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Just In : Nigerian Central Bank Bans Banks, Fintechs From International Money Transfer Services, Hikes Application Fee By 1,900%

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Just In : Nigerian Central Bank Bans Banks, Fintechs From International Money Transfer Services, Hikes Application Fee By 1,900%

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The apex bank announced the new development in the revised guidelines for the operations of IMTOs, which were officially released on January 31, 2024.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned banks and financial technology companies (fintechs) from international money transfer services.

 

The apex bank announced the new development in the revised guidelines for the operations of IMTOs, which were officially released on January 31, 2024.

According to the document published on its website, Nigeria’s bankers bank excluded individuals from the management of banks, shareholders, and officers of a bank.

 

The document reads: “All banks are prohibited from operating International Money Transfer services but can act as agents.

“Also, Financial Technology Companies are not allowed to obtain approval for IMTO.

“The provisions of BOFIA 2020 on the prohibition of employment of certain persons in banks shall also apply to IMTOS.”

 

In the previous guidelines issued in 2014, only deposit money banks were prohibited. However, the CBN has extended the ban to fintechs.

N10 Million Application Fee

The apex bank also increased the application fee for IMTO licence from N500,000 in 2014 to N10 million in the revised guidelines. This is an increase of about 1,900% in about 10 years.

The document noted that any IMTO intending to operate in Nigeria shall submit its application to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department with the following documents, among others:

 

“A non-refundable application fee of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira only) or such other amount that the Bank may specify from time to time; payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft.

 

“Approval to operate in other jurisdictions or agency agreement (for all IMTOs).

 

“Evidence of tax clearance and incorporation documents in Nigeria (for indigenous IMTOS) to include Memorandum and Articles of Association (Certified True Copy), of which the primary object clause shall indicate provision of money transfer services.”

 

There is also an annual renewal at a fee of N10 million naira, or any amount that the apex bank may specify from time to time; payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft on or before 31st January of the year.

 

It was also noted that the renewal of IMTO approval shall be done within the first quarter of every year, adding that where an IMTO fails to avail its agent bank of a copy of CBN renewal of its IMTO approval for that year within the first quarter of the year, the bank should cease any further transaction with the IMTO.

 

$1 Million Share Capital

The CBN also established a minimum operating capital requirement for International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) at $1 million for foreign entities and an equivalent amount for local IMTOs.

 

Previously, it was N2 billion for Nigerian companies and N50 million or its equivalent for foreign companies.

 

Also, the apex bank in another circular with Ref: TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/001/003, dated Jan. 31 and addressed to All Authorised Dealers, IMTOS and general public, titled: “Removal Of Allowable Limit Of Exchange Rate Quoted By The International Money Transfer Operators,” directed International Money Transfer Operators to quote exchange rates for naira payout to beneficiaries based on the prevailing market rates at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.

Also the apex bank issued another circular with Ref: TED/FEM/FPC/GEN/001/003 which was released on Thursday and addressed to All Authorised Dealers, IMTOS and the general public, titled: “Removal Of Allowable Limit Of Exchange Rate Quoted By The International Money Transfer Operators.”

It directed International Money Transfer Operators to quote exchange rates for naira payout to beneficiaries based on the prevailing market rates at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.

Signed by Director, Trade & Exchange Department, Dr Hassan Mahmud, the document reads:

 

“The circular with reference TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/001/009 dated September 13, 2023 states that International Money Transfer Operators are required to quote rates within an allowable limit of 2.5% to +2.5% around the previous day’s closing rate of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.

 

“However, in line with the CBN’s commitment to liberalize the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market, IMTOs are hereby allowed to quote exchange rates for naira payout to beneficiaries based on the prevailing market rates at the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.

 

“For the avoidance of doubt, by this circular, the cap on allowable limit of -25% to +2.5% around the previous day’s closing rate of the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market is hereby removed.

 

“Therefore, this circular supersedes the circular with reference TED/FEM/PUB/FPC/001/009 dated September 13, 2023.”

 

“Authorized Dealers, International Money Transfer Operators, and the General Public are hereby informed to note and comply accordingly,” it also says.

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