This Is How The CBN Transfer Policy Is Affecting Young Nigerians

January 26, 2021

In normal times, it would take Amaka less than five minutes to receive money from her brother in the U.S, but it was December 2020 and the new Central Bank of Nigeria’s International Transfer policy had just been announced, so she wasn’t able to receive the money through Sendwave, the channel her brother normally used.  And like many Nigerians, She hadn’t paid enough attention to the policy announcement enough to realise how much it would affect her.

“I was doubtful when I first heard about the policy. I was like, how is this possible?  It just seemed very impossible that we would no longer be able to receive money directly in Naira. Plus, I was so certain that it wouldn’t affect the app my people abroad would usually use to send me money, so I wasn’t really afraid until I actually had to receive money,” the 26-year-old entrepreneur tells us.

On December 2, 2020, the CBN issued a directive barring International Money Transfer Operators from directly sending money to Nigerian accounts and mandating that they be made as cash-pick-ups instead. “So, if you have someone wanting to send you dollars, you will receive the money in a domiciliary account as against the bank converting it for you in Naira. The policy is just to curb dollar arbitrage. A situation where some people buy low, hoard it and sell to the market when the dollar is rising,” Tunde, a financial analyst explains. 

Amaka’s brother would eventually switch to WorldRemit, but it would take up to a month before the money would actually get to her. Between visiting banks, getting her I.D authentication delayed due to network problems at those banks, finally receiving the money in her domiciliary account, and having to exchange, at an unfavourable rate in the black market, the new CBN policy took a toll on her as she needed the money to make an urgent business transaction that would enable her resume operations for the new year.

Unfortunately, Amaka isn’t the only one who has been affected by this policy. “I was expecting payment in USD from the UK and to be on the safer side, I filled in my friend’s domiciliary account details on the invoice (I didn’t have a domiciliary account at the time). After waiting three long weeks for the payment to come in, I received a mail from the sender saying that they had tried twice to send my payment but it simply wasn’t going through. Strangely, the system was not recognising it as a USD dominated account, they said.” 22-year-old Halima, tells us.

“At this point, I was already very frustrated because I was quite broke. I suggested the cash pickup option on World Remit to them. They sent it that night and I went to the bank the following morning to get it. We started the process but we got stuck midway because I was supposed to receive an OTP on my phone but it simply did not come through. I had to reach out to the sender to confirm my phone number and full name and address and all such details. For hours, we did this back and forth. The same happened to other customers. I went home, came back the next day, the same thing. And then I contacted WorldRemit, and they said they couldn’t do anything or tell me anything unless the sender contacted them. Very nerve-racking because I truly did not want to bother the sender again, but they were so kind and reached out to WorldRemit. WR then gave them the OTP and they sent it to me. I took it to the bank and finally got my money,” she says.

The top reasons the Nigerians we spoke to have cited for not feeling excited about the new policy rests with the danger and anxiety of carrying hard cash around as well as the arduous task of visiting banks in Nigeria. And oftentimes, opening domiciliary accounts.

Simone, who lives in the U.S hasn’t had much trouble with sending money back to Nigeria. Before the CBN policy, she would normally use WorldRemit and Sendwave, but when she was notified of the policy, she switched to Sendcash, a bitcoin platform she had signed up to some months prior. “As far back as October, I’d started doing USD to BTC to NGN transactions due to the quick changes in the exchange rate. The Naira devaluation made me move to other platforms and the policy change cemented the move.” She says.

23-year-old Ovie, on the other hand, has found that his clients are wary of bitcoin transactions and as a freelance graphic designer who often works with clients outside of Nigeria, it has been hard figuring out how to receive money, especially when those clients are often unlikely to want to use unconventional payment methods that aren’t wire transfers or Paypal, which isn’t fully available to Nigerian users. 

“I’ve not quite found a solution that fits all my clients. And this is why I’ve been avoiding most foreign gigs at the moment. I don’t want to end up disappointed,” says Ovie.

But some people whose accounts cannot be directly credited into their domiciliary accounts are turning to services such as the aforementioned WorldRemit, Western Union, and Sendcash for ready alternatives. Halima was able to receive money that was sent to her that same week through Western Union. “The cash pickup didn’t take much time. Thirty minutes max. I didn’t need an OTP. Just my ID card and the sender’s details,” she explains. 

For Simone, all her transactions are now carried out with Sendcash. “For friends here (in the US) who have had the same issues, I’ve been like, just use Sendcash since the rate has always been better anyway. I buy Bitcoin on Cashapp, use Sendcoins to convert to naira, then the recipient gets Naira.”

And according to Tunde, the banks are the major channels authorized for transactions. “Banks are required to pay the dollars to the beneficiaries either via transfers to domiciliary accounts or in cash. So the recipient has two options: leave your money in the domiciliary account with the bank or take cash. But essentially, the intention of this is to ease the pressure on the exchange rate, but the economy needs diversification, not the plug and fix CBN is doing. And at the end of the day, Nigerians bear the brunt for this through low exchange rates amongst other risks.”

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this


Now on Zikoko

January 26, 2022

Black don’t crack, black don’t crack but they won’t tell you all the things they do a maintain that gorgeousness. Because we are so generous so we compiled a list of health care tips for 30+ women.

Recommended Quizzes

December 29, 2021

A new year is right around the corner. Before we go into 2022, enjoy some of our top quizzes from this year. 1. QUIZ: Only Nigerian Gen Z’ers Can Make It To The End Of This Musicians Quiz Forget about your age. If you can make it to the end of this quiz, you’re definitely […]

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

September 1, 2021

August is over, and here are some of our best quizzes from August. Enjoy: 1. QUIZ: Only Ajebutters Can Get 10/21 On This Quiz Some people like to form ajepako when they’re really ajebutter. Are you one of them? Let’s find out. 2. QUIZ: Sorry, If You’re Under 25 There’s No Way You Can Pass […]

More from Citizen

December 24, 2021

Abroad Life tells the stories of Nigerians who japa’d, but many times, the stories have a shocking twist.

From jaw-dropping stories of grand-scale internet fraud to heartbreaking stories of family betrayal, these are the top 10 most-read Abroad Life stories of 2021.


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.