Zenith Bank has sent a notice to its customers limiting international transactions on their naira cards to just $1,000 a month.
Until now, card holders could withdraw cash of $300 daily while total transactions would be a maximum of $50,000 per year.
Zenith sent this message to its customers: “Please be informed that international transactions on all Naira denominated cards will now have a monthly transaction limit of $1,000 only.
“Customers requiring transaction spend above the limit are advised to obtain a Dollar denominated debit card by opening an individual domiciliary account funded by electronic transfer to ensure continued card usage abroad.
“We do apologise for all the inconveniences this may cause.” This would come as a big blow to cardholders who are already hamstrung by the inability to use corporate naira cards abroad following a restriction by the CBN.
The central bank is trying to manage the demand for dollars because of falling forex inflow following low oil prices. Zenith’s latest restriction means card holders can only make an average expenditure of $33.33 per day.
In what is the typical template being employed by banks in addressing their customers, Nigerians abroad were advised to seek a dollar debit card to carry out transactions.
However, the dollar account will have to be funded by bank transfer and not cash deposits, making it virtually impossible to fund the account except the holder is an exporter or importer that is eligible for forex allocation.
Just in August, the CBN reviewed the dollar spending limit from $150,000 to $50,000, affecting thousands of Nigerians and Nigerian businesses abroad. The new cut makes the foreign exchange spending extremely low, bringing it to a $12,000 mark per year.
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor and President Muhammadu Buhari have reiterated their stance on foreign exchange policy at time and again, insisting that the local currency would not be devalued. Analysts have also insisted that Nigeria would eventually be forced to devalue the naira as the country heads for a probable recession in the first quarter of 2016.
Foreign investors continue to shun Nigerian bond, which was regarded by Bloomberg as the best yielding bond in any emerging economy across the world, due to fear of depreciation.