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Diaspora remittances: CBN vows to sanction operators paying local currency

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to impose strict sanctions, “including withdrawal of operating licenses,” on institutions and individuals found to be aiding, abetting or contravening its guidelines on the payout of Diaspora remittances.

In a circular posted on its website yesterday, the apex bank said that the warning became necessary because it has noticed that some International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and unlicensed companies continue to facilitate Diaspora remittances into the country in naira, contrary to its directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.

Reiterating that only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating Diaspora remittances into the country, the CBN emphasised that: “All Diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients).”

Also, the regulator stressed that 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 platforms within and/or around the Nigerian financial system.” For unlicensed operators, the CBN said it will not hesitate to order the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including barring them from accessing banking services in the country.

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