The Central Bank of Nigeria in a circular titled CBN “Modalities For Payout of Diaspora Remittances”, expressed dissatisfaction over diaspora remittances in Naira instead of dollars a directed by the Apex Bank in its guidelines. CBN said that this continued remittance in Naira is being facilitated by some International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and unlicensed companies.
Dr O.S. Nnaji, Director Trade and Exchange Department of CBN, in the circular posted on CBN website on Friday, said that the action contravened the apex bank’s directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.
He stated that only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into Nigeria and that all diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only, whether by cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients.
The circular read “Further to our circular titled” Receipt of Diaspora Remittances: Additional Operational Guidelines “, it has come to our notice that some IMTOs and unlicensed companies continue to facilitate diaspora remittances into the country in Naira, “in clear contravention of the Central Bank of Nigeria directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars,”
“ IMTOs are not permitted, under any circumstances, to disburse diaspora remittances in Naira (either in cash or by electronic transfers) be it through naira remittance settlement accounts, which had been directed to closed, third party accounts or via any other payment platforms within and/or around the Nigeran financial system.”
According to the CBN, these measures were intended to promote transparency, grow diaspora remittances and significantly improve foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria.
“Strict sanctions, including withdrawal of operating licenses, shall be imposed on any individuals and/or institutions found to be aiding, abetting or directly contravening these guidelines,” said the Apex Bank.
For unlicensed operators, the CBN warned that it shall not hesitate to authorize the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.
The regulator said it will continue to monitor developments in this regard, adding that it would also issue further guidance as appropriate.
Ifunanya Ikueze is an Engineer, Safety Professional, Writer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator.