The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says speculations that the apex bank is considering converting foreign exchange (FX) in the domiciliary accounts of customers to naira should be ignored.
Speaking with reporters on Monday in Abuja, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank’s acting director in charge of corporate communications, described those making such allegations as “criminal speculators whose intention was to create panic in the foreign exchange market”.
On Tuesday, CBN announced that it would discontinue sales of FX to Bureau De Change operators(BDCs).
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, had accused BDCs of becoming agents for illegal financial flows and working with corrupt people to conduct money laundering in Nigeria.
The development has heightened fears of forex scarcity among Nigerians and led to a significant drop in the value of the naira against the dollar.
Addressing insinuations about CBN’s plan to check the purported unavailability of forex, Nwasinobi assured that the apex bank will not tamper with the foreign exchange deposits in the accounts of customers.
“At no time did the CBN ever imply that it would tinker with the foreign exchange deposits of customers,” he said.
Nwasinobi urged operators of domiciliary accounts and other members of the banking public to go about their legitimate foreign exchange transactions and disregard fictitious stories aimed at pitching them against the apex bank and triggering chaos in the system.
Nwanisobi assured the banking public that the CBN would monitor the commercial banks to ensure they meet the legitimate FX demands of customers.
He said the CBN had put in place monitoring mechanism to guarantee the seamless sale of foreign exchange to customers who supported their requests with relevant documentation.
He also said the CBN had extracted the commitment of the banks, through their chief executive officers, that customers with legitimate FX requests will not be turned back.