The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a new circular released today said some international money transfer operators (IMTOs) and unlicensed companies, continued to facilitate diaspora remittances into the country in Naira, in contravention of its directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.
The CBN clarified in the circular that :
- Only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into Nigeria.
- All diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients).
- IMTOs are NOT permitted, under any circumstances, to disburse diaspora remittances in Naira (either in cash or by electronic transfers), be it through naira remittances settlement accounts (which had been earlier directed to be closed down).
The CBN clarified that the measures are 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,” the CBN said.
“For unlicensed operators, the CBN shall not hesitate to authorize the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.”
It seems the CBN has finally seen the light on the need to attract remittances after earlier statements questioning their significance as reported by MoneyCentral.