Half a billion Burundi Francs (approximately U$243,546) is the minimum amount of cash a trader must have in order to legally operate a foreign exchange office in this isolated East African country.
The forex traders in Burundi are very disappointed by the exorbitant amount set by the central bank commonly known as Banque de la République du Burundi.
On Friday, 18, November the central bank held a meeting with traders that have registered to set up forex bureaus in the country. The bank announced to them new conditions including the 50 million BIF as a deposit.
“The BIF 50 million will be deposited at the BRB and will only be withdrawn when a forex closes permanently. And in the event of a fault, the fine will be taken from this deposit, in 30 days, the owner will have to arrange to keep the full 50 million, ”said the director of operations at the central bank.
“It’s too much for us,” dozens of traders said in disappointment during the meeting.
Gédéon Niyonkuru a money changer said the money is exorbitant and wanted to know if the decision of the BRB is irreversible, the BRB replied that the decision has already been made. “It’s for those who deserve it. It is a job not to be overlooked. Be worthy! For those who cannot have this capital, find partners. Work together as our head of state advises, “said the central Bank director of operations.
Ananias Nyabenda, a currency trader in Muyinga, asked the central bank where traders will get this kind of money. “500 million BIF is too much”. He asked if the Bank would provide foreign currency to facilitate their task.
There have been proposals from currency traders to grant at least one million U$D per week to money changers exchange office. “Seeing your invitation, I was hoping it was to study where the currency for the exchange offices will come from.”
The BRB has indicated that currencies are in demand for many needs of paramount importance. “Today, it is therefore impossible to satisfy your request.”
Other conditions, mentioned by the central bank include; the owner of the forex bureau will have to show an operation account in BIF and U$D and provide the bank history.
The proprietor will have to join an association of money changers.
Meanwhile, to study a forex opening file, it is requested in particular, one million BIF, a business plan, a criminal record of the owner, his manager and his cashier, a letter of approval accompanied by a duly completed form and notarized status.
Managers and cashiers of exchange offices must also have at least a general humanities diploma and establishments must comply with BRB standards.
For a group of shareholders including a foreigner, U$400,000 is the fixed amount with U$40,000 deposit as registered capital.