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Banks to challenge FG on BVN order - BUSINESSDAY

OCTOBER 25, 2017

There are indications that deposit money banks will challenge the order by the Federal Government seeking to confiscate all funds in accounts without Bank Verification Number or BVN.
This follows the outcome of the meeting with legal advisers of banks yesterday Tuesday and that of banks chief executives on Monday at the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) in Lagos.
A source familiar with the outcome of the meeting says that while the banks do not want to be confrontational about this, the issue is beyond corruption as being touted by the FG.
It will be recalled that Justice Abubakar Malami, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of on October 17 obtained an order from Federal High Court judge Nnamdi Dimgba, seeking to confiscate all funds in accounts without BVN to the Federal Government. The order was obtained against 19 banks in the country with the Central Bank of Nigeria also included as a defendant in the case. The banks have been given an ultimatum of 14 days to advertise accounts without BVN in a national newspaper, during which time, the owners of such accounts are expected to show cause why the money should not be forfeited.
Stakeholders argue that there are many reasons for not having a BVN which include cases of death of an account holder where the probate process is still ongoing or many Nigerians that are outside the country.
They see no legal basis for such sweeping order, saying that if FG wants to enforce such an order, it should have been done by an Act of the National Assembly.
Johnson Chukwu, managing director/CEO, Cowry Asset Management limited told BusinessDay by phone that banks have strong basis to contest the order particularly on the aspect that FG gave a timeline for banks to advertise accounts without BVN in a national newspaper, during which time, the owners of such accounts are expected to show cause why the money should not be forfeited.
Chukwu said there is no provision of such in the Money Laundry Act, adding that the Act does not allow forfeiture of funds for reasons of not having a complete documentation.
He said if the banks are willing to challenge the order, it is good but was concerned that those who may lose their funds may be unable to challenge the order directly because they don’t have the capacity to do so or for other reasons.
The banks CEOs agreed to reach the Attorney General of the federation as well as others in the executive to explain to them the far reaching implications of the order, especially since it also affects foreign investors with funds in Nigeria.
“The economy may shrink again if the federal government goes ahead to seize the funds in the non – BVN linked accounts as the magnitude of the numbers involved is huge .The extent of shrinkage will depend on the volume and whether these accounts were active or dormant in spite of the regulation,” Bolade Agbola, Analyst and CEO of LAM Agro Consult Limited said in an emailed response to BusinessDay.
Ayodeji Ebo, managing director, Afrinvest Securities limited told BusinessDay by phone that the banks should engage with the Federal Government on the issue.
However, Ebo said it may be good for banks to get an injunction to halt the order and engage until agreement is reached.
Data obtained by BusinessDay from Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Limited (NIBSS) shows that a total of 46 million bank accounts are yet to be linked to BVN as at February 2017, the latest period for which data is available. Total bank accounts in the banking system were 97.57 million as at February 2017 while total accounts linked with BVN stood at 51.72 million, leaving a total of 46 million accounts yet to be linked with BVN, introduced in February 2014 to ensure that all bank accounts have the biometric identification of their owners.
“Expropriating people’s money can give the wrong impression especially for an emerging market like Nigeria,” said the banking source.
“The Government can choose to restrict access to non BVN accounts if it is concerned about money laundering but not seize funds in said accounts, to avoid hurting innocent people.”

 

BY  HOPE MOSES-ASHIKE

UPDATE 1-Nigeria raises 100 bln naira in treasury bills - REUTERS

NOVEMBER 01, 2017

LAGOS, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Nigeria raised 100.84 billion naira ($320.64 million) at a treasury bill auction on Wednesday as traders locked in yields in anticipation of higher liquidity from repayments.

The central bank sold 74.76 billion naira of one-year debt at a rate of 15.53 percent, slightly lower than the previous auction, traders said. It had initially offered to sell 54.35 billion naira in that maturity.

Traders said the bank also sold 12.98 billion naira of six month bills and 13.09 billion naira of 91-day paper at 13.1 percent, unchanged from the last auction.

Traders said around 420 billion naira in open market bills was expected to hit the banking system on Thursday, which spurred buying at the auction.

Nigeria’s central bank issues treasury bills regularly to help lenders manage their liquidity, curb rising inflation and provide naira to help the government fund its budget. ($1 = 314.5000 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Bank speaks on scheme reportedly assisting Nigerians financially - DAILY POST

NOVEMBER 07, 2017

By  

The World Bank has denied report making the rounds online that it is giving out money to individuals to do business.

In a statement released in Abuja on Monday by Olufunke Olufon, World Bank warned Nigerians to be wary of fraudsters parading as its representatives and soliciting fees to enlist Nigerians in a fake scheme.

Olufon, spokesperson of the bank in Nigeria, disclosed that the group has been going about demanding registration fees of about N1000 from unsuspecting Nigerians in communities to be enlisted in the scheme.

The statement readS: “Several correspondences targeting innocent citizens are being circulated falsely claiming that the World Bank is giving out money to individuals to do business and demanding processing fees of N1000 from prospective awardees.

“Please note that: The World Bank is not behind this multi-purpose scheme. The World Bank does not request for personal financial information for applicants to its programmes.”

“Members of the public are advised to verify any information regarding any World Bank-assisted programmes purportedly offered by any individual or groups on its website.”

Ms. Olufon added that the World Bank would not be held responsible for any refunds of fees solicited by fraudsters.

$250m grant for Nigerian youths yet to be accessed —World Bank - VANGUARD

NOVEMBER 07, 2017

THE World Bank said Nigeria had so far accessed less than $50 million of the $300 million earmarked by the bank for youth empowerment and other social works in the country.

The World Bank’s Nigeria Lead Social Protection Specialist, Mr Foluso Okunmadewa, said this, yesterday, in Abuja at the Youth Employment and Social Support Operation, YESSO, Midterm Review Policy Level meeting. wold bank Okunmadewa said the bank had in 2013, earmarked the fund to support federal and state governments’ efforts to improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable in the society.

He said of recent, the YESSO programme, which had four components, had been doing badly, mentioning the Social Register component, which had the ambitious aim to compile the list of the most vulnerable people and households in Nigeria, as example.

According to him, it is sad to note that only eight states have thus far keyed into the programme. He said: “The support operation is in its fourth year of implementation and currently active in 13 states of the federation, including the North-East and coordinated at the federal level, also with the NDE. “The operation is expected to close in mid 2020 and the performance today is not impressive. Less than $50 million, which is about 13 per cent of the assistance has been disbursed.

“The single register component of the operation, which is quite innovative and has been adopted by the Federal Government for its Cash Transfer programme, is however, recording very slow process.

“Only a small fraction of the poor has been identified and registered even in participating states. “Also, the intervention component of the operation, which targets grants transfer for internally displaced people and vulnerable in the North East, is performing very poorly.”

Okunmadewa said to encourage more states to participate in the YESSO programme, the World Bank had cut the ration of the required counterpart funding between states and the Federal Government from 50/50 to 90/10.

This, according to him, means that for every one Naira the Nigerian government, whether state or federal government invests into youth empowerment, the World Bank will provide nine Naira for it. Also, National Coordinator of YESSO, David Adejo, urged the states to take advantage of the reduction in counterpart funding by the World Bank to invest in avenues that would lead to youth employments in their respective states.

“Some states had a public workfare, but when the YESSO started, they pulled back and were no longer funding these projects, thinking that the World Bank would do it alone.

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/250m-grant-nigerian-youths-yet-accessed-world-bank/

AfDB salutes Nigeria’s economic recovery, diversification efforts - PUNCH

NOVEMBER 07, 2017

The Nigeria House of Representatives has constituted a Tactical Committee on Economic Recession to guide innovative legislative actions by the House and the National Assembly to return the economy to the path of growth and stability.  In this regard, the committee is holding a summit in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on 6 and 7 November 2017.

The Summit will bring strategic stakeholders together to interact on relevant issues of concern and develop a legal framework for economic recovery and sustainable development in Nigeria. It is expected that deliberations at the Summit will enhance the quality of legislative reforms for economic development.

The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Nigeria Senior Director, Ebrima Faal, representing AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina at the summit noted that Nigeria’s sound growth prospects are increasingly underpinned by generally improved macroeconomic policies, low external debt, political stability, and good governance. Fewer conflicts and more democratic institutions, have also provided better clarity for investors as evidenced by the recent improvements in Nigeria’s ranking in the ease of doing business index.

Faal said that despite reports to the contrary, the AfDB is in consultation with the Government about how best to support the country’s laudable Economic and Growth Recovery Plan. He added: “I would like to stress that the African Development Bank Group is highly encouraged by the economic recovery of Nigeria from recession, and the Bank salutes the Government’s efforts toward diversification of the economy. The Bank also strongly supports the Economic and Growth Recovery Plan (ERGP) of the Government; including efforts to stem corruption and strengthen fiscal consolidation and efficiency. ‘’We shall continue to strengthen our engagement and ties with the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The country is the largest and most important shareholder of the African Development Bank Group, and as such our commitment to Nigeria is resolute.”

In a passionate presentation titled ‘The Nigerian Recession – We must never Walk this Way Again,’ Nigeria’s Vice President, Yomi Osinbajo said that recession was not an option for Nigeria.

“Never again should we experience the horrors of being in a state of recession. Reliance on dwindling oil revenue and unbridled, unprecedented corruption and waste were the major causes of the 2017 recession,” he said, noting that the country could have fared better going into a recession if it had had savings instead of debt.

“We did not have the fiscal buffers to enable a counter approach,’’ he said, citing the intractable delay in the budget approval process and the long procurement processes that followed as the  two other major forces that deepened the recession. “No developing economy can afford the luxury of long legislative rambling over the budget. Budgetary delay in a situation of national economic emergency and the hardship encountered by so many is simply unacceptable,” he said.

The Vice President said the Economic Recovery and Growth Programme remains Nigeria’s blueprint for development actions going forward. He reminded the group that “the obligation that history and providence has forced upon us today is to honestly do all we can to ensure that the future of our people is secure and prosperous. We must not walk this path of recession again.’’

Diesel-dependent Nigeria looks up to the sun - FT

NOVEMBER 07, 2017

It is Nigeria’s migraine-inducing anthem: the incessant drone of millions of diesel generators straining to power homes and offices starved of electricity by the feeble state of the national grid. While it is hard to imagine this cacophony as anything other than the sound of the country’s propensity for self-sabotage, Ademola Adesina hears only opportunity in the din........

https://www.ft.com/content/13e73f98-a512-11e7-8d56-98a09be71849

62 Insane Facts About Bitcoin (Infographic) - BITCOIN PLAY

NOVEMBER 09, 2017

[Infographic – Updated October 2017]

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that uses Blockchain technology for secure payments and storing money electronically, without requiring a bank or a person’s name. Satoshi Nakamoto created this cryptocurrency back in 2009. The biggest advantage of Bitcoin is that it’s not under control of central authority, government or private company, so people are free from paying transaction fees. It can be used for booking a hotel or flight, or purchasing products online, as many online stores and companies accept Bitcoin now.

Today, there are 1354 Bitcoin ATMs in 55 countries around the world and about 5.8 million users that have digital wallets. The price for one Bitcoin at the moment is $5,602 and it’s growing continuously, proportionally with the interest for digital money.

Take a look at this infographic, created by the team behindBitcoinPlay, that illustrates in details some interesting facts about this incredibly popular virtual currency.

Naira sells at N362.5 per dollar at parallel market - PUNCH

NOVEMBER 21, 2017

The Naira on Tuesday traded at N362.5 to the dollar at the parallel market.

Meanwhile, the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N476 and N426 respectively.

At the Bureau De Change window, the Naira flattened at N362 to the dollar, while the Pound Sterling and the Euro closed at N476 and N426 respectively.

Trading at the interbank window saw the Naira closed at N359.87, while the CBN rate closed at N305.9 to the dollar.

 

Traders said that patronage at the market was slow as they awaited the outcome of the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of the CBN.

Meanwhile, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, noted that the investors and exports window had maintained a positive influence in the foreign exchange market

Emefiele said at the end of the MPC meeting that the window transacted more than $18.7bn since it commenced transaction in April.

He added that the Naira had remained stable at the parallel market, while the investors ’window had boosted confidence in the economy.

The MPC meeting of the CBN retained the benchmark interest rate at 14 per cent alongside other monetary policy parameters.

The CBN had injected$ 210m into the foreign exchange market on Monday to boost liquidity.

The series of interventions by the apex bank at the nation’s foreign exchange market had been critical in defending the Naira against the antics of currency speculators.

(NAN)

Naira down marginally as CBN injects $210m - VANGUARD

NOVEMBER 21, 2017 By Adaeze Okechukwu The Naira, Monrday, depreciated marginally to N360.42 per dollar in the Investor and Exporter (I&E) Foreign Exchange, forex, window, even as the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, injected $210 million into the inter-bank forex market.

The indicative exchange rate for the I & E Window, known as Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange, NAFEX, depreciated by 2 kobo to N360.42 per dollar, from N360.40 per dollar at the close of the market last week. Meanwhile, the volume of dollars traded in the window yesterday stood at $346.36 million.
Meantime, in a bid to boost liquidity and trade, the CBN injected $210 million into the interbank market. Confirming the intervention, Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said that, “the CBN offered the total sum of $100million to the wholesale segment, while the Small and Medium Enterprises segment received the sum of $55 million. The invisibles segment, comprising tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, also received an allocation of $55 million.”

Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/11/naira-marginally-cbn-injects-210m/

Shippers’ association says Nigeria loses one trillion Naira to cargo diversion - PUNCH

NOVEMBER 21, 2017

The Shippers’ Association Lagos State (SALS) on Tuesday said the country lost N1 trillion annually through cargo diversion to ports in neighbouring countries due to bad roads to Lagos ports.

Mr. Jonathan Nicol, SALS President told reporters in Lagos that the losses arose from import duties and other charges not paid to Nigerian ports.

According to him, there is massive diversion of Nigeria-bound cargo to ports in neighbouring countries due to bad access roads to Lagos ports.

The shippers said that demurrage, terminal charges and storage fees incurred by shippers ran into billions of naira daily.

 

“There are also queue of vessels within the Lome waters awaiting call-up for berthing in Lagos ports.

“This will attract port congestion levy on cargo, which is no fault of the shippers (importers and exporters).

“Demurrage on containers is increasing with no control from maritime agencies. Importers and exporters are suffering,’’ he said.

Nicol called on the contractor handling the rehabilitation of the access roads to Apapa port to expedite action to reduce problems encountered by shippers and truck owners.

“Industrialists are incurring huge expenses on haulage due to lack of access roads and they are counting more losses daily.

There is no entry into Lagos ports and no access out of the ports after loading,’’ the shipper said, adding that truck drivers remained on queue for several days.

He, however, commended Dangote Group, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) for their assistance in rehabilitating access roads to Apapa ports.

“It should be noted that they (Dangote and Flour Mills) are industrialists going the extra mile to keep the maritime industry afloat,’’ the shippers said.

Nicol said that the export initiative of the Federal Government was also under threat as export goods spent several days before arriving at the ports.

To avert congestion, he suggested that the backlog of goods at the ports should be cleared.

According to him, the port congestion of the past is mounting again and may lead to prolonged litigation on who pays the charges.

Nicol advised that empty containers inside the ports should be exported as a priority.

He, however, said that the association would not subscribe to the idea of moving containers released at the ports to Papalanto in Ogun.

“The cost of moving such boxes (containers) to factories in Lagos and other places will be too high.

“Cargo taken to Papalanto will be treated as up-country cargo and will attract high haulage fees,’’ Nicol said.

(NAN)

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