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CBN to refund capital deposit, licensing fees to BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will commence the refund of the N35 million minimum capital deposits to applicants of Bureau De Change licenses.

According to a statement signed by the apex bank’s Director of Financial Policy and Regulations Department, Ibrahim Tukur, the bank will also commence the refund of licensing fees.

A non-refundable licensing fee of N1 million and a minimum capital of N35 million are parts of the requirements for granting licenses to BDC operators.

The new development comes after the apex bank banned the sale of forex to the BDCs on grounds of illicit operations and graft.

The bank advised the BDC promoters to write to the bank’s Director of Financial Policy and Regulations Department, requesting for their refund.

“The request should be accompanied (with) the Telex copy of the capital deposit of N35million; Account details for the refund which should be the same as the account from which the capital deposit originated from and a copy of the bank draft/telex for payment of licensing fee of N1 Million(if any)”.

Also a hardcopy of the letter of request to be submitted to CBN head office, Abuja or Lagos in an envelope clearly marked “Refund of BDC capital deposit “ at its top left corner.

There is an option of sending the softcopy of the writing in advance of the hardcopy to fprdlicensing@cbn.gov.ng

The apex bank directed all commercial banks to stop receiving the capital deposits on its behalf.

“In addition, all Deposit Money Banks are hereby directed to henceforth stop accepting instructions from customers to transfer capital deposit of N35 million to the designated CBN account for the purpose of applying for BDC licenses.

Meanwhile, the CBN has directed all Deposit Money Banks to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfill legitimate forex requests.

Before now, the BDCs have been the major go-to for all Nigerians seeking forex for business, study, or pleasure.

The directive was contained in a memo by the CBN to the deposit money banks and signed by the Director, Bank Supervision Department of the apex bank, on Wednesday.

It directed all banks to attend to people seeking forex for personal travel allowance, business travel allowance, tuition fees, medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

“In this regard, DMBs are also required to adequately publicise the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and/or electronically in compliance with extant regulations.

“DMBs are strongly advised to ensure that no customer is turned back or refused FX provided that documentation and all other requirements are satisfied.

 Equally, undue delays, rationing and/or diversion of FX is strongly discouraged whilst DMBs are required to establish electronic application and alert systems to update customers on status of their FX requests.’’

The bank said that a toll-free line had been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests.

The memo assured that CBN would continue to closely monitor banks’ conduct and compliance with the directive in order to ensure an efficient FX market for all legitimate users.

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