The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), has directed banks to publish names of customers who try to break the rules on Foreign Exchange (Forex) acquisition on their website.
The apex bank issued the circular to all banks lamenting that it has “received and noted with concern reports of sharp practices by some unscrupulous customers to circumvent the new CBN policy on the sale of forex for overseas personal and business travel on Monday”.
The CBN said some of the unwholesome practices, “include the use of fake visas and cancellation of air tickets after purchase of PTA/BTA”.
Haruna B. Mustafa Director of Banking Supervision Department of the CBN, who signed the circular, noted that “this trend, if not curbed, portends risk to the integrity and stability of the forex market”.
To curb this threat, he ordered all banks “to publish on their websites the names and BVN of defaulting customers who present fake travel documents or cancel their tickets and fail to return the purchased PTA/BTA within two (weeks) as stipulated in the customer declaration form signed by them.”
Before this order, most banks had written to their customers of their commitment to providing customers with foreign exchange for their Personal and Business Travel as well as payment for overseas Education, Medical and other eligible invisible transactions.
The rules that customers must follow before they can access forex, the bank said, amongst several others, are FX shall be sold for Legitimate Travel Purpose Only.
Defaulters of the CBN’s new FOREX policy “may face sanctions that include being barred from accessing FX from the official FX market in the future, restrictions on their bank accounts for such periods as may be determined by the CBN as well as possible criminal prosecution.”