The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday pegged the buying rate of dollars for invisibles in banks at N360 to the dollar and also removed all forms of charges and commissions on such transactions.
The invisibles include school fees, medical bills and travelling allowance.
By this policy option, bank customers are to patronise banks directly for their foreign exchange demands.
Giving the hint on the measure at the end of the apex bank’s first Bankers Committee meeting, the Managing Director of FSDH Merchant Bank, Mrs. Hamda Amber, said that customers would now get better rate than what they used to get previously at the Bureau de Change and parallel market.
The CBN sells dollars to BDC operators at N360 to the dollar and expects them to sell at between N362 and N363 while it sells to banks at N357 and expects them to sell at N360.
Before the latest decision of the Committee, banks had been charging commissions on forex bought by customers for invisible.
While announcing the complete cessation of all forms of charges on invisible purchases, the Committee advised customers to report any bank that sells above N360 to the dollar or imposes charges and commissions.
Meanwhile the CBN had also indicated its readiness to sanction any exporter who violates its guidelines on the repatriation of foreign exchange.
The bank had last October hinted it would begin to sanction exporters who failed to repatriate their forex proceeds through the banking system, including barring them from accessing financial services in the country.
The CBN Director, Banking Supervision, Ahmed Abdullahi, said then that the apex bank wanted to give time to warn defaulters before enforcing the strict sanction, adding however that the sanctioning of defaulting exporters will start this month.
He disclosed that the nation’s foreign exchange reserves had risen to $42 billion by yesterday, up from the $40.79 billion recorded as at last Friday.
At the end of its meeting, the Bankers Committee also agreed to play an active role in the implementation of the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) as a strategic option of stimulating sustained growth in key sectors of the economy.
Confirming the committee’s position, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC, Dr. Demola Shogunle, assured that banks would continue to perform their financial intermediation roles in the economy, especially in three focal areas of power and gas, agricultural and transportation as well as manufacturing and processing as captured in the ERGP of the government.
He said: “Bankers Committee overwhelmingly decided to support those focus laps as part of our responsibility; we will try to be embedded in the programme. The banking community will participate actively to the extent that it will lead to job creation and additional investment in the economy.”