The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reinstated the nine banks that were recently suspended from the foreign exchange market.
They were suspended last week for failing to remit about $2.3bn funds of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Federal Government.
The CBN Director of Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, who announced the reinstatement in Abuja , Wednesday, explained that the apex bank took the decision after the banks presented repayments plans.
CBN had on August 24 suspended the nine banks from further dealing in foreign exchange transactions, until they remitted all the NNPC funds in their vaults into TSA.
The banks were barred for concealing the funds belonging to the NNPC, which they failed to remit into the TSA as directed by the Federal Government.
The action of the apex bank, however, was seen in some quarters as contradicting an earlier circular on the issue exempting NNPC from TSA.
The circular addressed to the Director, Banking and Payments System Department of the CBN, with FD/LP2015/C/ADC/20/1/ /DF as reference number, was dated September 14, 2015.
It was signed by M. K. Dikwa for the Accountant-General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Finance, Funds Department, Abuja.
The banks that were suspended included United Bank for Africa (UBA) ($530m); FirstBank of Nigeria (FBN) ($469m); Diamond Bank Plc ($287m); Sterling Bank Plc ($269m); Skye Bank Plc ($221m); Fidelity Bank ($209m); Keystone Bank ($139m); FCMB ($125m) and Heritage Bank ($85m).
The apex bank’s decision to bar the banks came two months after it released the highlights of the much awaited flexible foreign exchange market policy.