Diaspora remittance: Reps, NIDCOM reject CBN’s currency conversion policy

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The House of Representatives and the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission have criticised the Central Bank of Nigeria policy that allows conversion of currencies remitted from the Diasporas into naira.

The House and NIDCOM stated that Nigeria is losing value of the remittances running into billions of dollars.

The Secretary of NIDCOM, Mr Sule Bassi, expressed the concern during an investigative hearing on Diaspora remittances from January 2016 to December 2019 organised by the House Committee on Diaspora.

Bassi alleged that Nigerians in the Diaspora lose between 18 to 20 per cent of the actual value of foreign currencies remitted to the country. He also announced NIDCOM’s plan to establish a Diaspora Investment Trust Fund and the management of labour migration partnership with other countries.

According to him, NIDCOM is already working with relevant government agencies on various projects and programmes.

The committee queried the loss of $36.6 as chargeable fees on every $200 remitted through official International Monetary Transfer Organisations licensed by the CBN as well as inactivity of 50 out of the 65 licensed IMTOs to transfer forex to Nigeria.

Chairman of the committee, Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, also frowned at the alleged inefficiency of the Department of Statistics of the CBN.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Director, Trade and Exchange, Mrs Nnaji Ozemena, however, insisted that only about $10bn was remitted between 2014 and to date through the IMTOs.

Emefiele, while explaining the conflicts between the figures by the CBN and the World Bank on Diaspora remittances, noted that the World Bank takes account of physical cash transfers as well as the value of imported items, including cars.

The CBN Governor explained that the policy on conversion of foreign currencies to naira in the process of remittance was aimed at helping in stabilising the monetary policy, defend the naira, effective management of forex and encourage investment inflows into the country.

Emefiele added that the approved rate on conversion of dollar to naira is between N355 to N357. He also noted that 5,000 Bureau de Change Operators had been licensed by the apex bank.

In his presentation, President of BDCs, Mr. Aminu Gwadabe, called for liberalisation of the policy to enable transfer of forex by the BDCs as part of efforts aimed at ensuring growth.

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