The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Thursday announced the approval by the Federal Government for banks to sell foreign exchange to intending Muslim pilgrims at concessionary rate of N160 per U.S. dollar as Pilgrims Travelling Allowance (PTA).
According to a circular signed by CBN Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, each of the 66,000 intending pilgrims is entitled to purchase a minimum of $750 or maximum of $1,000 as PTA.
The circular with reference: TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/016, dated August 13, 2015, added that for pilgrims buying above $1,000, the difference shall be bought at the prevailing naira exchange rate to the US dollar on the day of the purchase.
The CBN stated that the banks are not allowed to charge any commission for the sale of PTA to the intending pilgrims.
The schedule for the 36 states, FCT and Armed Forces released by the CBN showed that UBA is in charge of 6,950 pilgrims from Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Borno, Edo, Imo and Katsina.
Zenith Bank is in charge of 6,428 pilgrims from Adamawa, Kebbi, and Rivers.
Union Bank has 3,369 pilgrims from Abia, Delta and Ebonyi; First Bank is to handle 1,307 pilgrims from Cross River and Oyo; Sterling Bank has 2,374 pilgrims from Jigawa; Fidelity Bank is to handle 979 pilgrims from Anambra, Ekiti and Plateau; Unity Bank has 23,562 pilgrims from Nasarawa, Benue, Abuja, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Kwara, Ondo, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Armed Forces; Keystone has 3,398 pilgrims from Katsina and Hajj Commission; and FCMB is in charge of 4,100 pilgrims from Bauchi, Enugu and Ogun.
The apex bank further said that it shall the PTA to the designated banks in Lagos and Abuja, noting that the accounts of the respective banks shall be credited as soon as the funds are disbursed.
Additionally, each designated bank is required to sell to the CBN the unutilised funds not later than two weeks from the date of the last inward flight to Nigeria from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, while the accounts of the shall be credited accordingly.