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Banks Cautions Their Customers Against CBN Forex Directives

Nigerian banks have warned that customers who do not comply with the new foreign exchange policy may face criminal prosecution by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

This was disclosed via emails to their customers stating that defaulters of the new foreign exchange policy may face fines, including being prevented from accessing FX from the official FX market, bank account restrictions as established by the CBN, and criminal prosecution.

According to Punch, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC, and First Bank of Nigeria Limited had sent the emails to their customers.

What the banks are saying

In an email to customers the banks stated, “In line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy to improve access to foreign exchange for legitimate transactions, we are committed to providing you with foreign exchange for your personal and business travel as well as payment for overseas education, medical and other eligible invisible transactions.

“As our valued customer, you have a role to play to ensure the success and integrity of the policy. To enable us to serve you better, you are reminded to note the following rules when applying for FX for Personal and Business Travel.

“FX shall be sold for legitimate travel purposes only. Always have a clear intention and legitimate purpose to travel. You are required to provide a valid Nigerian passport and a valid visa to an international destination.

“Only valid travel documents shall be accepted. Your ticket must be to an international destination outside of West Africa and Cameroon. You are required to provide an international return ticket, with a travel date not more than 14 days from the date of PTA/BTA purchase.”

The banks added that customers could only apply for PTA and BTA once every quarter, and were liable to $4,000 and $5,000 per quarter per applicant respectively.

The banks said, “Customers are required to return purchased PTA/BTA to their bank within two (2) weeks from the date of purchase if not utilised for the intended purpose or if for any reason the scheduled trip is cancelled.

“Do not apply on behalf of a third party. FX will only be sold directly to applicants who shall be Nigerians who are 18 years and above and have a valid Bank Verification Number. False application and use of fake documents to purchase PTA/BTA is strictly prohibited and is a financial crime punishable under the applicable laws in Nigeria.

“Defaulters of this FX policy may face sanctions that include being barred from accessing FX from the official FX market in the future, restrictions on their bank account(s) for such periods as may be determined by CBN as well as possible criminal prosecution.”

What you should know

  • In line with CBN directives, only Nigerians aged 18 and up with valid Bank Verification Number would be able to purchase foreign exchange directly.

  • At the last Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria hit at the Bureau De Change (BDC) for illegal forex trading and stated that it will henceforth discontinue the sale of forex to the Bureau operators in Nigeria.

  • The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also announced a halt on the licensing of new Bureau De Change (BDC) operators and further processing of BDC application for forex across the country.

  • The CBN 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.

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