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Nigerians in Germany at an event event in Berlin, 2013. Nigerians abroad sent home US$ 21 billion last year, making their home country the largest recipient of remittances in Africa © Stephen Puni/TAC

Nigeria licenses 11 new international money transfer operators

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has licensed 11 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs). The new entrants are joining Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria, which had been cleared by the CBN in early August.

The new operators are Trans-Fast Remittance LLC; WorldRemit Limited, UAE Exchange Centre LLC; Wari Limited, Homesend S.C.R.L, Small World Financial Services Group Limited and Weblink International Limited. Others are Cash Pot Limited, DT&T Corporation Limited, Fiem Group LLC DBA Ping Express and CP Express Limited.

In a statement, released on 30 August announcing the new operators, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the policy shift was in furtherance of efforts to liberalise the Foreign Exchange Market, ensure liquidity and make foreign exchange more readily available to low end users. He explained that the new operators were licensed in line with the existing guidelines on International Money Transfer Services in Nigeria (2014).

The CBN also reiterated its commitment to providing an enabling environment for international money transfer services. “The CBN remains committed to providing an enabling environment for international money transfer services in Nigeria. It is, however, important to emphasise that a prospective player shall first obtain the requisite licence to operate in Nigeria as an IMTO”.

“The CBN wishes to advise Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to beware of the unwholesome activities of some unlicensed IMTOs in Nigeria. This warning has become necessary because of the activities of some unregistered IMTOs, whose modes of operation are detrimental to the Nigerian economy,” Okorafor said.

Collins Nwezeon/The Nation