The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday revealed that it had gotten reports that a few clients looking to purchase outside trade (forex) for business travel allowance (BTA), personal travel allowance (PTA), medical and school fees were being disappointed by some banks with the false claim that the CBN was not designating enough forex for such undetectable things.
It will be recalled that the CBN on Thursday educated the market that a lower exchange rate will be prompted at most by Monday morning.
Authoritative sources at the CBN have hinted that the bank is considering at least a N5 reduction for PTA/BTA and medical and school fees at both the bank and BDC segments.
Also, the CBN has issued stern warning to deposit money bank compelling them that it is only the prerogative of the customer to decide the mode of payment, either as dollar cash or card.
The bank has further warned that it prefers the mode of dispensing PTA/BTA through cash payment and has threatened to impose stiff sanction not only on the bank but also the CEO that failed to obey this directive.
This warning is coming based on information received by the CBN through its misery shoppers who complained that banks were turning back their customers. The apex bank further directed that any bank customer turned back at any branch nationwide should report such bank through its hot line.
It urged any customer that is not attended to within 24 hours for BTA/PTA or 48 hours for tuition and medical fees should call a dedicated number or send an email to the Consumer Protection Department of the CBN, with the name and branch of the non-cooperating bank.
Also yesterday, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun assured that the newly-established wholesale development finance institution, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) would be free of any form of political interference.
The apex bank, which made the accusation against the banks in a statement by its acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, titled: “There is Adequate Forex for PTA, BTA, Tuition & Medical Fees,” said such claim by banks was totally untrue.
According to the CBN, all banks have more than enough stock of forex in their possession for the purpose of meeting genuine customers’ demand for BTA, PTA, tuition and medical fees. “Indeed, on a weekly basis, the CBN has been selling at least $80 million to banks for onward sale to their customers for these invisible items.
“Members of the public seeking to buy forex for the above-mentioned purposes are, therefore, advised to go to their banks and obtain their forex,” it added.
“Furthermore, no customer should accept to buy forex from any bank at more than the currently prescribed rate of N360/$1,” it added
The development in the market negatively impacted the performance of the Naira on the parallel market as it fell to N391 to the dollar yesterday, lower than the N384 to the dollar it was the previous day.
In continuation of its determination to sustain liquidity in the foreign exchange market, the CBN had on Thursday increased the amount of dollars to be sold to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators to $10,000 weekly, up from the $8,000 per week it was previously. This meant that the operators would be entitled to $5,000 per bid, at a new rate to be announced on Monday.
The CBN had on Monday directed all banks to immediately begin the sale of FX for BTA, PTA, tuition and medical fees to customers at not more than N360 per dollar. The CBN explained that it will sell to banks at N357 per dollar, adding that banks are expected to post the new rates in the banking halls of their branches immediately. Also, barely 24-hours after the policy was announced, the CBN lowered the rate at which dollar inflows from International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) are sold to BDC operators to N360/$1, from the N381/$1 it was previously. With this directive, the BDCs were expected to sell the greenback to retail end-users at not more than N362/$1, lower than the N400/$1 it used to be sold at this segment of the market.