After the take-off of the new policy on foreign exchange two days ago, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may have asked deposit money banks that issue internationally enabled cards to ensure that as they accept foreign currency deposits, they should also make adequate provision to honour the resulting demand of their customers.
Besides, the apex bank said policies relating to foreign currency deposits in banks and stoppage of weekly foreign exchange intervention at the Bureaux De Change (BDC) segment are for the good of the economy. It promised that the latest measures would boost reserves, rub off positively on naira exchange, as well as end the arbitrage on the currency, being perpetrated by BDC operators.
Meanwhile, there are strong indications that unless necessary measures are taken and urgently too to address the scarcity of foreign exchange, indigenous pharmaceutical industries may run out of raw materials for production of essential medicines by the end of January 2016.
It was also learnt that over 70 per cent of the country drug needs are imported and less than 30 per cent manufactured locally with some raw materials like pharmaceutical starch, still imported. However, there are indication that the apex bank is making arrangement for Travelex, a global a global foreign exchange (forex) dealer, to replace Bureaux De Change operators (BDCs) to retail forex for end users.
Travelex is the world largest foreign exchange bureau specialised in international payments, bureaux de change and issuing prepaid credit cards for travellers. In 2000, it bought Thomas Cook worldwide forex business for £440 million, expanding significantly its international operations.
Travelex has been opening retail shops at airports and in highbrow areas to enable it meet the rising forex demand, and fill the vacuum created by the CBN\’s stoppage of dollar sales to BDCs.