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CBN bars most banks from SME Forex window

Following
persistent complaints that some deposit money banks (DMBs) have
deliberately frustrated efforts by many small and medium enterprises
(SMEs) to access forex from the new window created by the Central Bank
of Nigeria (CBN), the apex Bank on Tuesday barred all but eight banks
from dealing in the SME wholesale Forex window.
Sources at the CBN
disclosed that the financial regulator took the decision to bar the
erring banks based on field reports, which revealed that only eight
banks had sold forex to the SMEs segment since the inception of the new
window.
According to the source, the CBN frowned at

the action of
banks that declined to sell foreign exchange to SMEs to enable them
import eligible finished and semi-finished items despite the
availability of forex from the CBN Wholesale intervention window.
Confirming
the decision, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac
Okorafor, said all banks that had refused to sell forex to the SME
actors after accessing over $300 million offered to the SMEs wholesale
forex window since its creation last month will be sanctioned
accordingly.
He listed the banks not barred to include: Access
Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank, Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank,
Sterling Bank, Unity Bank and Zenith Bank, warning that the CBN would
not sit back and allow any form of instability in the interbank forex
market through the actions of institutions or individuals.
He therefore urged all stakeholders to play by the rules for the benefit of the entire country and its economy.
Meanwhile,
the CBN continued its massive intervention in the foreign exchange
segment of the financial market by injecting a total of $196.2 million
into the various segments of the Forex market on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
According
to Okorafor, the apex Bank offered the sum of the $100 million to
authorized dealers at Tuesday’s FOREX wholesale auction. A breakdown of
the other interventions indicate that the CBN made available the sum of
$52 million to the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment, while
invisibles such Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), Basic Travel Allowance
(BTA), Medicals and tuition received $44.2 million.


Okorafor also
announced interventions in the retail auction window, which he said
would be computed when the Bank receives requests made by customers to
the CBN through their respective banks.
He also disclosed that the
Bank will continue its weekly sale of $20,000 to dealers in the Bureau
de Change (BDC) segment this week.
The spokesman expressed
confidence that the interventions will continue to guarantee stability
in the market and ensure availability to individuals and business
concerns.

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