Forex: CBN bars erring banks from SME wholesale window

Forex: CBN bars erring banks from SME wholesale window
May 02 21:47 2017

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, May 2, 2017, 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, CBN acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. 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 would 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 would 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 would continue to guarantee stability in the market and ensure availability to individuals and business concerns.