The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed commercial banks in the country to create mobile applications that will enable easy sales of foreign exchange (FX or forex) to retail customers.
The directive comes after the CBN, on Tuesday, halted its weekly allocation of forex to Bureau de Change companies (BDCs), whose primary responsibility is the sale of minimal amounts of dollars to citizens for small-time payments such as overseas school fees. The regulator had accused them of violating their terms of operation.
According to the apex bank, money changers in the country have been involved in manipulating exchange rates, rent-seeking, and money laundering activities. It plans to commence the refund of licensing fees and the ₦35 million minimum capital deposits to applicants of BDC licenses soon.
In the place of BDCs, the CBN will channel its weekly allocations of foreign currency sales to deposit money banks (DMBs), Governor Godwin Emefiele said. This means individuals and business people who want to buy forex have to do so from banks.
It is expected that banks will take some time to adjust to this new directive. However, the CBN is moving swiftly in getting them to implement its policy change.