Diaspora Remittances Through Naira4Dollar Scheme Hits $2.4bn- CBN

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According to Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, director of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) trade and exchange department, remittances from Nigerians living abroad sent under the “Naira 4 Dollar Scheme” totaled $2.4 billion in the first eight months of 2022.

She pointed out that the influx has been significant, noting that Nigeria has already received $2.4 billion eight months into 2022 compared to a total of $2.9 billion in remittances reported via the system in all of 2021.

She revealed this over the weekend at the 33rd Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors, which the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) organized under the title “Policy Options for Economic Diversification: Thinking Outside the Crude Oil-Box.”

Additionally, she disclosed that the CBN was thinking of streamlining the plan, which would enhance diaspora remittances in collaboration with other government parastatals.

According to her, “In 2021, we were able to record $2.9 billion of cash inflows, so far this year, we have recorded $2.4 billion. So, in half of the year, we have gotten almost what we got in the year 2021.

“We have a component of remittances which include workers’ compensation, anyone that worked in Nigeria, even if you are a Nigerian but are paid in dollars because you work for an embassy or an international organisation, it is counted as a remittance.

“So, there are so many components of remittances. But the component of inflows that comes into this country so far, we are at $2.4 billion.”
Also speaking, a Professor of Economics and Capital Market, Uche Uwaleke called on the CBN to tinker with the scheme to increase its benefits and improve remittances into Nigeria by modelling it after the Pakistan model.

He said: “On the ‘Naira4Dollar’ policy, we have seen some successes. We have been told that since its introduction we have seen some accretion to the reserves on account of that.

“However, the central bank should consider the Pakistani model where they introduced something similar but in 2020, moved a step further to introduce a loyalty reward scheme that encourages remittances to benefit from participating companies.
“It should be improved upon to increase remittances. Pakistan for example has increased remittances from $11 billion to $24 billion. So, we can improve if we tinker with the current Naira4Dollar scheme.”

Responding to this, Ozoemena added that the CBN has had meetings with Pakistan’s monetary authority and has plans to improve the scheme’ She explained: “We did studies of countries that have implemented remittances schemes and we even had meetings with the Pakistani authority and what they are doing is far broader than what we are implementing here.

“We are taking baby steps because we also know that we don’t have the resources and weight to put on it because it involves both Ministries of Finance and that of Foreign Affairs.”
She noted that citizens abroad who benefit from the such scheme in Pakistan register with their embassies abroad and have a certain percentage remitted to the country every month in collaboration with their collating ministries in an orderly manner.

“We are talking to agencies in Nigeria including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but that conversation hasn’t gotten to a point where it can be implemented. “So, we are doing the Naira4Dollar and we have seen an increase in the Naira4Dollar in terms of remittances,” she said.

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