The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Chief Executives of the deposit money banks under the aegis of the Bankers Committee, have announced that foreign exchange for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), school fees and medicals would now be sold online.
This is as the chief executives of these banks have also warned customers against using fraudulent methods to get access to foreign exchange from banks, saying those caught perpetrating such acts would be prosecuted.
This was the outcome of the 357th meeting of the Banker’s Committee meeting held virtually on Thursday.
This disclosure was made by the outgoing Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) Plc, Segun Agbaje, at a media briefing at the end of the Bankers’ Committee meeting on Thursday in Lagos.
What the outgoing GTB Managing Director is saying
Agbaje in his statement said, “I hope that many of you will see that the new Foreign Exchange policy with regards to Invisibles, Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), tuition fees, and medical payments, is working very well.
“We have taken it upon ourselves along with the regulator to make sure that this works, and this is just the first phase and if you noticed most of the things you are doing today, you are going into the branches to do most things.
“But, we are going to also try to digitise this whole thing the way the world is going; and that is being done by Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) where you will be able to buy online.’’
He said that the NIBSS already has a portal, through which banks share information on the application process and also warned fraudulent individuals to have a change of mind as anyone caught would not be able to do anything in the banking system again.
He further said the punishment would not only be meted to fraudulent individuals, but also to any bank and staff that contravened the apex bank’s rules.
In addition to digitising, Agbaje expressed the hope that customers would no longer carry out all their transactions by cash.
He said, “The world today is not friendly about arriving in countries with cash, so we are hoping that people will be able to put this on their cards and card account.
“If you use a card, there is more KYC that can easily be done! It will be quicker, cheaper and faster, you will be less harassed when you arrive in countries and there will be no need for you to fill a cash declaration form.’’
What you should know
It can be recalled that the CBN had on July 27, at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting, announced the discontinuation of forex sale to the BDCs, saying they had morphed into agents that facilitate graft and corrupt activities of people who seek illicit fund flow and money laundering in Nigeria.
The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said the apex bank would channel a significant portion of its weekly allocation meant for BDCs to commercial banks to meet legitimate forex demand for ordinary Nigerians and businesses and asked the banks to set up teller points in designated branches for sales of forex.
Some of the fraudulent activities observed by the banks include using expired travel tickets, fake passports and others, in a bid to procure forex.