- Commercial banks have finally closed the one indirect route through which black market traders get dollars cheap
- The huge gap between black market and official rates has created a market in which some Nigerians make false travel claims in order to access cheap dollars
- The dollars obtained from the banks are then resold on the black market for millions of dollars in profit
Customers of Nigerian banks have been informed that they will no longer receive dollars in cash for their Personal Travel Allowances (PTA) and Business Travel Allowances (BTA).
Requests will now be fulfilled using a dollar travel card that can only be used abroad.
Banks are hoping that the new measure will close the channels through which black market traders obtain cheap dollars to resell to Nigerians at a N200 difference.
Buy cheap, make quick millions
The big difference between the black and official market rates for dollars created a new economy for some unscrupulous Nigerians who used a fake visa to obtain dollars at an official rate of N430.
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According to CBN, a visa allows a Nigerian to purchase PTA and BTA worth up to $5000. If successful, the dollars are now resold on the black market for more than N650, and millions are made in few minutes.
Several names and Bank Verification Numbers(BVN) have been released by the banks involved in this act, which Legit.ng detailed in a recent report.
Because of the actions of these unscrupulous Nigerians, massive dollar demands have been created, denying many Nigerians who genuinely want to travel the opportunity to do so and causing stress in obtaining the required forex at the official rate.
Apart from the two banks that made a formal announcement to their customers, other banks, another report from the Nation shows others had silently commenced card disbursement for customers who already had existing travel cards without making a declaration.
FirstBank in a statement to its customers stated:
"Your FirstBank Travel Card will now receive the full Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) of $4,000 and $5,000, respectively." "All applications will adhere to Regulatory Requirements.
Please ensure that all PTA/BTA applications, along with the approved Form A, are submitted to the branch 14 days prior to your proposed travel date. Sales are restricted to two quarters per year."
On its part, Access bank stated that:
“We'd like to inform you that we process authorized personal and business travel allowance FX requests using our Access Travel Debit Card. The Access Travel Debit Card was designed to allow you to transact seamlessly while traveling abroad."
Leadership report noted that with this process, customers can get instant issuance for PTA/BTA requests, easy access to international transactions via online, POS, and ATM and that the card is valid for 3 years and is usable for current and future PTA/BTA requests during its validity.
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