…as remittances to Nigeria make up 6% of GDP
The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it is committed to also strengthening money transfer operators in the company, recognising their roles in facilitating influx of foreign remittances into the country.
Waiye Ajakaiye, the representative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), said this while giving CBN’s address at the 2019 International Money Transfers & Cross-Border Payments Conference, IMTC Africa 2019.
It was a three day conference which held in Lagos, Nigeria from September 24 to 26. It had in participation banks, mobile money operators, money transfer operators (MTOs), virtual currency experts, remittance companies, fintechs, financial aggregators, and financial regulators across Africa.
According to Ajakaiye, remittances are really large which is why the CBN has separate provisions for regulating fintech, putting up policies and compliances and another provision for bank services.
Highlighting the importance of remittances, the CBN noted that remittances inflows have become a relatively stable source of foreign exchange needed for most developing countries, including Nigeria’s external finances.
“Nigeria is the largest remittance recipient country in Sub Saharan African. Nigeria received more than $24.3 billion in 2018. This is 6 percent of the country’s GDP,” he said.
Towards facilitating greater remittances in Nigeria, Ajakaiye said the CBN is committed to promoting and strengthening indigenous and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) in the country through appropriate policy and collaboration.
He added that there is a continuous effort to liberalise the foreign exchange market and ensure liquidity in order to make foreign exchange readily available to low-end users.
“The CBN in August 2016, licensed 11 IMTOs to operate in addition to the existing three operators. Currently, there are 65 IMTOs in Nigeria, this development has significantly increased diaspora remittance inflows into the economy,” Ajakaiye said.
In their remarks, the conference chairpersons, Leon Isaacs and Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, mentioned why it was pertinent to hold the conference in Lagos.
According to the speakers, aside from Lagos being Africa’s leading and fastest-growing city, it is a major financial centre in Africa. Nigeria is also the 5th largest remittance market in recorded flows.
The pre-conference, which held on Tuesday, featured training sessions for participants. Zory Munoz, a Global Field Compliance officer for Xoom/Paypal, addressed participants on money transfer compliance, while Hugo Cuevas-Mohr, a money transfer expert, took participants through a remittances innovation forum.
The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) also had representatives present at the conference.
Mukthar Muhammed, the representative of the postmaster-general of NIPOST, while giving an address at the conferences talked about the commitment of NIPOST to the facilitation of Nigerian remittances.
Making reference to the time remittances started, Muhammed stated that the post office was probably the oldest remittance organization in the world.
“The Post has not been left behind, the post led by the Umbrella body called Universal Postal Union has been paramount.”
He said the Post is generally catching up with the advent of technology in terms of remittances and fin-tech, not only in Nigeria but across the world.
Upon getting its license as an IMTO, NIPOST is partnering with the private sector and other significant money transfer operators such as MoneyGram, Western Union and others, he said.
The IMTC Africa conference engaged participants as diverse panel discussions were held where experts and reputable organizations in the remittance, money transfers and fintech industry shared their expertise.
The IMTC conference is a leading conference in the remittances and cross-border payments industry across the globe.
The conference focused on “Exploring the rapidly evolving border financial services and Fintech industry in Africa.”
It was organized to discuss the development of the Fintech industry, and the growth of the remittance market in the African region.