The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sent a strong warning to the international money transfer operators (IMTOs) for turning down its directive on the payment of remittances in the local currency, naira.

The central bank, however, warned that any operators and banks that are caught still paying remittances in naira despite the directive would be sanctioned.

According to a statement released by the central bank on Friday, January 22, some IMTOs and unlicensed companies have continued to pay diaspora remittances into the country in naira, in clear contravention of its directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.

Godwin Emefiele – Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The apex bank said 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 shall not hesitate to authorize the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria,”

The Central Bank of Nigeria further clarifies as follows:

  1. Only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora Remittances into Nigeria;
  2. All diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency oni (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients):
  3. 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.
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