The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all commercial banks in the country to sell foreign exchange across the counter. Acting spokesman for the apex bank, Isaac Okoroafor disclosed this in a statement. Failure to this would lead to stiff sanctions.
All Deposit Money Banks are mandated to buy and sell foreign currency to travellers ( both customers and non-customers) upon presentation of relevant valid travel documents such as visa and tickets OVER THE COUNTER. All travelers shall be attended to immediately at the bank’s counters. Any contravention will be sanctioned by the CBN.
In addition, all Bureaux De Change (BDCs) are to access the foreign exchange window, thrice a week. Failure to do this, Okoroafor warned could lead to the CBN reviewing their operating licenses.
Reasons behind the move
Summertime is a period of pressure on foreign exchange as Nigerians travel abroad. Difficulty accessing foreign exchange through the banks would lead to increased patronage of the black market and widening of the rates between both sectors.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had recently stated the bank’s determination to ensure convergence of all rates sometime in the future.
Foreign exchange reserves are up
Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood at $47.7 billion as at the 21st of May 2018. They are forecast to hit the $50 billion before year end, on the back of an increase in crude oil prices and improved production volumes. The apex bank thus has enough liquidity to meet demand.
Crude oil prices have been on an upswing due to geo- political tensions between the United States and Iran.