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School fees: CBN increases forex sales to BDCs to $50,000 a month

Considering that parents with children schooling abroad are now preparing to remit school fees while traders are preparing to stock for end of year sales, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has increased maximum foreign exchange sales to bureau de change operators to $50,000 per month.

The apex bank had about two weeks ago, issued a circular pegging maximum foreign exchange sales to BDCs at $30,000 following a decision to shut them out of official market earlier in the year.

This was part of the revelations from a post meeting press briefing, which was addressed by Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, Director of Banking Supervision of CBN, Hassan Usman, Managing Director of Jaiz Bank, Peter Amangbo, Managing Director of Zenith Bank, Kenneth Uzoka of UBA and Isaac Okorafor, Acting Director of Corporate Communications of CBN.

The thinking is that increase in foreign currency sale to BDCs, will further enhance citizens’ access to foreign exchange and reflate the economy since the bureaux are more accessible than banks.

And rather than see this development as policy summersault, Okorafor said it was a demonstration that the bank was being dynamic in its approach to dealing with the challenges of an economy in crisis.

Martins disclosed that CBN has also decided to release part of a chunk of funds it took from banks some time ago called special intervention fund, which however, had never been released till now.

The funds will now be released to the banks for the financing of primary agricultural projects, and projects in core manufacturing that supports import substitution and preserve foreign exchange.

This she said will ease current liquidity squeeze in the banking industry.

The bankers also agreed with CBN to embark on massive and aggressive nationwide campaign in October on financial inclusion. Idris of JAIZ Bank who espoused on this said the aim is to increase current level of financial inclusion from the current national average of 60 percent to at least 80 percent although more Nigerians use bank services in some regions than others.

The campaign he noted will incorporate the World Savings Day on October 21 when banks would farm out specific sections of the country for awareness campaign on the need to develop a savings culture by every Nigerian.

During the campaign, Nigerians would be educated on the various aspects of modern banking including zero account opening, Know Your Customer requirements, cashless policy and its various outlets including mobile banking, automated teller machines and how to avoid being defrauded in banking dealings.