In a significant policy shift, International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) will now be required to pay Nigerian beneficiaries in Naira instead of foreign currencies like the US Dollar, Pound Sterling, or Euro, as was previously the case.
This directive, based on a new regulation, mandates banks to facilitate payments to Nigerian recipients exclusively in Naira for international money transfers received through IMTOs.
The change, stems from a directive issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and impacts prominent IMTOs including Western Union, MoneyGram, Rapid Transfer, Ria, among others.
According to a notice from Ecobank Nigeria, dated January 31, 2024, all inbound money transfers to Nigeria via the aforementioned IMTOs must be paid solely in Naira, either through a bank account or in cash at the prevailing exchange rate in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.
The Ecobank notice states: “We would like to bring to your attention recent regulatory changes affecting international money transfers into Nigeria through Western Union, MoneyGram, Rapidtransfer, Ria, and other CBN-approved IMTOs. The Circular issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) dated January 31, 2024, stipulates that ALL in-bound money transfers to Nigeria (via the above-mentioned IMTOs) will be paid ONLY in Naira through a bank account or in cash at the prevailing rate in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.”
This development is understood to be part of the CBN’s efforts to address the unfavorable exchange rate between the US Dollar and the Naira, aiming to stabilize the local currency and enhance monetary policy effectiveness.