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NIGERIA: Association of Licensed Mobile Payments Operators pleads with CBN to reverse remittance policy

Members of the Association of Licensed Mobile Payments Operators (ALMPO) is appealing to the CBN to change its policy directive on payment of diaspora remittances.

ALMPO members want the central bank to reverse the policy that requires banks to make payments in dollars allowing them to pay in naira, claiming that it limits the number of Nigerians that can access the funds. This is according to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) which cited comments from the Chairman of ALMPO, Mr. Jay Alabrabra.

On December 16th, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued additional guidelines for diaspora remittances in the country citing infractions of its previous circular.  It blamed mobile payment operators for flouting its directives for operators to pay remittances in dollars accusing them of paying in naira.

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All MMOs are required to immediately disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.

  • Payment service providers are directed to cease integrating their systems with IMTOs going forward and must prevent the comingling of remittances with other legitimate transactions.

On November 30th the CBN stated that beneficiaries of Diaspora Remittances through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) shall henceforth receive such inflows in foreign currency (US Dollars) through the designated bank of their choice.

The plea by money transfer operators suggests that the new CBN policy may have severely dented a major source of revenue for its members.

  • Apart from instructing them to not pay in naira, the decision shuts out any potential margin they may have made from forex exchanges.
  • Thus restricting their revenue to only commissions on transfers. They have also been told to disable wallets and directed to cease integrating their systems with IMTOs.

Nigeria In Focus:

Population: 206.6 million (Compared to South Africa's 59.6 million)

GDP: $504.57 billion (Compared to South Africa's $369.85 billion)

GDP Per Capita: $2,465 (Compared to South Africa's $6,193)