The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) to play stronger role in the bureaux de change industry by embracing effective self-regulation.
Speaking during the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) Mutual Evaluation Exercise Sensitisation workshop for South West Bureaux de Change (BDCs) in Lagos, CBN Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Department, Mustafa Haruna, said there was need for BDCs to ensure compliance with extant Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) laws and regulations to mitigate the risks and vulnerabilities in the sub-sector.
He said that ABCON should develop and implement a Code of Conduct for members to promote ethical practices and transparency in the sector while also continually advising the apex bank on market intelligence on key industry issues.
Also speaking, ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, said that ABCON had consistently advised BDCs to put in place and implement a system of internal policies, procedures and controls including Know Your Customer, Customer Due Diligence and reporting of all suspicious transactions to regulators.
He said that ABCON is also training BDCs on regular basis on the need to keep transaction records, and get a designated compliance officer that has day-to-day oversight over AML/ CFT programme. He said the Compliance Officers have been taught the rules in preparing Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and rendering STRs’ returns to the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
The ABCON boss said the group had over the years, established itself as a key player in the BDC industry, and has also made several commitments and sacrifices to ensure that the sector continues to thrive and its members follow global best practices in the retail of foreign exchange to end users.
He said that BDCs have met and will continue to meet a number of compliance requirements specified by Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and local regulators. The operators, he added, have conducted enhanced due diligence, a major compliance requirement on some high-risk customers. The collation and reporting of foreign currency transactions and suspicious transactions by BDCs are now fully automated.