Godwin Emefiele, CBN Governor
The Central Bank of Nigeria has cautioned Deposit Money Banks against selling the United States dollars to eligible travellers above the required price of N360.
Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, said this during an inspection of banks in Abuja as part of monitoring exercise after the issuance of a circular to banks on foreign exchange sales.
The bank branches visited by the governor are Zenith Bank Plc in Maitama, First Bank of Nigeria Limited in the Central Area and United Bank for Africa Plc in Area 3.
The CBN had issued the circular to banks directing them to sell foreign exchange over the counter to eligible buyers, who walk into any bank regardless of whether they were customers of the bank or not.
To qualify to access foreign exchange under this regime, such eligible travellers must have in their possession valid travelling documents such as visas, passports and air tickets.
Emefiele, who expressed satisfaction with the rate of compliance by the banks visited, said he would deploy examiners to continue with the on-site inspection of the lenders.
“During the weekend, there was a release from the Central Bank of Nigeria that all banks are mandated to sell foreign exchange to anybody that walks into their bank, whether it is a customer or non-customer of that bank. It is the banks’ primary responsibility to provide foreign currencies for travellers out of the country,” the CBN boss said.
He added, “So, all that you need is just your passport, visa and travelling ticket. You are not expected as a customer or non-customer to deposit your documents and go away; you are expected to be attended to over the counter.
“The essence of this visit is to see whether the banks are actually doing what we said they should do. I can say that I am happy, it hasn’t really hit the ground but I would have wished I see a long queue of people trying to buy BTA from the banks.”
The CBN boss also warned that no bank should turn back any eligible traveller who had complied with the laid down requirements, adding that the CBN had given all the banks enough foreign exchange to meet genuine demands of travellers.