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Double headache for black market traders as Nigerians can now apply for forex online

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Nigerians looking to obtain foreign currencies for travels and businesses can now apply online, thanks to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) deployment of an electronic Form ‘A’.

The e-form is to expedite applications for PTA/BTA, medicals, education, and other remittances.

The Central Bank of Nigeria made the announcement in a circular titled, “Automation of Form ‘A’ on the Trade Monitoring System” and signed by Dr Ozoemena Nnnaji, Director Trade, and Exchange Department.

The circular obtained by Ripples Nigeria on Thursday contained instruction that all hard copies of Forms ‘A’ created on or before November 2, 2021 (before the start of the e-Form ‘A’) must be used within 15 working days of the Form’s creation.

The circular also showed the form allows customers to purchase forex at the CBN or interbank rate to make payments for eligible services as predetermined by the foreign exchange manual.

The e-Form ‘A’ is also meant to replace its hardcopy from today, November 30, 2021. The Bank also noted that customers would pay a charge of N5,000 as fee per declaration of e-Form ‘A’.

READ ALSO: CBN not happy with commercial banks over e-Naira

Part of the circular reads: “This is to inform all authorized dealers and the general public of the deployment of e-Form ‘A’.

“Accordingly, the e-Form ‘A’ shall replace the hard copy of Form ‘A’ for invincible transactions [PTA/BTA, medicals, education, other remittances etc.]with effect from November 30, 2021.

“Consequently, all authorized dealers are required to ensure that the processing of Form ’A’ shall only be done electronically on the Trade Monitoring System accessible at www.tradesystem.gov.ng.

“The general public is required to obtain a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN) from their authorized dealer Banks. The BVN is a prerequisite for customers to access the Trade System for e-Form ‘A’ application.

“The e-Form ‘A’ is web-based and allows the general public to initiate the Form from their offices/homes and submit same to the authorized dealer bank.

“A charge of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) as fee per declaration of e-Form ‘A’ is applicable with effect from November 30, 2021, and henceforth. There will be a direct debit from the processing bank’s current account for each declaration which should be recovered the charge on the customer by the bank. However, customers for the e-Form ‘A’ should be separated from other bank charges.”

“All hard copies of Forms ‘A’ established on or before November 2 2021 (prior to the commencement of the e-Form ‘A’) shall be utilized within 15 working days of the establishment of the Form.

“For the avoidance of doubt, all established hard copies of Forms ‘A’ for which disbursement had not been made within the transition period of 15 working days shall be deemed cancelled.

“All authority dealer banks are enjoined to inform their customers of the development for compliance.”

Already Nigerian Banks have started informing their customers on the Form A.

FSDH Merchant Bank Limited in a notice to its customers said:

“Dear valued customer, we wish to bring to your notice that CBN has deployed the automated Forms A & NCX for invisible and non-commercial export transactions (in addition to commercial export already on the platform) on the TRMS platform,”

“Hence, it has become imperative for every individual (Current and Potential customers for invisible transactions e.g., for tuition fee, upkeep, medical fee, BTA/PTA, subscription, professional exams/certification fee, etc.) to immediately sign up on the TRMS platform preparatory to cut over to the new system by the CBN.”

Others to have sent a notice seen by Ripples Nigeria included Stanbic, GTBank and First Bank.

What this means for black market traders

With the automated system black market traders could be in for difficult days ahead.

Since the CBN stopped providing dollars to Bureau de Change operators, traders have been forced to seek alternative sources of obtaining foreign currency.

The CBN is the country’s sole source of foreign currency, and the eForm makes it easier to track who is requesting and for what purpose.

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