WorldRemit calls for reversal of international money transfer ban in Nigeria

WorldRemit, a leading online remittance provider, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately reverse its decision to ban certain money transfer operators (MTOs) from doing business in the country.

The ban was extreme and unexpected, and not fair as Western Union, MoneyGram and Ria are not affected.

“This move is arbitrary, inexplicable and hugely detrimental to the Nigerian diaspora who rely on hundreds of money transfer companies and banks, providing them with choice, convenience and competitive pricing,” said Ismail Ahmed WorldRemit founder and CEO.

He added, “Even now, as we suspend our service, there is no clarity on why this sudden change has happened. If it is on the basis of new rules, there was no warning. If it is a re-interpretation of old rules, local correspondent networks and banks should have been forewarned.”

The ban would mean that diasporans who rely on WorldRemit, which operates a money transfer model that’s more efficient than the SWIFT infrastructure, will now have to find other ways (which are lot more expensive) of wiring money back home.

WorldRemit sends more than 40,000 money transfers to Nigeria every month.

Aside the ban, WorldRemit is also concerned about a 2015 memorandum from the CBN which states that any company offering Mobile Money transfers must have minimum net assets of US$1bn and have been operating for more than 10 years.

CBN’s position might scuttle its plans of launching remittances to Mobile Money services in Nigeria.

“It looks like all systems in Nigeria are currently geared against encouraging new entrants and competition in the mobile remittance markets. That is worrying in the extreme,” said Ismail Ahmed.

Although launched in 2010, WorldRemit has been described as a world leader in transfers to Mobile Money accounts.

The company, whose mission is to make money transfers, especially mobile money, easy and cheap in Africa, has launched its Mobile Money services in various African countries with plans to expand to more.

In November 2015, WorldRemit was named the UK’s fastest growing technology company in the Deloitte UK Technology Fast 50 awards.

Headquartered in London, UK, the company has regional offices in the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

What do you think of CBN’s action? Do you think it did the right thing by sticking with MTOs that “we know and trust” or its just worried over nothing? Share your comments below.

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