Three months after it reviewed downwards the existing limit on the usage of naira denominated cards for transactions overseas, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in continuation of its forex curbs, has said that such cards would not be allowed for cross border payments.
In a circular to banks posted on its website yesterday, the apex bank stated that where a company requires a card for overseas payments, such firms should be encouraged to obtain foreign currency denominated cards, which would be issued against its domiciliary account, prepaid or credit card, “whose limits must be in line with the existing BTA provisions.”
The CBN further directed that henceforth banks must submit reports of all naira-denominated card transactions consummated overseas to the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) on a daily basis According to the circular, which was signed by the Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, “The report must be sent electronically in CSV format, via a file upload portal as specified by the NIBSS, which would include the Bank Verification Number (BVN) and the account numbers of the cardholder for each transaction.”
The CBN also directed banks to inform cardholders that the banking industry has instituted a tracking system on the use of naira denominated cards abroad, warning that violators of the fresh directive would be sanctioned. Last April, the banking watchdog had pegged the existing limit on the usage of naira denominated cards for transactions overseas at $50,000 per person per annum, representing 66.7 percent below $150,000 where it stood. It also directed authorised dealers to ensure that the daily cash withdrawal limit embedded in the cards per person, per day is pegged at $300.
Besides, the CBN last Wednesday stated that beyond the exclusion of funding for 41 items in the interbank forex market, the items cannot also be funded from proceeds of exports as well as the bureau de change (BDC) segment of the forex market. The latest directive by the CBN, which has shied away from devaluing the naira, was done to reduce pressure on the informal or BDC segment of the forex market, where the local currency plunged yesterday as importers sought alternative sources for dollars after the central bank stopped foreign-currency funding for 41 items. In the BDC market, the naira declined to N230 to the dollar from N226 on Tuesday, the President of the Association of Bureaus de Change of Nigeria, Aminu Gwadabe, told Bloomberg in an interview.