By Omoh Gabriel
LAGOS—Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday, said it had licensed 11 additional international money transfer operators. The CBN named the operators as 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 Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, had earlier granted licenses to three certified operators –Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria. The granting of licenses to the three sparked off protest from money transfer operators which made the CBN open the door for more applications from prospective IMTOs jostling for the Nigeria market, and targeting huge dollar inflows from Nigerians in the Diaspora, who remit over $21 billion annually to national coffers. The annual Diaspora remittance to Nigeria is expected to hit $35 billion this year following the devaluation of the naira, which remains an incentive for Nigerians in Diaspora to send more dollars home.
The need to license new operators followed the exit of hundreds of international money transfer firms, after the CBN rolled out new guidelines stopping operations.
CBN in a statement signed by its acting Director Corporate Communication, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said “In furtherance of efforts to liberalise the Foreign Exchange Market, ensure liquidity and make foreign exchange more readily available to low end users, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has licensed more International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) to operate in Nigeria. In line with the existing Guidelines on International Money Transfer Services in Nigeria (2014), the following IMTOs are now licensed to operate in Nigeria”
Before the new licenses were granted the CBN, had refuted claims that it has stopped the licensing of interested International Money Transfer Operators, IMTOs, in the country, stressing that it has not foreclosed the licensing of interested players in the IMTO space in Nigeria. The apex bank had observed that this claim is being made by some individuals in spite of its transparency in the licensing of the operators in Nigeria.
The statement had said: “interested applicants are required to forward their requests for licensing to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department of the CBN, in line with the CBN Guidelines on International Money Transfer Services in Nigeria (2014), which among other things, specifies the minimum technical and business requirements for various participants in the international money transfer services industry in Nigeria.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria remains committed to providing an enabling environment for international money transfer services in Nigeria. It is, however, important to emphasize that a prospective player shall first obtain the requisite licence to operate in Nigeria as an IMTO.”