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Currencies

CBN Governor discloses why they amended procedures for receipt of diaspora remittances

The CBN Governor has disclosed the reason the apex bank amended the procedures for receipt of diaspora remittances into the country.

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diaspora remittances, Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor, CRR debits, P-AADS, #EndSARS: CBN says funds in frozen accounts may be linked to terrorist activities, Covid-19: Court closures impacted revenue generation for courts - Emefiele, P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG, Leaked letter by Poultry Farmers Association triggered CBN emergency approval to import maize, nImplications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months, BREAKING: CBN Upscales Greenwich Trust Limited, grants it's operational license for merchant banking, AGSMEIS: CBN expand beneficiaries to 14,638., CBN expands access to mortgage financing

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has hinted the reason the apex bank amended the procedures for receipt of diaspora remittances into the country, as it sought to review the operations of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) in the country.

This disclosure was contained as part of the remark by Emefiele, during a briefing on improving remittance inflows into Nigeria, on Thursday, December 3, 2020.

READ: CBN Governor says Nigeria’s external reserves sufficient to cover 7-months import

Emefiele revealed that based on analysis after investigation, the CBN discovered that some IMTOs, rather than compete on improving transaction volumes and creating more efficient ways for Nigerians in the diaspora to remit funds, resorted to engaging in arbitrage arrangements on the naira-dollar exchange rate.

He said that this resulted in a significant drop in inflows into the country and also encouraged the use of unsafe unofficial channels, which also supported diversion of remittance flows meant for Nigeria, thereby undermining the country’s foreign exchange management framework.

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READ: CBN expects $24bn annual diaspora remittances – Emefiele

What they are saying

The CBN Governor in his statement said:

“Given the estimated annual remittance inflow of close to $24 billion, which could help in improving our balance of payment position, reduce our dependence on external borrowing and mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on foreign exchange inflows into the country, the CBN sought to find ways to support improved remittance inflows into the country through official channels.

READ: Nigeria receives $17.5 billion diaspora remittances in 2019 

“Based on this premise, we analyzed data on IMTO inflows into the country over the past year, and through our investigations discovered that some IMTOs, rather than compete on improving transaction volumes and create more efficient ways for Nigerians in the Diaspora to remit funds, resorted to engaging in arbitrage arrangements on the naira/dollar exchange rate, which to a large extent resulted in a significant drop in inflows into the country.

“It also encouraged the use of unsafe unofficial channels, which also supported diversion of remittance flows meant for Nigeria, thereby undermining our foreign exchange management framework,’’ he added.

READ: CBN condemns receiving foreign currency in transfers

Emefiele noted that due to scarcity of dollar cash, some of the remittance operators in collaboration with commercial banks decided to remit funds to recipients in naira, at an agreed exchange rate between the banks and the IMTOs.

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What you should know: it can be recalled that on November 30, the CBN announced an amendment to the procedure for receipt of diaspora remittances in an effort to boost remittance inflow, liberalize, simplify and improve the receipt and administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria.

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READ: Frantic CBN allows diaspora remittances to be withdrawn in dollars and sold anywhere including black market

Some of the highlights of the policy initiative include;

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  • Beneficiaries of diaspora remittances through IMTO shall henceforth receive such inflows in foreign currency (US Dollars) through the designated bank of their choice.
  • Such recipients of remittances may have the option of receiving these funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollars) or into their ordinary domiciliary account.

The CBN is of the opinion that in a bid to create arbitrage in those foreign exchange transactions, the IMTOs and the commercial banks shortchange the senders and beneficiaries of these funds by paying the recipients in naira at the lower exchange rate and selling at much higher rates.

This encouraged the senders and beneficiaries, who, while seeking more market reflective rates, sought the use of unofficial and illegal sources which further exacerbated the foreign exchange crisis.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joe success

    January 12, 2021 at 4:36 am

    Am finding it so difficult to send money from the Nigeria to Ghana

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Currencies

Naira falls across forex markets as CBN moves against IMTOs

The exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N477/$1.

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Naira falls across forex markets as businesses resume after public holidays

On January 22, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.17/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially.

Forex turnover, however, dropped by about 42.2% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continues.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a new circular, read the riot act to the International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) as they have threatened to sanction some of them who still facilitate diaspora remittances in naira, contrary to its earlier directive that it must be in foreign currency.

READ: Nigeria faces prolonged exchange rate crisis as oil prices remain stuck at $40

Also, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N477/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N475/$1 on the previous trading day of January 21, 2021, representing a N2 drop.

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The exchange rate disparity between the parallel market and the official market is about N82.83, representing a 17.36% devaluation differential.

READ: CBN to prevent exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from banking services

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Friday, closing at N394.17/$1. This represents a 17 kobo drop when compared to the N394/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.

  • The opening indicative rate was N393.15 to a dollar on Friday, this represents a N1.01 gain when compared with the N394.16 to a dollar that was recorded on Thursday, January 21, 2021.
  • The N395 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394.17 to a dollar. It also sold for as low as N390/$1 during intra-day trading.
  • Forex turnover at the Investor and Exporters (I&E) window dropped by 42.2% on Friday, January 22, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $77.04 million on Thursday, January 21, 2021, to $44.51 million on Friday, January 22, 2021.
  • The exchange rate is still being affected by low oil prices, dollar scarcity, a backlog of forex demand, and a shaky economy that has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are fears that the exchange rate at the black market might be under pressure in the coming weeks as importers scramble for dollars to meet their demands.

READ: A summer of higher food prices, limited room for monetary policy

Oil price steady rise

Brent crude oil price is at about $55.34 per barrel as of Monday morning, as it moves towards the $60 mark, a strong sign that global demand could sustain price increases in 2021.

  • This appears as a boost to Nigeria as the country’s crude oil price benchmark for 2020 was $40 while it projected an oil production output of 1.8 million barrels per day.
  • Nigeria has a production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day but is subject to OPEC’s crude oil production cuts, which are expected to help sustain higher oil prices.
  • The higher oil prices and steady production output have positively impacted Nigeria’s external reserves, rising sharply to $36.304 million according to central bank data dated January 14, 2020.
  • This is the highest level since July 2020 and a sign that higher oil prices and steady output levels may be contributing significantly to Nigeria’s foreign exchange position.

READ: A Joe Biden presidency and its impact on Nigeria’s oil

Nigeria rising external reserves

  • The external reserve has risen to $36.508 billion as of January 21, 2021.
  • Nairametrics had earlier reported that the government may have taken receipt of the $1-1.5 billion World Bank loan.
  • The external reserves have increased by $1.135 billion since December 31, 2020, when it closed the year at $35.3 billion.
  • Nigeria also needs the external reserves to hit $40 billion if it is to adequately meet some of the pent up demand that has piled up since 2020 when oil prices crashed and the pandemic caused major economic lockdowns.

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Currencies

CBN to prevent exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds from banking services

From January 31, 2021, the CBN will bar exporters who fail to repatriate export proceeds from accessing banking services.

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CBN to restrict foreign exchange on more food imports

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the prohibition of all Nigerian exporters who are yet to repatriate their export proceeds, from banking services effective from January 31, 2021.

The apex bank has a standing policy that instructs exporters to repatriate exports within 90 days for oil and gas and 180 days for non-oil exports constitute a breach of the extant regulation.

In a letter issued by one of the commercial banks to its exporters, and seen by Nairametrics, it cited the CBN’s new circular stating that it will bar exporters who do not repatriate from accessing banking services.

See excerpt of the CBN circular barring exporters from accessing banking services.

“Please be informed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through its circular referenced TED/EXP/CON?NEX/01/001 dated 13th January 2021 has instructed that all exporters with unrepatriated export proceeds before 31st January 2021 should be barred from accessing all banking services.”

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In lieu of this, all concerned exporters are urged to comply with the directive before the specified date.

Why this circular?

Analysts believe that the directive is part of a monetary control mechanism by policymakers to maintain relative stability in the exchange rate, especially after the pandemic created a wide disparity between the official exchange and the parallel market rates, eliminating incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges, etc.

  • By repatriating export proceeds via the NAFEX (Investor and Exporter window) the central bank believes this will improve liquidity in the official market and perhaps strengthen the naira at the black market where wired transfers often cost a premium of N5-N10 over the street exchange rate of N475/$1.
  • Most export proceeds find their way to the parallel market where exporters can exchange for higher naira value-boosting their gains on foreign currency conversions.
  • It is to be seen if exporters will comply with this directive or seek other means of avoiding the hammer of the exporters. Most exporters already find a way to avoid these hammers by opening foreign bank accounts where most of the export proceeds are warehoused and then sold at the black market.
  • Some rely on complex intercompany transactions to avoid repatriating the forex through the NAFEX window

What you should know

  • According to Bloomberg sources, the new directive applies to exports up until June last year.
  • In a bid to ensure prudent use of foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria had earlier instructed authorised dealers and exporters to only open forms M for letters of credit, bills for collection, and other forms of payment

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Currencies

CBN issues modalities for payout of diaspora remittances in dollars

The new circular explains who diaspora remittances are to be paid to beneficiaries in Nigeria only in foreign currency and not naira.

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on

diaspora remittances, Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor, CRR debits, P-AADS, #EndSARS: CBN says funds in frozen accounts may be linked to terrorist activities, Covid-19: Court closures impacted revenue generation for courts - Emefiele, P&ID dispute: UK Court orders $200 million guarantee to FG, Leaked letter by Poultry Farmers Association triggered CBN emergency approval to import maize, nImplications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months, BREAKING: CBN Upscales Greenwich Trust Limited, grants it's operational license for merchant banking, AGSMEIS: CBN expand beneficiaries to 14,638., CBN expands access to mortgage financing

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a circular setting out the Modalities for Payout of Diaspora Remittances.

The apex bank has frowned at activities of some International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and unlicensed companies who continue to facilitate diaspora remittances into the country in Naira instead of dollars.

The apex bank’s reaction follows the contravention of its earlier directive that all diaspora remittances must be paid to the beneficiaries in dollars.

This disclosure was contained in a circular titled, ‘Modalities for Payout of Diaspora Remittances’, issued by the CBN on Friday, January 22, 2021, and signed by its Director Trade and Exchange Department, Dr O.S. Nnaji.

READ: CBN revokes licenses of 7 Payment Service Providers

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What the CBN is saying

The CBN in its circular said, ‘’Further to our circular titled ‘Receipt of Diaspora Remittances: Additional Operational Guidelines’, it has come to our notice that some IMTOs and unlicensed companies continue to facilitate diaspora remittances into the country in Naira, “in clear contravention of the Central Bank of Nigeria directive that all remittances be paid to beneficiaries in dollars.’’

READ: More pressure on the naira as Diaspora remittances to drop by 20%

For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria further clarifies as follows;

  1. Only licensed IMTOs are permitted to carry on the business of facilitating diaspora remittances into Nigeria;
  2. All diaspora remittances must be received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and /or transfers to domiciliary accounts or recipients);
  3. IMTOs are not permitted, under any circumstances, to disburse diaspora remittances in Naira (either in cash or by electronic transfers), be it through remittance settlement accounts (which had been earlier directed to be closed), third party accounts or via any other payment platforms within and/or around the Nigerian financial system.’’

READ: Nigeria’s forex devaluation timeline – 2020

The apex bank in the circular said that the measures were intended to promote transparency, grow diaspora remittances and significantly improve foreign exchange inflows into Nigeria.

The CBN warned that strict sanctions, including withdrawal of operating licenses, shall be imposed on any individuals and/or institutions found to be aiding, abetting or directly contravening these guidelines.

It went further to say that it shall not hesitate to authorize the closure of the accounts of unlicensed operators in Nigerian banks, including being barred from accessing banking services in Nigeria.

It promised continued monitoring of developments in this regard, adding that it would also issue further guidance as appropriate.

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READ: Continuous increase in inflation rate may weaken economy – CBN report

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What this means

With the insistence of the apex bank on its earlier directive, it means that Nigerians living in the diaspora can transfer foreign currency to their relatives and loved ones in the country, who in turn will withdraw the money in dollar cash and sell it anywhere they so desire in exchange for naira.

It means they can for instance receive foreign transfers such as Western Union or Moneygram, withdraw it in dollars and then sell at the black market rate or anywhere else they want to. This they believe will help to stabilize the exchange rate and discourage hoarding.

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READ: UBS warns Bitcoins could disappear like Myspace

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the CBN, had in November 2020, amended the procedure for the receipt of diaspora remittances and insisted that it must be paid in dollars to the beneficiaries, in an apparent and frantic attempt to improve liquidity in the forex market and reduce the disparity between the black market and the official window.
  • Also in an additional guideline for diaspora remittances, the CBN barred IMTOs from sending money to Mobile Money Operators and also stopped the integration of payment services providers to IMTO accounts. It also stopped switches and processors from getting involved in foreign remittances.

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