CBN to blacklist unlicensed money transfer agents over payment abuse

January 23, 2021

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said its policy mandating International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to pay Diaspora remittances beneficiaries in dollars is being flouted.

In a circular signed by CBN Director, Trade and Exchange Department, O.S Nnaji, the apex bank said it will blacklist and close bank accounts of unlicenced companies facilitating diaspora remittances into the country.

Such companies, he said, will be banned from accessing banking services in the country.

The apex bank insisted that only licensed IMTOs should carry out diaspora remittances business in Nigeria.

The regulator said few operators continue to pay remittances in local currency contrary to regulatory directive all remittances be paid in US dollars to the beneficiaries.

The apex bank had earlier mandated that Switches and Processors should immediately seize all local currency transfers in respect of foreign currency remittances through IMTOs.

It also directed Mobile Money Operators to immediately disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.

It asked Payment Service Providers to stop integrating their systems with IMTOs going forward and must prevent combining  remittances with other legitimate transactions.

According to the apex bank, 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 apex bank said.

The apex bank said it remained committed to promoting transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria and will continue to enforce policies that will stabilize and deepen the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

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