Again, CBN orders DMBs to close naira accounts of IMTOs


For the second time in as many months, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to close all naira accounts of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

The apex bank issued a second guideline over the weekend titled ‘Receipt of Diaspora Remittances: Additional Operational Guidelines 2.’

The guideline was issued in form of a circular number PSM/DIR/CON/CWO16/126 and addressed to All Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs)

According to the CBN, “DMBs are to close all naira accounts for IMTOs. This is to ensure that Diaspora remittances are received by beneficiaries in foreign currency only (cash and/or transfers to domiciliary accounts of recipients)”.

The apex bank added that “DMBs are permitted to open new Opex accounts for the purpose of the IMTO operations, such as salary payments and other operating expenses excluding Diaspora remittance receipts.”

DMBs were also ordered to “ensure that proper audit of IMTO accounts is done to forestall further use of naira accounts for Diaspora remittances purposes.”

The order is to take effect immediately.

On December 3, 2020, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, first gave the order to all DMBs in the country to close all their Naira General Ledger through which the naira remittances were hitherto being carried out.

The CBN said it took the decision following resistance from International Money Transfer Operators over its new decision on Diaspora remittances.

According to Emefiele, “the CBN observed some pushback by some of the IMTOs who were bent on continuing their nefarious activities of undermining our policy by attempting to resist the new policies.”

Under the dispensation, recipients of foreign currency remittances now have the option of receiving the funds in foreign currency cash (US Dollar) or deposited into their domiciliary account.


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