Activities at the retail segment of the official foreign exchange market were grounded, yesterday, as end users avoided bureaux de change (BDCs), to avoid submitting their Biometric Verification Number (BVN) for foreign exchange transactions.
This, however, resulted in sharp increase in demand for dollars at the black market, prompting the naira to depreciate to N230 per dollar from N225.
According to Vanguard instead of foreign exchange end users submitting their BVN to BDCs as mandated by the CBN, most of them moved to the black market for their foreign exchange needs. This in turn increased demand in the market, prompting the parallel market exchange rate to rise to N230 per dollar from N225 at the close of business on Tuesday.
Confirming this development to Vanguard, Mr. Harrison Owoh, Chief Executive Officer, H.J Trust BDC said that “most of the customers were not willing to submit their BVN due to fear of what it might be used for. This has slowed down sales of forex by BDCs because we can’t sell without obtaining the BVN.”
An Abuja-based BDC manager, who spoke to Vanguard on condition of anonymity said that the problem was severe in Abuja, with BDCs having difficulty selling the dollars purchased from the CBN, last week.
“As I am talking to you, most BDCs in Abuja may not take dollars from CBN today (yesterday) because we have not sold the ones we bought last week. The customers do not want to submit their BVN for security reasons. They are patronising the black market, that is why the rate has gone up sharply, and I can tell you, the rate might rise higher if the situation persists.”