CBN approves 11 more money transfer operators
In its search for scarce foreign exchange and elimination of illegal funds transfer , the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday approved 11 International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), bringing the number to 14.
The move, according to the regulator, is to deepen efforts at liberalising the foreign exchange market, ensuring liquidity and making foreign exchange more readily available to low-end users.
The newly registered operators are Trans-Fast Remittance LLC; WorldRemit Limited; UAE Exchange Centre LLC; Wari Limited; Homesend S.C.R.L; Small World Financial Services Group Limited; Weblink International Limited; Cashpot Limited; DT&T Corporation Limited; Fiem Group LLC DBA Ping Express and CP Express Limited.
The move would offer Nigerians in the Diaspora a wider option in making remittances through credible channels, as well as curb money laundering and illegal activities that fuel speculations against the Naira.
The CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, had told The Guardian that the huge number of Diaspora remittances, estimated to be in excess of $20 billion, are not getting into the economy because of racketeering by IMTOs.
The development, he said, prompted the new guide for IMTOs’ operations, which only three earlier scaled through, while others were alleging that CBN had withdrawn their licences.
Investigations by The Guardian showed that some of the operators, who were alleging foul play, were not ready to play by the rules that mandated them to remit all dollars to banks.
The directive had exposed their rent-seeking deals with some banks, which ended direct sale to roadside hawkers.
Following the development, CBN invited interested IMTOs to put in their requests for licencing under the new guide.
Meanwhile, a financial market operator and Chief Executive Officer of Cowry Asset Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, reacted to the development, saying, “The decision will now offer Nigerians in Diaspora options, especially those living in some places that the presence of Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria are not enough.”
“Again, with naira exchange rate at inter-bank market nearing equilibrium, it is obvious that people will not want to cut corners anymore but follow the right channel that would be offered by these operators.”