House Rejects N35m Capital Base For Bureau De Change, Summons Emefiele

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 26, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives Thursday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the upward review of minimum capital base for operators of Bureau De Change (BDC) from N10 million to N35 million.

The House consequently summoned the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to to appear before its Banking and Currency Committee to provide “full brief on the policy somersault” to the lawmakers.

The decision was taken following a motion moved by Hon. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau.

While moving the motion titled 'urgent need to halt recent increase in capital base for Bureau De Change', Gusau noted that the CBN has raised the minimum capital requirement for operation of BDCs in Nigeria from N10m to N35m.

He said the mandatory cautionary deposit was equally reviewed from N3 million to N35m which shall be deposited in a non-interest yielding account in the CBN along with the licensing fee from N500,000 to N1 million, adding that the annual renewal fee was equally increased from N10,000 to N25,000 while the application fee of N100,000 remained unchanged.

Gusau argued that the BDCs have provided millions of Nigerians job opportunities but expressed concern that the new policy would send many BDC operators out of business.

He submitted that the increment was “outrageous against the backdrop that the CBN will also reduce the amount of dollars being issued to BDCs from $50,000 to $15,000 per week.”

Speaking in favour of the motion, Hon. Hassan Saleh submitted that the new CBN management was insensitive to its responsibility as the country's apex bank, which should help in reducing unemployment in Nigeria.

Also suppoting the motion, , Hon. Aminu Suleiman disclosed that with the announcement of the policy, several operators have developed high blood pressure as they cannot afford the new requirements.

In her contribution, Hon. Uche Ekwunife said considering the high level of unemployment in the country, the CBN should have been systematic in its approach, insisting that the timing was wrong.

Also supporting it, Hon. Asita Honourable, in his contribution, said “the policy is not only super-elitist, it's intended to create more unemployment in a section of the country. It's discriminatory. In fact, it'll increase Boko Haram killings.”

Another lawmaker, Hon. Aliyu Sani Madaki (APC, Kano), argued that the policy would not only bring hardship to the operators but also to their dependants, adding that must BDC operators do not have such amount to deposit at the CBN.

Opposing the motion Hon. Linus Okorie argued that the policy would bring more efficiency in managing BDCs, saying it is within the powers of the CBN to take such decisions.

Both Hons. Nadu Karibo (PDP, Bayelsa) and Friday Itula (PDP, Edo) also spoke against the motion.

When Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who presided over the session put the motion to vote, the ayes were in the majority.