$2bn monthly Diaspora remittances’ll boost naira value’

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed Thursday said if Nigeria is able to receive even $2 billion monthly remittances the exchange rate of the naira will be boosted.

She stated this at an interactive session on ‘Improving Remittance Inflows into Nigeria’ in Abuja.

According to her, “ If it is just $1billion monthly or moving close to $2 billion monthly I’m so certain you all know what will happen to exchange rate in Nigeria. Second I am so certain that after sometime deposit money banks will not have any need to begin to call on the CBN to provide dollar to fund their commercial operation so that is why we are saying that we want to aggressively take on this and see how this will help our economy.”

Mrs. Ahmed further stated that “Also, that they say they think it will fuel money laundering, I want you to know that even from abroad where this funds are coming that is why we talked about institutions that are tested like Western Union, RAE and Money Gram, who operate also in those countries where they are domiciled are properly licensed and regulated and I know for certain that institutions where or countries where they are domiciled abroad would not allow money laundering practices or remittance of funds in those countries into our country to be associated with money laundering.

“In our part here most of those will be receiving those funds, they come with some form of identity card and I know that when this started in 1996, with some form of identification at that time First bank was able to ensure that the people who are receiving fund are properly identified and can easily be traced talk less of even today where we even have BVN,” she stated.

Earlier in his address, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said the new policy measures announced recently in the country’s remittance programme are designed to boost and facilitate an efficient flow of remittances sent home by Nigerians in the Diaspora.

“These changes are as a result of our internal review of the operations of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTO) in the country and the potential impact improved flows could have on our economy.

“Based on this premise, we analyzed data on IMTO inflows into the country over the past year, and through our investigations discovered that some IMTOs, rather than compete on improving transaction volumes and create more efficient ways for Nigerians in the Diaspora to remit funds, resorted to engaging in arbitrage arrangements on the naira-dollar exchange rate, which to a large extent resulted in a significant drop in flows into the country.

“It also encouraged the use of unsafe unofficial channels, which also supported diversion of remittance flows meant for Nigeria, thereby undermining our Foreign Exchange management framework,” he said.

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