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CBN faults World Bank’s $22 billion report on diaspora remittances

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday faulted the World Bank over a report that remittances by Nigerians in the Diaspora in 2017 was $22bn, insisting that the Bank measures remittances differently from it.

According to a World Bank report in 2018 titled: “Nigerians Living abroad sent $22bn home in 2017”, the Bank noted that the top recipients of the Diaspora remittances in the world were India with $69bn, Chile ($64bn), Philippines $33bn, Mexico $31bn, Nigeria $22bn and Egypt $20bn.

The Bank also said the cost of remittances for Nigerian beneficiaries, clearly exceeded 19 per cent as N305=$1 instead of N360=$1, is ultimately paid to recipients locally.

However, the Nigeria’s apex bank told the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora investigating Diaspora Remittances that contrary to World Bank’s report, their official financial inflow was $2.6 billion.

The Central Bank’s Director of Trade and Exchange, T. Joseph, during interrogation by the Committee, said

World Bank measures remittances of cash and kind, while remittances that come into the CBN channels are just cash.

“For example, if a relative abroad sends you a car and you pick up the car at the port in Lagos, World Bank counts that and that’s not physical money that comes into Nigeria. What is counted at CBN in our remittances is physical cash that comes in through our international money organizations or banks.

“We take remittances seriously, that’s why in 2014 we formed a formal agreement to receive remittances into the country and that’s why we issued guidelines and licenses for international money transfer organizations. As we speak today we have licensed about 65 of them to transfer money into Nigeria by Nigerians in the diaspora.

In her remarks, Chairman of the Committee, Tolulope Sadipe, said it was an anomaly for Nigerian agencies  records not to tally with the records of World Bank, lamenting that the actual diaspora remittances in Nigeria are a subject of controversy.

“In today’s world, diaspora citizens contributes a critical component of the nation’s development through the deployment of their diverse competencies which includes but not limited to cash remittances, investment and technical activities.

“In 2017 Nigeria was the leading nation in diaspora remittances. It is high time that we made our nation a priority in all our decisions,” she noted.

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