Commercial banks make currency exchanges under strict conditions

All currency exchange offices have been closed since February 15 following the measure taken on 11 February by Jean Ciza, Governor of Burundi Central Bank. He accuses foreign exchange dealers of violating the current currency exchange regulations. Only commercial banks are allowed to deal with foreign currencies. This measure has led to negative consequences. The customers denounce the slowness in exchange and the requirement of strict conditions to get foreign currencies.

Burundi Central Bank closes all foreign currency exchange offices

The Commercial Bank of Burundi (BANCOBU) issues foreign currency to customers who present a plane ticket, a mission order, the passport and other travel documents with an amount not exceeding $ 5000 to those who make personal trips or go on work missions.

For those conducting business trips they receive $ 10,000. The bank may grant for other reasons a maximum amount of $ 500 or equivalent per day per transaction without however exceeding US $ 3000 or equivalent and per day and per beneficiary.

Customers met at BANCOBU in the morning of 17 February denounce the slowness in the exchange of money. “My child has to go back to school in Kampala in Uganda this afternoon. He has a 2 p.m. flight. I came to exchange money to get his school fees, but I am asked to come back at 3 p.m.,” said a mother met at BANCOBU at 10 a.m.

Traders whose goods are sourced from Uganda and Tanzania and who travel by car wonder how they will continue operating. “Only those who present air tickets can exchange their currency at BANCOBU, what about merchants travelling by car?” wonders a young trader selling clothes at Village Market. This is a discriminatory measure, he says.

Other traders say $ 10,000 is not enough. “We cannot take a plane to go to China or Dubaï to get supplies with this sum,” regrets Joselyne Nahimana, a trader. She asked BRB to open a frank dialogue with the owners of exchange offices and bankers to find solutions to this currency problem in order to facilitate the population to conduct properly their activities.