Banks Barred From Imposing Charges On Forex Sales

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has barred banks from charging commission or any other fees on the foreign exchange (forex) it provides for onward sales to their customers as personal or business travel allowance, payment of school fees and medicals.

This was just as the CBN expressed optimism that the sequence of economic growth in the country would be sustained in the months ahead.

The decision was a fallout of yesterday’s Bankers’ Committee meeting in Lagos where it said the move will serve as palliatives for Nigerians who have been buffeted by the harsh economy.

Disclosing this after their meeting on Tuesday in Lagos, CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Dr. Ahmed Abdullahi, who briefed the press said the optimism in the economy is fuelled by the rising reserves, improved capital market, downward inflationary trend and expected growth in the GDP.

He was flanked by the Chief Executive Officer of FSDH Merchant Bank, Mrs. Hamda Ambah, the Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC, Mr. Deola Shogunle, and the Managing Director of Citibank, Mr. Akinsonwon Dawodu.

On the embargo clamped on the banks from charging commission, Mrs. Ambah warned that severe consequences await any erring bank whose customers file complaints before the Bankers’ Committee on the issue.

Her words: “One of the things agreed at the meeting was something that will be a palliative for all individuals in the economy to, at least, make them enjoy some benefits. And it was agreed that for the foreign exchange (forex), which the banks can sell with CBN authority to their clients for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Business Travel Allowance (BTA), school fees and medicals, henceforth, all banks will charge N360 per dollar for that. And there will be no commission or whatsoever charge by the banks for that sale.”

“The Bankers’ Committee wants it to be uniform across the banking industry. And sanctions await any banks whose customers report that they went outside this threshold.”

Recall that the apex bank sells forex to banks at the rate of 357/$1 for onward sale to retail end-users at not more than N360/$1 for invisibles such as BTA, medicals and school fees, among others.