By Babajide Komolafe
The federal government has approved concessionary exchange rate of N135 per dollar for the 2010 Hajj pilgrims.
This represents 10 per cent discount when compared the present official exchange rate of N150 per dollar. The concessionary exchange rate is however pegged to maximum dollar purchase of $1000 per pilgrim.
This was contained in a circular issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to all authorised dealers and the general public titled, “Purchase of pilgrims travelling allowance (PTA) in Saudi Riyal Travellers’ Cheques (SRTCS)”.
The circular , signed by Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Alhaji Batari Musa, stated, “Authorised Dealers and the general public are hereby notified of the following arrangements for 2010 Hajj operations.
“Each pilgrim is entitled to purchase Saudi Riyal Travellers’ Cheque (SRTCs) equivalent of a minimum of US$750.00 and a maximum of US$1,500.00 as PTA. The Federal Government has approved for intending pilgrims, a concessionary exchange rate of N135.00 to the US
Dollar for amount of PTA between US$750.00 and US$1,000.00 ‘’For pilgrims buying SRTC above the US$1,000.00, the difference shall be bought at the prevailing Naira exchange rate to the US Dollar on the day of the purchase. No commission shall be charged by the banks for the sale of SRTCs to the intending pilgrims.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria has already commenced the issuance of SRTCs to the designated banks as from 8th October, 2010, at the CBN Branch, Tinubu Square, Lagos and the accounts of the respective banks shall be debited as soon as the funds are disbursed.
“Each designated bank is required to sell to the CBN the unutilised SRTCs not later than two (2) weeks from the date of the last inward flight to Nigeria from Jedda, Saudi Arabia upon reconciliation of the transactions with the CBN and the accounts of the banks shall be credited promptly.
“The approved schedule showing the distribution of the pilgrims expected to perform the 2010 Hajj and the designated banks that will handle the sales of the PTA to the pilgrims in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), each state of the Federation and the Armed Forces is stated below for guidance.”