By our reporter| The operating licences of operators who continue to violate rules regulating diaspora remittances into the country will be withdrawn, the Central Bank of Nigeria warned on Friday.
In a circular by the Director, Trade & Exchange Department, Dr. O. S. Nnaji to all authourised dealers and International Money Transfer Operators titled ‘Modalities for payout of diaspora remittances’, the apex bank said it would not tolerate the clear contravention of its directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.
According to the CBN, the new circular was in furtherance to its earlier one titled ‘Receipt of diaspora remittances: Additional operational guidelines’.
“These measures are intended to promote transparency, grow diaspora remittances and significantly improve foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria, the circular stated in part.
“Strict sanctions, including withdrawal of operating licences, shall be imposed on any individual and/ or institutions found to be aiding, abetting or directly contravening these guidelines.”
For unlicensed operators, “The CBN shall not hesitate to authorise the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria,” the circular added.
For the avoidance of doubt, the apex bank noted that only licensed IMTOs were permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into Nigeria.
All diaspora remittances, it said, must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/ or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients.
According to the CBN, the IMTOs were not permitted, under any circumstance, to disburse diaspora remittances in Nigeria (either in cash or by electronic transfer), be it through naira remittance settlement accounts (which it had earlier directed to be closed), third party accounts or via any other payment platforms within and/or around the Nigerian financial system.