The House of Representatives yesterday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend its plan to sanitise the foreign exchange market through the policy for Bureau De Change (BDC) operators to raise their operating capital base to N35 million from N10 million.
Aside the suspension directive, the House also summoned the apex bank governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele.
The House directed that the CBN governor should appear before its Committee on Banking and Currency, chaired by Honourable Jones Chukwudi Onyereri, “for a full brief on the policy somersault”.
The House resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Honourable Ibrahim Shehu-Gusau, entitled, ‘Urgent need to halt the recent increase in capital base for bureau de change by 25 per cent’.
While leading the debate on the motion, Hon. Shehu-Guasau noted that the CBN raised the minimum capital requirement for operation of BDCs in Nigeria from N10 million to N35 million, noting that “the mandatory cautionary deposit was equally reviewed from N3 million to N35 million, which shall be deposited in a non-interest-yielding account in the CBN along with the licensing fee”.
The lawmaker also noted that the BDC operators had provided job opportunities for millions of Nigerians, adding that the new policy would send many of them out of business and create more unemployment problems.
The lawmaker further told the House that the increments were outrageous against the backdrop that the CBN would also reduce the amount of dollars issued to BDCs from $50,000 to $15,000 per week.
Supporting the motion, Honourables Aminu Suleiman and Karibo Nado said, the policy was not in the interest of the people.
According to Hon. Nado, the policy would also increase “the price of the dollar against the naira because we all know that this development will lead to a high demand for dollar”.
On their parts, Honourables Aliyu Madaki and Segun Odebunmi, maintained that the policy, if allowed to stay, would affect everybody, calling for its immediate suspension.
Other lawmakers, who spoke against the motion, argued that the CBN policy should be supported by all and sundry as they claimed that the policy would sanitize the forex business.
Those who opposed the motion include: Honourables Linus Okorie, Sunday Karimi and Friday Itulah.
However, when the motion was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, it was unanimously supported by the majority of members present at the sitting.