Central Bank further reviews bureau de change regulations

Wednesday December 12 2018


By Rosemary Mirondo @mwaikama rmirondo@tz.nationmedia.com

Dodoma.The Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has said that it further plans to review the Foreign Exchange (Bureau de Change) Regulations (2015) so as to improve supervision of the bureaux activities more effectively.

In June last year, BoT reviewed the modus operandi for all bureaux de change in the country – and also required them to reapply for business licences under the new arrangements.

In the event, the central bank raised the minimum capital threshold for bureau de change operators from Sh100 million to Sh300 million for a Class-A licence, and from Sh250 million to Sh1 billion for a Class-B licence.

The regulator also reduced the non-interest bearing deposit from $50,000 to$100,000fr each bureau.

However, the manager of the BoT Directorate of Financial Sector Supervision, Mr Nassor Omar, told journalists at an economic and business reporter’s seminar held in Dodoma that the relicensing process under the 2015 regulations still left some loopholes.

In the event, only 107 bureaux out of the 297 that had been operating in the country were relicensed at the end of the exercise.

“We relicensed the bureaux with the aim of curbing money laundering and illicit drugs trafficking. This was in the belief that the relicensed bureaux would be clean,” he stated.

However, that has not been the case, as recent incidents have amply demonstrated, he lamented – stating without giving details that there still are loopholes that some unscrupulous bureaux operators exploit to conduct money laundering and illicit drugs trafficking.

Hence the dire need to review the 2015 Regulations to further strengthen supervision – including strengthening routine and targeted inspections.

According to Mr Omar, the Directorate of Financial Sector Supervision at the central bank regularly conducts off-site surveillance and on-site examination to ensure that everything is in order at the bureaux de change across the country.

However – what with ongoing rapid changes in related technologies, financial sector operations must strive harder to keep up with ever-changing innovations.

He also noted that BoTplans to collaborate with other security organs to take measures which would ensure that such problems are resolved once and for all.

The new operational arrangements also require that no one is allowed to have interest in more than one bureaude change – and that at least two-thirds of the required capital must be in the form of cash.

In conclusion, the BoT official said that the Directorate for Financial Sector Supervision has a number of responsibilities. These include – but are not limited to – maintaining financial stability andensuringa level playing field, as well as curbing corruption and money laundering.