Nigeria Lifts Ban on Foreign Exchange Market for Eight Banks

  • Central bank says lenders submitted credible repayment plans,
  • Banks were suspended for failing to transfer government funds

Eight Nigerian lenders including Diamond Bank Plc, FCMB Group Plc and First Bank of Nigeria Ltd received permission to resume dealing in foreign exchange, ending a week-long suspension over their failure to transfer funds to the government.

“The ban has been lifted,” Central Bank of Nigeria spokesman Isaac Okorafor said by phone on Wednesday. All the banks “submitted credible repayment plans which we, the central bank, found acceptable.”

The banks were barred from the interbank currency market last week for not transferring around $2.3 billion of deposits for two state oil and gas companies, Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. and Nigeria LNG Ltd., to a government account.

FCMB Group and Diamond Bank plummeted 15 percent during the suspension, making them the second and third-worst performers respectively on Nigeria’s all share index. FCMB was trading 2.9 percent higher and Diamond was up 3.8 percent at 10:46 a.m. in Lagos Thursday.