The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again warned International Money transfer operators (IMTOs) and unlicensed companies to stop facilitating diaspora remittances into the country in Naira. The apex bank, in a statement released on Friday signed by Dr Ozoemena Nnaji, its director of Trade & Exchange of CBN, noted that all diaspora remittances should be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients).
“Only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into the country,” the statement read.
“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 earlier directed to be closed), third party accounts or via any other payment platform within and/or around the Nigerian financial system.”
The apex bank noted that the measures were intended to promote transparency, grow diaspora remittances and significantly improve foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria.
It warned that strict sanctions, including withdrawal of operating licenses, shall be imposed on individuals and/or institutions found to be aiding, abetting or directly contravening the guidelines.
While unlicensed operators would also have their accounts in Nigerian banks closed, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.
The apex bank had in November 2020 relaxed rules on foreign remittances and domiciliary accounts by allowing beneficiaries to receive such inflow in foreign currency through designated bank of their choice.