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ABCON supports Govt’s efforts to clamp down on illegal street sale of foreign currencies

In a decisive move to curb the rampant market speculation and the proliferation of street trading, the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) is gearing up to transition to automated trading operations.

This strategic shift comes in support of the government’s intensified efforts to clamp down on the illegal street sale and purchase of foreign currencies.

The Nigerian naira has experienced a significant downturn since the beginning of the year, plummeting to a record low of N1,900 against the US dollar on Wednesday.

The devaluation is attributed to a combination of scarce liquidity and a heightened demand for the dollar.

ABCON’s President, Aminu Gwadabe, in a recent interaction with the press, disclosed the association’s ambitious plan to overhaul the retail foreign exchange market through the adoption of a sophisticated automation platform.

This initiative is currently awaiting the green light from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the form of a “no objection” endorsement. Gwadabe expressed optimism about the transformative potential of technology and innovation in streamlining bureau de change operations.

He confirmed that the automation system is ready to be deployed within three weeks, contingent upon receiving the necessary approval from the CBN.

The move to automate is expected to bring about a significant transformation in the efficiency and transparency of foreign currency transactions, providing a much-needed boost to the Nigerian economy amidst its currency valuation challenges.

Gwadabe said, “We have now put a lot of recommendations on how we can at least utilise technology, innovation, and automation in our operations.

“In three weeks, we will automate the system. We already have the automation system in place just for the CBN to give us the approval for ‘No Objection’ that is all we are asking.

“We can entirely automate the industry of any retail trader, we will automate them in three weeks, we already built the automation platform that is there for them. We have sent it to them, and we are only waiting for ‘no objection’ approval. This innovation will also eliminate street trading.”

Gwadabe further advised that the ongoing raids and arrests of traders should not be misconstrued, revealing that FX street traders ambush customers of licensed operators, thereby causing a lull in their operations.

He added, “What is happening is not targeted at licenced Bureau De Change but the operators of FX street trading.

“For us, we are against street trading and support any action that will remove FX street traders. Their activities affect me also. I have an office but my clients cannot come to my office because of the menace of street traders.”

On the volatility in the FX market, Gwadabe explained that various factors, including the imbalance between supply and demand and liquidity, were responsible.

He urged members of the association to strictly adhere to all FX regulations and conduct their operations within their offices.

On Wednesday, the naira depreciated further to N1,900 against the dollar in the parallel market.

According to currency operators, the naira exchange declined by 9.83 percent from the N1,730 recorded at the beginning of the week and N170 or 9.82 percent from the trading rate on Tuesday.

This is even as Bureau de Change operators battle for liquidity to meet the surging demands for the greenback.

On Wednesday, BDC operators quoted the buying rate at N1,850 and the selling rate at N1,900, leaving a profit margin of N50.

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