The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), on Wednesday, said that over 6000 if its members nationwide contributed one trillion naira annually to the nation’s economy.
President, ABCON, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe disclosed this in a keynote address at the association’s virtual Annual General Meeting in Lagos.
The theme of the event is “BDCs Operations: A Trillion Naira Sub Sector, Issues of Formalisation Regulations & Way Forward.”
The special AGM was organised against the backdrop of challenges being faced by the BDC sub sector and also to reposition it as a critical sector in the nation’s foreign exchange market.
“As a key player in the BDC industry, ABCON has for decades made several commitments to ensure that the sector continues to thrive against all odds.
“We are happy to announce that the licenced BDCs sub sector is commanding N1 trillion annual turnover in the economy,” Gwadabe said.
He added that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had the largest contribution of foreign exchange traded by BDCs through its weekly interventions.
“The BDCs also access dollars from other autonomous sources such as Diaspora Remittances, walk-in customers and bank sources,” Gwadabe said.
The ABCON chief noted that one of the other critical mandate of the BDCs, as required by the CBN, was exchange rate stability and boosting market liquidity.
According to him, BDCs have ensured that the market gained the needed liquidity that enabled the exchange rate to remain stable and chase illegal operators out of business.
On regulations, Gwadabe said that BDCs were required to comply with all extant rules & regulations prescribed by the Bank, while the CBN closely supervises and monitors their operations.
He said the CBN continued to publish the list of all the Licenced BDCs and their registered places of business periodically, for the information and benefit of members of the public.
“In compliance with the provisions of Bank’s and Other Financial Instructions (BOFIA) Act 2020 as amended, every BDC renders returns to the CBN in prescribed format and within the deadline stipulated by the CBN.
“The records of the BDCs are made readily available to the CBN examiners as and when requested, including carrying out customer due diligence, corporate governance and tax returns.
”Where a BDC fails to provide the required records, appropriate sanctions shall be imposed.
“Every Director of BDC signs and executes the Code of Conduct and ensure strict adherence to the code,” Gwadabe said.
On their challenges, Gwadabe said that BDC operations were frustrated by low level formalisation, poor compliance to regulation and complex documentation requirements.
He cited other challenges to include inhibitive regulatory policies, lower margins, poor public perception and generalization of criminalization of BDCs.
Gwadabe said that ABCON had digitized BDCs operations with the official launch and take-off of the ABCON Live Run Automation Portal in Lagos.
He said the project, which had the backing of the CBN, ended decades of manual filling of regulatory reports by BDCs and enhanced the global competitiveness of operators.
“We believe that the full digitization of BDCs operations is a boost for financial system stability and the economy, ahead of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) assessment for Nigeria this year.
“The portal, which is a game changer in the Nigerian BDC Industry, is the final phase of automating all BDCs’ operations and integrating them with the operations of CBN, NFIU and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), for improved compliance with regulation and seamless operations,” Gwadabe said.
He urged the CBN to include BDCs as pay agents of Diaspora remittances.
Gwadabe explained that ABCON was working with its consultants to revamp the naijabdcs.com to MyBdc.com to make the site transactionary, informative and to finally nip abokifx.com in the bud.
To engender greater stability in the exchange rate, Gwadabe called for increased checks and control along the borders, to forestall unlawful evacuations of FX to UAE, China and Lebanon.
He called for the bridging of the gap between the fixed exchange and flexible rates to check speculation.
Also, the BDCs sub-sector has generated over 20,000 employment for Nigerians and will continue to promote exchange rate stability, education on fake currencies and boosting market liquidity.
Gwadabe said that ABCON had continued to partner relevant regulatory agencies in the training and retraining of it’s members, in conformity with global best practice.
He noted that the one of the primary objectives of the trainings was to ensure that BDCs were not used to launder funds for politically exposed persons during elections.
He called on the CBN to approve the ABCON Training Institute, so as to ensure that all it’s members benefitted from the training.
NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers
…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event
By Seun Ibiyemi
It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.
With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.
Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.
According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”
Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”
On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.
In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).
Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.
LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.
Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.
Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.
Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.
She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.
She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.
“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.
”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.
Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB
President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.
According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.
Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.
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