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CBN declares war on Aboki FX, retains benchmark interest rate at 11.5%

Felix Oloyede

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CBN denies Nigerians without smartphones access to e-Naira

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has vowed to battle  Aboki FX over its alleged illicit activities in the Nigerian foreign exchange market and it retained the threshold interest rate at 11.5%. 

Addressing pressmen at the end of its two-day meeting on Friday,  Mr Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor and MPC Chairman, disclosed that the apex bank will not rescind its decision on the ban of Bureau De Change operators (BDCs) from the official forex market.

Emefiele also disclosed that the committee retained all policy parameters, leaving the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent; an asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR; the CRR at 27.5 per cent; and Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

The CBN Governor noted that the MPC expressed concerns over the blooming insecurity in the country, calling for its arrest because it was capable of retarding the economic recovery momentum.

On forex, Emefiele said the CBN will continue to restrict the activities of illegal forex dealers, even as he advised forex seekers to explore the Investors and Export (I and E) window to ensure transparency and stability in the market.

He also advised banks to adhere strictly to CBN guidelines on forex sales.

He said: “We will continue to sanitise the forex market and eliminate illegal dealers. Those who wish to procure Forex should go to the banks. If you have genuine businesses, the bank can expand the limit to $5,000. We can give that approval once we’ve been informed.

“My view is that the only exchange window is the I and E. We expect everyone to go there and you will be attended to. I do not hope to recognise any other rate in the market.

“Nigeria remains the only Central Bank that dips its hands into its reserve and sell to BDCs in an attempt to stabilize the forex market. It has stopped and stopped for good. The US, UK, etc. do not do that. “Go to your banks for everything from fees, medicals, etc. We can expand the limit. You want to sell dollars, go to your bank. Call any bank not selling to you, we will step in but with fake visas and travel tickets, they won’t sell to you. If you cancel your ticket, you should send the forex back to the bank. If you don’t, the banks will alert and pursue you and give your details to EFCC. They will pursue you and get the money back”, Emefiele explained.

On its grouse with Aboki FX, the CBN Governor said: “We’ve been investigating Aboki FX for two and half years. He lives in UK but has a Nigerian address. We have detected that he is an economic saboteur. Mr Oniwinde, we will find you.

“Our preliminary investigations show a lot about him. Those who want to sabotage the country and sabotage the efforts of this administration will be dealt with.

“Aboki FX was registered in the UK in 2015. He doesn’t want to name those behind him. He has 25 accounts. Shows illicit activities

“His website is used for manipulation by changing the rate over a given period. We will pursue and get them.

Mr Oniwinde directly benefits from the rates he quotes. How does he get his data? How many BDC staff come to ask for a daily rate? How many BDCs supply him with information? In which country does an unlicensed operator determine rates? Why target Nigeria. It’s pure economic sabotage and we will get them.

“CBN Act Section 2 states that only the CBN can determine rates. So, we will not allow this to continue. How does he collect his data? If he doesn’t come out. We will go after him,” Emefiele stated.

The CBN Governor added that the MPC wants further measures to be taken to drive down inflation while maintaining adequate surveillance on banks with compliance on loan disbursement without being exposed to unhealthy risks. (VON)

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