By Babajide Okeowo
For flouting the Central Bank of Nigeria’s, CBN directives on Diaspora Remittances, CBN has ordered Deposit Money Banks in Nigeria to close all naira accounts of International Money Transfer Operators.
This was contained in a circular titled ‘Receipt of diaspora remittances: Additional operational guidelines 2 addressed to all Deposit Money Banks, Payment Service Providers and International Money Transfer Operators’ and jointly signed by Bello Hassan, CBN’s director of banking supervision; and Musa Jimoh, the bank’s director of payments system management.
The circular read, “Following the recent policy pronouncement on the amendment to procedures for receipt of diaspora remittances, the CBN notes material compliance by the majority of market participants as beneficiaries of remittances through IMTOs now receive foreign currency through their designated banks.
However and regrettably, a few operators continue to pay remittances in local currency contrary to the regulatory directive. The CBN frowns on this practice.
DMBs are to close all naira accounts for IMTOs. This is to ensure that diaspora remittances are received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients).
DMBs are permitted to open new Operating Expenses OPEX accounts for the purpose of the IMTO operations, such as salary payments and other operating expenses excluding diaspora remittance receipts.
DMBs must ensure that proper audit of IMTO accounts is done to forestall further use of naira accounts for diaspora remittances purposes” the circular stated.
Recall that the CBN had recently warned operators against paying recipients of diaspora remittances in local currency in an earlier circular.
It warned that violators could lose their operational licences if they failed to comply with its guidelines on remittances.