Amidst ongoing challenges related to dollar shortages and the imperative to bolster Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, a significant shift is occurring in the disbursement of foreign currencies sent to beneficiaries by their relatives abroad.
Several banks have announced that, in compliance with the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), foreign-denominated currencies will no longer be disbursed in cash. Instead, beneficiaries will receive payments in Naira.
World Remit responded to the development, stating, “We can no longer support transfers in USD – only in Naira. If you’re about to send money to Nigeria – this is important.” The notification assured customers that they could still enjoy WorldRemit’s services by sending money in Naira, and the support team remains available for any inquiries.
Additionally, some banks have informed their customers through emails that beneficiaries of money transfers via Western Union and other services will be paid in Naira, either directly into their accounts or in cash at the prevailing rate in the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market.
In a recent email to its customers, Ecobank outlined the regulatory changes, stating, “With regards to the Circular issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on January 31, 2024, all inbound money transfers to Nigeria will be paid only through a bank account or in cash at the prevailing rate in the Nigerian FX Market.”
The email further highlighted that transfers exceeding the equivalent of $200 must be credited to the recipient’s bank account, while cash payments for amounts below $200 will require acceptable means of identification.
Observers in the industry suggest that this move, initiated by the CBN, aims to streamline and regulate international money transfers, emphasizing the central bank’s commitment to maintaining a stable and robust financial system.
Analysts anticipate that this shift may discourage individuals in Nigeria from receiving dollar cash sent by relatives abroad, potentially prompting them to explore alternative means of sending money to their loved ones.