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Saturday, November 27, 2021

CBN unfreezes bank accounts of 33 bureau de change firms

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By Samuel Bankole

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday directed banks to lift the Post No Debit (PND) order earlier placed on the banking accounts of 33 Bureaux de Change (BDCs).

A post-no-debit means that all debit transactions, including ATMs and cheques, on the accounts, have been blocked but such account can receive inflows.

In a circular issued on Thursday by the director of banking supervision, Z Markus, the CBN said “all banks are hereby directed to vacate the Post No Debit order earlier placed at our instance on the underlisted accounts.”

The circular listed 33 bureau de change firms, which include First Currency Bureau de Change Limited, Javic bureau De Change Limited and Epoch Bureau de Change Limited.

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On August 20, the CBN directed banks to send details of the accounts of the effected companies.

Also, last year, CBN also instructed banks to freeze accounts of 38 companies, including premier Lotto, owned by Adebutu Kessington, a Nigerian businessman popularly known as “Baba Ijebu”.

“You are hereby directed to place all accounts of the under-listed customers on Post-No-Debit (PND) restriction,” the circular reads.

A source in the bureau de change industry said the lien placed on the accounts of the 33 firms were mere image laundering for the regulatory bank in the face of its suspension of forex sales to BDCs.

“The companies were mere scape goat to divert attention from the wrong decision of the apex bank to suspend forex sales to BDCs as solution to dollar sacrcity,” the chief executive of one of the firms said.

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