“JUST because something is tradition doesn’t make it right.” This is one of common proverbs that fit in well in the wake of government intervention to curb illegal operations of some bureaux de change.
It is coming to light that the crackdown on bureaux de change in Arusha and Dar es Salaam from late last year is paying off as shilling stability is returning and foreign exchange reserve increase.
The Minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Phillip Mpango said in Dodoma yesterday that an audit into operations of bureaux de change in the two cities revealed that some were running as agents for money laundering and capital flights.
These are two major problems that have for some years frustrated efforts to strengthen the local currency and led to general distortion of the economy.
Illicit financial outflows from Sub-Saharan Africa ranged from 5.3 per cent to 9.9 per cent of total trade in 2014, a ratio higher than any other geographic region studied, according to a study released today by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advisory organisation.
The Central Bank conducted an inspection into undertakings of about 80 bureaux de change in Dar es Salaam and established almost all of them were flouting the law, regulations and procedures associated with the foreign exchange services.
Many forex shops lost licences to operate and foreign exchange services are obtained in commercial banks.
Putting it blankly, it is unfortunate that some of officers in the government, regulatory institutions and the businesses were used to laissez-faire attitude which explains why these illegal operations continued in contravention of rules and regulations governing operations of forex shops, namely Foreign Exchange (Bureau De Change) (Amendment) Regulations, 2017.
We therefore see that the crackdown on the bureaux de change is a move in the right direction to restore sanity in foreign exchange business and ensure that we do not work for some unscrupulous traders.
It is important to note that there may be some discomforts in the beginning as we adjust to changes. These will only be temporary. Good things are coming but we must shrug off the laissez-faire attitude and approach in doing things.