The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Wednesday that it will enhance foreign exchange (forex) allocations to banks in order to satisfy the needs of consumers, particularly travelers, who want forex for travel allowances, tuition and medical bills, and other Invisibles.
The moves came after the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, warned managing directors of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) not to deny customers, particularly travellers, the ability to purchase forex for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, and medical payments, as well as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) at a weekend meeting.
In a message, the CBN’s Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, confirmed the discussions at the meeting of bank chiefs, saying that the CBN remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the FX market to fulfill genuine and legitimate client needs.
He went on to say, “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travelers, SME’s, and other purposes.” The banks also agreed to operate something close to a foreign exchange deposit account, in which the banks’ coffers would be filled as long as they returned the initial amounts to the CBN’s satisfaction.”
Fears of a forex scarcity were allayed by Nwanisobi, who invited members of the public to purchase foreign exchange from their banks for PTA, BTA, university fees, or medical bills.
“We want to reassure the public that the CBN will continue to monitor market developments and is committed to ensuring a smooth FX market for all legitimate users,” he said.
Customers should approach their authorized banks’ customer service representatives if they have problems, he said, adding that if their demands are not granted, they can escalate complaints to the CBN via the bank’s toll-free line: 07002255226 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to sources at the meeting with bank CEOs intended to address the difficulty clients have in getting forex from their banks, Emefiele warned that the CBN would deal with any bank that denies clients the ability to buy foreign currency for lawful causes.
According to the source, the CBN management disapproved of the apparent difficulty consumers had in obtaining foreign exchange through banks, particularly for Invisibles such as PTA and demands for tuition and healthcare.
Last week, Emefiele reaffirmed the bank’s commitment to maintaining constant foreign exchange availability for manufacturers.
Emefiele also asked banks and Nigerians to work together to reduce pollution and secure the survival of banking fundamentals.