Nigeria launches ‘naira for dollar’ scheme
The Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced a scheme that would offer a
reward of five naira for every $1 sent by Nigerians living abroad through
international money transfer operators in the country in what it calls “naira for dollar”.
It is a step that shows Nigeria’s reliance on diaspora remittances,
which has dipped over the last year, likely due to the impact of the
Covid-19 pandemic on the earnings of Nigerian migrants.
Diaspora remittances to the country totaled $25bn (£18m) in 2019 but
dipped to just over $5.3bn in 2020, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Nigeria depends on diaspora input to such an extent that in 2018 when
the country recorded $23.5bn in remittances, it was 83% of that year’s budget,
6.1% of the GDP and 11 times higher than the foreign investment flows in
the same period, according to management consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The central bank is targeting at least $2bn monthly in diaspora remittances in 2021,
but a report by the African Growth Initiatives suggests that sub-Saharan
Africa could record a further reduction in remittances by up to $3bn this year.