The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says receiving international money transfers in foreign currencies by Nigerians was detrimental to the Naira.
Ms Ozemena Nnaji, Director, Trade and Exchange in the apex bank told the House of Representatives committees on Diaspora, Banking and Currency and National Planning at an investigative hearing on Thursday in Abuja.
The committees is investigating diaspora remittances between January 2016 to December 2019.
“We have a policy on spending Naira in Nigeria and not dollar because of what that does; it affects the value of our currency when we start spending foreign currency in Nigeria.
“That is why we say that money that comes in here as Dollars or Euros should be exchanged and given to the customers in the currency of our country,” she said.
Nnaji explained that the policy was out to promote a strong currency here in Nigeria and to favorably manage exchange rate stability.
“If dollar and euro is everywhere, what happens to our currency, the Naira now is not an internationally accepted currency, if we dilute it, it will have consequences.
“We want our Naira to be acceptable by other West African countries, we want it to be internationally accepted currency,” she said.
According to her, if we have more funds come in as remittances, our foreign reserves goes up, and when that happens, the confidence in Nigeria’s economy will go up.
She said that it helped in price stability and exchange rate stability management and that the apex bank was interesting in increasing diaspora remittances.
Nnaji explained that some Nigerians abroad are made to go through serious checks to be allowed to send money which is a constraint.
Contrary to the World Bank reports which says that Nigeria revived 25 million dollars diaspora remittances that between 2014 and 2019, Nnaji said the CBN only received $10 billion.
Nnaji said that Nigeria receives about $40 to $50 million dollars a week and that plans were ongoing to increase it to $60 million by June.
“If the World Bank says $25 million for 2019; their formula for calculating is based on cash, kind and trend analysis.
“What the CBN counts is the physical cash that comes in through the banks and International Money Transfer Operators,” she said.
The Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora, Rep. Tolulope Sadipe (APC-Oyo) said that the committees were out to ascertain the disparity between World Bank report and claim of CBN.
She said that it was high time the interests of the country were put ahead of personal interests.
Sadipe said that diaspora remittances were important to national development as it adds value to economic growth.
The lawmaker explained that there were sources of wealth creation and that Nigerians in diaspora also facilitate state and non-state partnerships.
She said that it had worked for India and Egypt and that the house was ready to do everything possible to make it work in Nigeria.