Aminu Gwadabe the president of the Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), has said that not all BDCs in the country are involved in illicit practices.
In a recent interview with BusinessDay NG, the ABCON President said;
“We are players in the financial system landscape, alongside banks, insurance firms and others, and this makes us vulnerable to fraud, money laundering and terrorism financing. There is nothing unique about this. Just like banks and other players in the industry, we have put in place and are constantly updating procedures and practices to help our stakeholders, especially our members, identify key threats to their businesses coming from fraudsters and help them mitigate these threats.
We have been working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), EFCC and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and providing capacity-building training for our members to build their capacity to better position them to serve our customers. In 2019, over 4,000 BDCs were trained on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism, in a partnership between ABCON and the NFIU. The training focused on the obligation of registering and filing reports on the NFIU GoAML portal. The training we are constantly doing is meant to familiarize our members with the process of money laundering, the methodologies criminals use to disguise the true origin and ownership of illegal cash and the laws against it. The training also helps BDCs to understand how to maintain a minimum standard of record keeping and ultimately increase the level of investors’ confidence in the economy.
It is therefore a misnomer to say that we are colluding with fraudsters. There are over one million unlicensed operators in the country and licensed BDCs are about 5,600. A lot of people transact business with these unlicensed vendors and then now say BDCs are fraudulent collaborators. It is not true.
Registered BDCs under ABCON access dollars from many independent sources, including walk-in customers, remittances and banks, and we should be given credit for ensuring that there is enough liquidity in the market.
I am not saying that some BDC operators do not engage in illicit practices, I am saying that we should not generalize and lump every one of us together.
We will always support all measures that would lead to compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism, as well as support CBN’s exchange rate stability policies and security agencies to punish any BDC operator breaching corporate governance and compliance guidelines”.