International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), and unlicensed companies, contravening the CBN directives on diaspora remittances contrary to its policies have received order to stop flouting its rules on Friday.
Expressing the apex bank’s displeasure, Director Trade and Exchange Department of CBN, Dr O.S. Nnaji, in a circular, said that the action contravened the apex bank’s directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.
The circular, entitled: “Modalities for Payout of Diaspora Remittances”, was posted on the CBN website on Friday.
The circular: ”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.”
The circular not only stated that only licensed IMTOs were permitted to carry out the business of facilitating Diaspora remittances into Nigeria; it also cleared that all diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only. It unambiguously said its either via cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients.
The CBN said: “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 close, third party accounts or via any other payment platforms within and/or around the Nigeran financial system.
According to CBN the measures were intended to promote transparency, grow diaspora remittances and significantly improve foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria.
The bank said that 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.”
For unlicensed operators, the CBN said “it shall not hesitate to authorize the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.”
Expressing its will to reverse the violation trend, the apex bank said it will continue monitoring of developments in this regard, noting that it would also issue further guidance as appropriate.