The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Tuesday it decided to review its decision to stop the payment of foreign exchange to Bureau De Change operators to provide a window for Nigerians in the Diaspora to remit money back home to help boost the country’s economy.
The CBN had halted the official sale of dollars to the BDCs and non-bank operators, opting for commercial banks as a way of curbing abuse and shoring up dwindling foreign reserves.
But at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said considering the the size of diaspora funds that could flow into the country from Nigerians abroad to help the economy, there was need to review the policy.
In 2015, Nigerians in the diaspora transferred home about $21 billion, the sixth largest remittance in the world, the Migration of Remittance Factbook 2016 showed.
Mr. Emefiele said the CBN had already commenced discussions with international monetary transfer organisations like Western Union, Moneygram and others to ensure that the arrangement kicks in as soon as possible, to allow all money flows from the diaspora into the country to come through the BDC market to help moderate inflation and dampen the effect on price.
“In January we said that the CBN would not continue to use its scarce reserves, which is entirely cash, to fund the operations of the BDCs. We also said that the BDCs are allowed to source their foreign exchange from autonomous sources.
“We went further to say that CBN would seek ways to open channels where the BDCs can access FOREX from autonomous market to continue to do their business and provide a source of livelihood to those in that business.
“Between January and June, we all know the size of diaspora funds that could flow into the country and we thought what should be done through international monetary transfer organisations – Western Union, Money Gramm, through the BDC market to help moderate and dampen the effect of price,” Mr Emefiele said.