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Senate rejects new capital base for BDC

01 July 2014, 11:36

Abuja -  Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Ahmed Makarfi, on Monday described as unfair the N35m minimum capital base imposed on Bureau de Change operators.

Makarfi, who addressed journalists in Abuja, however, said both chambers of the National Assembly were already making moves to intervene in the matter.

He said, “The House of Representatives has taken it up as a motion, but we in the Senate will adopt a different method to bring about dialogue between the operators and the regulators so that something more workable, more humane may emerge at the end of the day.”

He maintained that the Central Bank of Nigeria could only justify the imposition of huge capital base on the BDC operators if the regulatory agency had enough foreign exchange to sell to them at regulated rates.

He advised the apex bank to make the payment of the minimum capital base optional if it could not guarantee enough forex for all the operators.

He said, “If the reason for raising the capital base is because of scarcity of forex, that means government does not have enough to sell.

There is no harm in making such a policy. If it wants to raise capital base for those that are buying forex, it may do so but the bulk of the operation of bureau de change should not be because they are going to buy from government.

“In other countries, government can sell forex to bureau de change in order to regulate exchange rate through various means.

But the day-to-day activities of the bureau de change are not like that, they sell based on what they buy.

Makarfi asked the CBN to guarantee selling at minimum rate of exchange.

Makarfi also cautioned the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, against making sensitive statements that could affect his reputation.

Specifically, he faulted Emefiele for assuring Nigerians that he would reduce the interest rates on assumption of office only for him to withdraw the statement after consulting with the Bankers Committee.

-     NAN

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