Only eight (8) banks of the commercial banks in the country have escaped a ban placed on banks for withholding foreign exchange to small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs).
The ban was approved by Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday
Media reports said CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, confirmed the ban adding that the apex bank took the decision against those which were yet to utilize any portion of the funds allocated by the CBN under the SME window, since the inception of the window last month. They will not participate in the weekly wholesale spot and forward interventions.
However, the ban will be lifted immediately any of the affected banks show evidence of significant utilization of the fund.
He said banks that used up their SME funds were allocated all of the $100 million sold at the Tuesday’s wholesale auction.
The banks that escaped the sanction arere Access Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank, Diamond Bank, Sterling Bank, Unity Bank, Jaiz Bank and Heritage Bank.
Reports indicate that all the others were slammed for forex infractions
CBN took the punitive measured because field reports, revealed that only the eight banks sold forex to the SMEs segment since the inception of the new window to facilitate importation of goods and machineries even though CBN made arrangements for them in the Wholesale Intervention window.
A source disclosed to journalists: “Of the US$400 million the CBN has allocated to commercial banks in this SME Window, reliable reports indicate that commercial banks have only sold less than 10 percent to small-scale users and traders, a situation that has forced these users to remain in the black market.”