Daily Trust (Abuja)

27 June 2014

Nigeria: House of Reps Order Suspension of CBN's New BDC Policy, Summon Emefiele

The House of Representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the newly introduced requirements for the operation of Bureau De Change (BDC) business in the country.

The House also summoned CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to appear before its banking and currency committee to provide "full brief on the policy somersault" to the lawmakers.

The decision followed adoption of a motion titled: "Urgent need to halt recent increase in capital base for Bureau De Change," moved by Rep Ibrahim Shehu Gusau (PDP, Zamfara) yesterday.

Gusau said the CBN had raised the minimum capital requirement for operation of BDCs in Nigeria from N10 million to N35 million.

He also said that the mandatory cautionary deposit was reviewed from N3 million to N35 million which shall be deposited in a non-interest yielding account in the CBN, licensing fee increased from N500,000 to N1 million, and annual renewal fee from N10,000 to N250,000, leaving the application fee of N100,000 unchanged.

He said BDCs have provided jobs opportunities form millions of Nigerians, adding that the new policy would send many BDC operators out of business.

He described the increments as "outrageous against the backdrop that the CBN will also reduce the amount of dollars being issued to BDCs from $50,000 to $15,000 per week."

Gusau's motion enjoyed the support of more than 10 lawmakers who argued that the new BDC policy was anti-development and would lead to unemployment in the country.

Rep Asita Honourable (APC, Rivers), said: "the policy is super-elitist and intended to create more unemployment in a section of the country. It's discriminatory. In fact, it'll increase Boko Haram killings."

Rep Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano) said such a policy would not only bring hardship to the operators but also to their dependants.

Another lawmaker, Rep Hassan Saleh (PDP, Benue), said the new CBN management was insensitive to its responsibility as the country's apex bank, saying the CBN should, ideally, help in reducing unemployment in Nigeria.

Reps Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano), Uche Ekwunife (APGA, Anambra), Sunday Adepoju (APC, Oyo), among many others, argued in favour of the motion.

However, four lawmakers opposed the motion with Rep Linus Okorie (PDP, Ebonyi) arguing that the policy would bring more efficiency in managing BDCs, saying it was within the powers of the CBN to take such decisions.

Reps Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi) and Friday Itula (PDP, Edo) said the House should allow the new CBN management under Emefiele to take decisions that would better the country's economy.

An attempt by Rep Fort Dike (Anambra, PDP) to remove the first prayer of the motion, calling for the suspension of the policy, was rejected by majority of the lawmakers.

Subsequently, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal put the motion to vote and majority lawmakers voted in its favour.

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