By Abimbola Fashakin, Lagos
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cleared the remaining eight commercial banks previously banned from trading in the interbank foreign exchange (forex) market.
The lenders were accused of withholding $2.3 billion belonging to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation/Nigeria LNG Gas.
The CBN announced on Wednesday that the affected banks can now commence dealing in the forex market.
The affected banks are First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) $469 million; Diamond Bank Plc ($287 million); Sterling Bank Plc ($269 million); Skye Bank Plc ($221 million); Fidelity Bank ($209 million); Keystone Bank ($139 million); First City Monument Bank (FCMB) $125 million and Heritage Bank ($85 million).
Others include, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) who ealier earlier returned $530 million to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and was cleared by the CBN.
Announcing the reinstatement of the eight banks, the CBN Director, Banking Supervision Department, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins stated that the body of bank Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), under the auspices of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), met with the Committee of Governors of the CBN and presented a payment plan for all outstanding dollar deposits from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation /Nigeria LNG Gas in their possession to the Treasury Single Account (TSA).
Speaking during the briefing, the President in Council, Chartered Instituted of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Segun Ajibola stated the Body of Bank CEOs in partnership with the CIBN decided to seek for the resolution of the situation in the interest of the Nigerian economy.
The apex bank had earlier banned some banks from dealing in the forex market for non-remittance of US Dollars deposits from the NNPC/NLNG in their possession to the Treasury Single Account (TSA), until concerned banks had complied with the directive.
Also in attendance at the briefing was the Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, who revealed that the Body of Bank CEOs met with the CBN Committee of Governors in order to resolving the issue.