CBN governor Godwin Emefiele announced the move at a news conference on Monday in Abuja, saying it was due to the “dishonest activities” of some BDC operators such as financing of unauthorized transactions with foreign exchange procured from CBN.
“Whereas the bank has continued to sell U.S. dollars at about 197 naira per dollar to these operators, they have in turn become greedy in their sales to ordinary Nigerians, with selling rates of as high as 250 naira per dollar,” he said.
According to him, operators in this segment of the market now need to source their foreign exchange from autonomous sources.
Emefiele told reporters CBN would enhance the monitoring of these sources to ensure operators do not violate anti-money laundering laws.
He said making foreign exchange available for the BDC operators, importation of petroleum products, critical raw materials and school fees, were burdening the nation’s foreign reserve.
Emfiele said due to this, the Foreign Exchange Reserves had depleted to 28 billion dollars from 37.3 billion dollars in June 2014.
“More disturbing, though, is the financial burden being placed on the bank and our limited foreign exchange,” he added.
“The CBN sells 60,000 dollars to each BDC per week; this amount translates to 167 million dollars per week and about 8.6 billion dollars per year,” he said.
According to Emefiele, the new policy aims to ensure that the country’s financial system remains stable and is not intended to inconvenience ordinary Nigerians.
He said CBN would permit commercial banks in the country to accept cash deposits of foreign exchange from their customers. Enditem