The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has updated its guidelines, announcing a substantial increase in the application fee for international money transfer operators (IMTO) license applications from N500,000 to N10 million. This surge of about 1,900% over a decade was outlined in the revised guidelines for IMTO operations released on January 31, 2024.
In addition to the fee adjustment, the CBN has implemented a ban on banks and financial technology companies (fintechs) from providing international money transfer services. The guidelines state that all banks are prohibited from operating such services but can act as agents. Financial Technology Companies are not allowed to obtain approval for IMTO, and the regulations of BOFIA 2020 on the prohibition of certain persons’ employment in banks are extended to IMTOs.
The apex bank has expanded its prohibition, as outlined in the 2014 guidelines, which only restricted deposit money banks from offering international money transfer services. The revised guidelines now encompass fintechs.
Regarding the N10 million application fee, IMTOs wishing to operate in Nigeria must submit their application to the Director of the Trade and Exchange Department, along with various required documents. The non-refundable application fee of N10,000,000.00 or any specified amount must be paid to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft. The required documents include approval to operate in other jurisdictions or an agency agreement for all IMTOs, evidence of tax clearance, and incorporation documents in Nigeria for indigenous IMTOs, including a Certified True Copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association indicating the provision of money transfer services.
Furthermore, an annual renewal requirement has been established, with a fee of N10 million Naira or any specified amount by the apex bank. This renewal fee must be paid to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft by January 31 of each year.