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CBN Directs Banks to Close Money Transfer Operators’ Naira Accounts

As part of the measures to ensure compliance with the new rules on diaspora remittances, the Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday directed the Deposit Money Banks to close naira accounts of International Money Transfer Operators.

The new directive was contained in a circular tilted ‘Receipt of diaspora remittances: Additional operational guidelines 2 addressed to all Deposit Money Banks, Payment Service Providers and International Money Transfer Operators.

The circular was signed by the director, banking supervision department; and director, payments system management department.

The circular read, “DMBs are to close all naira accounts for IMTOs. This is to ensure that diaspora remittances are received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients).

“DMBs are permitted to open new opex accounts for the purpose of the IMTO operations, such as salary payments and other operating expenses excluding diaspora remittance receipts.

“DMBs must ensure that proper audit of IMTO accounts is done to forestall further use of naira accounts for diaspora remittances purposes.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria had warned operators against paying recipients of diaspora remittances in local currency in a earlier circular.

It warned that violators could lose their operational licences if they failed to comply with its guidelines on remittances.

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