By Elizabeth Adegbesan
THE Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria, ABCON, has called for the exemption of Bureau De Change operators from paying Value Added Tax, VAT, and Commission on Turnover, COT. President, ABCON, Dr. Aminu Gwadabe made this call at the launching of the association’s Automation Portal project titled “Digitising BDCs operations for efficiency, transparency and regulatory compliance”, held in Lagos.
Speaking on ‘Digitising BDCs operations for efficiency, transparency and regulatory compliance,’ Gwadabe noted that the BDC sector is confronted with many challenges, including multiple exchange rates, abnormal bank charges, VAT and COT, among other challenges.
He said: “The BDC sector is confronted with many challenges that have continued to defile solutions. Some of them include multiple exchange rate, abnormal bank charges, VAT and COT, parallel market operators and illegal International Money Transfer Operators, IMTOs, porous international borders, complex documentation requirements and poor capacity/skills of operators.
“To ensure that the industry overcomes its current challenges, we demand that the CBN exempt BDC from VAT and COT, reduce BDCs annual license renewal fee and also expand their scope of transactions. On deepening capacity/skills of industry operators, we appeal to the CBN to issue Letter of Consent to our proposed training institute.
“We implore the Police, Directorate of State Service, DSS, to go after the illegal currency dealers. We also implore government to carry out serious public orientation that will warn the public on the dangers of patronizing illegal forex dealers as such is a sure way of building trust, sanity and professionalism to the industry.”
On the ABCON Automation portal, he said the aim for creating the portal is to enhance BDCs compliance with set regulations and promote market integrity, stressing,”The portal will sustain transparent transactions in the BDC corridor, boost the morale of operators and ensure continuous operations in ABCON and that the project came with three layers and stages.”
He stated: “First layer is an online registration of our members in order to build a membership database. The second layer bothers on automation of BDCs’ operational processes, book keeping, issuance of receipt, preparation of accounts, balance sheets, ledgers and sales/purchase registers. The most important of this layer is the online real time rendition of returns to regulatory agencies.
“Another important feature of this layer is our platform’s integration of the NIBSS portal for verifications and validation of clients’ Bank Verification Numbers (BVN), which is a most vital requirement for forex sale. Of special note is also the integration of our platform to immigration platform for the verifications of international passport. Already, we are in advance engagement with the Irish technology experts for the achievement of this idea.”
“The final layer is the one that excites me a lot and has to do with a trading platform for BDCs in Nigeria. Our technical experts in India, Poland are in advance stage of completion for onward submission to the CBN”.