Bureau De Change Operators (BDC) in the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday lamented that the federal government was shutting down their operations, blaming them to be largely responsible for the current free fall of the naira’s free fall.
During a visit to the popular zone 4 BDC market in Wuse, Abuja, BusinessDay observed that their regular spots were deserted with operators seeking refuge behind gardens while security personnel patrolled the premises.
A BDC operator, who identified himself as Saidu and assumed these reporters were potential customers beckoned on them into the garden were he was. He decried that the federal government is blaming them for the depreciation of the naira by fixing exorbitant dollar rates and has ordered security operatives to stop any transactions at the market.
“We have dollars, but ecurity men came here and started chasing us. They said our price is too high. But we are not the cause of the high rate,but government insists that we are the cause” he cried.
The operator, later offered to buy dollar for, N1468.
Several operators, hidden behind the garden, attempted to attract customers discreetly to transact, avoiding the attention of security personnel.
BusinessDay gathered that operators found transacting were arrested, along with their customers and taken to the nearby police station.
Abubakar Bello, another operator, lamented that the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and police men have been chasing them about , determined to stop any transaction in the market.
“Government is blaming us, but we are not responsible for the naira. Yesterday, they came and announced that they don’t want to see anybody buying and selling dollar here again. They said that we are the reason why the dollar is increasing so they don’t want to see anyone in the market.
“But it doesn’t concern us, if anyone wants to buy or sell dollars, it is our own business. We want to sell dollars but the EFCC is chasing people away, where do they want us to go? But the dollar is rising because CBN does not want to sell dollars to people”, he cried.
The operator who seemed desperate to buy or sell dollars told these reporters that they took a wise decision coming out now because, according to him, government is working to strengthen the naira.
“It is good as you came out because in this coming week, dollar will come down to less than N1,000. I heard that government will strengthen the naira to N800 per dollar”, he said.
Bello offered to buy dollar for N1,400
When BusinessDay tried to engage another CBS operator, he immediately walked away. “Sorry, if these security men see me talking to you, they will arrest me, but you can follow me inside”, he said as he hurried away.
On Tuesday, January 30, naira dropped to a record low against the dollar on the official market . The naira fell as low as 1,531 to the dollar during trading on Tuesday, FMDQ data showed, compared with 1,460 naira quoted on the parallel market. The currency later closed at 1,482.57 naira on the official market, according to FMDQ.
However, the Naira gained at 1.85 percent as the dollar was quoted at N,1455.59 on Wednesday after commercial banks offloaded dollars into the official market in response to 24 hours given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).