A week after agents of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) raided the notorious Zone 4 axis the Wise District of Abuja, its Executive Chairman, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, Friday met with representatives of Bureau de Change Operators in the Federal Capital Territory.
The meeting comes as the Naira made a dramatic N60 bounce-back, trading at N650 to the dollar at the black market.
According to the EFCC, the meeting was part of ongoing efforts to check the rising incidence of foreign exchange speculation which has brought pressure on the value of the Naira.
Bawa said he called the meeting to fashion out a collaborative stakeholders response to brazen foreign exchange speculation, especially at the parallel market which is hurting the country’s monetary policy by instigating a run on the value of the Naira.
The operators, who thanked the EFCC for the invitation, expressed optimism that the Naira’s rebound, which began after the EFCC’s intervention a few days ago, may eventually see the currency return to its pre-speculation value.
Similar meetings are planned for other Bureau de Change operators in the major commercial cities across Nigeria as well as with key players, regulators and operators of the Nigerian Financial Sector.
Bawa disclosed that the Commission has intelligence linking some persons and organisations to the hoarding of foreign currencies especially the United States Dollars in the key commercial cities of Kano, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu and Calabar, warning those involved to desist or risk arrest as a major offensive against the speculators is under way.
Last week, EFFC operatives were believed to be behind the raiding of Wuse Zone 4, the hub of many BDC operators in Abuja.
According to Nairametrics.com after plummeting to an all-time low of N710.00 the value of the local currency in Nigeria increased dramatically this week when compared to the US dollar on the P2P market on a week-to-week basis.
After the nation’s anti-graft agents raided currency operators in Lagos and Abuja, the naira recovered from a record low against the dollar on the black market, which strengthened it to N650 per dollar on Friday, thus keeping the naira up by N60 to a dollar in the last 7 days.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reportedly searched bureau de change operators and questioned them about their operations while the anti-graft agents snapped photos of currency dealers and made copies of their identification cards.
The EFCC also threatened to detain Nigerians who are keeping large amounts of dollars and other foreign currencies in reserves. In a meeting with representatives of Bureau De Change operators on Friday in the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, Abdulrasheed Bawa, the chairman of the anti-graft agency, announced this.
Bawa stated that the EFCC had intelligence connecting some people and organizations to the hoarding of foreign currencies, especially the United States dollars, in commercial cities all over the country, and warned those involved to stop or risk arrest as a major offensive against the speculators was underway.
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What you should know
• Recall that the CBN expressed concern about the value of the naira a few days ago and has since made conscious steps to stop the naira’s further decline.
• In line with Governor Emefiele’s remarks on the currency crisis, currency speculators at these markets emphasized that enforcement agencies blamed “artificial dollar scarcity” for the naira’s problems and accused them of acquiring available dollars to create artificial scarcity.
• The Nigerian apex bank stopped providing dollars to bureau de change operators more than a year ago, accusing them of exacerbating the foreign currency scarcity by selling it on the underground market.
• Osita Nwasinobi, the director of the CBN’s corporate communications division, stated that the central bank would keep acting decisively in the foreign exchange market to stop further losses in the value of the naira.
• He cautioned forex buyers not to fall prey to the speculative tactics of some FX market participants in order to stop the naira from depreciating much further.
According to experts, boosting dollar liquidity will be key to the naira’s further appreciation. There would undoubtedly be a decrease in the activities at the black market if the central bank keeps putting framework and structure in place to maintain liquidity.
▪︎ Additional report by Nairametrics.com