• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

BDC’s now a scam and drain to Nigeria – Buhari

Bureau De Change

President Muhammadu Buhari has rejected calls for the resumption of the sale of foreign exchange to Bureaux de Change (BDCs), describing the Bureau de Change business as a “scam and a drain on the economy”.

“We had just 74 of the bureaux in 2005, now they have grown to about 2,800,” President Buhari said at an interactive meeting with Nigerians living in Nairobi, Kenya.

This is even as he maintained his stance, refusing to officially devaluate the Naira stating that it would further impoverish Nigerians rather than yield positive economic results.

He stressed that some banks and government officials used surrogates to run the BDCs and prosper at public expense by obtaining foreign exchange from government at official rates and selling it at much higher rates.

“We will use our foreign exchange for industry, spare parts and the development of needed infrastructure.

“We don’t have the Dollars to give to the BDCs. Let them go and get it from wherever they can, other than the Central Bank,” President Buhari told the gathering.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had penultimate week while lifting the ban on forex transactions in the country, announced its decision to stop the issuance of dollars to BDCs, alleging that they were not keeping to their part of the bargain. The CBN had earlier reached an agreement to give the BDCs $10,000 daily to trade with while they were to keep proper records of those sold to.

At the forum the President declared that devaluation will only result in the further inflation and hardship for the poor and middle classes in Nigeria’s import-dependent economy,

He maintained that while export-driven economies could benefit from devaluation of their currencies, devaluation will only result in further inflation and hardship for the poor and middle classes in Nigeria’s import-dependent economy.

According to a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu said the President further declared that “he had no intention of bringing further hardship on the country’s poor who, he said, have suffered enough already”.

Likening devaluing the Naira to having it “killed”, President Buhari said that proponents of devaluation will have to work much harder to convince him that ordinary Nigerians will gain anything from it.

The CBN had already devalued the naira twice. It currently stands at N198 to a dollar.

The President also reaffirmed his conviction that about a third of petroleum subsidy payments under the previous administration was bogus.

“They just stamped papers and collected our foreign exchange,” he said.

The President appealed to Nigerians studying abroad to bear with his administration as it strives to address the challenges they are facing as a result of new foreign exchange measures.

He said that he was optimistic that the Nigerian economy will stabilize soon with the efficient implementation of measures and policies that have been introduced by his administration.

 

 Elizabeth Archibong