The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Sunday directed all commercial banks and Bureau de Changes (BDCs) to sell foreign exchange (Forex) to all eligible travelers over the counter, regardless of their customer status.
The CBN in a statement on Sunday by its spokesperson, Isaac Okoroafor, said banks and BDCs were obliged to sell Forex to all persons wishing to travel on presentation of relevant travel documentations.
Mr Okorafor warned that any bank or BDC that fails to strictly adhere to the directive would be sanctioned.
Titled “Sale of Forex to Travellers Over the Counter” the statement said the directive was necessary to ensure eligible travelers were able to access Forex and make liquidity available in the market.
The statement read: “All Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are mandated to buy and sell foreign exchange to travellers (both customers and non-customers) upon presentation of relevant, valid travel documents, such as visa and ticket OVER THE COUNTER.
“All travellers shall be attended to immediately at the banks’ counters. Any contravention shall be sanctioned by the CBN.
“All BDCs (bureaux) shall henceforth access Forex from the CBN on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“It is compulsory that all BDCs access Forex at least three times weekly.
“Any BDC that fails to access the Forex window at least three times weekly shall have its licence reviewed by the CBN. Compliance is Compulsory.”
The directive follows last Thursday’s injection of additional $100 million into the foreign market barely 24 hours after the bank made available $210 million the previous day to the wholesale segment of the market.
Wednesday’s provision of funding was to take care of the spike in the seasonal demand for Forex to meet various personal obligations
The bank said the additional funding of the market on Thursday was to cater for the personal needs of Nigerians who may want to travel to fulfill personal obligations, particularly for pilgrimage.
Also, the bank said the move was to safeguard the interest of customers seeking to purchase Forex to checkmate any attempt at causing panic in the market.