•Warns Azimo, Transfer Wise not registered IMTOs
By Obinna Chima
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed displeasure that some International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) continue to pay remittances in local currency contrary to its recent policy that granted unfettered access to forex from Diaspora and other money transfer remittances.
However, it noted that the majority of Nigerians who are beneficiaries of remittances through IMTOs now receive forex through their designated banks.
The CBN revealed this in a circular posted on its website yesterday, titled: “Receipt of Diaspora Remittances: Additional Operational Guidelines.”
Therefore, in order to prevent further breach of the policy by the IMTOs, the CBN in the additional operational guidelines directed switches and processors to immediately, cease all local currency transfers in respect of foreign remittances through IMTOs.
All mobile money operators (MMOs) are also required to immediately disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.
Furthermore, it directed payment service providers to cease integrating their systems with IMTOs going forward and must prevent comingling of remittances with other legitimate transactions.
It states: “All IMTOs are required to immediately disclose to beneficiaries that they exercise discretion to receive the transfer in foreign currency cash or directly into their domiciliary accounts.
“A central reporting portal for all foreign remittances to be managed by the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NJBSS) is currently under development to improve visibility of foreign remittance flows.
“All licensed institutions are required to comply with the foregoing guidelines as contraventions will attract stiff regulatory sanction including revocation of license. The CBN remains committed to promoting transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria and will continue to enforce policies that will stabilize and deepen the Nigeria foreign exchange market.”
The CBN recently unveiled a new policy that grants unfettered access to forex from Diaspora and other money transfer remittances.
The policy allows beneficiaries of Diaspora remittances through IMTOs to henceforth receive such inflows in the original foreign currency through the designated bank of their choice.
It had explained that the new regulation was part of efforts to liberalise, simplify and improve the receipt and administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria.
With the new policy, recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving such funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.
“These changes are necessary to deepen the foreign exchange market, provide more liquidity and create more transparency in the administration of Diaspora remittances into Nigeria,” the central bank had stated.
Warns Azimo, Transfer Wise Not Registered IMTOs
Meanwhile, the CBN has warned members of the public against transacting business with Azimo and Transfer Wise, both of which it said had purportedly been transacting business, albeit unauthorised, as International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).
It gave the warning in a statement signed by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi.
It explained: “The attention of the CBN has been drawn to the activities of Messrs. Azimo and Messrs. Transfer Wise, both of which are purportedly transacting business, albeit unauthorised, as IMTOs.
“The bank wishes to notify the general public that neither Messrs. Azimo nor Messrs. Transfer Wise is licensed by the CBN to operate as an IMTO.
“The public is, therefore, advised to beware of the activities of Messrs. Azimo and Messrs. Transfer Wise and desist from patronizing the companies forthwith.
“Anyone who patronises the unregistered companies does so at his or her own risk.”