By Dike Onwuamaeze
The introduction of electronic application for foreign exchange is expected to simplify the process of accessing the greenback.
The recently introduced electronic application for foreign exchange (forex) has been described as a major tool to help ease access to forex for travelers, operators of SMEs, those paying school fees, health bills and others that need the greenback for genuine transactions.
With the new policy, Nigerians are now able to apply for forex online, with the deployment of the electronic Form ‘A’ which has expedited applications for PTA/BTA, medicals, education, and other remittances.
The new policy was disclosed in a circular titled, “Automation of Form ‘A’ on the Trade Monitoring System,” introduced last month, that was signed by CBN’s Director Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnnaji.
According to the central bank, all hard copies of Forms ‘A’ created on or before November 2, 2021 (before the start of the e-Form ‘A’) must be used within 15 working days of the Form’s creation.
A Form ‘A’ is an application form designed by the CBN to pay for service transactions (invisible trade).
The form allows customers to purchase forex at the CBN or interbank rate to make payments for eligible services as predetermined by the foreign exchange manual.
The e-Form ‘A’ replaced the hardcopy since November 30, 2021.
According to the central bank, that customers were expected to pay a charge of N5,000 as fee per declaration of e-Form ‘A’.
The circular reads: “This is to inform all authorised dealers and the general public of the deployment of e-Form ‘A’. Accordingly, the e-Form ‘A’ shall replace the hard copy of Form ‘A’ for invincible transactions (PTA/BTA, medicals, education, other remittances etc.) with effect from November 30, 2021.
“Consequently, all authorised dealers are required to ensure that the processing of Form ’A’ shall only be done electronically on the Trade Monitoring System accessible at www.tradesystem.gov.ng.
Trade Monitoring System
“The general public is required to obtain a valid Bank Verification Number (BVN) from their authorised dealer banks. The BVN is a prerequisite for customers to access the Trade System for e-Form ‘A’ application.
“The e-Form ‘A’ is web-based and allows the general public to initiate the Form from their offices/homes and submit same to the authorised dealer bank.
“A charge of N5,000 as fee per declaration of e-Form ‘A’ is applicable with effect from November 30, 2021, and henceforth. There will be a direct debit from the processing bank’s current account for each declaration which should be recovered the charge on the customer by the bank. However, customers for the e-Form ‘A’ should be separated from other bank charges.
“All hard copies of Forms ‘A’ established on or before November 2 2021 (prior to the commencement of the e-Form ‘A’) shall be utilized within 15 working days of the establishment of the Form.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all established hard copies of Forms ‘A’ for which disbursement had not been made within the transition period of 15 working days shall be deemed cancelled.
“All authority dealer banks are enjoined to inform their customers of the development for compliance.”
Analysts noted that the policy would help ease accessibility of forex and related services to Nigerian bank customers.
In recent times, there has been a halt to the rapid depreciation seen in the black market.