OPS Threatens to Sue Banks for Rejecting $7Bn FX Applications

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Under the aegis of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria, some businesses are considering taking legal action against certain commercial banks for not honoring forex requests that have been pending for an extended period.

The OPSN also requested a thorough audit of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s forex backlog payments following a recent assertion by the apex bank that all legitimate forex backlogs have been settled.

Members of the OPS were firm in their belief that the apex bank's assertion of clearing all forex backlogs was not entirely accurate.

Speaking in separate interviews, some of the member associations faulted the process through which the CBN conducted the settlement of the backlogs. The argument put forward was that the process lacked transparency and was not carried out in the interest of full disclosure.

Despite a recent stakeholder meeting involving NACCIMA, MAN, the affected banks, and customers, the threat of litigation looms following the convening of the Minister of Industry Trade and Investment at the Bank of Industry in Lagos on March 21, 2024.

On Wednesday, the CBN announced the successful clearance of all valid foreign exchange backlogs, effectively eliminating a legacy burden.

Mrs Sidi Ali, the bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, made the announcement in a statement provided to journalists on Wednesday.

This month, the CBN reported a significant increase in external reserves, which rose by $993m to $34.11bn as of March 7, 2024, reaching the highest level in eight months.

The CBN recently completed the payment of $1.5bn, resolving obligations to bank customers and clearing the residual balance of the FX backlog.

The statement partly read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced that all valid foreign exchange backlogs have now been settled, fulfilling a key pledge of the CBN Governor, Mr Olayemi Cardoso, to process an inherited backlog of $7bn in claims.

 “Clearance of the foreign exchange transactions backlog is part of the overall strategy detailed in last month’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting to stabilise the exchange rate and thereby curb imported inflation, spurring confidence in the banking system and the economy...“

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