Customers who approached commercial banks for the purchase of foreign exchange (FX) at cheaper rates especially for personal travel allowance/business travel allowance (PTA/BTA) would have to return any unutilised forex.
This message was conveyed to forex customers by one of the deposit money banks (DMBs) operating in the country, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc.
In an emailed notice to customers, which was seen by Business Post, the lender said in a situation an international passenger buys $4,000 for PTA or $5,000 (BTA) in a quarter and this was not used probably because the trip was cancelled or the purpose for the purchase was not achieved, the allocation should be returned to the bank within two weeks.
“Customers are required to return purchased PTA/BTA to their bank within two weeks from the date of purchase if not utilized for the intended purpose or if for any reason the scheduled trip is cancelled,” a part of the message noted.
Another part of the disclosure stated that customers can only apply for PTA/BTA once in a quarter and that “requests are limited to a maximum of $4,000 and $5,000 per quarter per applicant respectively.”
The bank further said forex will not be allotted to a third party as it would “only be sold directly to applicants who shall be Nigerians who are 18 years and above and have a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN).”
Furthermore, UBA stressed that FX would only be given to customers for legitimate travel purposes only, advising them to “always have a clear intention and legitimate purpose to travel. You are required to provide a valid Nigerian passport and a valid visa to an international destination.”
It emphasised that only valid travel documents would be processed and accepted and that customers must have a travel ticket “to an international destination outside of West Africa and Cameroon.”
“You are required to provide an international return ticket, with a travel date not more than 14 days from the date of PTA/BTA purchase,” the statement stated.
The bank, however, warned that “False application and use of fake documents to purchase PTA/BTA is strictly prohibited and is a financial crime punishable under the applicable laws in Nigeria.
“Defaulters of this FX policy may face sanctions that include being barred from accessing FX from the official FX market in the future, restrictions on their bank account(s) for such periods as may be determined by CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) as well as possible criminal prosecution.”
“Please note that UBA is committed to partnering with the CBN to ensure a transparent, efficient and stable FX Market that meets the needs of all legitimate users,” the lender said.
The lender said it was taking this step in line with the CBN’s “policy to improve access to FX for legitimate transactions,” noting that “as our valued customer, you have a role to play to ensure the success and integrity of the policy.”
– Business Post