The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has allayed fears on forex shortage and urged members of the public seeking to purchase foreign exchange for PTA, BTA, payment of tuition fees or medical fees to do so from their banks.
The apex bank on Sunday made this call while announcing the increase of foreign exchange (forex) allocations to banks to meet the requests of customers, particularly travellers, seeking forex for travel allowances, payment of tuition and medical fees, among other invisibles.
The moves followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, at a weekend meeting with managing directors of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), cautioning them to desist from denying customers, particularly travellers, the opportunity 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) transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proceeds.
Confirming the discussions at the meeting of bank chiefs, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said in a note that the CBN remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the forex market to meet genuine and demands of customers.
He added: “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travellers, 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 assured 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, 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 CBN via the bank’s toll-free line: 07002255226 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if their requests are not met.
Sources at the meeting with the bank CEOs held to address the challenge faced by customers in accessing forex from their banks, said Emefiele warned that the CBN would deal with any bank that denies customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for legitimate purposes.
According to the source, Emefiele said the CBN management frowned upon the seeming difficulty customers experienced in accessing foreign exchange through the banks, particularly for Invisibles such as PTA and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs.
Emefiele had last week reiterated the bank’s commitment to ensuring steady availability of foreign exchange for manufacturers.
Emefiele had also urged banks as well as Nigerians to strive to end environmental pollution and ensure sustenance of banking principles.