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CBN Mandates Reapplication for New BDC Operational Licences by June 2024

by Vicky Oselumese
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CBN Mandates Reapplication for New BDC Operational Licences by June 2024

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In February, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) introduced a comprehensive set of revised regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change (BDC) operations. These guidelines represent a significant shift in the regulatory landscape, aimed at fortifying the integrity and efficiency of Nigeria’s forex market. Central to these reforms is the introduction of new licensing requirements and the categorization of BDCs into two distinct tiers: Tier 1 and Tier 2.

Under the updated framework, Tier 1 BDCs are required to maintain a minimum capital of N2 billion. This tier is intended for larger operators capable of handling more substantial volumes of foreign exchange transactions. In contrast, Tier 2 BDCs, designed for smaller operators, must meet a minimum capital requirement of N500 million. This tiered approach allows for a more structured and balanced market, catering to both large-scale and smaller BDC operators.

Permissible activities for BDCs have also been clearly delineated to prevent operational ambiguities. Both Tier 1 and Tier 2 BDCs are authorized to buy and sell foreign currency, provide foreign exchange retail services, and engage in money transfer services. However, they are strictly prohibited from engaging in activities such as foreign currency speculation or acting as intermediaries for capital flights, which could destabilize the forex market.

The financial requirements extend beyond capital thresholds, encompassing robust corporate governance frameworks. Each BDC must appoint qualified personnel, establish effective internal controls, and ensure compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT), and Countering Proliferation Financing (CPF) provisions. These measures aim to mitigate the risks of financial crimes and enhance the overall transparency and accountability of BDC operations.

The rationale behind these reforms is rooted in the CBN’s objective to reposition the BDC sub-sector, enabling it to fulfill its envisioned role within Nigeria’s forex market. By enforcing stringent regulatory standards, the CBN seeks to foster a more resilient and efficient forex market, ultimately contributing to the stabilization and growth of the nation’s economy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a structured and detailed process for reapplying for new Bureau de Change (BDC) operational licenses, which existing operators must adhere to by June 3, 2024. The reapplication process begins with the submission of specific details, including the names of promoters, proposed BDC names, email addresses, and phone numbers. This information is crucial for the validation and approval of the applications.

Existing BDC operators must pay close attention to the compliance deadlines. It is imperative to meet the minimum capital requirements within six months from the effective date of the guidelines. Failure to do so could result in the rejection of the application or other administrative actions. To ensure a smooth reapplication process, operators should prepare all necessary documentation and financial records well in advance of the deadline.

New applicants seeking to obtain a BDC license must comply with the conditions set out for their chosen tier or category. These conditions include meeting specific capital requirements, providing a detailed business plan, and demonstrating the ability to maintain financial stability. The CBN has delineated clear guidelines to ensure that only qualified and capable entities are granted operational licenses, thereby maintaining the integrity and stability of the financial system.

Non-compliance with the reapplication directives could have serious consequences. BDC operators who fail to adhere to the new mandates may face penalties, including the revocation of their licenses.

This article was updated 4 weeks ago

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