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CBN: IMTOs identified charges, volatile FX rates as challenges faced in Nigeria

BY Bunmi Aduloju

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Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says international money transfer operators (IMTOs) have identified charges and fluctuating foreign exchange (FX) rates as challenges faced in the country.

On April 20, Cardoso said the financial regulator collaborated with IMTOs to collectively commit to doubling remittance flows through formal channels into Nigeria.

The CBN, on May 15, also granted approval in principle (AIP) to 14 new IMTOs. 

Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday during the monetary policy committee’s (MPC) 295th meeting in Abuja, Cardoso said the IMTOs outlined the difficulties during a meeting with the financial regulator.

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“We originally had a virtual meeting earlier on and during my visit to the World Bank/IMF meetings last month, we actually reached out and invited all of them to come for a meeting,” the CBN governor said.

“And I must say I was very impressed that many of them flew in from different parts of the world. 

“And we had a number of hours in private discussions and understanding what their problems were and seeing how we could help them to ensure that they are more effective in the things they do.”

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Cardoso said CBN also shared the challenges that “we saw in the future for the country and that everybody had a role to play and I must say that they responded very positively”.

“The IMTOs highlighted two concerns. One was on the issue of the price and the commission and charges they are required to pay and of course, the issue of — at some point in time — the rates,” he said. 

“And of course, since the rates have converged, and that has become less of an issue.”

‘WE’LL DOUBLE DIASPORA REMITTANCES’

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Cardoso said the IMTOs are encouraged to use the official channels to advance the course of the very laudable efforts they are making to enhance inflows of foreign currencies into the country.

“Our target, of course, is to double remittance flows within the year and as I said, we have started that process to ensure that it happens,” he said.

“We don’t want to come back later and tell stories to anybody. We want to ensure that we know exactly what is required and of course, the dialogue will be an ongoing one to see how we can strengthen our processes where we need to adopt tighter and better regulations. Where we need to adopt technology, we will do so.”

Furthermore, Cardoso said diaspora remittances are a critical part of inflows into the country, adding that it is “estimated to represent about six percent of our GDP”.

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Speaking on the apex bank’s collaboration with IMTOs, he said they play a critical role in ensuring that inflows are guaranteed and safeguarded.

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