Commercial banks across the country are currently witnessing huge forex demand even as the banks have promised to attend to the requests.
The increase in demand followed the directive of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to discontinue sale of dollars to bureau de change operators and directing all demands to banks.
The banks have also assured that they have put measures in place to ensure that their systems are not compromised by desperate customers who want to obtain foreign exchange, adding that such customers would be caught and handed over to both the CBN and law enforcement agents.
Sources within the banking industry revealed that most banks, particularly the top tier banks were hit with up to $20 million each in demand for just personal and business travel allowances within one day.
According to the sources, this is aside the backlog which most banks were still grappling to meet.
However, chief executives of banks during a press conference yesterday, said they have the capacity to meet the demand that may arise in the coming days.
According to the managing director and chief executive of Access Bank, Herbet Wigwe, who also doubles as the chairman of the banks’ chief executive officers, commercial banks in the country have the capacity and ae ready to meet the legitimate demand for forex including that which BDC operators used to handle.
“Nigerian banks will be able to meet this requirement. This was being done by the BDCs before and there were 5,000 of them and if you look at the branches that all the banks bring to bear across the country, the banks have more than enough capacity to deal with it.”
Group managing director of Guaranty Trust Holding Company, Segun Agbaje, while buttressing the fact that the banks have the capacity to meet the demand said: “It is not only the CBN that has the ability to fund these demands, the banks themselves have the resources to fund this demand.”
On compliance, Wigwe said the banks are ready as handing of the requests will most likely “be centralised to avoid abuse and to ensure that some of the things we are putting in place are not abused by anyone and anyone who plans to be creative will be caught. That is very important because these resources are scarce and we don’t want any type of abuse to happen as well.”
Naira May Slide As CBN Bans Forex Sale To BDCs(Opens in a new browser tab)