The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has concluded plans to increase foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet customers’ requests.
This particularly relates to travellers seeking foreign exchange for travel allowances, payment of tuition and medical fees, among others.
It follows a warning issued by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at a meeting with managing directors of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
Mr Emefiele cautioned them to desist from denying customers, particularly travellers, the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
This is a foreign exchange for personal travel allowance (PTA), basic travel allowance (BTA), tuitions, and medical payments, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transactions or for the repatriation of foreign direct investment (FDI) proceeds.
Sources aware of the meeting proceedings held at the weekend over the challenge faced by customers in accessing forex from banks disclosed that Mr Emefiele threatened to take action against any defaulting bank.
The sources disclosed that the CBN management frowned on customers’ difficulty accessing foreign exchange through banks.
According to the sources, CBN may release hotlines for aggrieved customers to report banks that fail to sell foreign exchange even after providing required documentation.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, on Sunday confirmed the discussions at the meeting of bank chiefs.
He added that the bank remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the foreign exchange market.
This is to meet the genuine and legitimate demands of customers.
He said, “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travellers, small and medium enterprises, among others.
“The banks also agreed to operate something akin to foreign exchange imprest account such that the coffers of banks would be replenished so long as they retire the initial amounts to the satisfaction of the CBN.”
Mr Nwanisobi urged individuals who need foreign exchange for PTA, BTA, payment of tuitions, or medical fees to approach their respective banks for that purpose.
“We wish to assure members of the public that the CBN shall continue to monitor market developments and is committed to ensuring an efficient FX market for all legitimate users,” he said.
Mr Nwanisobi urged them to forward their complaints to the CBN via the bank’s toll-free line: 07002255226 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if their requests are not met.