There was low compliance yesterday as the Bureau De Change operators made good their threat to shut down operations in Abuja even as the dollar rallied at the black market exchanging at N1,450/$.
The Chairman of the association, Abdulahi Dauran had announced the shutdown over scarcity of the foreign currency even as he said people were accusing them of hoarding.
“We don’t have the dollar and people are accusing us of hoarding it. If we don’t come to the market, the government should know who they will arrest,” he said.
However, when one of our correspondents visited the popular Sheraton Street at Wuse Zone 4, yesterday, a good number of BDC operators were seen in their usual manner besieging prospective customers.
Speaking with Daily Trust, a customer, Tunde Ogunleye, said he was not aware of the announcement.
“As you can see these guys are still here doing their business as usual. I’m here to get some dollars because I’m traveling out of the country tomorrow,” Ogunleye said in Yoruba.
One of the BDC who spoke to our correspondent, Gidado Ibrahim said, “As you can see, most of our colleagues refused to come to work today, we are angry the way the dollar is rising against the naira and we can’t even find the dollar.
“The CBN and other people involved should act now before the BDC completely shuts down operations, as you can see very few are out,” he said.
In Lagos, checks at BDC operators indicated that activities were normal yesterday even as the local currency appreciated significantly with one dollar exchanging for N1,400 as against N1,500 it exchanged the previous day.
BDC operators who spoke with our correspondent expressed optimism that the rate would crash in days to come as experienced yesterday.
Alhaja Hussein Sabo, one of the operators who spoke with our correspondent stated that while dollar was exchanged for N1,550 on Wednesday, it crashed to N1,400 for selling and N1,450 for buying.
Speaking with our correspondent, Mr. Sunday Danladi, Chairman BDC Operator, Murtala Muhammed Local Airport, Lagos said his members are in solidarity with their colleagues in Abuja who closed shops yesterday.
Though he said the rate is coming down, Danladi said the BDC operators should not be blamed for the current hike.
“We are in the office today but we are not buying and we are not selling,” he said.
He said the government knows what to do to address the lingering crisis over exchange rate even as he said operators are not happy with the current situation.
Meanwhile, a seasoned economist, Paul Alaje, said there is no future for Nigeria if it fails to start addressing the exchange rate problem.
Speaking on Channels TV, Alaje, a chief economist at SPM Professionals, said the solutions ranged from immediate to long-term strategies aimed at boosting the economy.
“Number one is crude oil in Nigeria today account for 70% of receipt in terms of foreign exchange receipt to Nigeria. As we speak, most of the monies that we receive from crude oil through domestic crude allocation, such purchases have been in naira, meanwhile the crude oil business is an international business.
“So it is important for us to say, if you must lift one litre of crude in Nigeria, all the receipts must be done in foreign currency, this is a short term measure that will boost forex inflow into Nigeria.
“Another thing is, it is also said when a fund is given even to those in authority, how is this fund kept? Is it done in naira or dollar? So, a lot of people seem to be hoarding the dollar and this signals to us that we have lost confidence in the naira, we need to reverse that.”