN has triggered a period of reformation and realization of potentials.
These potentials, ABCON noted, includes the estimated $20 billion annual inflow in the unofficial forex market, which far exceeded the annual dollar cash sales to BDCs by CBN.
Another potential for BDCs, ABCON added, is the gap created by the stoppage of FX funding of BDCs by CBN, adding that this gap is obvious as many medium and small scale users of foreign exchange for imports have experienced untold hardship in processing form ‘M’ in deposit banks.
“These and more opportunities are open to the BDC sub sector to research and evolve operational strategies and techniques without recourse to funding from CBN”, ABCON stated.
The Association however called on the CBN to withdraw all restrictive and handcuffing controls which may hinder the ingenuity of the BDCs and their ability to explore the potentials highlighted above.
On the other hand, ABCON called on the FG to tackle the factors driving the rising trend in the nation’s import bill which it noted heightens pressure on the external reserves and the Naira exchange rate.
“Data from Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, shows that Nigeria’s import bill rose by 51.1 per cent year-on-year to N8.15 trillion in Q3 2021. For as long as imports are increasing without matching equivalents in exports or foreign exchange inflows, the currency must depreciate.
“By principle, a depreciated currency makes exports of a country cheaper in the international market, thereby increasing inflow of foreign exchange but unfortunately for Nigeria, the sectors where it has comparative advantage to excel is grossly traumatized by terrorism and insurgency due to lack of will power of government to control the situation.
“The serious consequences of the continuous trade deficit is that it has also affected the country’s balance of payment account, thereby causing more pressure on the exchange rate.
“Notably, the official exchange rate at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window depreciated by 6.03 per cent to close the year at N435/$1 while a 22.8 per cent depreciation was recorded at the parallel market to close at N565/$1.
“Inflation-linked devaluations, which often seemingly lead to ever higher rates of inflation in the absence of sound domestic policies, are damaging.
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