BusinessDay

Travelex to aid BDCs’ access to $20bn Diaspora remittances

… as CBN restates support to operators

Travelex Nigeria and the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) have agreed to enter into strategic partnership that will enable Bureaux de Changes (BDCs) access over $20 billion annual Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.
ABCON president, Aminu Gwadabe, disclosed this at a day sensitisation programme organised for BDCs by Travelex Nigeria and Travelex UK, in Abuja. He said Travelex and ABCON are reviewing the possibility of ABCON riding on the Travelex high-tech for BDCs to become direct agents of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).
He said the digitisation of the BDCs operations through the launch of ABCON Live Run Automation Portal, which has the backing of the CBN, showed the BDCs’ readiness and commitment to full digitisation of their operations to provide seamless services to forex end-users and become direct agents of IMTOs.
According to Gwadabe, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) captures only 6 percent of the Diaspora remittances and the rest goes under the counter without any tracing.
He said riding on the Travelex high-tech would enable the BDCs address the reoccurring complaints of poor infrastructure, which had kept the operators away from accessing the Diaspora remittances for years.
Gwadabe, who spoke on the theme: “ABCON’s Plans and Proposals for Strengthening and Improving the Foreign Exchange Market viz-a-viz the BDC Sub-sector in the Economy,” said the BDC operators were obligated by law to render daily, monthly and annual returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He said the daily returns known as Daily Transaction Returns (DTR) gives details of the total sales made for the day by the BDC and comes in as DTR 202, DTR 217, DTR 305 and DTR 315.
At the event, the CBN pledged its support to the BDC operators through strengthening regulatory framework for their operations.
‎Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank represented by the Priscilia Eleje, director, Currency Operations (CBN), gave the assurance during the seminar.
According to the governor, the current policy of delivering forex through BDCs has largely achieved the apex bank’s reach of achieving a stable exchange rate in the long term.
‎Emefiele further assured, “The CBN would continue to strengthen the existing framework in encouraging modern technologies and systems so that the BDCs can function in line with international best practices. On our part, the CBN would continue to support efforts such as this towards enhancing the capacity of the BDC sector in delivering more efficient services to the public.”
Earlier,‎ Anthony Enwereji, general manager, Travelex Nigeria,‎ organisers of the programme, said the seminar was part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) designed to contribute to the general reforms in Nigeria’s financial system.
He lauded the efforts of the apex bank in ensuring stability in the nation’s foreign exchange market, while also expressing belief that the CBN’s policies would benefit Nigerians if BDCs were carried along because of their direct contact with the public as end users.
‎Ayo Teriba, CEO of Economic Associates, in his presentation titled, ‘Analysis and proposals for strengthening Nigeria’s end-user forex policy’, called on the Nigerian government to evolve strategies that would ensure enough supply to meet the ever increasing demand of forex while also strengthening the naira.
“Since we pulled out of recession, growth has been very sluggish. Government must target diasporean remittances to improve forex inflows while also preparing foreign investors to buy into equity in our joint venture oil assets so that we could make up for the huge loss in forex shortfall,” he stated further.
According to him, “Our shortfall is more than $50billion and we must do wholesale deals that close that short supply by strategising in Diaspora remittances and foreign direct investment inflows.”

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