BDC Agents Reject New CBN Licensing Guidelines


May 23, 2024.

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Azonuchechi Chukwu.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has mandated all existing Bureau De Change Operators to re-apply for new licenses in their preferred category.

This was announced on Wednesday in a circular issued by the apex bank, which was signed by the Director of the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

However, BDC operators have rejected the new licensing guidelines, saying it is against best global practices.

However, the CBN noted that those adjustments aimed to streamline BDC operations and enhance financial accessibility.

The apex bank noted that the BDCs were expected to adhere to corporate governance requirements and anti-money laundering, counter-terrorism financing, and counter-proliferation financing provisions.

The latest circular comes a day after the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank raised the benchmark lending rate to 26.25 per cent to tackle the country’s soaring inflation.

Reading the communiqué of the meeting, the Governor of the CBN, Olayemi Cardoso, said, “Members further observed the recent volatility in the foreign exchange market, attributing this seasonal demand, a reflection of the interplay between demand and supply freely functioning market system.”

The naira has depreciated significantly since the CBN unified the country’s exchange rates, trading between 1,400/$ and 1,600/$ at the official and parallel markets in the last two weeks.

The new guidelines, which are an update on the draft that was exposed earlier in the year, go into effect on June 3.

The CBN removed the mandatory caution deposit, which the industry players had kicked against.

CBN set up two new categories; Tier 1 and Tier 2 BDC licences.

According to the new guidelines, “A Tier 1 BDC: a. May operate in any State of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, b. May establish branches and appoint franchisees in any state and FCT, subject to the written approval of the CBN. c. Shall maintain a minimum distance of one kilometre between its branches, its branch and a franchisee, and between its franchisees. d. Shall exercise oversight on its franchisees. All franchisees shall adopt their franchisor’s name, logo, branding, technology platform and regulatory rendition requirements. 2 Classified as Confidential: e. Shall comply with the franchising standards prescribed in this guidelines.”

A tier 2 BDC Licence allows the operator to operate from only one state of the federation or the FCT, and it is allowed to establish five branches in a state of operation, subject to the written approval of the CBN.

The new rules allow BDCs to participate in the Nigerian foreign exchange market as a dealer, following application and approval to the director of the Trade & Exchange Department for an authorised dealership licence.

The CBN said while BDCs could source dollars from individuals, adding, “Sellers of the equivalent of $10,000 and above to a BDC are required to declare the source of the foreign exchange and comply with all AML/CFT/CPF regulations and foreign exchange laws and regulations and customers may sell foreign currencies in their individual domiciliary accounts with Nigerian banks to BDCs. All such sales shall be credited to the BDC’s Nigerian domiciliary account.

In terms of prudential requirements, the CBN said, “BDCs are required to observe the following prudential requirements: Net Open Position (NOP) limit in foreign currency of the equivalent of 30 per cent of its shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses or as may be determined by the CBN from time to time. Limit total borrowing to 50 per cent of shareholders’ funds unimpaired by losses and maintain insurance cover over cash (both naira and foreign currency) in office and in transit, fire, and staff fidelity.” (

Azonuchechi Chukwu
Azonuchechi Chukwu
Azonuchechi Chukwu - Business Journalist at Azonuchechi Chukwu is a seasoned business journalist contributing to the insightful coverage of economic and financial news at With a passion for unraveling the complexities of the business world, Azonuchechi brings a wealth of expertise and dedication to his role. As a Business Journalist, Azonuchechi specializes in providing comprehensive analyses of market trends, corporate developments, and economic indicators. His in-depth reports offer readers a nuanced understanding of the forces shaping the Nigerian and global business landscapes. Azonuchechi Chukwu's commitment to journalistic excellence is evident in his ability to translate complex financial information into accessible and engaging narratives. Whether exploring stock market fluctuations, corporate strategies, or economic policies, he strives to deliver content that empowers readers with valuable insights. With an educational background in business and a keen interest in the intersection of finance and technology, Azonuchechi stays at the forefront of industry dynamics. His coverage extends beyond traditional financial reporting, encompassing the dynamic realms of fintech, entrepreneurship, and sustainable business practices. Azonuchechi Chukwu's work goes beyond the surface, aiming to foster financial literacy and awareness among's audience. By demystifying economic complexities and shedding light on emerging opportunities, he plays a pivotal role in keeping readers well-informed in the fast-paced world of business. As's Business Journalist, Azonuchechi Chukwu continues to make meaningful contributions to the platform's mission of delivering timely, accurate, and relevant business news to its diverse audience. His dedication to journalistic integrity and his ability to navigate the intricacies of the business realm make him an invaluable asset to the team.

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