The Central Bank of Nigeria has concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet the requests of customers, particularly travelers, seeking the forex for travel allowances, payment of tuition and medical fees, among other invisibles.
This followed a warning issued by CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele at a meeting with the Managing Directors of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) asking them to desist from denying customers, particularly travelers, the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
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Emefiele warned that the CBN would severely deal with any bank that denied customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange for legitimate purposes.
Sources privy to the meeting said that the CBN management frowned at the difficulties customers experienced in accessing foreign exchange through their respective DMBs, particularly for invisibles such as PTA and requests bordering on tuition and healthcare needs.
Furthermore, the sources hinted that the CBN might release several hotlines for aggrieved customers to report any bank that fails to sell foreign exchange to them even when they have provided required documentations.
Confirming the discussions at the meeting, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, yesterday said that the CBN remained committed to ensuring liquidity in the foreign exchange market to meet genuine and legitimate demands of customers.
He said: “The CBN agreed to increase the amount allocated to banks for travelers, 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”.