The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the implementation of the Bank Verification Number (BVN) in the transactions of foreign exchange (forex) has already saved the country about $300 million.
Ahead of the deadline for voluntary compliance to BVN registration, the apex bank had directed that all forex transactions by Bureau De Change (BDC) operators must be accompanied with valid BVN.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who affirmed the development, said for the three weeks that the rule has been in force, forex savings have averaged $100 million per week.
Speaking at the 49th yearly Bankers Dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos, Emefiele said the BVN policy is already chasing away fraudulent BDC operators from the system.
“We have seen the number of BDC operators who purchase forex from the central bank every week drop from an average of about 2,886 to just below 1,200 BDCs, thereby giving the CBN forex savings of almost $100 million per week.
“This policy seems to have chased away unscrupulous BDC operators and allow only genuine operators to remain in the market.
“While it may be too soon to completely adjudicate on the merits of our policies, preliminary signs indicates that we are headed to the right direction as a people”, Emefiele said.
According to him, although some are not happy with the action, CBN has managed to attain stability in the exchange rate at about N197/$ since February 2015, while speculators and rent-seekers are gradually being eliminated from the forex market.
“Despite the sharp drop in inflows, our forex reserve is still at about $30 billion, which is enough to cover about six months of Nigeria’s imports as against the traditional benchmark of three months.
“This is an opportunity for us to look inwards, diversify our economy away from oil, produce locally and create jobs for our unemployed youths.
“We definitely cannot survive as a people by importing everything and anything. We are a resilient and hardworking people and I am confident that out of these difficulties, there would come the best ideas.”
However, CIBN President, Mrs. ’Debola Osibogun, affirmed that a lot has happened not only in the economic landscape, but also in the political arena, with other far reaching initiatives been introduced that had in one way or the other impacted the banking industry and the economy.
She charged the newly appointed ministers to assist the government in ensuring an enabling environment for all stakeholders, with priority focus on rebuilding infrastructure and diversification of the economy through agriculture.
She also called for concerted efforts aimed at developing the solid minerals sector and the revival of the textile industry, which would contribute in moving the economy forward, as well as revenue earners to government.