PTA

Traveler Stranded As Dollar Scarcity Forces Bank to Ration $4,000 Personal Travel Allowance

A traveler, Debra aired her opinion at the bank teller when she was given $2,500 out of the $4,000 she was expecting under the statutory provision on Personal Travel Allowance (PTA) with the hope to get the balance instantly. However, she is to expect the balance after 7 working days.

In confusion, she ran out of the bank regretting and nagging about the two weeks spent to get allocation after showing substantial evidence of her forex needs. Remembering her date of departure is a few days away, and the alternative market for meeting her forex needs, the black market, is not considering the hefty difference in margin.

Debra in the State of Dilemma

 Repeatedly, she uttered the phrase “what to do ” and walked away thinking of the devastating state of things. It was a different experience for her friend, Tomi, who also shared her story as of March 2022. Debra said, “Tomi got her allocation of $4,000 without stress on the same day of application”. 

It is important to note that thousands of people experience this harrowing experience as they get their PTA in two or three tranches depending on what is available in the bank’s vault. A large number get about $1,000, $2,000, or more and are asked to access the balance in their dollar debit cards. This is usually not enough for their spending needs abroad because of banks’ spending limits.

However, PTA applicants have found smart ways of getting their dollar supply by having multiple applications in different banks. This in turn challenges the effectiveness of commercial bank measures at rationing.

Statements From Bank Staffs

Sources from the bank confirmed Debra’s situation alongside others. However, little can be done due to the amount of PTA applicants and the scarcity of dollars.

A senior manager of a bank who recently got licensed says the delay is to checkmate speculators since a large number of people now trade dollars. The manager further stated that 

“People get these allocations at the official rate of N420 only to turn around to “go and engage in arbitrage activities”. That is, get dollars at N420 and sell at N720 on the black market leaving a 300% margin.

CBN’s Position on the Matter

The Central Bank of Nigeria is yet to state in regards to the rationing by the bank. On the 20th of February 2022, CBN releases guidelines on how to carry out the new policy on PTA and school fees. In the guideline, every student is entitled to $4,000.