Collins Nweze, The Nation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has frowned at the flouting of its policy mandating International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to pay Diaspora remittances to beneficiaries in dollars.
In a statement on Wednesday, the apex bank said few operators continue to pay remittances in local currency, contrary to regulatory directive. It has therefore, issued a new directive authorising Switches and Processors to immediately cease all local currency transfers in respect of foreign currency remittances through IMTOs.
It also directed that all Mobile Money Operators should immediately disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.
The bank directed Payment Service Providers to stop integrating their systems with IMTOs and avoid must prevent remittances with other legitimate transactions.
According to the CBN, all IMTOs are required to immediately disclose to beneficiaries that they exercise discretion to receive transfer in foreign currency cash or directly into their domiciliary accounts.
The apex bank has also instituted a central reporting portal for all foreign remittances to be managed by the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), which is under development to improve visibility of foreign remittances flow.
“All licensed institutions are required to comply with the new guidelines as contraventions will attract stiff regulatory sanction including revocation of license,” the CBN said.
The bank restated its commitment to promoting transparency in the administration of diaspora remittances into the country, vowing to enforce policies that will stabilise and deepen the local foreign exchange (forex) market.
Also yesterday, the apex bank warned the general public to beware of two firms – Azimo and Transfer Wise – that operate as IMTOs, saying the two firms are not licensed to carry out the business.
It said: “Our attention has been drawn to the activities of Messrs. Azimo and Messrs. Transfer Wise, both of which are purportedly transacting business, albeit un-authorised, as International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).
“The CBN wishes to notify the general public that neither Messrs. Azimo nor Messrs. Transfer Wise is licensed by the CBN to operate as an IMTO.
“The public is therefore advised to beware of the activities of Messrs. Azimo and Messrs. Transfer Wise and desist from patronising the companies forthwith,” adding that “anyone who patronies the unregistered companies, does so at his or her own risk.”