Travelex, ABCON Partner to Enhance Diaspora Remittances

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Travelex Nigeria and the Association of bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) have agreed to enter into strategic partnership that will enable the Bureaux de Change (BDCs) access over $20 billion annual Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

A statement quoted ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, to have disclosed this at a one-day sensitisation programme organised for BDCs by Travelex Nigeria and Travelex UK, in Abuja.

He said Travelex and ABCON were reviewing the possibility of ABCON riding on the Travelex high-tech for BDCs to become direct agents of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

He said the digitisation of the BDCs operations through the launch of ABCON Live Run Automation Portal which has the backing of the CBN showed the BDCs’ readiness and commitment to full digitisation of their operations to provide seamless services to forex end-users and become direct agents of IMTOs.

He said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) captures only six per cent of the Diaspora remittances and the rest goes under the counter without any tracing.

According to him, riding on Travelex’s high-tech would enable the BDCs address the reoccurring complaints of poor infrastructure which has kept the operators away from accessing the Diaspora remittances for years.

Gwadabe, who spoke on the theme: “ABCON’s Plans and Proposals for strengthening and Improving the Foreign Exchange Market viz-aviz the BDC Sub-sector in the Economy” said the BDC operators were obligated by law to render daily, monthly and annual returns to the CBN.

He said the daily returns known as Daily Transaction Returns (DTR) gives details of the total sales made for the day by the BDC and comes in as DTR 202, DTR 217, DTR 305 and DTR 315.

The DTR 217 return gives the information of the customers of whom the forex was sold to. Information like, the name, the international Passport number, Bank Verification Number, address, Tin number, email address among others while DTR 305 provides details of the customers as well their destination and reason for the purchase of forex. The total amount of forex sold to them is also mention with the transaction date.

According to Gwadabe, DTR 315 tells BDCs’ opening balance, amount purchased in forex , the equivalent in naira and the rate of purchase, amount sold in forex, the equivalent in naira and the selling rate as well as the closing balance.

“The Monthly Transaction Returns (MTR) also known as the MTR returns is a compilation of the daily and its rendered to Trade and Exchange Department. It also comes in four parts MTR202, MTR217, MTR 305 and MTR 315. It is pertinent to note that these returns as described above are rendered in soft copies (electronically) and hardcopies to the apex Bank,” Gwadabe stated.

According to the ABCON boss, any organisation seeking a license for the operation of BDC in Nigeria shall apply in writing to the CBN Governor and pay a minimum of N35 million share capital among other requirements.

The BDCs, Gwadabe said, also sends suspicious transaction report to the Financial Policy and Regulatory Department in CBN.

“For the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU)/ Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the BDCs are expected to report weekly on STR and CTR and if non, a nil report is sent on weekly basis.

“BDC are expected to open accounts with the NFIU at www.goaml.nfiu.gov.ng. We also render audited accounts to Federal Inland Revenue Service,” he said.