Story by Kayode Tokede
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that total direct remittances to Nigeria in six months of 2019 was $9.9billion as against $4.09 billion reported in prior year six months.
Data collected from the apex bank official website revealed that diaspora remittances into Nigeria economy reached record high in 2018 over the foreign exchange reforms.
The CBN had licensed International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) and monitors legitimate foreign currency, most especially Dollar inflow into the country.
Also, commercial banks and oil companies also remit foreign currency to the CBN.
The data from CBN’s website disclosed that about $11.23 billion was the highest peak amount remitted in 2018 while in the previous year, a total of $8.09 billion was remitted into the nation’s economy.
The sustained inflow of remittances from Nigerians in the diaspora resulted in a higher surplus of N7,828.57 billion or 6.3 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the current transfers account, compared with N6,714.94 billion, or 5.8 per cent of GDP, in 2017.
The apex in its 2018 results stated that, “The surplus in the current transfers account increased by 16.6 per cent to N7,828.57 billion, representing 6.3 per cent of GDP, compared with N6,714.94 billion or 5.8 per cent of GDP in 2017. This was attributed to higher inflow of workers remittances from abroad. The surplus in the general government subaccount, which comprised receipts from foreign embassies and international organisations, declined to N131.58 billion in 2018, compared with N207.49 billion in the preceding year.
“On the other hand, the “Other” sectors subaccount, driven, largely, by the inflow of workers’ remittances, increased by 17.3 per cent to N7,822.73 billion, compared with N6,666.7 billion in 2017. This was as a result of 14.7 per cent increase in workers remittances to N7,635.36 billion in 2018, from N6,655.75 billion in 2017, driven by improved global economic conditions.”
The CBN in 2016 had licensed 11 additional international money transfer operators.
Those operators licensed by CBN are TRANS-Fast Remittance, Worldremit limited, UAE Exchange Center LLC, Wari limited, and Home Send S.C.R.L.
Others are Small World Financial Services Group, Weblink International limited Cashpot limited, DT&T Corporation Limited and Corporation limited and Fiem Group LLC, and DBA Ping Express, CP Express limited.
The CBN, had earlier granted licenses to three certified operators –Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria, bringing the total number of IMTO licensed by CBN to 14.
The CBN had mandated financial service providers to be duly licensed in order to protect customers and the financial system; that international money transfer operators are required to remit foreign currency to their agent banks in Nigeria for disbursement in Naira to beneficiaries.
The CBN said that interested applicants should forward their request for licensing under the CBN 2014 Guidelines on International Money Transfer Services in Nigeria.
The World Bank in a report explained that remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 per cent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies.
“Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria,” the report by World Bank said.
The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.