Monday, 10 April 2017

ABCON seeks more strength for Naira

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) on Monday directed its members to ensure that the Naira appreciated against the Dollar and other major foreign currencies. Its President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, who spoke at the directors’ meeting in Lagos, said that it was important that the members complied with CBN regulation to force down the exchange rate in the parallel market. The ABCON chief said that the CBN was ready to increase weekly volume of foreign exchange to BDCs if they worked hard to drive down the increase in the exchange rate. “We will cooperate with the CBN to narrow the gap between the parallel market and the official market. “We are looking at an acceptable exchange rate for the dollar,’’ Gwadabe said. He noted that there were pressures, even from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the naira was overvalued. “There are pressures from speculators and from black market operators. “All these are happening in the market and it is really driving up the rate. “We are looking at a very acceptable margin between the official and parallel market rates, say a maximum of five per cent, which translates to about N10,” Gwadabe said. The financial expert said that speculators were influenced by sentiments which made the market volatile and prone to manipulations. Gwadabe said that the BDCs were ready to see that the market remained liquid to drive down the increase in the exchange rate. “Definitely our message will reach the market and we are sure with the support of our members, we are going to do it by the close of trading today. “On margin, we have told the regulators that it was small compared to other climes, adding that there were margins that were up to 10 per cent,” Gwadabe said. Gwadabe said that the association already had a relationship with the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to ensure that members used electronic platform for documentation of foreign exchange sales. He added that the usage of the electronic platform would commence in two weeks’ time, adding that some ABCON members were being disqualified on weekly basis. “Sometimes it is difficult to know that users have used their international passports to buy foreign exchange. “They so perfect it that even if you put stamp, they can go and clean it and re-present it to you to buy dollars. “What we are doing with NIBSS is that there is a platform that they have developed whereby all the international passports that buy dollars will be stored on that platform. “So, BDCs will just go into that platform and input the passport number and this shows if the passport has been used by a particular bank or BDC, since one is allowed to buy one in a quarter, ‘’ Gwadabe said. Talking about the 450 million dollars found in an abandoned shop on April 7 in Lagos, he said that investigation was ongoing and still under the security purview. Gwadabe assured that as soon as investigation was concluded, the press would be briefed accordingly. “We have identified the characters involved and we are going to write them to invite them. “The reason we call this meeting is to say that we condemn it in entirety,’’ he said. Gwadabe urged members to desist from such act since it was an abuse of Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policy.

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