The three, names withheld, were admitted last week at the Eko Hospital, Lagos, according to the paper’s investigations. Although, two of the ‘executive’ patients were said to have been discharged on Monday, the third, it was gathered, was still recuperating as at the time this paper visited the hospital on Tuesday.
A source disclosed to Our Source that the BDC owners had stockpiled millions of dollars in anticipation that the naira will continue to slip against the world’s major currencies. Although, they are supposed to be operating legally, many of them however, are said to buy and sell at the black market rate to make huge profits.
“They have been making stupendous gain ever since. And had teamed up with some unscrupulous bank officials who manage these foreign currencies in the banks to deny those who need then access.“Most of them warehouse these currencies through the black door to make higher from the black market
These are the categories that are in serious dilemma now,” the source said. Meanwhile, an economist, Lawrence Nwaghodoh, has commended the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for taking the recent measure to strengthen the naira.
Nwaghodoh said: “If the disparity had continued to grow without the CBN nipping it in the bud, dealers in the markets and dishonest bank official make have continued to be tempted to use the widening margin to engage in this devilish act called round-tripping.
“The increase in margin, gave room stance, for speculations that saw the naira becoming very volatile. And because of the absence of increased activity in the economy, there was capital flight”
As the naira continues to regain strength and appreciate in value, with the government receiving accolades from the citizens, many BDC owners are not happy, with some already gasping for breath.
With the new exchange regime, speculators and currency traffickers have continue to lose heavily while the naira enjoys steady turnaround against foreign currencies on the parallel market. The sell rate of the dollar also improved to close N430/$, recently as against the N460/$ at which it closed earlier.
As a result, speculators are wary of buying dollars at higher rate, as many have already lost millions in the new exchange rate. However, the apex bank has pledged to sustain the supply.
Investigation has revealed that many of the BDCs and parallel market operators are fighting back,as they try to slow down the fall of the dollar to mitigate the heavy losses they are presently suffering.
Despite concerns from these groups of operators, the CBN has assured Nigerians that it will sustain its defence of the local currency.
The acting director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, gave this assurance at an interactive session with journalists in Sokoto on Thursday.
According to him, the apex bank thoroughly did its homework before announcing the new forex measures and was confident it will win the war against currency speculators.
He said: “The CBN would not have announced the new forex measures if it was not sure that it would be able to sustain them. “You don’t go into this kind of war without being prepared.
What led to the appreciation of the naira is that the CBN has done its intelligence work on the market and we came to the realisation that much of what was driving the demand at the BDC and parallel market was speculation.
“We reasoned that since there is a lot of pressure on the two segments from people seeking to buy foreign currencies for Business Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition and medicals that if we successfully address that, the pressure will come down.
“Also, before now, the level of our reserves was not enough to make us comfortable enough to really do the kind of intervention that is required.
“We decided to do so now because we are a bit more comfortable with our level of reserves.”
Stressing that the CBN has injected over $700 million into the market since the measures were introduced, Okorafor, noted that dealers were only able to buy $370 million out of the firstn $500 million that it pumped into the market, indicating that a lot of the demand for forex is not real.
He also stated that the regulator’s current intervention in the foreign exchange market was purely to ease the pressure on the naira and had nothing to do with succumbing to blackmail from some quarters.
He debunked some trending posts in the social media which state that the current appreciation of the naira was as a result of the alarm raised about the illegal sale of forex at ridiculous rates to some people.