Nigerian Banks To Pay Customers Money Sent From Abroad In Naira

by Ohepo Ohepo

Nigerian banks have initiated the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) updated regulations concerning international money transfer operations. According to the new policy, commercial banks are now authorized to convert customer remittances from abroad into naira. Additionally, the CBN has prohibited payouts in dollars and other foreign currencies for international transactions received through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

This development follows the CBN’s release of revised guidelines aimed at enhancing the operations of IMTOs in Nigeria, directing banks to disburse remittances in naira. This measure is intended to increase the foreign exchange supply and reduce the influence of black market transactions.

The CBN circular specifies, “All inbound money transfers to Nigeria shall be paid to beneficiaries in Naira either through a bank account or in cash. Proceeds of IMTO exceeding the equivalent of $200 must be paid through an account. Cash payments will be allowed upon providing a satisfactory/acceptable means of identification. If the beneficiary does not have an account with the IMTO agent bank, the agent bank shall credit the beneficiary’s account in another bank.”

In response to these guidelines, Nigerian banks, including Ecobank, have communicated the changes to their customers. Ecobank’s message, as reported, states, “We wish to inform you about recent regulatory changes affecting international money transfers into Nigeria. As per the CBN Circular dated January 31, 2024, all inbound money transfers will only be paid in Naira through a bank account or in cash at the prevailing rate in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market. For transfers over $200, payment must be made directly to the recipient’s bank account, while cash payments for amounts under $200 will require an acceptable form of identification.”

Acceptable identification forms include an International passport, Driver’s license, National Identity card, and INEC Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

Furthermore, the Nigerian government and the CBN have addressed rumors about the potential conversion of funds in domiciliary accounts into naira. With over $30 billion reportedly lying dormant in accounts across various Nigerian banks such as Access, GTB, UBA, Zenith, and more, there were claims that converting these funds into naira could aid the recovery of the naira in the forex market and enhance forex supply in Nigeria.

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