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CBN threatens to shut accounts of operators who flout Diaspora remittance regulations

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to shut the accounts of operators who continue to violate diaspora remittance regulations as well as withdraw their operating licences.

In a circular signed by the Director, Trade & Exchange Department of the CBN, Dr. O. S. Nnaji, on Friday, the apex bank said it would no longer tolerate the clear “contravention of its directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.”

The circular which was sent to all authorised dealers and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) titled ‘Modalities for payout of diaspora remittances,’ insisted that the directives were in furtherance to its earlier circular 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 reads.

“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.”

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The CBN also said it would not hesitate to close the accounts of unlicensed operators and bar them from accessing banking services in Nigeria.

“The CBN shall not hesitate to authorise the closure of their accounts in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.”

CBN also stated that only licensed IMTOs were permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into Nigeria, adding that all diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only, either in cash and/ or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients.

“IMTOs are 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.”

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