The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed banks to deny exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from accessing all banking services by January 31.

The apex bank issued this directive in a circular sent to banks in the country.

Affected exporters are expected to comply with this directive before the specified date. Some banks have already issued a statement directing exporters to comply with the directive.

In August 2020, CBN had instructed banks to submit the names, addresses and bank verification numbers (BVN) of exporters that have defaulted in repatriating their exports proceeds, for further action.

Bloomberg quotes Osita Nwanisobi, CBN acting director of corporate communications, as saying that the new directive applies to exports up until June 2020.

“Proceeds for oil is to be repatriated within 90 days and non-oil within 180 days,” he said.

The news agency noted that the measure is part of an effort to defend the country’s currency by targeting importers and exporters with tougher regulations.

Global decline of crude oil prices coupled with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to the scarcity of foreign exchange in Nigeria.

This resulted in a significant difference between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate.

It added that the differential of about 25 percent has induced exporters to divert forex earnings to unofficial channels.

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