Licenced BDCs Not Parallel Market Operators, says ABCON – Thisday

Obinna Chima

Bureaux De Change (BDCs) licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) are not part of parallel market operators, the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) declared yesterday.

ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, in a statement, distanced his members from the activities of parallel market operators, which have constituted major setback to naira’s stability. He insisted that CBN-licenced BDCs are not parallel market operators as misconstrued by a large section of the public and even top government officials.

Gwadabe disclosed that CBN-licenced BDCs, which are 3,147 operators at present, are key partners of the CBN in ensuring the stability and competiveness of the naira against world currencies, including the dollar.

He said licensed operators had been given up to December 31 by the CBN to renew their annual licensing fee of N250,000, are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and with each operator meeting the mandatory N35 million capital base stipulated by the apex bank.

Gwadabe disclosed that the Finance Minster, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun severally accused the BDC parallel market operators of contributing to the continuous depreciation of the naira, but insisted the lisenced BDCs do not fall within the category being described by the minister because they operate based on set guidelines.

The ABCON chief said the licenced BDCs, not only have their operational offices, they file reports with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and belong to ABCON, which is recognised by the apex bank as the umbrella body for licensed BDCs.

Gwadabe said the licensed BDCs are committed to naira’s stability at both official and parallel markets, and have consistently partnered with the CBN to achieve this objective.
“The CBN-licenced BDCs have always played collaborative and positive roles for the regulator in achieving exchange rate stability. Besides, CBN’s admission of licensed BDCs into the International Money Transfer Operators- IMTOs-Window foiled analysts forecast for the naira to cross N500 to dollar rate by last December. Besides, the licensed BDCs have weekly rate quoted on the Uniform Weekly Exchange Rate for Licensed Bureaux De Change portal,” he stated.
He said the rate for this week was N399 to dollar, adding that ABCON has continued to ensure that licensed operators abide by the rate while defaulting members will be sanctioned.

Gwadabe however, described the BDC parallel market operators or unlicenced BDCs as underground operators, without offices, and which do not renter returns to the CBN. He said these operators, seen mostly in major streets because they do not have offices, remain the major problem facing the naira.

Fidelity Bank Empowers Customers

Fidelity Bank Plc has reiterated its resolve to continue to alleviate the economic challenges being faced in the country by empowering its customers through promo.
The bank made the pledge during the presentation of cash and other prizes to winners that emerged in the first edition of its’ Get Alert in Million Promo draws for 2017 held in various regions of the country, in Lagos on Tuesday.

The winners emerged from a transparent randomisation process which was witnessed by officials from Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and other regulators. In all, total cash of N9 million was won in the first draw of the new year.

Customers that were rewarded with cash prizes for the third promo across the country included Baba Ali Yusuf, a customer of the bank’s Maiduguri branch, who won N1 million; Samuel Benjamin Idoroh in Abuja, who also won N1 million; and Bolanle Gbadebo of Ado-Ekiti. Others were Attah Maria Edugwu, in Lagos who won N1 million; Frank Chukwudi Sebastine in Port Harcourt who won N2 million and Ifeanyi Victor who won the star prize of N3 million.

Speaking at the presentation ceremony yesterday, the bank’s head office, Executive Director of Shared Services, Fidelity Bank, Mrs. Chijioke Ugochukwu who represented the Managing Director, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo said the promo was part of efforts in supporting and encouraging culture of savings in Nigeria and financial inclusion.

She explained that the promo which was the sixth in series the bank has conducted in the last nine years is structured to make savings accounts holders millionaires.
She noted that a total of N41 million has been won and duly distributed to all the winners since the promo commenced.

Attah Maria Edugwu, in Lagos who won N1 million expressed her gratitude to God for using the bank to add value to her life.
“This is the first million in my account this year and I pray it will continue to be so. The lords has answered my prayer and made my dream a reality. With the money I am going to buy a land and start a fish farming,” she said.

Group to Empower Women, Youths

The Conservative Environmental Growth and Development Centre (CEGDEC) in support of the Australian Aid is organising a one-day workshop on local economic and social development initiative for women and youths in Oluyole local government, Oyo State.
The programme is expected to take place on January 25, 2017.

The Executive Direector, CEGDEC, Maryam Temitayo Olayeni, explained in a statement that the transformation in the mining industries worldwide targeted at creating wealth in the mineral industry had not been significantly recorded for a number of minerals in Nigeria, basically because the mineral-rich nation has not fully harnessed mining in wealth creation.

According to her, Oyo State is rich in mineral resources ranging from the semi-precious metals, precious metals, base metals and gemstones has therefore attracted many mining activities in the recent times.

“Olode aquamarine gems field of Oluyole Local Government has particularly received massive participation of artisanal and medium scale mining. However, the women and youths in this community have not fully benefitted as stakeholders, as there has not been significant social and economic development attributed to them from the aquamarine. They lack the skill and technology to process the gemstone, as well as marketing challenge. Therefore, they do not get good value on their stones in the supply chain on the long run.

“This project therefore would empower the local women and youths who in turn would build others’ capacities on the long run. It would build their capacity through cooperative and engagement in meaningful businesses and linkages around aquamarine mining.

“During the one-day workshop, the community would be engaged in participatory group discussions, where best environmental mining practices and highlights of mining linkages would be addressed, so as to awake their potentials/strengths and not to impose knowledge/skills on them. Subsequently, through cooperative(s), those interested in mining would be assisted in registering legally for mining license,” she added.

As NGO, CEGDEC said it was playing the role of technical assistance and training capacity to facilitate development and operation of infrastructure in this mining community through this innovative pilot project; with the support of the Australian Government.