Nigerian banks have announced a reduction in the amount of dollars available to customers for personal travel allowance (PTA) and business travel allowance (BTA) on a bi-annual basis.
According to the new directive, PTA available to customers will now be slashed by 50 per cent from $4,000 to $2,000 while the BTA will be slashed by 60 per cent from $5,000 to $2,000.
PREMIUM TIMES reports that the banks announced the development in emails sent to their customers recently.
The banks also extended the processing time for accessing foreign exchange (FX) for international school fees processed through Form A from 48 hours to 120 days, marking a significant shift in the FX policy.
Form A is an application form designed by the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay for service transactions (invisible trade) that allow customers to make payments for services such as School fees, Technical fees, Dividends, Airline Tickets, Loans repayment, Judgment debt, Personal Home Remittance, PTA and BTA, among others.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the new development comes amid the lingering forex scarcity in the country.
Nigeria, like many other countries, has been grappling with a shortage of foreign exchange due to a decline in revenue from oil, its major export. This has put pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves and the value of the local currency.
A notice from First Bank, seen by PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday, attributed the new development to a “limited supply of FX.”
“At FirstBank, we value you and are committed to keeping you informed on changes regarding Foreign Currency (Form A) requests,” First Bank said in its disclosure.
“In view of the limited FX supply in the industry, kindly note the following: Payment of PTA/BTA is subject to a maximum of $2,000 and two quarters in a year, while funds will be disbursed within the week of the trip. Customers are encouraged to apply for PTA/BTA some weeks ahead of their trip.
“Application for upkeep is subject to a maximum of $1,500 (or its equivalent in other currencies) per semester and limited to 2 semesters per session.”
The bank announced that the payment of school fees is subject to a maximum of $7,500 (or its equivalent in other currencies) per semester and is limited to 2 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,” it said.
“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.
“Requests will continue to be treated on a first come, first served basis, subject to availability of FX. Ensure that your account is sufficiently funded.”
The bank also noted that payment of school fees for the current session must be made through First Bank for upkeep to be processed.
Access Bank on its part announced that PTA / BTA requests will now be processed at a maximum of twice annually per applicant to the tune of $2,000 per application where the request is within 14 days of the travel date.
It added that international school fees and upkeep requests are processed within 120 days from the date of approval.