Naira stabilizes as DSS raids BDC outlets in Abuja

The recent raid of Bureau de Change outlets by the men of the Department of State Services, DSS, may have finally paid off, as the open market in Abuja has maintained the N400 to a dollar mark set for dealers.

Officers of the DSS last week, raided major Bureau de Change offices in Abuja in an attempt to end speculation in the foreign exchange transaction at the parallel market. The operation followed a meeting between men of the Service, the Central Bank and officials of the BDCs association, where it was agreed to peg the dollar at N400 while selling and N390 while buying from customers.

A source at the Zone 4 market told our Correspondent that two members of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators were arrested during the raid for defying the directive. He said erring members were also sanction by the association with fines and suspensions.

“The association is taking this N400 sales rate seriously and we are cooperating with government to ensure that any dealer that sells below the stipulated price is brought to book. We can’t continue to harm our own economy for selfish reasons. 

“As I speak with you now, two BDC operators have been fined. One was fined N20,000 with a two week suspension and another was fine N120,000 for selling above N400. One of them sold a dollar for N401 only and now he has to pay for it. That will serve as warning to others,” he said.

Despite their initial loses, some members of the association say they are pleased with the latest development. A dealers at the Zone 4 market, Adulazeez Garba, said though he had lost N15,000 on Monday last week when the implementation began, it was necessary for government to check the free fall of the naira in the parallel market.

“I personally commend the DSS for the move, because I am no longer comfortable with the way the naira is struggling. People horde these currencies with the hope that it will keep increasing, not minding that it is our economy that will suffer the effect.

“This is what we need because the naira has since appreciated. We have been selling at N400 and as it is, other currencies are forced to come down. The pound dropped from N565 last week to N540 in the black market because of this intervention.”

Transactions at the market have been relatively slow, even as operators complain that customers have deserted the market as most them are not willing to sell at the N390 rate. There is also fear among the operators as they suspect that men of the DSS could disguise as customers to arrest more defaulters.

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