The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, barred First Bank, the United Bank for Africa(UBA) and 12 others from dealing in the Small and Medium Entreprises (SME) wholesale Forex window.
The other banks affected by the order are FCMB, Keystone Bank, Main Street Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citi Bank, Enterprise Bank, Ecobank, WEMA Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Union Bank, SunTrust Bank and Standard Chartered Bank .
The CBN spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, in a statement in Abuja, said they were barred, following persistent complaints that some Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) deliberately frustrate efforts by many SMEs to access forex from the new window created by CBN.
He said the financial regulator took the decision to bar the banks based on field reports, which revealed that only eight banks out of 22 had sold forex to the SMEs segment since the inception of the new window. He added that the CBN frowned at the action of banks that declined to sell foreign exchange to SMEs to enable them import eligible finished and semi-finished items despite the availability of forex from the CBN.
He listed the banks not barred to include: Access Bank Plc, Diamond Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank, Heritage Bank, Jaiz Bank, Sterling Bank, Unity Bank and Zenith Bank.
He urged all stakeholders to play by the rules for the benefit of the entire country and its economy.