Sequel to the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) allowing only three companies to offer money transfer services to the country, MoneyGram International, Inc. has announced a renewed commitment to its operations in Nigeria.
The CBN decision, announced on 2 August, named Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria as the only officially licensed providers of remittance services to Nigeria. The Bank went further to advise Nigerians at home and abroad to “beware of the unwholesome activities of some unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).”
The CBN said that the blocked IMTOs were adding to the forex scarcity in Nigeria and, therefore, the sharp depreciation of the national currency Naira, by not remitting needed foreign currencies to the financial system.
“Remittances play an important role in the Nigerian economy. Nigerians living abroad sent more than $21 billion back to their country in 2015 alone,” explained Grant Lines, chief revenue officer, AMEAP, Russia and CIS. “MoneyGram recognizes and supports the Central Bank of Nigeria in its efforts to ensure these inflows are brought into Nigeria for the benefit of consumers as well as the economy at large. Being recognized by the CBN as a legitimate money transmitter is a testimony to our commitment to compliance and willingness to continue working with the CBN in the best interests of the economy.”
“MoneyGram’s relationship with Nigeria is strong,” said Kemi Okusanya, head, MoneyGram Anglophone Africa. “Lagos has been chosen to serve as MoneyGram’s hub for Anglophone Africa operations. In addition, we have invested millions of dollars to improve product delivery for remittances to Nigeria. We know the needs of our customers vary and we are always striving to provide them with a solution that is most convenient for them. For example, our cash-to-account service allows Nigerians to receive funds directly to the customer’s personal bank account.”
MoneyGram, which has more than two thousand agent locations in Nigeria, is the world’s second biggest remittance provider.
Remittances are the second largest source of foreign exchange in Nigeria after the oil sector. According to the World Bank, Nigeria accounts for nearly two-thirds of total remittance inflow to Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, an estimated $21 billion flowed into the country, including $5.7 billion sent from the United States and about $3.7 billion from the United Kingdom. / Sesan Adeola, Maria Bankiet-Kamińska and Peter Leis