CBN To Hike BDC Minimum Share Capital To N2billion

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is mulling an increase in the share capital of Bureau De Change (BDC) operators to N2 billion and N500 million for Tier 1 and Tier 2 licenses. It was previously N35 million for a general license.

This was contained in the draft Revised Regulatory And Supervisory Guidelines For Bureau De Change Operations In Nigeria published by the apex bank. The new guidelines contain several new changes to the guidelines for BDC operations in the country. If endorsed, the new guidelines will be effective at a date decided by the CBN.

Minimum Capital: Under the minimum capital requirements, the central bank is introducing a two-tier license for BDC operators in the country. “A Tier 1 BDC is authorized to operate on a national basis can open branches and may appoint franchisees, subject to the approval of the CBN.

A Tier 1 BDC (which is the franchisor) shall exercise supervisory oversight over its franchisees. All franchisees shall adopt their franchisor’s name, branding, technology platform, and rendition requirements. A Tier 2 BDC is authorized to operate only in one state or the FCT. It may have up to three locations – a head office and two branches, subject to approval of the CBN. It is not permitted to appoint franchisees.”

Under Tier 1 operators are expected to have N2 billion as minimum share capital while also depositing a Mandatory Caution Deposit of N200 million. The application and license fee is also N1 million and N5 million respectively.

Under Tier 2 operators are expected to have N500 million as minimum share capital while depositing a Mandatory Caution Deposit of N50 million. The application and license fee are also N250,000 and N2 million respectively. The apex bank also stated that the prescribed minimum capital of BDCs and any subsequent capital injection shall be subject to verification by the CBN.

Also, BDC licences are renewable annually subject to compliance with laws and regulations applicable to BDCs and the payment of the non-refundable annual licence renewal fee, which is N5 million for Tier 1 operators and N1 million for Tier 2.

The Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) recently voiced a firm stance against the need for an increase in the capital base beyond N35 million, emphasising the efficiency and profitability of operations within this financial threshold.

ABCON’s President, Aminu Gwadebe, highlighted the nature of BDC operations as not being capital intensive since they neither accept deposits nor extend credit facilities but instead engage in forex transactions based on existing customer funds.

He advocated for the industry’s consolidation rather than recapitalisation, cautioning that a higher capital requirement could disadvantage seasoned professionals. Earlier, the Federal Government recommended a drastic reduction in the number of BDCs from 5000 operators to 200 to enhance regulatory oversight and address irregularities in the forex market.

The proposed guideline by the CBN, aimed at increasing the share capital for BDCs, could lead to a significant consolidation in the sector. This move is likely to reduce the number of BDCs, encouraging mergers and acquisitions among operators.

The CBN’s strategy is intended to sanitise the black market for foreign exchange trades, enhancing oversight and reducing the proliferation of unauthorised forex transactions. This regulatory adjustment is part of broader efforts to stabilise the forex market and ensure compliance within the sector.

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