The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will no longer look the other way while individuals exceed the $50, 000 annual ceiling on overseas dollar withdrawal via naira denominated cards per card holder.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos after the 329th Bankers’ Committee meeting, CBN’s director, banking supervision department, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, said the Biometric Verification Number (BVN) would now be the criterion for determining the $50,000 annual limit on overseas dollar withdrawal
She said the CBN had, last year, put a ceiling of $50,000 on annual overseas dollar withdrawal via naira denominated cards per cardholder.
“We discovered that people have been breaching this limit, and we have now decided to take action against it. Since every bank account is linked to a BVN, we have decided that the $50,000 annual limit will be limited to each BVN, irrespective of the bank accounts or cards linked to the BVN.
“We have decided to take the steps now to enforce the rule. So, we want members of the public to remember that that rule is in place. All your accounts are linked to a particular BVN. Now, that BVN only allows you to withdraw only $50,000 per annum. If people continue to breach that rule, they will lose access to forex market.”
“We have also decided to impose sanction on anybody found to have breached this limit. This include barring such individuals from the foreign exchange market,” she said.
Thereafter, Martins who spoke in company of Deputy Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Mrs. Cathy Echeozo; Managing Director/Chief Executive, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru; Managing Director/Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC, Mr. Yinka Sanni and Acting Director, Communication Department, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, also debunked reports that seven Nigerian banks were under-capitalised and that the banking industry was experiencing a full-blown financial crisis due to increasing under-performing loans (NPLs).
“That certain banks are under-capitalized is certainly not true. That is not to say that the banking sector is not feeling the economic headwinds, so is every other jurisdiction, so non-performing loans at 11 per cent is not what we need to focus on.
“What we need to focus on is to ask if the banks have the capacity to absorb all the losses that will arise from those loans? And the answer is yes. “They have very strong capital buffers. The banks have very huge capacity to generate income, apart from the capital buffers that they already have.
“They have huge capacity to generate income to absorb those losses if they do arise. And those NPLs can they perform? Yes, they can, because the underlying assets are still there and they are good.
“I think we should totally dispel or ignore this kind of story; it’s not one that we should take seriously at all,” she said.