First Bank - Truly The First!

Fashion home! As the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continues with its demand management in the allocation of foreign exchange (forex) to end users in the economy, returns on forex utilisation published by commercial and merchant banks have shown that it allocated a total of $669,405,241 in April.

The sum compiled by THISDAY was $251,947 lower than the $921,352,549 sold to banks in March. But the CBN remained unable to adequately meet the dollar demands of banks on behalf of their customers, as the central bank continued to refund banks for huge volumes of unfulfilled bids at the weekly forex auctions.

Forex demand in April covered importation requirements for fuel, spare parts, machinery and equipment, repatriation of capital, air ticket remittances, payments for foreign loans, school fees, personal and business travel allowances.

The Dangote Group, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM), Forte Oil Plc, Matrix Energy Limited, Dozzy Oil and Gas Limited were the major buyers of forex in April.

Just like the previous month, allocations for the payment of tuition fees overseas were the most numerous items. Some market commentators have queried the genuineness of the claims for the huge forex demand for school fees which has remained unabated.

During the month, FirstBank Nigeria Limited got the highest forex allocation totalling $74,673,190, but was lower than the $79,428,530 it got in March.

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTBank) was allocated $67,146,192 to come in second in April, but its allocations were significantly lower than the $102,565,144 it got in March.

Stanbic IBTC, which was allocated $62,939,062 by the central bank in the month under review, held the third position. The amount it got in April was a 37 per cent reduction compared with the $100,590,015 it was allocated the previous month.

Similarly, Zenith Bank, which got a total of $62,137,299 from the central bank to occupy the fourth place, also had lower allocation in April, as against the $102,279,505 it got in March.

Diamond Bank Plc came in fifth with $60,083,783 it got from the central bank, lower than $77,911,934 it was allocated the previous month.

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