Foreign currencies transaction
at the Bureau de Change
(BDC) segment of the foreign
exchange market has been
stifled since the clamp down
on the operators by security
agencies.

An investigation by the News
Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on
Tuesday in Abuja revealed
that activities in the segment
were conducted in secret
since Monday.

This is because most of the
operators do not want to sell
the foreign currencies at the
price fixed by the Central
Bank of Nigeria.

Operatives of the Department
of State Service (DSS) and
Economic and Financial Crime
Commission (EFCC) raided the
BDCs in Lagos and Abuja on
Wednesday and Thursday
and arrested operators selling
the currencies above
stipulated rates.

NAN reports that usually the
rate at the parallel market is
determined demand and
supply of the foreign
exchange; when demand is
higher than supply, the
operators hike prices.

To regulate the segment,
therefore, the CBN recently
came out with a policy that
allows each BDC to buy
dollars from Travelex at N381
per dollar and sell to
customers at a maximum of
N400 per dollar.

Also, BDCs were asked to buy
back dollars from customers
at nothing more than N390
and resell at N400.

One of the parallel market
operators, who pleaded
anonymity, said “when
customers come to buy, we
don’t sell more than 200
dollars to each buyer at the
stipulated price of N400 to a
dollar.

“We know our customers and
we have told them that this
N400 price will not work, so, if
they are interested in buying,
they have to be ready to pay
higher.

“Yesterday, I sold at N458 to
a dollar. I didn’t even allow
the customer to come to my
shop because you cannot tell
who is watching.”

On why they insist on selling
above regulated price when
they buy the dollar at N381
from Travelex, he said that
the demand for the currency
was high as against the
allocation they got from the
government agency.

According to him, each
licensed operator gets about
15,000 dollars every week,
which is not enough to meet
the demand.

He explained that some of the
operators had dollars that
they bought at over N400 and
kept for the rainy day, adding
that until those funds were
sold, it would be difficult for
any operator to sell at N400.

Another operator, also on
condition of anonymity, said
that now that the cost of
foreign currencies had
dropped, there was an influx
of people looking for dollars
to buy rather than to sell.

He predicted that in
December, all parties would
adjust to the new regime in
the market.

He said it was greedy
operators, concerned about
personal gains rather than
country, were the ones
fighting the policy and still
selling at their own rates.

“I pray that the security
agencies will succeed in
clearing the `bad eggs’
among us so that sanity will
return to the segment,’’ he
said.

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