The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced on Sunday increased foreign exchange allocations (forex) to banks to accommodate requests from clients, particularly travelers, seeking foreign exchange for travel allowances, tuition fees, and medical fees, among other invisible.
The measures followed a warning from the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in a weekend meeting with the CEOs of deposited money banks (DMBs), warning them to desist from denying clients, in particular to travelers, the opportunity to purchase foreign currency for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees and medical payments, as well as Small and Medium Business (SME) transactions or for income repatriation Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Confirming the discussions at the meeting of heads of banks, the acting director of the Department of Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said in a note that the CBN remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the foreign exchange market to meet the demands genuine and legitimate customers.
He added: “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travelers, Small and Medium Businesses among others. The banks also agreed to operate something similar to a currency advance account, so that the banks’ coffers will be replenished as long as they withdraw the initial amounts to the satisfaction of the CBN ”.
Nwanisobi allayed fears of a currency shortage and urged members of the public looking to purchase PTA, BTA currency, tuition fees, or medical fees to do so at their banks.
“We wish to assure members of the public that the CBN will continue to monitor market developments and is committed to ensuring an efficient forex market for all legitimate users,” he said.
However, he recommended that customers approach their designated banks’ customer service representatives in case they encountered challenges, adding that they could refer complaints to the CBN through the bank’s toll-free line: 07002255226 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if your requests are not fulfilled.
Sources at the meeting with the bank’s CEOs held to address the challenge clients face in accessing forex from their banks, said Emefiele warned that the CBN would deal with any bank that denies clients the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for purposes of legitimate.
According to the source, Emefiele said CBN management frowned at the apparent difficulty customers were experiencing accessing foreign exchange through banks, particularly for Invisibles like PTAs and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs.
Emefiele had reiterated last week the bank’s commitment to guarantee constant availability of foreign exchange for manufacturers.
Emefiele had also urged banks and Nigerians to strive to end environmental pollution and ensure that banking principles are upheld.