Following the directive of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commercial banks to stop customers from using their debit and credit cards abroad, the apex bank has said that the recent restriction will remain until the country’s foreign reserves grow to significant levels.
The ban, which has the backing of the CBN, stemmed from dwindling foreign reserves and banks’ inability to settle dollar transactions arising from the use of naira cards abroad.
Moses Tule, CBN’s director, monetary policy, speaking with journalists at the weekend, said restrictions were likely to be lifted when reserves increase to between $50 billion and $200 billion, adding that all hands must be on deck to achieve the target, ThisDay reports.
He said the new directive was a healthy development for the ailing economy in spite of the attendant inconvenience to cardholders.
According to Tule: "The restriction on the use of debit and credit cards outside the country was not imposed by the CBN. The deposit money banks (DMBs) placed it because they have to settle whatever transactions you make with your cards with their corresponding banks in foreign currency and if the banks do not have the foreign currency to do that, then you create a liability which will crystallise on their balance sheets."
Meanwhile, outspoken Senator Ben Murray Bruce has reacted to the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop customers from using their debit and credit cards abroad.
In his reaction, the senator described the reports of Nigerians running to Cotonou and Ghana to open accounts as very disturbing.
He also asked if the CBN had thought of the implications the order will have on small and middle scale businesses.