Forex Crisis: Banks Slash PTA/BTA To $2000, Review Processing Time To 120 Days - DAILY TRUST
MARCH 16, 2023
Nigerian banks have cut the amount of dollars for Personal Travel allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) by 50 per cent – from…
Nigerian banks have cut the amount of dollars for Personal Travel allowance (PTA) and Business Travel Allowance (BTA) by 50 per cent – from $4000 to $2000 respectively.
The commercial banks have also commenced an upward review of the processing time for accessing Foreign Exchange (FX) for international school fees to 120 days from 48 hours.
In a notice to the customer, the lender disclosed that the new allocation would be given to applicants twice per year as long as they fulfilled some requirements, including applying for foreign exchange requests within 14 days of the travel date.
First Bank in its notification wrote: “In view of the limited FX supply in the industry, kindly note payment of PTA/BTA is subject to a maximum of $2,000 and two quarters in a year. Application for upkeep is subject to a maximum of $1,500 (or its equivalent in other currencies) per semester and limited to two semesters per session.”
The statement added that payment of school fees is subject to a maximum of $7,500 or its equivalent in other currencies per semester and limited to two semesters per session.
“A minimum of 16 weeks is required for processing school fees and upkeep/maintenance, after the submission of documents along with the approved Form A at the branch.
“Application for Form A for school fees, student upkeep and PTA/BTA, must be processed on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Trade Monitoring System (TRMS) and must be in line with regulatory requirements.”
It added that customers’ requests will continue to be treated on a first come, first served basis, subject to the availability of FX.
Also in a message to its customers, Access Bank said: “All applications are processed and disbursed subject to FX availability, proper documentation, and provided the account to be debited is sufficiently funded to cover the Form A charge and other processing fees.”
Foreign airlines trapped funds now $743m – IATA
Amidst the crises, repatriated funds of foreign airlines have peaked $743,721,097 from $662m in January 2023, the International Air Transport Association has said.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, signed by the Area Manager West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun, as seen by our correspondent, IATA called on the minister to intervene so the foreign airlines can repatriate their funds.
“For over a year, Nigeria has been the country with the highest amount of airline-blocked funds in the world” the letter indicated.
IATA reckoned that the “trapped funds send a strong message against Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
Fatokun said that it’s important for Nigeria to respect contractual obligations Foreign airlines fly into Nigeria within the legal framework of the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) signed between their countries and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Commenting, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika said the “government is concerned especially the ministry of aviation. I am sure you are all aware that this is not a problem that is currently within the leverage of the ministry of aviation if it were to be here it would be resolved today.”
“Unfortunately, it sits somewhere else more with the Central Bank of Nigeria who in turn keeps saying it is between them and the commercial banks” he further explained.
He also urged the airlines to bear with certain situations, adding that the way they deal with the matter is not the best way to deal with issues of sovereign and in this case some of the airlines that decide not to come to Nigeria, it is a commercial decision you take which is fine but to do other things to show some resentment to the country is not acceptable.
“Some go to the extent of saying that they are not allowing Nigerians to go or no visa issuance which I think is anniversary and uncalled for; we do know that we need your services but we are very convinced that you need our market more than we need your services. I think Nigeria should be treated with some level of dignity and honour” he quarried.
“From your document here Qatar Airways has $208m blocked, and Ethiopian Airline with $117m blocked. These are the major tickets and IATA $216m which is the highest while Emirates is $35m” he said.
Travel agencies bearing brunt
Meanwhile, the President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Mrs. Susan Akporiaye who was part of the meeting with the Minister said nothing significant has happened with regard to reducing the trapped funds.
She however said that the meeting with the Minister was reassuring since he promised to take it up directly with the President.
The NANTA President said the travel agencies continue to bear the brunt, reiterating that the decision taken by foreign airlines to close lower inventories to the travel agencies was too harsh and unfriendly to the market.
Daily Trust reports that NANTA recently raised an alarm that the government’s lackadaisical attitude and unfair practices by the foreign carriers have led to about 721,000 job losses and revenue in the range of $500m.
By Sunday Michael Ogwu, Chris Agabi & Faruk Shuaibu (Abuja), Abdullateef Aliyu (Lagos)