BREAKING: CBN sanctions 12 banks for denying forex access to SMEs (SEE LIST of conforming banks)

– CBN has sanctioned banks denying Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) access to foreign exchange (Forex) from the newly instituted SMEs Forex Window

– The SME window which opened about two weeks ago is designed to help SMEs import eligible finished and semi-finished items not exceeding $20,000 for an enterprise per quarter

– Eight banks avoided the CBN’s sanction while 12 banks were barred

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has barred at least 12 deposit money banks (DMB) from the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) window of the foreign exchange market for flouting regulations.

According to a report on The Cable, the apex bank took the decision to bar the erring banks based on field reports, which revealed that only eight banks had sold forex to the SMEs.

This was disclosed in a statement by Isaac Okorafor, the CBN spokesman on Tuesday, May 9.

CBN sanctions 12 banks for denying forex access to SMEs

Okorafor said that the banks were barred for refusing to sell forex to the SME actors, after accessing over $300 million offered to them via the SMEs wholesale forex window, since its creation in April.

He said only Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank, Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank, Sterling Bank, Unity Bank and Zenith Bank, sold forex to SMEs.

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Okorafor noted that the CBN would not sit back and allow any form of instability in the interbank forex market through the actions of institutions or individuals.

This comes even as he urged all stakeholders to play by the rules for the benefit of the entire country and its economy.

Meanwhile, gathered that the CBN continued its massive intervention in the foreign exchange segment of the financial market by injecting a total of $196.2 million into the various segments of the forex market on Tuesday, May 2.

According to Okorafor, the apex bank offered the sum of the $100 million to authorized dealers at Tuesday’s forex wholesale auction, and $52 million at the SME segment, while invisibles such travel allowances, medicals and tuition received $44.2 million.

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