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Expert hails EFCC, DSS over raids, arrests of BDC dealers in Lagos

A financial analyst and Economist, Dr. George Henshaw has hailed the courage of the combined team of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Department of State Security (DSS) for conducting a raid on Bureau de Change (BDC) operators and arresting some for baseless speculative sales of foreign currency including dollars, euros and ponds.

He said “the BDC operators are largely the causes of unexplainable scarcity of forex because they decide what they want to sell at the expense of the ailing economy,” stressing that “the best thing to do is to delicense them because I cannot see their contribution to the economy.

He said usually, the rate of Forex at the BDC segment is based on demand and supply. When demand is higher than supply, each operator uses his discretion to hike the price.

He queried how the government, out of favour will continue to allow a cable that has no reasonable input to the economy to be deciding what one can buy a forex from year to year.

However, investigations before the end of business yesterday showed that the BDc operators may have been forced by the raids fix sales of foreign currencies such as dollar, pounds and euros for fear of sanctions by anti-graft agencies and the Central Bank of Nigeria.

It would be recalled that in the past three days, naira has been changing for N400 to a dollar at the parallel market.

A licensed BDC operator in Abuja, Alhaji Yusuf Rabiu, said the recent raid of bureau de change establishments by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission forced the operators to reach such an agreement. Also, it was agreed that Pound sterling would exchange for N540 and Euros for N500.

To regulate the segment, CBN recently issued a policy that allowed each BDC to buy dollars from Travelex at N381 per dollar and sell to end users at a maximum of N400 per dollar.

It would be recalled that on Wednesday, the Department of State Services (DSS) raided the offices of some BDC in Lagos and arrested operators selling above the stipulated exchange rate.

The DSS operatives posed as end-users who came to purchase dollars from the BDCs. After surveying the market for exchange rate offerings, they arrested some BDC operators who sold above the CBN agreed rates.

Also, “On Monday, EFCC called so many licensed BDC operators. The issue is that they feel we are unnecessarily hiking the rates. But it’s not our fault.

“Right now, their focus is on our business; they have been calling us one by one and we don’t want problem. That is why we have agreed to have a fixed rate for now,” he said,

“After the raid in Lagos, we the Abuja operators met and agreed on a fixed rate so that such will not happen to our members.

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