The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced that it will begin refunding applicants for Bureau De Change licenses their N35 million required capital deposits.

The bank will also begin refunding license payments, according to a statement issued by the apex bank's Director of Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Ibrahim Tukur.

The prerequisites for awarding licenses to BDC operators include a non-refundable licensing fee of N1 million and a minimum capital of N35 million.

The new move follows the apex bank's decision to prohibit the sale of FX to BDCs on the grounds of illegal operations and graft.

The bank urged the BDC promoters to request a return in writing to the bank's Director of Financial Policy and Regulations Department.

“The request should be supported by a Telex copy of the N35 million capital deposit, account details for the refund, which should be the same as the account from which the capital deposit was made, and a copy of the bank draft/telex for payment of the N1 million license fee (if any)”.

A photocopy of the letter of request should also be sent to the CBN's head office in Abuja or Lagos, in an envelope clearly labeled "Refund of BDC capital deposit."

It is possible to email the softcopy of the writing to ahead of the hardcopy.

All commercial banks were ordered by the apex bank to stop accepting capital deposits on its behalf.

“In addition, all Deposit Money Banks are hereby advised to cease accepting client orders to transfer capital deposits of N35 million to the designated CBN account for the purpose of applying for BDC licenses.

Meanwhile, the CBN has ordered all Deposit Money Banks to establish teller stations at selected branches across the country to process valid forex requests.

Previously, BDCs were the primary source of forex for all Nigerians wanting it for business, study, or pleasure.

On Wednesday, the CBN issued a memo to deposit money banks, which was signed by the Director, Bank Supervision Department of the apex bank.

It instructed all banks to help clients seeking forex for a variety of reasons, including personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition expenses, medical payments, and SMEs transactions.

“In this regard, DMBs must publicize the locations of authorized branches appropriately and make the necessary arrangements to sell FX to consumers in cash and/or electronically in accordance with existing regulations.

“DMBs should make every effort to guarantee that no customer is turned away or denied FX if all documentation and other standards are met. Similarly, unnecessary delays, rationing, and/or diversion of FX are strictly discouraged, and DMBs must implement electronic application and alert systems to keep consumers informed about the progress of their FX requests."

The CBN has established up a toll-free line for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints about their FX requests, according to the bank.

According to the note, the CBN will continue to closely monitor banks' behaviour and compliance with the instruction in order to guarantee that the FX market is efficient for all legitimate users.

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