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Currencies

Diaspora Remittances: Mobile Payment Operators appeal to CBN to allow naira payments

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.

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parallel market, Covid-19: N3.5 trillion disbursed as stimulus package for the Nigerian economy, CBN Vs NESG: Waving the white flag for the benefit of Nigerians, Exchange Rate Unification: CBN devalues official rate to N380/$1, Nigerian banks have written off N1.9 trillion impaired loans in past 4 years, CBN sandbox operations, Stirling Trust Company Limited, Key highlights of the October 2020 Business Expectations Survey Report, A Total of N3.5 trillion was disbursed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to several other interventions to reflate the economy - CBN, BOFIA 2020: Steps forward or backwards for Nigerian banks, Total credit to the economy rose to N19.54trillion – CBN Governor

The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Mobile Payments Operators (ALMPO), Jay Alabraba is appealing to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change its policy directive on payment of diaspora remittances.

The 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 Alabraba.

“The CBN’s decision to restrict international remittances to USD payouts only is the overarching concern of everyone. It certainly limits the number of Nigerian citizens that can conveniently access funds sent from the diaspora. I sincerely hope that CBN reconsiders its position on this, and re-allow Naira payments in cash or into accounts or wallets,” Jay Alabraba.

Mr. Alabraba also disclosed that the CBN’s instruction was a “serious worry” for their business and suggested that the apex bank’s decision may have been a temporary measure.

Alabraba also said that the apex bank’s decision, which had caused serious worry for Mobile Money Operators, had challenged the Industry association to further engage with CBN on the issues.

Specta

Backstory

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.

According to the apex bank, despite spelling out procedures “regrettably, a few operators continue to pay remittances in local currency contrary to the regulatory directive”  and then issued instructions amongst which includes the following;

  • 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.

Why are they appealing

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

  • Apart from cutting them instructing them from not paying 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.

Update: This article was updated to reflect new information.

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Uche Godson Okezueh

    December 25, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    Mad people everywhere. Don’t they see that the CBN regulations has drastically brought the black market price for USD to a very good low. Let them go and look for other things to do. Must we have cartels everywhere to shortchange our people?

  2. Seni

    December 25, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    Cbn made the right law to protect the country. We cant be favouring a few of over the collective good of the nation

  3. Emmanuel

    December 26, 2020 at 2:57 am

    CBN, please never go back. They have been exposed for the bastardization of the local currency and agents of capital flight.

    If you listen to them, that will be the greatest undoing to the economy. Enough is enough of the game.

  4. Shoga Akeem

    December 26, 2020 at 6:50 am

    Why begging cbn to reverse it policy?, over the years, this financial syndicate have been raking in huge financial benefits (foreign currencies) at the expense of individuals who are remmiting these monies. Whatever that is wrongly eaten, must be forcefully regurgitated!!!!

  5. Peter A

    December 26, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    This appears to be a good policy by the CBN
    What took place prior to this policy is best called unethical practice
    The Money transfer companies collected Forex (dollars, pounds etc) as remittances and bought Naira from the Nigerian deposit banks paid out Naira to beneficiaries in Nigeria. Now what did the Nigerian deposit banks do with the forex? They reinvested it abroad (in New York stock exchange, London FTSE, British and US Treasury bills, US and British Corporate and infrastructure bonds and the real estate market) such that the forex never ever hit Nigeria. After this policy the Money transfer organisations will be forced to fly in cash dollars to pay out remittances thereby hopefully flooding the Nigerian economy and it’s dollars (remittances to Nigeria stand at about 24 billion dollars a year. The only problem here is that after people collect the remittances in dollars they are themselves forced to resort to the Mallams whose machinations know no bounds.

  6. Dipo Isaac

    December 26, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    The CBN governor should not listen to them. These are the cartels or whatever they are destroying the economy of Nigeria

  7. Ifenowo Bamidele

    December 26, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    These bloodsucking cabals have been benefitting from the lifeline of the naira. Some Nigerians are really agents of financial destruction. How can I send dollars home and you blatantly declined to pay my beneficiaries the money as sent. The CBN should stick to its guns. Enough of these bloodsucking economic vampires.

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Currencies

Naira falls to N480/$1 at black market as CBN recognizes forex pressures is weakening the economy

The exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N480/$1 on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

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Dollar, Exchange rate, FOREX, NAFEX market turnover drop by 59%, Naira crashes to N470/$1 as currency uncertainty worsens 

On January 26, 2021, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially depreciated at N480/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N477/$1 on the previous trading day of January 22, 2021, representing a N3 drop.

Why Naira is depreciating

  • This can be attributed to demand pressure in the foreign exchange market as economic activities resumed in earnest following the end of the Christmas and New year holidays.
  • Forex dealers also inform Nairametrics that an increase in demand from Nigerians looking to send their wards back to school abroad has also piled pressure on the demand for the greenback.
  • A cross-section of importers have also resumed import activities piling pressure on the black market to meet their forex demands.

To streamline supply and ensure there is enough to meet rising demand, the CBN moved to ensure strict monetary control of the forex market threatening to expel exporters who refuse to remit foreign exchange proceeds in the NAFEX market. It also warned against paying diaspora remittances in naira. 

The CBN may have also confirmed the forex pressures businesses are facing in its monetary policy communique of January 26, 2020 when it cited it as a reason for the weak purchasing managers index.

“This weak performance was attributed to the resurgence of the pandemic, foreign exchange pressures, increased costs of production, general increase in prices and decline in economic activities.”

Trading at the official NAFEX window

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Tuesday, closing at N394/$1. This represents a 50 kobo gain when compared to the N394.50/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.

Specta
  • The opening indicative rate was N393.60 to a dollar on Tuesday, representing a 30 kobo drop when compared with the N393.30 to a dollar that was recorded on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • The N396 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394 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 rose significantly by 170.9% on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover increased from $39.99 million on Monday, January 25, 2021, to $108.34 million on Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Oil price steady rise

Brent crude oil price rose to about $55.87 on Wednesday morning as US crude stockpiles decrease by about 5.2 million barrels last week. A higher crude oil draw (a decrease in crude oil inventory) is attributed to higher refining activities in the world’s largest economy.

  • Oil prices have been dragging since last week after the IEA released a report that slashed its outlook for oil in 2021.
  • According to the IEA, “Global oil demand is expected to recover by 5.5 mb/d to 96.6 mb/d in 2021, following an unprecedented collapse of 8.8 mb/d in 2020. For now, a resurgence in Covid-19 cases is slowing the rebound, but a widespread vaccination effort and an acceleration in economic activity is expected to spur stronger growth in the second half of the year.
  • “After falling by a record 6.6 mb/d in 2020, world oil supply is set to rise by over 1 mb/d this year, with OPEC+ adding more than those outside the bloc. There may be scope for higher growth given our expectations for further improvement in demand in 2H21. After holding flat at 92.8 mb/d in December, global supply is rising this month with OPEC+ due to ramp up during January.
  • Nigeria needs oil prices to stay above $50 to balance its budget and improve on its 2021 revenue projection of  N6.6 trillion for the year.
  • Nigeria’s 2021 budget includes a target crude oil benchmark price of $40/barrel and crude oil production of 1.86 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.

Higher oil prices drive up Nigeria’s 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. However, excerpts of the CBN Monetary Policy communique of January 26th suggest the inflows may have been driven by higher oil revenues.
  • According to the CBN, “On the external reserves position, the Committee noted the increase in the level of external reserves, which stood at US$36.23 billion as at 21st January, 2021 compared with US$34.94 billion at the end of November 2020. This reflected improvements in crude oil prices, partial global economic recovery amid optimism over the discovery and distributions of COVID-19 vaccines by most developed economies.”
  • 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

Naira falls at NAFEX window as dollar supply continues to decline

The exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.50/$1 at the NAFEX Window.

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Central Bank of Nigeria, Foreign exchange market, Naira vs dollas, IMF, Foreign Reserves, External reserves, CBN, Why do we all love the dollar? 

On January 25, 2021, the exchange rate between the naira and the dollar depreciated closing at N394.50/$1 at the NAFEX (I&E Window) where forex is traded officially.

Forex turnover, however, dropped further by about 10.2% as pressure on the foreign exchange market continues.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has moved to create more liquidity in the foreign exchange market as they insisted that deposit money banks and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) must pay diaspora remittances to beneficiaries in dollars as against the initial practice of paying in naira.

This will also help to create more stability and transparency in the forex market.

Also, the exchange rate at the black market where forex traded unofficially remained stable at N477/$1. The exchange rate at the parallel market closed at N477/$1 on the previous trading day of January 22, 2021.

Specta

The exchange rate disparity between the parallel market and the official market is about N82.50, representing a 20.9% devaluation differential.

The Naira depreciated against the dollar at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window on Monday, closing at N394.50/$1. This represents a 33 kobo drop when compared to the N394.17/$1 that it closed on the previous trading day.

  • The opening indicative rate was N393.30 to a dollar on Monday, this represents a 15 kobo drop when compared with the N393.15 to a dollar that was recorded on Friday, January 22, 2021.
  • The N395 to a dollar was the highest rate during intra-day trading before it closed at N394.50 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 10.2% on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • According to the data tracked by Nairametrics from FMDQ, forex turnover declined from $44.51 million on Friday, January 22, 2021, to $39.99 million on Monday, January 25, 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.

Oil price steady rise

Brent crude oil price is at about $55.60 per barrel as of Tuesday 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.

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

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.

Specta

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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