President Muhammadu Buhari says the Bureau de Change business has become a scam of recent with the connivance of some Central Bank officials.
“I understand some CBN directors are helping the BDCs through the back door,” adding that this had resulted into a drain on the nation’s economy.
He also noted that the revelation coming out of the arms deal is just a tip of the iceberg saying it is only one aspect in the office of the National Security Adviser.
“We have not come to the NNPC, and the Customs is also there,” he added.
He rejected suggestions that the Central Bank of Nigeria should resume the sale of foreign exchange to Bureaux de Change (BDCs).
The President spoke Wednesday night during a meeting with Nigerians resident in Nairobi, Kenya, according to a statement by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
Buhari also said about a third of petroleum subsidy payments under the previous administration was bogus.
“They just stamped papers and collected our foreign exchange,” he said.
The Central Bank recently stopped the sale of foreign currencies to the bureaux when the price of crude oil and the value of the naira dipped to a record low. Buhari said some bank and government officials used surrogates to run the BDCs and prosper at public expense by obtaining foreign exchange at official rates and selling it at higher rates.
“We had just 74 of the bureaux in 2005, now they have grown to about 2, 800.
“We will use our foreign exchange for industry, spare parts and the development of needed infrastructure. We don’t have the dollars to give to the BDCs.
“Let them go and get it from wherever they can, other than the Central Bank”, Buhari was quoted as telling the gathering.
President Buhari again rejected the call to devalue the naira, as to do so, he said, was to kill the Nigerian currency.
Buhari said he was yet to be convinced that Nigeria and its people would derive any tangible benefit from an official devaluation of the naira.
He noted that export-driven economies could benefit from currency devaluation, but that doing so in import-dependent economy such as Nigeria’s would only lead to further inflation and hardship for the poor and middle class.
He said he had no intention of bringing further hardship on the nation’s poor who have already suffered enough.
Buhari said proponents of devaluation would have to work much harder to convince him that ordinary Nigerians would gain anything from it.
He appealed to Nigerians studying abroad to bear with his administration as it strives to address the challenges they were facing as a result of new foreign exchange measures.
The President said he was optimistic that the Nigerian economy would stabilise soon with the efficient implementation of measures and policies introduced by his government. (Daily Trust)