Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Forex sale: CBN assess banks’ compliance


Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, recently paid an unannounced visit to some banks in Abuja, to assess the level of compliance to the CBN’s new directive on forex sale to travellers.

The apex bank had issued a directive to all deposit money banks to buy and sell foreign currencies to eligible travellers over-the-counter whether the customer had an account or not. This, the bank said is to ensure access and make liquidity available in the market.

Emefiele who led a team of the bank’s examiners on the assessment tour, said that all the banks were well stocked and whoever want to make foreign exchange transaction should look for the “BTA/PTA counter’’ or “Bureau de Change counter’’ located in all banks’ branches.

“The essence of us being here is to make sure that the banks are able to service not just their customers, but also those who are not their customers, particularly those who want to travel outside the country.

“I want to seize this opportunity to let everybody know that there is dollar availability. If you want to travel, go to a bank. It doesn’t have to be your bank.

“Whether you have an account or not, you should be attended to. Just work into any bank with your travel document, show your Visa and air ticket. They will ask for your BVN and once they verify it, they should attend to you on the spot.

“Nobody should go home and come back because he or she wants to buy foreign exchange. You should be attended to immediately and that’s what over-the-counter means,’’ he said.

Emefiele warned that any bank that denied customers with legitimate forex need will be appropriately sanctioned adding that henceforth, CBN will routinely visit banks to monitor forex sales compliance.

He also said that all banks were expected to display daily foreign exchange rates for major currencies, so that the customer would be aware of how much he or she is paying.

“The essence of this inspection is to say that there is ample liquidity for any eligible traveler and nobody should fall into the temptation of buying BTA or PTA from a bank at more than N360 to a dollar.

“The banks are entitled to their margin, and their margin has already been built into the price so you don’t have to pay any additional charge,” he said.

He said the CBN Examiners will continue to do on-the-spot assessments at banks to ensure that intending travellers are attended to Over-the-Counter.

The governor who visited the regional officers of Zenith Bank, United Bank for Africa and First Bank of Nigeria, said he was satisfied with the compliance level in the banks’ branches visited.


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