CBN moves to enhance forex sales, directs banks to set up teller points

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Three days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced it would discontinue the sale of Dollars to the Bureau De Change (BDC) operators, it has directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to set up teller points in designated branches for the sale of foreign exchange to meet legitimate forex requests of their customers.

The directive is contained in a memo by the CBN to the deposit money banks and signed by the Director, Bank Supervision Department of the apex bank, on Thursday, July 28, 2021, in Abuja.

The CBN in the memo also asked the banks to publicize the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell forex to customers in cash and/or electronically.

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The CBN’s letter partly reads, “Further to the Monetary Policy Committee briefing of July 27, all DMBs are hereby reminded to set up teller points at designated branches across the country to fulfil legitimate FX requests for Personal Travel Allowance, Business Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments and SMEs transactions, among others.

In this regard, DMBs are also required to adequately publicise the locations of the designated branches and make necessary arrangements to sell FX to customers in cash and/or electronically in compliance with extant regulations.

“DMBs are strongly advised to ensure that no customer is turned back or refused FX provided that documentation and all other requirements are satisfied. Equally, undue delays, rationing and/or diversion of FX is strongly discouraged whilst DMBs are required to establish electronic application and alert systems to update customers on status of their FX requests.’’

The letter pointed out that a toll-free line had been set up at the CBN for bank customers to escalate unresolved complaints related to their FX requests.

READ ALSO:Nigerian banks remain solid, CBN assures investors, customers

Mustafa in the letter also said that the CBN would continue to closely monitor banks’ conduct and compliance with the directive in order to ensure an efficient FX market for all legitimate users.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Tuesday, July 27, took most people by surprise as he announced the discontinuation of forex allocation to the BDCs accusing them of unwholesome practices and now being agents that facilitate graft and corruption in the country.

He said that the apex bank will now sell foreign exchange directly to deposit money banks.

The CBN also moved against forex speculation by allocating a total of $200 million to all commercial banks in the country as part of efforts to meet the foreign exchange demand for legitimate end-users nationwide.

Meanwhile, the apex bank has announced it would commence immediate refund of minimum capital deposits and licensing fees to Bureaux de change (BDCs) promoters with pending applications.

Recall that to become a BDC operator the requirements include a minimum capital requirement of N35 million for operators; a mandatory cautionary deposit of N35 million; an application fee of N100,000; licensing fee of N1 million and annual license renewal fee of N250,000.