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Naira to strengthen at black market as CBN, banks plan to sell dollars online

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the bankers committee have announced plans to digitalize the sale of foreign exchange, which will greatly simplify the cumbersome process of obtaining forex.

Ripples Nigeria had reported yesterday how black marketers are riding on difficulty in accessing Forex to create pressure in the Forex market.

In response, banks are currently working with Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) to develop an app where Nigerians can purchase dollars for Business Travel Allowance (BTA) Personal Travel Allowance (PTA),school and medical fees.

This was revealed at the 357th meeting of the bankers committee on Thursday.

The banks also threatened to block and prosecute customers using fraudulent methods to beat the system.

Speaking at virtual event, one of the CEOs present, Segun Agbaje of Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc, reaffirmed banks’ commitments to ensuring the government’s new forex policy is a huge success.

“The banks are taking it upon ourselves along with the regulator to make sure that this works. We are going to try also to digitize this whole thing the way the world is going.

“An app is being created by NIBSS where customers will be able to buy online. All You have to bring your ticket so we are sharing this information on the portal. This is very important information because if we find that people are trying to defraud the system, we will track it on the portal. The banks will report the individuals to the CBN,” he said.

Agbaje also revealed the punishment for those trying to beat the system.

Read also: Naira stable across FX markets as oil drops below $70

“The likely punishment is that your account will be PMDied. PMD of your account means that you won’t be able to do anything in the banking system. This is for people who have genuine needs so fraudulent transactions or fraudulent individuals will be reported to the CBN and the portal will help us this,” Agbaje said.

Also speaking, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, managing director of Citibank, said, there will be sanctions where people abuse the system because it is all about ensuring the foreign exchange is fairly allocated among legitimate users.

“We have digital means of being able to determine if people are using fraudulent documentation or wanting to gain the system in a way that was not intended. We are here to support the demand, to make sure people get their foreign exchange. It is important that people realize that there is a responsibility that comes to that,” she said.

On why banks’ processes have been regarded as cumbersome, Herbert Wigwe, Group managing director/CEO, Access Bank Plc explained, “Foreign exchange is a very scarce resource if we find people trying to come up with tickets that have expired or that they are going to cancel or passports that are not legitimate by any way or people coming to buy more than they are supposed to buy using all the banks, we will report them to the law enforcement agency for them to deal with these people.

Other banks CEOs that spoke included Demola Sogunle, managing director, Stanbic IBTC, Oluwatomi Somefun, managing director/CEO Unity Bank Plc, and Yemisi Edun, managing director/CEO, FCMB.

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