THE Bank of Tanzania (BoT) has warned bureau de change operators that there will be no extension of time, for them to apply for new licences under the new regulations, upon expiry of the September 1, 2017 deadline.
Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ here, the BoT Supervision and Regulations Officer, Mr Kanuti Mosha, revealed that as of July 31, this year, only ten out of 297 operators had applied for the new licences.
He said that the deadline will not be extended and from there onwards only those with new licences will be allowed to operate under the amended regulations.
Mosha said that despite the BoT notice to suspend issuance of licences to new bureau de change operators, those in operation were supposed to re-apply under the new regulations which among others, one needs to have 300m/- capital in which 200m/- must be liquid cash.
He said that the move was due to gross noncompliance to regulations by the operators, whom he said majority were not revealing their real capital, thus denying the government of revenue.
He said that the Central Bank in collaboration with various institutions realised that bureau de change operators were doing a lot of business through the back door, illegal transactions and were not issuing receipts thus engaging in money laundering and drug trafficking issues.
“Following the move, the BoT Governor issued a new circular for bureau de change operations among others, to be a limited company and have to run only one with others as branches, for easy control,” said Mr Mosha.
Then, in June this year, the amendments were gazetted whereas all operators had to re-apply and should they fail to meet the criteria, will not operate. Among the regulations include, all bureaus to have CCTV cameras at the counter, customer lounge and offices for easy monitoring of the operations and safety matters as well.
“We met with the operators on July 31 and they prayed for extension of time. We said no and for those with small capital, we told them to join forces, but we are optimistic that they might apply before the deadline,” he said.
Mosha allayed fears that there would be shortage of foreign currencies should there be a small number of operators, saying commercial banking will be there to serve the public.
Moreover, he said, in June they conducted operations to tap black market of foreign currency in Lake Zone, Northern Zone and Dar es Salaam as more than ten firms were banned and the cases are in court.
He said they were working on Zanzibar’s request which want to meet with BoT to discuss the amendment for the Isles which he said were working on it.