The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is pursuing reforms in the nation’s financial sector to increase diaspora remittances. The apex bank believes these remittances can help support the economy and reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the reform, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele, said if the country can have inflows of about $10 billion to $15 billion, this could have significant effect on the economy amidst the current fiscal constraints.
Emefiele, while speaking to journalists at the end of the two-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) yesterday, however, warned all registered International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) of sanctions should they circumvent approved channels for making diaspora remittances into the country.
He insisted that all diaspora remittances must go through the deposit money banks rather than mortgage or Fintech institutions. He added that all remittances must be paid to recipients in dollars going forward.
The CBN governor said: ”In fact since I became the CBN governor, I have been hearing about the size of diaspora remittances; some say $20 billion, in fact some say it’s about $30 billion. Honestly, I have been looking for the $30 billion or $20 billion, I have not seen it.
“But this time, I have decided that I will focus to see those billions of dollars. You know what, I am not only expecting $20 billion, if we get even up to $10 to 15 billion, I can tell you it can help the Nigerian economy.
“Pakistan, Indonesia and others generate average of $2 billion monthly in diaspora remittances and this has helped to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on their economy.”
He also emphasised the need to introduce transparency in the administration of diaspora remittances.
Emefiele said: “We deserve it. If statistical records show that the size of Nigeria diaspora remittances is $20 billion, Nigerians deserve to know where and how that $20 billion is utilised and we will provide the record.
“And that is why we are insisting that if you are a licensed IMTO, the proceeds of remittances must come into the country as foreign currency through only our deposit money banks not through mortgage institutions, not through any Fintech.
“If you use any of those, we find it, we will ask the bank to close the accounts of those Fintech or mortgage institutions. And we will also instruct the banks to block your BVN and you will not be able to conduct banking business in Nigeria again.”
He said further: ”It is important that people understand this. We cannot be calling on CBN to find dollars and dollars and we see where it is and we say let people bring them in and people begin to cut corners because they want to game the system. We should not allow this to continue in Nigeria again.”