CBN Seeks Legal, Regulatory Framework as Global Remittances Hits $613bn

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CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

By James Emejo in Abuja

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Tuesday hinted at current efforts to conduct a maiden remittance household survey as well as establish a remittance legal and regulatory framework for the country.

He said remittance statistics in the country gathered from both banking records and staff estimates of informal inflows had proved to be inadequate “as we think that a large chunk of migrants’ remittances pass through informal channels and are, thus, unrecorded”.

However, he said the survey and regulatory framework being sought will ultimately support improvements in the country’s remittance transactions and boost the quality of data as currently captured in its balance of payments.

Speaking at the opening of a workshop on remittance household surveys, which was jointly organised by the CBN and the African Institute for Remittances, Emefiele said: “Nigeria is yet to conduct a household-based remittances survey to provide scientific estimates of these inflows. In addition, data from banking records also come with some discrepancies due to classification challenges on the part of the reporting institutions.”

According to him, remittance inflows contribute substantially to foreign exchange earnings of developing countries including Nigeria and exceeds international aids and grants in some cases.

Citing statistics from the World Bank, he noted that global remittances had risen gradually over the years to about $613 billion in 2017, with Africa accounting for $72 billion, out of which Nigeria has the lion’s share as well as ranked among the top five globally.

Represented by the Director, Statistics Department, CBN, Dr. Mohammed Tumala, the apex bank’s governor further stated that the purpose of the meeting was to bring together officials of the Africa Union (AU) member states to brainstorm and share experiences on how to enhance remittance statistics through the conduct of remittance household surveys.

He added that the country had in recent years taken measures targeted at attracting remittance inflows and contribute to its economic development.

These, according to him, include the appointment of a special adviser to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora matters and the establishment of the standing committee on diaspora by the legislature.

Other measures include the floating of a $300 million diaspora bond by government and the introduction of electronic certificate of capital importation to Nigerians in the diaspora as well as becoming a member of the International Association of Money Transfer Networks.