Banks are to sell dollar at N360 for travel allowances, tuition and medical fees.
A statement from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday noted that ” $85 million for sale to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) at the rate of N 357/$1 has been released by the apex bank for onward sale to retail end-users at not more than N360/$1, for invisibles, such as Basic Travel Allowance(BTAs), medicals, school fees, etc.”
The CBN also offered $100 million to authorised FOREX dealers in the interbank wholesale window to meet the requests of genuine wholesale customers.
The bank’s Acting Director in charge of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said: “The rates in the interbank window for wholesale transactions would still be determined by activities in the interbank market.
“All banks have also been directed to immediately post the new N360/$1 rate on electronic display boards in the banking halls of their branches, as examiners from the CBN would visit banks to ensure the new rates are implemented.”
The CBN spokesmen also reiterated the directive that all banks should meet the demand for Travel Allowances (PTA/BTA) by end-users within 24 hours of application. Applications for school fees and medical bills are to be met within 48 hours of application.”
Okorafor warned that the new move, which is designed to further ease access of genuine end-users to forex, “prohibits banks from selling foreign exchange funds meant for invisibles to Bureau De Change (BDCs)”.
He assured that “all banks would receive amounts commensurate with their demand per week, which would be sold to customers who meet usual basic documentary requirements”.
He urged customers to report any erring bank to the CBN for investigation and appropriate sanction.
On March 3, through its Director, Financial Markets Department, Allan Ikoku, had all banks to open teller points in all locations to ensure access to foreign exchange by their customers without any hindrance.
Ikoku also directed banks to have electronic display boards in all their branches, showing rates of all traded currencies; process and meet the demand for PTA/BTA customers within 24 hours of such applications and process and meet demands for school fees (including allowances) and medical bills within 48 hours of such applications.
The reason for this earlier directive, he said was to further increase foreign exchange liquidity in the market and ensure availability to end-users.
Non-compliance with these directives, he warned, “would attract sanctions, including but not limited to being barred from all future CBN foreign exchange interventions”.
However, many banks in Abuja were overwhelmed by forex demands, particularly for BTA/PTA and for tuition fees so much so some customers were turned back and asked to come a week after they made applications for forex.