BEVERLY HILLS, May 2, (THEWILL) – The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned over a dozen commercial banks in Nigeria from the highly lucrative Wholesale FX window for deliberately frustrating efforts by small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to access foreign exchange from the new forex window created by the regulator on April 11, 2017.
On the list of the suspended banks according to multiple authoritative sources with knowledge of the development are some of the biggest banks in land – GTB, Citi Bank, FCMB, Ecobank, Standard Chartered Bank and Union Bank amongst others.
THEWILL gathered that the ban is effective immediately.
The sources told THEWILL that only eight (8) banks were not affected by the ban, which was approved by Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday. The banks are Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, Sterling Bank, Unity Bank, Jaiz Bank and Heritage Bank.
The sources said the CBN took the drastic decision based on field reports, which revealed that only the eight banks spared had sold forex to the SMEs segment since the inception of the new window. One source said the apex bank frowned at the action of the banks that declined to sell forex to SMEs to enable them import their materials despite availability of forex from the CBN Wholesale Intervention window.
“Of the US$400 million the CBN has allocated to commercial banks in this SME Window, reliable reports indicate that commercial banks have only sold less than 10 percent to small-scale users and traders, a situation that has forced these users to remain in the black market,” one source said, warning that the CBN will not condone any actions from banks or groups that could undermine the stability of the forex market.
Source: The Will