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Business News of Monday, 7 June 2021

Source: thenationonlineng.net

Banks to face sanction for denying forex to travelers

The photo used to illustrate the story The photo used to illustrate the story

Any Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) that denies travellers and other foreign exchange (forex) users access to dollars will be punished, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) warned banks’ managing directors yesterday.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele cautioned chief executives of the banks to desist from denying customers, particularly travellers, access to foreign exchange for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees and medical payments.

He also warned that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) must not be denied transactions for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proceeds.

The CBN chief said it will be raising the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet the requests of customers.

Based on the CBN guidelines, a company can buy up to $5,000 BTA per quarter while an individual is entitled to $4,000 PTA per quarter.

Sources at the meeting that was held over the challenge faced by customers in accessing forex from their banks, said the Emefiele warned that the CBN would severely deal with any bank that denied customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for legitimate purposes.

The sources disclosed that the CBN Management frowned at the seeming difficulty customers experienced in accessing foreign exchange through their respective DMBs, particularly for invisibles such as PTA and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs frowned at complaints.

The sources further hinted that the CBN may release several hotlines for aggrieved customers to report any bank that failed to sell forex to them even when they have provided required documentations.

Confirming the discussions, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said the apex bank remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the foreign exchange market to meet genuine and legitimate demands of customers.

He said: “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travelers, 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 will be replenished so long as they retire the initial amounts to the satisfaction of the CBN.”

Nwanisobi urged interested members of the public seeking to purchase foreign exchange for PTA, BTA, payment of tuition fees 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 assured.

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