From The Washington PostBy Cornel Ban and Kevin GallagherDecember 17, 2014 Cornel Ban...
Purpose of the Directive
» To improve the operations of the formal remittance service in Ethiopia
» To reduce the costs of remittance transfer system in Ethiopia
» To increase access of international remittance service for Nationals and make the service reliable, fast and safe.
What Does International Remittance Transfer by Nationals Mean?
International Remittance Transfer by Nationals means monetary transfers that overseas Ethiopians and foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin make money transfers to their home country through Remittance Service Providers (RSPs).
Who Are Remittance Service Providers (RSPs)?
Remittance Service Providers are licensed transfer houses that provide remittance service to customers either directly by banks via SWIFT or through money transferring agents working in association with banks.
What does SWIFT mean?
SWIFT is a secured telecommunication system serving members and the financial community. The word SWIFT represents Society for Worldwide Inter-bank Financial Telecommunication. It is a reliable and less costly method to transfer money. All banks in Ethiopia use the system to effect monetary transaction.
How banks communicate to settle remittance service transfers?
Banks have two important secret codes called Bank Identifier Code (BIC) and International Bank Account Number (IBAN), which help them to communicate and provide safe service. While the former is the unique address, which helps banks to identify the financial institutions during telecommunication messages, the latter is a code that uniquely identifies an account held in correspondent banks.
What are the major features of contractual agreements among RSPs and their agents?
To minimize the cost of international remittance transfer service in Ethiopia and to make market structure more commutative:
» RSPS shall arrange non-exclusive conditions when making agency agreements between them;
» Contractual agreements between RSPs shall be renewed every two years upon receipt of consent from NBE;
» RSPs shall charge zero or minimum tariff on remittance transfer service and shall disclose same including any change thereof to NBE;
» RSPs need to obtain approval from the NBE before entering into new agency agreement with international money transferring operators.
What are the major types of international remittance transfer?
The following are the major transfer types contained in the international remittance
Money to be used for investment
International cash donations
Deposit and service payments
Temporary and permanent migrants transfer.
Where shall users of international remittance transfer system get info concerning service?
Users of this system can obtain information from Access points such as
a. Bank branches
b. Post offices
c. NBE’s and commercial banks’ and Ministry of Foreign Affairs websites
e. Telephone etc.
What are the major instit. eligible to provide low cost international remittance service.
The following institutions/organizations are legally eligible institutions to provide low
cost international remittance service in Ethiopia.
a) International money transfers operators in association with banks, which are licensed entities to provide money-transferring services internationally. These are Western Union, Money Gram, Maniflo, and Adam Funds etc;
b) Commercial banks, which are, licensed business organizations to provide financial intermediation;
c) Non-Financial organizations, which are business organizations that are allowed to engage in remittance services through their branches overseas. These are:
» Ethiopian Airlines (EAL) and
» Ethiopian Shipping Lines (ESL).
Is there any obligation that Remittance Service Providers should fulfill?
Yes, to protect customers of this service, Remittance Service Providers (RSPs) have the following obligations:
» Reveal terms and tariffs applicable to remittance service including their correspondent bank, agent fees and other different types of service they provide;
» Indicate the estimated time that it will take the money to reach the receiver;
» The exchange rate that RSPs employed to convert the foreign currency to domestic currency and vise- versa;
» Facilitate remittance transfer service to their customers and provide the service within 24 hours.
What does RSPs present to NBE to get its consent?
» Official business license authenticated by the Ethiopian Embassy/counselor abroad
» Agency agreement signed between RSP and domestic commercial banks
For further information, please visit domestic commercial banks and their branches or call the contact person as indicated here.