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Nigerian students may face hardship as banks slash PTA, school fees

Nigerian students studying in foreign institutions of learning may face hardship as local banks have cut the amount of Personal Travel Allowance and schools fees customers can apply for.

This follows worsening foreign exchange crisis that has hit banks of recent, forcing them to take strict measures to meet their dollar obligations to customers.

Some banks had this week informed customers of the plan to slash the amount of PTA they can apply for from $4,000 to $2,000. They also cut overseas school fees payment from $15,000 to $7,500 per semester. This is irrespective of the amount the students require to offset their school fees.

They also demand their customers to make their various FX requests several weeks ahead of time.

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Titled, ‘Important update on FX purchase,’ First Bank of Nigeria Limited, for instance, in an e-mail asked its customers to apply for FX several weeks ahead of need, saying also that the requests could be made only twice in a year.

The mail read in part, “At FirstBank, we value you and are committed to keeping you informed on changes regarding foreign currency (Form A) requests. In view of the limited FX supply in the industry, kindly note the following:

“Payment of PTA/BTA is subject to a maximum of $2,000 and two quarters in a year, while funds will be disbursed within the week of the trip. Customers are encouraged to apply for PTA/BTA some weeks ahead of their trip.”

It added that, “Application for upkeep is subject to a maximum of $1,500 (or its equivalent in other currencies) per semester and limited to two semesters per session.

“Payment of school fees is subject to a maximum of $7,500 (or its equivalent in other currencies) per semester and limited to two semesters per session. A minimum of 16 weeks is required for processing school fees and upkeep/maintenance, after the submission of documents along with the approved Form A at the branch.”

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According to the email, application for Form A for school fees, student upkeep and PTA/BTA, must be processed on the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Trade Monitoring System and must be in line with regulatory requirements.

It added, “Requests will continue to be treated on a first come, first served basis, subject to availability of FX. Ensure that your account is sufficiently funded.”

Other Deposit money Banks have also informed customers of the need to ration the foreign exchange in their possession following acute shortage of currencies.