…Threatens to withdraw licences of recalcitrant operators
By Emma Ujah
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has insisted that all Diaspora remittances be paid to beneficiaries in foreign currencies, not Naira.
The bank’s position was contained in a circular to all Authorised Dealers and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), issued Friday by the Director of Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji.
According to the apex bank, “some IMTOs and unlicensed companies continue to facilitate Diaspora remittances into the country in Naira, in clear contravention of the CBN directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.”
The CBN threatened to close all bank accounts of unlicensed operators who are engaging in the business of facilitating Diaspora remittances and bar them banking services in the country.
It said, “For the avoidance of doubt, only IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.
“All Diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currencies only (cash and /transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients.
“IMTOs are not permitted under any circumstance to disburse Diaspora remittances in Naira (either in cash or by electronic transfers)be it through Naira remittance accounts (which has been directed to be closed) third party accounts or via any other payment platforms within or around the Nigerian financial system.”
The CBN said that the measures were intended to promote transparency and grow Diaspora remittances and significantly improve remittances flow into Nigeria.
It warned that “Strict sanctions, including withdrawal of operating licences, shall be imposed on any individual/ and or institutions found to be aiding and abetting or directly contravening these directives.”