News Column

FG Approves Forex Sale to Christian Pilgrims At N150/$

August 12, 2014

Sola Alabadan

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Monday announced the approval by the Federal Government for banks to sell foreign exchange at concessionary rate of N150 per U.S. Dollar for the purchase of Pilgrims Travelling Allowance (PTA).

According to a circular with reference: TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/01/015, dated August 11, 2014, while pilgrims travelling to Israel are entitled to PTA of $750, those going to Israel/Rome or Greece can purchase a maximum of $1,000 at the concessionary rate.

The schedule for the 31 states released by the CBN showed that UBA is in charge of 10,150 pilgrims from Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Commission (NCPC), Ondo, Kwara, Kogi, FCT, Anambra,and Akwa Ibom.

Zenith Bank is in charge of 9,500 pilgrims from Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Ekiti, Kaduna, Kebbi, Ogun, Plateau, and Taraba.

Union Bank has 1,000 pilgrims from Abia, and Ebonyi, First Bank is to handle 2,000 pilgrims from Cross River, Enugu, Osun, and Oyo; Sterling Bank has 150 pilgrims from Edo; Fidelity Bank to handle 500 pilgrims from Gombe; Unity Bank has 400 pilgrims from Nasarawa; Keystone has 700 pilgrims from Niger; and FCMB is in charge of 50 pilgrims from Yobe.

The banks are required to sell the permissible amount to the intending pilgrims whose names and passport numbers appear in the pilgrims' master list, the CBN said, adding that "no pilgrim should be denied the travel allowance on the ground that he/she has no tax clearance certificate."

Also, owing to time constraint, chairman or secretary of each State Pilgrims' Board, are allowed to sign for and collect PTA for intending members in their states on presentation of the approved list and passport numbers of the pilgrims listed against his/her state, after due identification.

Since visa shall only be issued to the pilgrims at the point of entry on arrival, in accordance with the Israeli Government's Policy, the CBN noted that "air ticket and visa requirements for the purpose of procuring the stipulated PTA have been waived."

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Source: AllAfrica

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