The Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Godwin Emefiele, has said Nigeria tops other African countries in remittances of inflows and is among the top five globally.
According to the World Bank, global remittances have risen gradually over the years to about $613 billion in 2017, of which $72 billion was received by African countries.
Quoting a World Bank report on remittances in 2017, Emefiele, said that Nigerians and other Africans in the Diaspora sent $72 billion home last year.
He made this known at a remittance survey workshop jointly organised by the CBN and the African Institute for Remittances yesterday in Abuja.
Member states of African Union (AU) are currently holding a workshop on foreign currency Remittances Household Surveys in Abuja to seek ways to enhance foreign currencies’ remittance inflow data in the continent.
The aim is to brainstorm and share experiences on how to enhance remittance statistics through the conduct of Remittances Household Surveys. Nigeria is yet to conduct a household-based remittances survey to provide scientific data for decision making, a step capable of reducing the illegal routes of financial inflows into the country.
Emefiele, who was represented by the director of statistics at the CBN, Mohammed Tumala, said that remittances contribute substantially to foreign exchange earnings and household finances in most developing countries.
He said: “Money sent home by migrant workers is among the major financial inflows to developing countries and, in some cases, it exceeds international aids and grants.”
Emefiele said that in recent years, Nigeria had taken measures aimed at attracting inflows to the country which contribute to its economic development.
The measures, he said, include the floating of a $300 million Diaspora bond by the government and the introduction of electronic Certificate of Capital Importation to Nigerians in Diaspora, in addition to Nigeria becoming a member of the International Association of Money Transfer Networks.
Financial authorities have said that a large chunk of migrants’ remittances still pass through informal channels and are, thus, unrecorded. Money sent home by migrant workers is among the major financial inflows to developing countries.
Emefiele disclosed that the authorities were finalising the structures necessary for the conduct of Remittances Household Survey being planned for the first quarter of 2019.
In his address to the representatives of the countries who gathered at the CBN International Training Institution, Emefiele said the initiative will contribute to improvements in the quality of remittances data and, consequently, policy decisions that are based on them.
“It is my firm belief that the knowledge, experience and expertise that will be shared at this workshop will contribute in no small measure to the success of the maiden edition of the survey in Nigeria and improve the quality of such surveys in countries where they are already being conducted,” the CBN governor said yesterday.
He also remarked that, so far, the technical assistance activities of the CBN had produced a customised remittances data compilation guide and proposed amendments to the legal and regulatory framework for Nigeria.