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Dollars vs Naira: Banks stop PTA, BTA payments, give new directive

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Commercial banks have asked travellers desiring to get dollars for Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) to obtain travel debit cards as they have now opted for card-based dollar disbursements.

Many banks including First Bank and Access Bank announced the new policy  due to the rising cases of abuse by travelers who get forex but either sell in the black market or use for other businesses.

The policy also forms part of the implementation of Bankers’ Committee policy to use digital processes to track forex transactions, stop fraudsters from abusing the system, and save scarce forex for the economy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines require that a company can buy up to $5,000 BTA per quarter while an individual is entitled to $4,000 PTA per quarter.

Group Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, had said at an event last year that there have been incidents of customers presenting expired passports, invalid flight tickets, or open tickets that are canceled after they acquire the foreign exchange.

He said some bank customers also request for forex more than what they need.

Agbaje added that banks do not want “fraudulent transactions taking place” in the guise of forex transactions.

In a note to its customers, First Bank said that PTA and BTA will now be transferred to the First Bank Travel Card.

In the note titled “Updates on FX Purchase reads:” The bank further indicated that PTA/BTA sales are limited to two quarters per year and that only applicants with approved Form A are eligible for payout.

It said: “The full Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) ($4,000 and $5,000) respectively will now be disbursed into your FirstBank Travel Card.

“All applications will be in line with regulatory requirements. Kindly ensure that all PTA/BTA applications along with the approved Form A are submitted at the branch exactly 14 days before your proposed travel date. Sales are limited to two quarters a year.”

The bank also said that applications for Form A (school fees, student upkeep, and PTA/BTA) must be processed on CBN’ s Trade Monitoring System (TRMS) Platform.

In an e-mail note to its customers, Access Bank Plc said it would now disburse PTA and BTA through Access Travel Debit Card.

“The Access Travel Debit Card has been created to enable customers to transact seamlessly when they travel abroad. It helps instant issuance for PTA/BTA requests, and easy access to international transactions through Point of Sale, online and Automated Teller Machines. All the unutilised sums on the card can be used for international transactions or other trips, the bank said.

The PTA/BTA allows dollars to be obtained at the official rates of around N435/$ thereby saving a premium of N270/$ compared to N705/$ sold at the parallel market.

 

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