Banks $20 Limit on Naira Cards Frustrating Visa Renewal, Web Hosting Payment, Nigerians Lament

When the Central Bank of Nigeria started rationing dollars due to the strict foreign exchange situation in the country, most Nigerians wishing to renew their VISAs and e-commerce businesses did not know they would be caught in the net. of the new policy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria began the fight to resolve Nigeria’s foreign exchange problems in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted oil prices.

Heavy pressure has been put on Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings from oil, which contributes over 90% of foreign exchange earnings.

The bank introduced several policies to contain the impact of the naira which lost more than 36% of its value from 305 naira to 416 naira per dollar.

Nigeria sorts foreign currency obligations through the official importers and exporters window and parallel market rates.

But in 2020, the CBN blocked the weekly intervention from the currency exchange operators and routed it to the depository banks.

Depository banks have sent messages to their customers informing them that transactions on their naira debit card have been limited to $20 per month instead of $100, an action that is hitting their operations hard.

Central banks have been unable to manage the foreign exchange pressure on the Nigerian economy as companies receive around 10% of their demand, according to the Manufacturing Association of Nigeria.

Oluwatobi Samson, an e-commerce website owner, said his website was shut down because he could not renew his hosting plan using his naira debit card.

He said: “I tried to renew my hosting plan but the card was rejected due to the limit placed on the card. Eventually, my account was suspended and I couldn’t get it back online.

“My bank has advised me to apply for a dollar card which they say will take at least seven working days to get ready. This means that my e-commerce site will remain closed until I can renew my payment plan. ‘accommodation.

The e-commerce owner said that in order to make certain transactions with his naira debit card, he had to use several ATM cards belonging to friends.

Another Nigerian, Emeka Jones, said he had been unable to renew his VISA for weeks due to the $20 limit imposed by banks on naira debit cards.

He said THE WHISTLER that he needed 300 EUR to pay for the renewal of his Canadian VISA.

“I tried several times to make the payment for my VISA renewal but it failed. My bank advised me to go for the dollar debit card,” he said. THE WHISTLER.

Commenting on the frustrations of Nigerians and businesses, the Director General of the Center for the Promotion of Private Business, Muda Yusuf said the situation will affect e-commerce business in the country.

Yusuf said, “The forex situation is getting rarer and rarer. This is a reflection of the lack of liquidity in the foreign exchange market. This shows that the situation is getting a little more serious. That’s why the CBN had to come up with these kinds of guidelines.

“And what that will do for those who need a lot of currency, they will just go and acquire a lot of ATM cards. They will open more accounts.

He said that when some people are caught with planted ATM cards, “that situation is the kind of thing that leads to that and it all reflects the dysfunctional framework of currency exchange policy.

He said that the cause of the whole crisis is this huge discrepancy between the official price of N416 and the more than N570 per dollar sold in the parallel market.

“There is now a lot of pressure on them and they have decided to ration themselves. Even in the official window, they still ration. If you ask for $10,000, maybe they’ll give you $1,000 or $500. What are you going to do with that?”

James S. Joseph