Forex scarcity: Banks suspend international transactions on naira debit cards

Nigerians will not be able to use their Naira debit cards for international transactions as scarcity of foreign exchange (forex)worsens in Africa’s largest economy and biggest oil exporter, Daily Trust learnt.

Some banks have already alerted their customers on the latest development while it was gathered that others are keenly watching activities before implementing the policy owing to the scarcity of forex.

This development is coming a few months after banks in the country reduced the monthly international spending limit on Naira cards to as low as $20. The daily international withdrawal limit has been around $100 for most banks until March when banks cut international spending.

Banks had in 2020 stopped the use of naira cards for ATM foreign currency withdrawals while reviewing monthly international spending using naira cards from $500 to $300 and ultimately to $100.

According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by $1.37 billion (3.37%) in the first six months of 2022 to $39.16bn as of June 30 from $40.52bn it closed in 2021. This is despite the recent surge in global energy prices

A further scrutiny of the data also revealed that the external reserves fell to $38.882bn on August 11 from $39.219bn at the end of July 2022.

External reserves are assets held on reserve by CBN in foreign currencies and these reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy.  

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