To force exchange rate down, Nigeria clamps down on money changers

dollar naira

In order to force a favourable exchange rate for the Naira, the Nigerian government has commenced a clampdown on money changers, called Bureau De Change operators.

Dozens of money changers have since Wednesday been arrested by officials of the State Security Service, SSS, in Lagos and Abuja.

The arrests, PREMIUM TIMES learnt, commenced after a meeting between the SSS, officials of Nigeria’s Central Bank, CBN, and leaders of the Bureau De Change in Abuja over the weekend.

At the meeting, held in Abuja, the officials agreed that sharp practices by Bureau De Change operators was a major factor responsible for the value of the Nigerian currency which has gone as high as N480 to a dollar at the black market and the parallel market despite selling below N400 at the official market.

“The meeting agreed to force the bureau de change to buy from willing sellers at N390 or lower and sell to willing buyers at N400 or below,” an official briefed on the agreements said.

The Naira value was arrived at after considerations of recent actions by the Central Bank to stabilise the currency. The Bank now allocates dollars to licensed money changers through Travelex at about N381 per dollar, to enable them sell to end users at about N385 per dollar.

As part of the guidelines, the Central Bank directed the operators not to sell foreign exchange above two per cent margin of the buying rate.

However, there have been reports that some money changers, particularly those unregistered, have been engaging in some illegal activities considered to be undermining the foreign exchange policy.

On Monday, the Central Bank warned Nigerians in the Diaspora against patronizing unlicensed money transfer operators.

The bank said the illegal operators use Naira-denominated accounts opened in local commercial banks to lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rates.

The foreign currencies from such transactions, the CBN said, were used to fund the activities of the parallel market.

The CBN warned deposit money banks (DMBs) against being used to carry out such illegal transactions, saying it would not hesitate to block such accounts when discovered, while operators would be handed over to the law enforcement agencies for prosecution.

Officials react

The President of the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, Aminu Gwadabe, did not answer calls to his telephone seeking his comments on the development.

He also did not respond to a text message sent to his telephone.

A senior Central Bank official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue, said the bank was aware of the arrests of the money changers.

“The security operatives are doing their job. None of the registered BDCs operating according to the stipulated guidelines has been affected,” the official said. “The unregistered operators in the black market are the ones responsible for the pressure on the Naira, with the artificial exchange rate they use.”

Despite the clampdown, however, PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the money changers have still found a way to short-change the system.

At their base in Zone 4 in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, money changers reportedly tell interested customers that the dollar is sold for N400. Suspicious of the identity of the enquirer, the operators tell unfamiliar customers that they, however, do not have dollar to sell.

Familiar trusted customers are, however, told they can buy the dollar at about N470.

The black market operators are a toast of Nigerians and businesses who find it difficult to access foreign exchange from the banks.

An over 50 per cent increase in price of crude, Nigeria’s main export commodity, and a reduction of volume of exported oil due to militancy in the Niger Delta, has reduced the country’s foreign earnings, thus causing a scarcity of foreign exchange.


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  • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

    This is the price Nigeria has to pay for installing an illiterate as President. Tyranny cannot force an appreciation in the value of the Naira. This Administration should be told in no uncertain terms that this senseless act will eventually backfire and worsen the rate at which the Naira exchanges. Buhari is like a workman with only a hammer in his toolkit – to whom every problem appears like a nail. Not all problems can be solved using strong-arm tactics.

    • John A

      What do you expect from a quota system general?
      Everything in buhari mind is by force, the military way.

    • Powerlessconscious

      I think you guys are more illitrate. If not, you will know that no good country in the world use aboki which is a loophole for bdc. We already banks, WU. There is no need to create business for aboki again.

      • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

        You are a buffoon. I stand by my post.

        • Powerlessconscious

          You are the PRODUCT of your DECISION.

        • Mufu Ola

          I repay u’re the true illiterate.I doubt if u even know d dynamics of foreign exchange with all your so called “education”. Lots of Aboki shoe shiner think better than u guys.False??

          • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

            Calling you an imbecile would insult members of that group because you are worse than an imbecile.

    • Iskacountryman

      this is an attack on the north…

    • Mufu Ola

      What was the situation when your Ph.d master was there? You are the true illiterate here.

      • Omooba Adekunle Orafidiya

        You are a Boko Haram moron. Scuk my dcik.

  • kunle akindude

    Dear Mr President and Ms Finance Minister We as a nation do not learn from mistakes of the past Why do we have to clamp down on inflow of cash into the market? Since the CBN has not been allowing receipients to be given foreign currency but naira the foreign exchange flow has dwindled Open up the market Let people get the money sent to them in foreign currency then it will be in the market more than $21 billion used to be sent home from Nigerians in the diaspora but today it is less than $15 billion because your corrupt banks are laundering the money and you say you are fighting corruption Many countries in the world give their citizens the money sent to them in whatever currency but why is Nigeria different Do not wait before the naira becomes italian lira or zimbabwe dollar before you wake up We are watching o

    • Iskacountryman

      it is an attack on the north…

  • Iyanda

    This is long over due. Most of these guys are saboteurs and they must be checked. This is economic sabotage and government cannot fold its arm and just watch.

    • The Rt. or Lft. Hon NinjaK

      Are you sure you have been to school?
      Have you ever heard of the “demand and supply curve” in economics?
      Have you ever been to any of the sensible countries worldwide where currency exchange booths & kiosks litter everywhere – and transactions are done without anyone battling an eyelid?
      If your own Govt has no clues on economic policy – then let it resort to jackboot (Soja) democracy!

      • Powerlessconscious

        I think you are the illiterate. I will ask you some questions and give answer. How many good countries in the use aboki which is a loophole as bdc? When aboki is not on digital channel. Can western Union devalue the currency of country when the government of that country has not devalue her currency? When you answer these question then you will know where you are. And please don’t preach too much. I lived in UK very well, lived in France. Currently living in Australia.

        • The Rt. or Lft. Hon NinjaK

          What a pity! It shows the kind of job that you do in those countries. Your understanding is so so illiterate that I am really overwhelmed.
          Anybody anywhere can do BDC – get that into your brain ok? It is a demand and supply market chikenna. It has nothing to do with Aboki or Aboka. It is what is bought that is sold. If Dollar dey yanfu yanfu everywhere for bank, there will be less patronage of Aboki. During Jonathan’s years we exchanged dollar for N250 for FOUR YEARS CONSTANTA! Aboki dey for him Sabo dey do him own biz but na just about N5-N10 difference dey between official and Aboki rate for Sabo. Same under Late Abacha for FIVE YEARS despite all the sanctions! So, just try to understand that your Buhari Govt has messed up big time, sleeping on duty for so long, giving all the excuses in the book, and after the exhaust of excuses, is now looking to LOOT $30billion dollars in the name of Loan!
          All the debt that we ever had for 35 years (which OBJ paid back $12billion and we were forgiven $18billion) was $30 BILLION!!! AND ONE INDIVIDUAL GOVT WANTS TO GET US BACK INTO THAT 35 YEARS OF GBESE ALL OVER AGAIN!!!! I think you all need to visit a shrink. Bye

          • Powerlessconscious

            You must be one the aboki. Save your illiterate analysis for yourself and UNEXPOSED people like you. If this is the kind of education you want to transfer to your personal generation, then You are the PRODUCT of your DECISION. Mr man in sane country, Aboki is not Qualified as BDC. Aboki does not have computer, no internet, does not connect to CBN network etc. It is only those that qualify as practiced by developed country can do bdc. Not anybody. In the UK, our BDC are western union, euroexchange, Thomas cook etc NOT LOOPHOLE ABOKI who government can not gibe order and obey or who politician easily use to sabotage economy. After 1999, no president can earn any praise for exchange rate. The #250 under gej was still very much where 1ghana cedi is trading for few dollar. And gej met it at 150 and left it at over 250. Is that your pride?. In my own education aboki is not qualified but in your own education aboki is qualified. Mind you, any other story you added does not relate to what to the article. So go and give and give your analysis to those why can not reason like a progressive mind but retarded and illiteracy to governance. Maybe you need to travel out of Nigeria to UK, USA , Australia etc and learn how bdc is practice. This is will change the PDP education that was given to most Nigerians like you for years. Mind, buhari only came to repair the damage of 16years bad governance of PDP. He never cause your problem . in 1983 naira was stronger than dollar.

      • Kay Soyemi (Esq.)

        And I presume you went to school and never learnt about hoarding and artificial scarcity?

        Can’t you guys just simply argue the merits, or otherwise, of a point without abusing the person?

        It’s a sign of maturity.

        • Mufu Ola

          Lots of folks are depressingly ignorant & unintelligent that u can’t help but insult them even against one’s greatest wish & desire.Many are extreme buffoons especially these silly Biafrans who see everything from prime of tribalism & bigotry.

        • Otile

          You presume a lot of wrong things, buffoon. What kind of lawyer are you?

        • The Rt. or Lft. Hon NinjaK

          It is also a better sign of maturity to know that
          1. hoarding & artificial scarcity are nothing but rubbish in basic economics. if supply truly outstrips demand there can never be any hoarding. If however, your Govt is lying to you about its supply curve, then they can always get you hoodwinked with their hoarding theories. Mr Man, the dollar is either there or not there – chikenna!!! Even Manufacturers cant get it. A whole Dangote cant get it and has had to sack 135 expatriates as well as closing his Tomato Paste plant in kano, ditto for Erisco.
          2. if you are a Govt apologist just own up. Bcos if you are truly someone that has been to school, you do not need binoculars to tell you that we are truly getting fuckd up in this country by this useless Daura goon! Initially, they said he was waiting for 6months to select the best Ministers ever – now we have all seen them; then they told us it was Jonathan; then when that wore thin they told us it was “16 years of PDP”; now it is “Change begins with ME (not you!); then they will give us another one by end of next year again. A whole waste of Four Years by a morass crowd who 419ed everybody ab initio by pretending to have all the solutions to Nigerias problems – only to start giving excuses thereafter.
          3. Mr Man – abeg just vamoose – biko!

    • Iskacountryman

      some hate northern entrepreneurs…

  • Capt

    This is definitely not the way. Govt do your job and you will not have to arrest anybody. You cannot put dumb FOREX policies in place and expect all to be well

  • The Rt. or Lft. Hon NinjaK

    Very Brilliant Economic Policy …. indeed!

  • realist

    Too late, after the injury have been done. You see this mala’s everywhere advertising dollars. It has been like that from time immemorial, no attempt to curb them because of politics, because they are Hausas, the power that be must protect their interest at the expense of the nation.

  • Dazmillion

    I am sick of this half economic measures from Buhari. The man has no clue whether he is going or coming. 2019 is just 2 years away

  • James Ojapa

    The DSS and the CBN just making scapegoats out of the ordinary man on the street. The easiest way to keep the dollar down is to stop paying out cash to anybody ( bdc, estacode, government officials etc) under any guise. Cbn should either transfer the money to don accounts or issue preloaded visa or mastercards that can only be spent abroad. Once there is a trace it will be impossible for the Mallam on the street to sell it to speculators or money launderers. The CBN know this but they have refuse to do it because they are the ones benefittig from the fall of the naira. Instead they entertain uswith all these knee jerk responses.

    • Powerlessconscious

      The final solution is that mallam should be scrapped and everybody buys at banks or digital channel like travelex.. No good country in the world will ever use mallam WITHOUT computer channel as bdc.

      • James Ojapa

        The final solution is DO NOT GIVE CASH TO ANYBODY.give preloaded cards or transfer to domicilary accounts. That way aboki will not have dollar to sell on the road. Cbn cannot be giving aboki dollar cash and then come around to do the drama of phoney arrests that will not end anywhere.

        • Powerlessconscious

          That is not sustainable. The best is that mallam should be scrapped once and for all forever. This is the real sustainable solution for the future of the country. Let us all buy from banks and travelex and other digital channels who operate as standard as other countries. Aboki are loophole in the nigeria for sabotage and politician. We domt need them. Govt is only creating unnecessary business for them. That is why I keep repeating that no good country will use aboki as bdc.

          • share Idea

            Do you think majority of the people do not want to buy from the bank. CBN banned several importers of items from accessing forex through the bank and asked them to source their forex from parallel market. Hence, the high demand in BDC which causes the price of dollar to go up.

          • Powerlessconscious

            Yes. When Aboki is stopped. Automatically banks will become the seller. Or other standard bdc like western union, traveled, money gramme etc. These ones can not defile Nigeria currency like aboki who think they are more power than govt. I don’t need to give you too much explanation before you understand what I meant. Aboki must be stop. That is the final solution for the future.

          • James Ojapa

            It is not possible to stop aboki because even the bank’s you are shouting are the number one suppliers of dollars to the aboki. Have you ever wondered where the dollars aboki sell comes from? From the bank, travellex etc. If the CBN goes cashless with dollar transactions, the pressure from illegal uses will reduce and the rate will crash. They know the truth. They are just chasing shadows. There is no serious country in the world where foreign currency is traded on the streets like tomatoes.

          • Powerlessconscious

            It is possible to scrap them. Nobody have authority than government. The solution you gave is not a permanent solution and can not be maintained for LONG. Another government will win and recognise aboki. Have you in your life seen any good country use aboki standard for bdc?
            The permanent solution is that aboki business should be scrapped. This is about how we want nigeria to be in future. When bank does not see any aboki to sell to again then bank will sell directly to people and bank can not devalue currency behind government. Nigeria want to progress like other developed countries. Aboki must be scrapped. Don’t provide temporary solution that can not stay for long again. Aboki is a loophole in Nigeria. For any dirty game against the economy of the nation.

          • James Ojapa

            Government recognizes aboki? Which government? Maybe you have another definition of aboki? But the aboki I refer to is the freelance currency seller and they don’t carry any govt registration. If you are referring to bdc as aboki. They were banned until very recently yet street dollar trading did not stop during the ban- reason being cbn still permitted the disbusement of dollars in cash. Which of the countries you referred to disburses foreign currencies in cash in the volumes we do in Nigeria? Dollar is not a legal tender in Nigeria so why disburse dollar in cash?

  • Rommel

    Elsewhere in the world,if economic situations begin to worsen,prices of certain things usually crash like housing and fairly used cars because people do not have money but never in Nigeria,this means that there are fundamental problems with Nigeria’s economy that makes it not to respond like other economies.

    • Powerlessconscious

      The problem with Nigeria is that, there is no successful nation in the world that will use aboki which is a loophole for bdc. If there is travelex, western union, banks Then there is no need to create business for aboki bdc. Nigeria must scrap aboki and do bdc in a standard way developed countries does. That is why a bdc will never devalue the currency of country when the government of that has not devalued her currency. That is what aboki did to nigeria.

    • share Idea

      For the first time I’m agreeing with you.

      My contribution why Nigeria does not behave like other countries you had in mind.

      1. Nigeria does not have records of things (people and goods), hence, government do not have basic tools to plan.
      2. With Buhari’s method of fire-brigade approach, he will never achieve any tangible thing as the supposed crime he wants to fight is being carried out in a more sophisticated way than the method used by agencies empowered to fight the crime.

  • Freedom Bini

    Why Dollars! Dollars!!Dollars!!!
    Do we use dollars in Nigeria? If no them why wasting time pursing those trading with it? Dollars is important because we have buyers for it. Why do they buy Dollars? Politicians buy it to pay for assets in Dubai and importers buy it to import fabrics, women hair, tooth picks and jeans. If government create atmosphere where all things are produced in Nigeria do we still need dollars?

    • Powerlessconscious

      How many good country use aboki loophole for bdc?

    • Epsilon_Delta

      Do we also sell crude in Naira?

      • Freedom Bini

        What is Crude? Crude Oil? If yes: How many Nigerians had seen Crude Oil or sell Crude Oil?

        • James Ojapa

          Crude is sold in dollars but the dollars are not given to cbn cash. Why does cbn hand money to people in Nigeria cash. Why does it not transfer the money to their dom accounts. The answer is simple – there will be a trace and all these people stealing our money will have no where to hide it.

  • FreeNigeria

    Cheiiiii, this government is truly brain dead, arresting BDC operator for selling dollars at market rate? The Government should create friendly economy climate and let Naira compete with foreign currencies.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    All these fire brigade measures by the Nigerian government is just nonsense. The falling Naira is a result of the recession. Bring back the economy to a good level and you don’t need this kind of the usual violent and coercive approach we see here. Did these changers cause the recession?

    Government has owned up that it was responsible for the recession and that it was going to address it. If this is the way government plans to handle the consequence of this recession, that is, the falling Naira, then it has misfired. These changers will now go underground to continue their business and everybody knows the consequence of this.

  • Decimator

    Mohammadu Buari is back to where he started in 1984. Soon Dollar will become contraband and people will be arrested for having dollars in their possession, the way he arrested Fela then, except of cause his Hausa Fulani Aboki money changers who he is creating Business for in disguise.

    This train as before has no destination, anybody boarding it is doing so at his /her own risk.

  • Wise Head

    Wait a minute. I hope that when the next government starts probing the Buhari regime for the massive corruption flourishing under it, that his almajiri and jihadist supporters in North would not pour into the streets to kill, maim and burn properties? I hope the now quiet Northern Elders Forum (NEF) will not return from temporary retirement to spit fire and brimstone. I hope another version of Boko Haram would not spring up. We are watching..

  • Wise Head

    Wait a minute. I hope that when the next government starts probing the Buhari regime for the massive corruption flourishing under it, that his almajiri and jihadist supporters in North would not pour into the streets to kill, maim and burn properties? I hope the now quiet Northern Elders Forum (NEF) will not return from temporary retirement to spit fire and brimstone. I hope another version of Boko Haram would not spring up. We are watching.

  • George

    Since Yorubas forced Buhari on the Nigerians masses everything has changed to force.

    Force arrest, force exchange, force fuel prices, force elections, force killing everywhere, force marriages, force accusations, force wife to kitchen, force exile, force suicide, force decision, WHAT IS GOING TINUBU, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW. SHAME

    • Spoken word

      you sound like a nursery school
      student.I hope for your own sake you dont have kids.

  • Spoken word

    Emefiele is clearly a dunce.this will only make the situation worse.

  • Rommel

    We can all see what Indian prime minister did to their country by killing some notes ,FG should take a stand and maintain it

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    Godwin Emefiele,CBN governor,is reaping hugely from the low value of naira against dollar and Europe as well as British pound sterling,which is the reason why he refuse to stabilize the value of naira by towing the Federal Government of Nigeria, monetary policy and reduce the 14% high interest rate that is deepening the recession in Nigeria.Godwin Emefiele, is an enemy within in Nigeria.

    • wwww9000

      @disqus_MSz5KF4VNF:disqus

      A house divided against itself cannot stand. The Punch newspaper is
      reporting today that the stage is set for mass defection of Yoruba people from
      APC. This sort of illiterate price-enforcement of black market price of dollars
      and pound sterling may bring the mat mass defection forward earlier than
      planned. Nobody possessed of average intelligence can be proud to be associated
      with the non-thinking governance the likes of Raji Fashola and Muhamadu Buhari
      typify, as Nigeria sinks into worse economic recession, with the price of Ceeway
      drinking water doubling to 500 Naira per keg today.

      The journalists who enabled APC to power under the ruse of radicalism go
      a-sorrowing in public disgrace for bad judgment. The Notable ones include Lekan
      Sote, Niyi Akinaso and Ayo Olukotun
      who wrote purple prose in The Punch and may
      as well risk being repealed and replaced in public consciousness. Bola Tinubu who led

      the lies-telling APC campaign is the worst hit and stranded without direction. BolaTinubu

      is reported to be inspiring the upcoming mass defection from APC in Yorubaland

  • R.S.T

    @disqus_P6H4CtCIeu:disqus

    The shambolic APC government of
    Muhamadu Buhari is confused and needs help but is likely too arrogant and
    insular to ask for that help outside its Islamist circle of dunderheads. Without
    prohibiting the street market of foreign exchange it now moves in with military
    force to set the price there and clams the black market in not an official market
    or regulated by government all the same. The power to think is not natural; it is
    as much a gift as the power to draw images on canvass. The Buhari group has no
    natural ability to think and it shows.

  • R.S.T

    @disqus_P6H4CtCIeu:disqus

    Without prohibiting the street market of foreign exchange it moves in with military
    force to set the price there and yet clams the black market in not an official market
    or one regulated by government all the same. The power to think is not natural; it is
    as much a gift as the power to draw images on canvass. The Buhari group has no
    natural ability to think and it shows.

    • wwww9000

      APC set to suffer mass defection in Yorubaland – Punch

      The journalists who enabled APC to power under the ruse of radicalism go a-sorrowing in public disgrace for bad judgment. The Notable ones include Lekan Sote, Niyi Akinaso and Ayo Olukotun who wrote purple prose in The Punch and may as well risk being repealed and replaced in public consciousness. Bola Tinubu who led the
      lies-telling APC campaign is the worst hit and stranded without direction. BolaTinubu is reported to be the one
      inspiring the upcoming mass defection from APC in Yorubaland.

      • No Comment

        “Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his group were warned of the possible outcome of the gamble and the gambit deployed in producing the Buhari Presidency. Tinubu was so blinded by the pursuit of power that
        he failed to take cognisance of the lessons of history and take caution.

        Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu hid under the cover of the Jonathan tragedy to bring back
        to power an ethnic oligarchy that has held Nigeria hostage for over five decades.
        In doing this, he spent money, energy, skills, goodwill, time, sweat and put in

        everything he got to ensure the success of the coalition he put together.
        His hope of getting positioned for greater influence in the run of things
        was dashed by those he has helped back to power, because as in the nature of
        this ethnic oligarchy, they are not the type that shares “control and domination”
        with anyone, not even the best of their friends, as history has shown and events
        have continued to validate.”

        ………………..Remi Oyeyemi

        (June 15th, 2015)

        • konko below

          THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE DEFECTOR AND THE USURPER.

          THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BOLA TINUBU AND MUHAMADU BUHARI.

          NEITHER MAN HAS THE THINKING ABILITY TO BRING ABOUT MEANINGFUL CHANGE.

          BOLA TINUBU HAS FORMED THREE PARTIES SO FAR BUT NONE OF THEM WAS SENSIBLE.

  • The Optimist

    No more a free market? The arrest will only drive them underground. This will compound the dollar scarcity thereby leading to increased price of the dollar.

  • Artful ºDodger

    These are the people who destroyed the value of the naira and no one else. The government should go after them as a matter of policy and re-denominate the naira afterwards fixing a new exchange rate for the old naira to the new one at at least N1000 old niara to N1.00 of the new one!

  • chinedu

    I need not another event to let me know that it is all over for this government. Crude force as a tactic to every problem is simply animalistic and hobbesian. My little experience in the manufacturing business which has spanned twenty years has taught me that less regulation and free enterprise is at the background of successful economies. It is mind boggling that despite the intervention of emir Sanusi on this matter of Forex trading this government persists in this policy that is obviously aimed at creating a set of mega billionaires. And we say impoverish the most of our countrymen. Let me sum it up that it is either the government lacks the knowledge or is deliberately enriching a cabal that is to hold the country to ransom some day. To my fellow countrymen I advise that we Carter for ourselves as whoever waits upon this present government may actually wait forever.

  • Otile

    Where are awon babalowo: Mumuwole Awosan and voodoo economist dele awogbeoba? Let them come on and add their own stink to the poop.