The Central Bank of Nigeria on last week unveiled a new remittance platform that would help reduce the demand for foreign currencies in the country. The platform, known as the Outbound Remittance Service is being spearheaded by First Bank of Nigeria Plc in collaboration with Western Union Company.
The initiative is targeted at remittances by individual to dependants, children and wards abroad and for other person-to-person needs. Transactions to be covered under this new initiative include maintenance allowance for children abroad, personal home remittances within allowable limit, cash gifts within allowable limit and other person to person remittances
Speaking at the event which was held in Abuja, Emefiele said the unveiling is in line with the central bank’s strategic policy to reform the payment system landscape.
He said since the commencement of the former inward money transfer services in 1995 which was pioneered by Western Union, the payment landscape in Nigeria has been significantly transformed.
For instance, he said over the years, payment to inbound transfers to beneficiaries have been made in foreign currencies, noting however that in an effort to reduce the amount of foreign exchange imported into the country, the CBN in September 2013 directed that beneficiaries from inward transfers be made in Naira.
He said, “Today, outbound money transfer services is being launched to provide an alternative channel for foreign exchange transfer to serve the need of small foreign exchange end-users and simultaneously reduce the amount of foreign exchange sought from official foreign exchange windows in Nigeria and to a large extent to conserve our foreign exchange.
“The outbound service which is the first of its kind in Nigeria will provide Nigerians of the opportunity to transfer funds to their relatives and dependants abroad.
“Under this initiative, a prospective customer who wishes to use the service will only pay Naira equivalent to the money transfer service operator for foreign currency to be paid to the beneficiary abroad.”
The governor said that henceforth, people do not need to go to a Bureau De Change or a bank to buy foreign currency to make transfers to dependants abroad, adding that “If you have need to send money abroad, all you need do is to take your cash (naira) to the western union agents in Nigeria.”