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Is It Possible To Buy Dollars Directly From CBN?

Last updated on February 12th, 2024 at 07:25 am


As pressure on the Nigerian currency persists, one of our readers has asked, ‘Is it possible to purchase dollars directly from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)?

The straightforward answer is NO.

However, we’ll share some tips on accessing foreign exchange from Nigeria’s apex bank through financial institutions after the CBN halted the sale of FX to Bureau De Change operators.


The CBN is not a commercial bank. You cannot simply walk into a branch of the CBN to purchase dollars. Instead, the CBN serves as the apex bank that regulates the activities of all commercial banks in Nigeria.

“The CBN implements all monetary policies of the government through commercial banks.

This means that you cannot buy dollars directly from the CBN unless you operate a Bureau De Change (BDC) that is registered and certified by the apex bank.

Initially, BDCs were the only entities allowed to access forex from the apex bank under the initial arrangement. That has stopped.

Who can buy dollars directly from the CBN?

In the previous arrangement under Emefiele’s reign, the CBN was selling forex to the BDC, “A Bureau-de-Change is allowed to purchase forex from the CBN through a presentation of the CBN cheque issued by their banks twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays).

They were buying equivalent amount of forex from the CBN up to a maximum limit of US$200,000.00 twice a week.”

After the announcement of the unification of the exchange rate under Bola Tinubu’s government, the CBN stopped funding BDCs.

Also Read:  CBN Extends Travel Allowance Processing Period To 120 Days Over Dollar Scarcity

The CBN no longer fixes the exchange rate; instead, the naira is now allowed to float freely, with market forces determining its price.

How can I buy dollars from my bank?

If fall under these categories of users, you can buy dollar from any of the branches of Nigerian banks:

An SMS from one of the banks read: “Dear Client, purchase USD for eligible Invisibles (Tuition fees, Upkeep, Medical Payments, Travel Allowances, etc) and SME transactions at our branches.”

InfomediaNG gathered that banks are willing to sell dollars (forex) but currently sell to students, parents, and guardians looking to pay school fees in foreign institutions. Applicants must support their applications with sufficient documents.

This means you can only buy dollars from CBN via financial institutions. But there are allegations forex round-tripping whereby allies of the ruling party have access to the apex bak to buy fx at the CBN rate.Lamido Sanusi, former CBN governor made a similar allegation in the past, particularly during the regime of Muhammadu Buhari.

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