•Warns against illegal operators
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday released 21 new list of licensed International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOS) to join 14 it previously approved. This brings the total number of organisations licensed to 35.
Some of the newly licensed operators include Aftab Currency Exchange Limited, AWS Malta Limited, Caperemit UK Limited, Centrexcard Limited, Colony Capital Limited among others. The new operators will join Ria, Western Union, MoneyGram, WorldRemit RANS-Fast Remittance, UAE Exchange Center LLC, Wari limited, and Home Send S.C.R.L among others to help Nigerians in Diaspora remit dollar home and boost dollar liquidity.
The apex bank also cautioned Nigerians in Diaspora against patronising illegal money transfer operators.
In a statement, its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, said the apex bank was aware of the increasing patronage of illegal MTOs for the purpose of home remittances.
He said the unscrupulous operators lure unsuspecting customers with ridiculous exchange rate, use naira accounts opened in local banks ostensibly for legal business to pay out the proceeds to the beneficiaries while channeling the foreign currencies to fund the parallel market.
This practice, he said, has led to non-reporting of such transactions to relevant authorities thereby undermining effective surveillance of the sector as well as leading to discrepancies in statistics on the transactions between countries of origin of remittance and Nigeria.
“Against this background, Nigerians in the Diaspora are advised not to patronise unlicensed International Money Transfer Operators, as they stand the risk of losing their hard-earned money,” he said.
Okorafor urged commercial banks to ensure painstaking conduct of “Know Your Customers’ Business” (KYB) in order to prevent the use of accounts for illegal transactions and avoid regulatory sanctions. In addition, such accounts, when discovered, will be blocked and the operators handed over to appropriate law enforcement agencies for prosecution. The Nation