Clamping down on Unregistered Int’l Money Transfer Operators – Thisday

Millions  of  migrants  worldwide  send  billions  of  dollars  in  remittances  each year to their families or communities of origin. In Nigeria and many other developing nations, remittances are  an  important  source  of  family  and nati-onal income and also are the largest source of external financing.

According to the World Bank, Remittances are  better  targeted  at  the  needs  of  the poor  than  foreign  aid  or  foreign  direct  investment  (FDI),  as  recipients  often depend  on  remittances  to   cover daily living expenses, to provide a cushion against emergencies, or to  make  small  investments  in  business  or  education.

The World Bank estimated the value of Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance at $21 billion. It is the largest in Africa. The multilateral agency had also projected that Africa’s foreign remittance market would hit $41 billion this year.

Therefore, remittance services should be safe, efficient, and reliable. This can be achieved by increasing competition, enhancing access to payment system infrastructure, improving transparency, and ensuring a sound and predictable legal and regulatory framework.

In Nigeria, there are only three registered international money transfer operators namely Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria.

That is why a recent accusation by WorldRemit , an online remittance provider, which wasn’t registered in the country, that the regulators in Nigeria stopped its money transfer services to Nigeria was greeted with surprise.

WorldRemit had alleged that hundreds of global remittance companies had been forced to cease transfers to Nigeria and called “for the urgent restoration of money transfers to Nigeria as draconian new rules leave virtually all money transfer operators (MTOs) unable to provide services to the West African country.”