The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased the limit foreign exchange that banks can sell to Bureaus De Change (BDCs) from $30,000 to $50,000.
Managing Director United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Kennedy Uzoka told journalists on Tuesday in Abuja after the Bankers’ Committee meeting that the decision was to drive down the price and ensure that people get enough foreign exchange to pay school fees as schools are about to open and that people who will be travelling at this period will require Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) and PTA.
The spokesperson of the CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, added that the apex bank “will now have to monitor strictly that people do not abuse the process”.
Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Peter Amangbo also explained that in keeping with the coming celebration of World Savings Day, all banks in Nigeria will break into different groups to cover all the Local Government Areas in the country to sensitize those at the grassroots on the need for people to save massively “to grow the pool of funds available for lending and the need to save.”
He observed further: “There will always be disparity in savings and interest rate stressing that the gap is not as wide as people think it is and the longer people save the more interest they will earn.”
According to him, the recent directive by the CBN to all banks to open savings account with zero amount would have been in effect for about two years now and “there are lots of accounts that can be opened with minimal documentation.”
On the need to have bank branches across the country, he said “you don’t need brick and mortar branches anymore because mobile apps are now game changers as a result there is no need to have beaches in Local Government Areas (LGAs).”
The CBN’s director of Banking Supervision, Mrs Tokunbo Martins also announced that a decision was taken at the bankers’ committee meeting to start disbursing the special intervention fund to support primary agricultural projects and core manufacturing.
“The CBN took from the bank’s cash reserves called the special intervention fund, that fund has been with the CBN for some time,” she said.
She said the fund would be “for projects that support import substitution, projects that will help protect foreign exchange such that whatever we were importing before can be manufactured.”
“It will be released to this kind of projects, it will not be released to any kind of project and once these funds are released there will be some ease on the system and there will be more liquidity so important projects will get financing at a lower single digit interest rate.”
On the directive to banks write off their Non Performing Loans (NPLs), she said it was not an arbitrary as “only NPLs that have been fully provided for in the books for the banks are those that can be written off and not an arbitrary right off of NPLs.”