By Omodele Adigun
Just two days to the end of payment of N5 bonus for every $1 diaspora remittances, otherwise known as Naira 4 dollar scheme, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), its originator, has extended it indefinitely.
The scheme is an incentive to encourage both senders and recipients of international money transfers in order to ease hard currencies’ scarcity at the foreign exchange (forex) market.
The apex bank , while introducing the initiative, hadsaid recipients of diaspora remittances, through CBN-licensed international money transfer operators (IMTOs), would be paid N5 for every $1 received as remittance inflow.
The scheme was initially scheduled to run from March 8 to May 8. But in a circular released by the apex bank Wednesday, the deadline for receiving the $1 bonus has been extended till further notice.
The circular, by A. S. Jibrin, its director of Trade and Exchange, noted that operations of the scheme remain the same.
“Further to the CBN circular referenced TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/01/003 dated 05 March 2021 on the above subject matter, which was originally scheduled to end on 08 May 2021, we hereby announce the continuation of the scheme until further notice,” the circular read.
“All aspects of the operationalisation of the programme remain the same. Please take note and ensure compliance.”
Following the double-whammy impact of the pandemic and declining oil prices in 2020, Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) earnings suffered a sharp decline. This has forced the apex bank to look for alternative sources to boost the nation’s forex earnings through diaspora remittances.
In November 2020, CBN announced that beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through the IMTO wouldhave such inflows in foreign currency (US dollar) through the designated bank of their choice.
The CBN had said the changes were necessary to deepen the FX market, provide more liquidity and create more transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.