The Central Bank of Nigeria said it has concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet the requests of customers seeking forex for travel allowances, payment of tuition and medical fees, among other invisibles.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for several purposes.
The purposes include Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds.
During a meeting on the challenge faced by customers in accessing forex from their banks, 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 CBN management frowned on the difficulty customers experienced in accessing foreign exchange through their respective Deposit Money Banks, particularly for invisibles such as PTA and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs frowned at complaints.
At the meeting, the CBN said it might release hotlines for aggrieved customers to report any banks that failed to sell foreign exchange to them even when they had provided required documentations.
Confirming the discussions at the meeting of bank chiefs, the acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, said that the 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 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 said.