EXCLUSIVE: Tinubu Government Shuts Down Bureau De Change Centres In Abuja To Save Face, Lagos Market In Panic Mode


President Bola Tinubu’s government is behind the shutting down of Bureaux De Change in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, SaharaReporters has learnt.

Sources told SaharaReporters that Tinubu’s government directed Nigeria’s secret police, Department of State Services (DSS) to force the BDCs to close down to save face over the free fall of the naira. 

It was learnt that the DSS subsequently took over the market amid the government’s frantic effort to stabilise the naira and save face. 

Nigeria’s naira dropped to a record low against the dollar on the official market on Tuesday, FMDQ Exchange data showed on Wednesday.

The currency slipped below rates on the unofficial parallel market in intra-day trades, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The naira fell as low as 1,531 to the dollar during trading on Tuesday, FMDQ data showed, compared with 1,460 naira quoted on the parallel market. 

The currency later closed at 1,482.57 naira on the official market, according to FMDQ.

The latest fall occurred after market regulator FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange said its methodology for calculating closing rates on the currency was revised last Friday to include more data, and that the levels on its computation had changed.

The naira has lost around 40% since the start of the year. Its official exchange rate has been drifting towards the parallel market level as foreign currency shortages in the West African nation funnel demand to unofficial sources.

The central bank has warned lenders about underreporting transactions on the financial market, leading to misinformation, attempts to create price distortions and market manipulation, and said such activity would be sanctioned.

“Tinubu’s government shut down BDC centres in Abuja. They were actually forced to close down because of the free fall of the naira.

“DSS has taken over the market as we speak,” one of the sources said. “It is all to save face as the situation is becoming embarrassing for the government.”

“However, the Lagos market is still open but in panic mode. On Wednesday, we did N1,520 for a dollar,” another source said. 

 

The Abuja chapter of the Association of Bureau De Change (BDC) Operators earlier announced the closure of their business premises indefinitely from Thursday.

Abdulahi Dauran, its chairman blamed it on the scarcity of US dollars which he said was compounded by online banking and cryptocurrency transactions. However, SaharaReporters learnt that the association was compelled to shut down indefinitely.



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