Steps taken by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to commence sectoral foreign exchange interventions may have started yielding positive results by way of stabilising the exchange of the Naira against major currencies and greenback in particular.
The effect of this initiative was easily noticed over the weekend as those operating in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) segment of the economy heaved a sigh of relief as they were not only granted special consideration for $20,000 to import essential but eligible raw materials and finished goods critical to their operations, a special form X was also unveiled to ease their access to foreign exchange.
When contacted for comments on this development, CBN’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor said the bank has put in place measures to ease the difficulties encountered by small manufacturers adding that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) while acknowledging that the earlier “60% FX allocation has raised their capacity, also canvassed for more dollars to be made available for real sector players in the small-medium-scale category.”
According to Okorafor, the CBN examined this request and found out that those categories of industrialists were being crowded out of the foreign exchange market and therefore took steps to address their challenges.
On how this has affected the Naira exchange rate, Okorafor stated that genuine SME operators no longer have to patronize or source foreign through unofficial windows hence, no more pressure on either the BDCs or any other unofficial sources with the opening of the special window.
He therefore, urged all participants in the foreign exchange market to corporate with the CBN and abide by the regulatory guidelines in order to hitch-free operations in the market.
It would be recalled that not only the SMEs had had grace of the special intervention, the BDC segment of the market had earlier been considered for a special sales of $20,000 per week to enable them cater for the low end user for invisibles like the tuition fee, medical and personal/business travel allowance as against the earlier approved $10,000 per week for each BDC.
Meanwhile, the apex bank has issued a new guideline on charges by commercial banks and other financial institutions in the country, taking effect from May 1, 2017. The new guide to charges signed by the director, Financial Policy and Regulations, Kevin Amugo was released at the weekend.
The new guide to bank charges replaces the one that came into effect on April 1, 2013. According to the CBN, the Guide to Bank Charges issued in 2013 sought to reflect developments in the financial market, provide clarity on banking terms and reduce ambiguity in loan transactions.
“However, the need to address the absence of a tariff regime for other financial institutions in Nigeria, enhance transparency in the operations of the guide and align the provisions to current realities, have necessitated further review of the Guide as clamoured by a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”
The apex bank said the review of the Guide to Charges was expanded to incorporate the concerns of both operators and users of financial services in Nigeria. The reviewed Guide provides for charges on various products and services that banks, other financial institutions and mobile payment operators offer to their customers.
Banks, other financial institutions and mobile payments operators are required to present any other product service and or charge not covered by the guide to the CBN for prior written approval.