The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet the requests of customers, particularly travelers, seeking foreign exchange for travel allowances, payment of tuition and medical fees, among other invisibles.
This followed the stern warning issued by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at a meeting with the Managing Directors of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) cautioning them to desist from denying customers, particularly travelers, the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for the purposes of Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proceeds.
Sources close to the meeting held at the weekend, over the challenge faced by customers in accessing forex from their banks, said the Governor 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 Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), particularly for invisibles such as PTA and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs.
Furthermore, the sources hinted that the CBN may release several hotlines for aggrieved customers to report any bank that fails to sell foreign exchange to them even when they have provided required documentations.
Confirming the discussions at the meeting of bank chiefs, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi said on Sunday, June 6, 2021, that the Bank remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the foreign exchange market to meet genuine and legitimate demands of customers.
According to him, “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 said there was no cause for alarm and 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 pledged.
He, however, advised customers to approach their customer service representatives of their designated banks should they encounter challenges, adding that they could escalate complaints to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via the Bank’s toll-free line: 07002255226 or send an email to [email protected] if their requests are not met.