The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Sunday directed banks to ensure that all requests for foreign exchange by customers for certain purposes were met within an average of 24 and 48 hours.
The Director, Financial Markets Department of the CBN, Alvan Ikoku, said in a statement that banks are henceforth to ensure the request for forex by customers for personal and basic transport allowances, PTA/BTA, were processed and met within 24 hours of applications.
Similar requests by customers for forex for school fees (including allowances) and medical bills must be processed within 48 hours of such applications.
Further directives were for the banks to immediately open teller points in all locations in order to ensure access to forex by their customers without any hindrance.
All banks are to ensure electronic display boards were kept in all banks’ branches showing rates of all traded currencies daily.
The CBN said the directives were part its efforts to further increase forex liquidity in the market and ensure availability to end-users
It urged all banks to ensure full compliance with the directives, and warned that non-compliance would attract serious sanctions, including but not limited to being barred from all future CBN foreign exchange interventions.
Since the review of the forex policy a fortnight ago, the CBN has so far intervened in the market twice, pumping about $500 million into the market in the first instance, with only about $350 million absorbed by customers.
In the second intervention where about $270 million was placed in the market, the CBN said only $221million was taken up.
The CBN spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES at the weekend, said there were plans by the bank to intervene with another $30 million this weekend in bid to boost market liquidity and strengthen the value of the Naira.
The value has since been boosted to about N450 to the dollar in the second week.
A senior official of the CBN told PREMIUM TIMES the bank was committed to continuing its policy to supply more dollars into the foreign exchange market in continuation of its strategy to strengthen the value of the Naira, which exchanged at about N465 to the dollar on Friday.