Real Reason We Revoked Licenses Of 4,173 BDCs - CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has come out to explain why it revoked the licenses of 4,173 Bureaux De Change Operators.

The apex Bank accused the affected institutions of failing to observe regulatory provisions.

This was disclosed in a statement on Saturday by the bank’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Sidi Ali Hakama.

According to the apex bank, the move is part of efforts to restore confidence in the nation’s foreign exchange market.

Noting that the list of affected BDC operators is available on its website, the CBN said it is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria, adding that compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector.

It stated that the action is an exercise of the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, Act No. 5, and the Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015 (the Guidelines).

These, according to the bank, include payment of all necessary fees, including licence renewal, within the stipulated period in line with Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, and compliance with guidelines, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) and Counter-Proliferation Financing (CPF) regulations.

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Nigeria is battling rising inflation, food inflation, forex crisis, economic hardship and high cost of living occasioned by the removal of petrol subsidy, attracting protests in parts of the country.

The Nigerian naira has seen a dip in the last nine months since the President Bola Tinubu administration collapsed the foreign exchange window. The naira experienced an all-time low, falling from about N700/$1 last May to over N1500/$1 at the moment.

The authorities have since turned their focus to cryptocurrency websites, clamping down on them through telecommunication companies.

On Tuesday, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, said illicit flows in the form crypto exchanges passed through Binance.

“We are concerned that certain practices go on that indicate illicit flows going through a number of these entities [crypto platforms] and suspicious flows at best,” Cardoso told reporters at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the apex bank, the first since he assumed office in September 2023.

“In the case of Binance, in the last one year alone, $26bn has passed through Binance Nigeria from sources and users who we cannot adequately identify,” he added.

The apex bank chief said anti-corruption agencies, the police and the Office of the National Security Adviser, Nuhu Ribadu, were co-ordinating an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges.

Africa Today News, New York

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