The Central Bank of Nigeria has instructed banks to publish the names and Bank Verification Numbers BVN of its customers who default on its Forex policy.
In a circulate to banks dated Monday, August 30th, the apex bank lamented 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”.
The bank said some of the unwholesome practices of some customers include “include the use of fake visas and cancellation of air tickets after purchase of PTA/BTA”.
Haruna B. Mustafa Director Banking Supervision Department of the CBN, who signed the circular, noted: “this trend, if not curbed, portends risk to the integrity and stability of the forex market”. He said to curb this trend, all banks must
”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”.
Prior to 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 have to follow before they can access forex the bank said are: FX shall be sold for Legitimate Travel Purpose Only. Bank customers are required to provide a valid Nigerian passport and a valid visa to an international destination.
Only valid travel documents like tickets to an international destination outside of West Africa and Cameroon will be accepted. The international return ticket must have a travel date not more than 14 days from the date of PTA/BTA purchase.
Bank customers can only apply for PTA/BTA once in a quarter: PTA and BTA requests are limited to a maximum of $4,000 and $5,000 per quarter per applicant respectively.
Customers are required to return purchased PTA/BTA to their bank within two (2) weeks from the date of purchase if not utilized for the intended purpose or if for any reason the scheduled trip is cancelled.
Those wishing to buy Forex are also not allowed to apply for Forex on behalf of a third party. FX will only be sold directly to applicants who shall be Nigerians who are 18 years and above and have a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN).
False application and use of fake documents to purchase PTA/BTA is prohibited and is now considered a financial crime punishable under the applicable laws in Nigeria.