The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is considering admitting bureaux de change (BDC) operators into the interbank forex market, Aminu Gwadabe, President, Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has said.
Speaking after Tuesday’s peace talks with the CBN in Abuja, the ABCON boss said the apex bank has finally accepted to create special window for the BDC operators and also resume weekly allocation to operators.
He said part of the discussion at the meeting was the need for a partnership between the CBN and BDCs, to ensure that ongoing spike in the naira exchange rate against the dollar is drastically reduced. He said the CBN also urged operators to desist from speculation, and ensure proper rendition of returns to the CBN.
“The BDCs agreed to support the CBN, and deepen their rendition of returns as well as following the guidelines on Know Your Customer (KYC) requirement,” he said.
In a note to all BDCs, Gwadabe said: “Following the outcome of a just concluded peace talk with the CBN, ABCON leadership wishes to assure you that sales of dollar to BDCs will resume very soon. Once again, you are urged to avoid hoarding and currency speculation and all other unethical practices”.
Gwadabe said operating modalities for the policy is already being worked-out and should be ready in the next one week. Part of the guidelines is that a BDC must have an office, and properly document their transactions.
“The meeting was successful and in line with BDCs’ demand for a more inclusive policy. We also pledged to the CBN to sanction any operator that violates the policy guidelines,” he said.
The BDCs are required by CBN’s regulation to maintain adequate accounting and other records of its transactions, render the statutory returns, renew their annual licence within the stipulated period, put in place the necessary anti-money laundering policies and procedures in place.
The section 29 of the CBN AML/CFT Regulations, 2013 (as amended) requires financial institutions, including BDCs, to maintain all necessary records on transactions, both domestic and international for at least five years after completion of the transactions or such longer period as may be required by the CBN and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), provided that this requirement shall apply regardless of whether the account or business relationship is on-going or has been terminated”.
BDCs are also expected to maintain records of the identification data, accounts files and business correspondence for at least five years after the termination of an account or business relationship or such longer period as may be required by the CBN and NFIU on a timely basis.
BDCs are required to forward their AML/CFT Compliance Manual to the CBN for off-site review of the document as well as carry out enhanced customer due diligence for high risk customers and effective Know Your Customer (KYC) processes.
The KYC means knowing the identity of the customer and understanding the kinds of transactions in which the customer is likely to engage in. By knowing one’s customers, financial institutions can often identify unusual or suspicious behavior, termed anomalies, which may be an indication of money laundering.
Activities such as drug trafficking, exploitation of natural resources, corruption and misappropriation of funds affect the economic well-being of the populace of every country. The consequence of such activities goes well beyond financial loss and the economic well-being of the society. It is important that people feel they are living in a fair and just society and, if economic and financial crimes were not checked, people would begin to feel increasingly resentful.