The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned about 14 commercial banks in Nigeria from the Wholesale FX window (spot and forwards) for deliberately frustrating efforts by small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to access foreign exchange from the new forex window created by the regulator on April 11, 2017.
On the list of the suspended banks according to multiple authoritative sources with knowledge of the development are some of the biggest banks in the major oil producer – GTB, Citi Bank, FCMB, Ecobank, Standard Chartered Bank and Union Bank amongst others.
The ban is effective immediately.
Confirming the development, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the CBN management decided to bar banks that 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, from participating in the weekly wholesale spot and forward interventions.
He, however, disclosed that the action will be lifted immediately any of the affected banks show evidence of significant utilization of the fund allocated to them under the SME window.