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BDCs want CBN to grant them digital autonomy to boost forex market



The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to grant greater autonomy to BDCs in embracing digital solutions.

This aligns with the CBN’s ongoing technological reforms aimed at achieving rate convergence, and it also resonates with ABCON’s efforts in digitizing Bureau de Change operations since 2016.

ABCON’s message, conveyed in a statement available to ThePressNG, highlights the detrimental impact of exchange rate volatility on Nigeria’s recent economic growth trajectory.

In response to these challenges, ABCON has called upon the CBN to broaden the operational horizons and business models of BDC operators, transitioning them from traditional cash-based approaches to more contemporary and digitally-driven platforms.

BDC autonomy 

ABCON in the statement said,

  • ‘’There is no doubt that exchange rate volatility has continued to underpin the slow economic growth of Nigeria in the past years.
  • As a proactive Organisation and an umbrella body of central bank licensed BDCs and In Line with the recent CBN plan reforms on BDCs to be tech savvy and Abcon’s BDCs’ various digitization reforms since 2016 to date, we urge the CBN to democratise and centralise the BDCs operational mechanism by allowing BDCs the autonomy to go digital.
  • ‘’Given the above we called on the CBN to diversify our scope of operation and business model from cash base to less cash and digital platforms.
  • ‘’ABCON in the launch of its vision for BDCs digitization through their exchange rate platform ( in 2018 have long prepared their members to embrace technology.
  • ‘’It is also important to note that Abcon has spent several million in IT research and developments, designs, and implementations of various layers of automation of the business transformation process from manual to digital.
  • ‘’Our members have through automation now have transactions monitoring systems with installed IT office equipment and internet in their location.
  • ‘’Our members now record their transactions on AWS I cloud in real-time online and extract their daily reports for return rendition all line real-time interface with the CBN.
  • Our members have also sometimes in 2019 integrated with NIBSS client’s BVN verification and validation platform in carrying out their transactions with their members.’’ 

Collaboration with NFIU 

It added,

  • ‘’The BDCs through the collaborations of Abcon and NFIU registered on the GoAML platforms and Nil-returns platform for the rendition of their suspicious and cash transactions threshold to the NFIU in compliance with their AML/CFT obligations.
  • ‘’We also have to ensure that each of us executes compliance undertaking and appointment of a Compliance officer. ABCON also constantly trains. retrains, sensitizes its members with regulators and security agencies as resource persons.
  • ABCON as a custodian of regulation and self-regulatory organization believed that the BDCs posed the most effective, transparent pass-through effect and transmission mechanism of the apex bank foreign exchange policies. We achieved convergence in 2006, 2009 and 2018 to 2020 before the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020.
  • ‘’It is in light of the above that we are calling on the apex bank to grant a no objection approval on our various correspondences to the apex bank to grant the sub-sector the autonomy to embrace digital payment to the sub-sector to achieve rate convergence.’’ 

Benefits of the autonomy 

ABCON listed the benefits of granting the autonomy to include, ‘’First it will lead to a true market rate discovery.  

  • ‘’Secondly, it will enhance the achievement of the federal Government’s harmonized foreign exchange rate policies. 
  • ‘’Thirdly, will make the BDC transactions monitoring system effective and conforming with their compliance obligation to statutory and regulatory requirements. 
  • ‘’Fourthly, it will harmonize and centralize the market and thus make the BDCs the moderating and correcting mechanism for the market. In the same vein, it will create additional employment for the over 40,000 employees direct and indirect in the BDC sub-sector. 
  • ‘’Finally, it will usher in Transparency, accountability and ease of supervision.’’