Commercial banks in Lagos on Monday offered only lower denominations of foreign currency to customers.
The banks’ offer, aimed at stemming round tripping and money laundering, starved major parallel market across Lagos of the much needed funds, especially dollars and pound sterling.
A PREMIUM TIMES correspondent who visited First Bank and UBA headquarters at Marina Lagos gathered that most customers who thronged the banks to withdraw from their domiciliary accounts were surprised, as they were offered only one and two dollars bills.
Majority of the domiciliary account holders, who rejected the lower denominations, said it was unethical for commercial banks to dictate to them how to spend their money.
A customer, Lanre Ogun, said while they appreciated the CBN’s efforts to strengthen the naira, commercial banks’ approach in offering them only one dollar bills “negates everything civil and decency”.
“Nobody can dictate to me on how to spend my money and in what denomination of the foreign currencies,” Mr. Ogun, a financial consultant, said.
Another customer, Chuka Azia, said First Bank’s offering of only lower denomination without warning had cost him a business deal.
“I concluded business deal over the weekend which must be paid in dollars but my partners refused to take one and two dollars bills when I informed them of the situation at the bank this morning,” Mr. Azia, a trader, said.
Meanwhile, the naira rallied strongly against international currencies on Monday, appreciating N2 against the dollar.
At end of currency trading late afternoon, the naira traded at N265 to one dollar at the parallel market compared to N263 it sold on Sunday. Naira’s exchange rate to Pound Sterling remained at N380.
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