Tag Archives: CBN

CBN order fresh directories.

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He also urged the banks to improve on due diligence in all transactions, so as to forestall money laundering and other criminal activities depending on the banking system.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks and other financial institutions to, henceforth, accept Machine Readable Travel Documents (MRCTD) and Refugee Identification Card, as means of identification for financial transactions.

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The directive was given by Dr Kevin Amugo, Director, Finance Policy Regulation Department, on Wednesday, in Abuja, through a memo to the banks, other financial institutions and payment service providers in the country.

Amugo said that the directive was necessitated by the challenges which refugees and asylum seekers experience, with means of identification, when they engaged in financial transactions.

He also urged the banks to improve on due diligence in all transactions, so as to forestall money laundering and other criminal activities depending on the banking system.

“All banks and financial institutions are referred to the provisions of the CBN AML/CFT Regulations 2013 (as amended) on customer due diligence.

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“They should note that MRCTD issued by the Nigeria Immigration Services; and the Refugee Identity Card issued by the National Commission for Refugee, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, are adequate means of identification for banking transactions.

“Banks and other financial institutions are also required to continue to ensure that effective customer due diligence policies and procedures are implemented to combat money laundering, financing of terrorists, as well as the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Amugo said.

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#Newsworthy

CBN reveal why cryptocurrency ban was so sudden.

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Mr Osita emphasised that cryptocurrencies were largely speculative, anonymous and untuntraceable.

Transactions in cryptocurrencies are largely speculative, volatile and should be discouraged, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says.

The apex bank gave the explanation in a statement on its official website, by Mr Osita Nwanisobi, Acting Director of Communications.

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The explanation is coming on the heels of widespread reactions to the CBN’s recent directive prohibiting cryptocurrencies transactions by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).

Nwanibosi stated that the nature of cryptocurrencies created a perverse incentive that allowed for speculation and volatility

“Evidence now suggests that some cryptocurrencies have become more widely used as speculative assets rather than as means of payment, thus explaining the significant volatility and variability in their prices.

“Because the total number of Bitcoins that would ever be issued is fixed (only 21 million will ever be created), new issuances are predetermined at a gradually decelerating pace.

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“This limited supply has created a perverse incentive that encourages users to stockpile them in the hope that their prices rise.

“Unfortunately, with a conglomeration of desperate, disparate, and unregulated actors comes unprecedented price volatility that have threatened many sophisticated financial systems.

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“ In fact, the price of ether, one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world, fell from 320 dollars to 0.10 dollars in June 2017. The price of Bitcoins has also suffered similar volatilities,’’ he said.

He said that cryptocurrencies do not have real values and cannot be trusted to generate returns on investments.

“Unlike Fiat Money which is accompanied by full faith and comfort of a country or Central Bank, cryptocurrencies do not have any intrinsic value and do not generate returns by themselves.

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“ When one buys a stock, say of a conglomerate in the Nigeria Stock Exchange, its price reflects the activity and production of that conglomerate and the value people place on their goods and services.

“ This price may rise as the conglomerate produces better goods or services and probably gains greater market share.

“In contrast, cryptocurrencies do not have fundamentals and would never have fundamentals.

“Investors only buy in the hope that its use and acceptability will rise, thereby pushing up its demand and price.

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“But since new versions of cryptocurrencies come on stream with new mathematical models, an infinite supply may someday crash the price to zero,’’ he warned.

He, however, assured that CBN’s actions was not meant to discourage technology-driven payment systems but to boost it.

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“At this juncture, the CBN would like to assert that our actions are not in any way, shape or form inimical to the development of FinTech or a technology-driven payment system.

“On the contrary, the Nigerian payment system has evolved significantly over the last decade, leapfrogging many of its counterparts in emerging, frontier and advanced economies propelled by reforms driven by the CBN.

“This is evident from the variety of participants, products, channels, cutting-edge technology in the payments system.

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“ It is also validated by the astronomical growth of volume and value of transactions.

FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“Nigeria is an investment destination of choice for international financial technology companies because of CBN’s policies that have created an enabling investment environment in the payments system,’’ he said.

The director added that innovations in Nigeria’s payment system were catalysed by regulatory reforms driven by the CBN.

He said such reforms included the issuance of a raft of guidelines and regulations on Operations of Electronic Payments Channels in Nigeria; Transaction Switching; Card Issuance and Usage, and Licensing of payment service providers.

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“The robust regulatory framework put in place by the Bank opened up the payment system to innovation with several new players across in the following licensing categories-

“Payment Terminal Service Providers (PTSPs), Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), Payment Terminal Application Developers (PTSAs), Switches, Super Agents, Agents and Payment Service Banks (PSBs)

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“This has created both direct and indirect jobs for Nigeria’s youth population.

“Several other initiatives are being implemented to further support FinTech development and creation of jobs. These include regulatory sandbox and open banking principles that the Bank recently implemented.

“The recent regulatory directive became necessary to protect the financial system and the generality of Nigerians from the risks inherent in crypto assets transactions.

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“The risks have escalated in recent times, with dire consequences for the integrity of the financial system and financial stability,’’ he said.

He emphasised that cryptocurrencies were largely speculative, anonymous and untuntraceable.

“They are increasingly being used for money laundering, terrorism financing and other criminal activities.

“ Small retail and unsophisticated investors also face the high probability of loss due to the high volatility of the investments in recent times.

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“In light of these realities and analyses, the CBN has no comfort in cryptocurrencies at this time.

“We will continue to do all within its regulatory powers to educate Nigerians to desist from its use and protect our financial system from activities of fraudsters and speculators,” he said.

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#Newsworthy

Breaking: Nigeria must not continue to rely on crude oil – Emefiele

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The governor, who was represented by Mr Edward Adamu, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN, therefore, urged the country to harness its other economic potentials to enhance its growth.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has reiterated the need for the country to discontinue with heavy dependence on crude oil to guarantee public revenue and foreign exchange.

Emefiele made the call on Saturday in Abuja at the prize presentation ceremony to mark the end of the 2020 CBN Governor’s Golf Cup tournament.

According to him, this has become even more imperative to facilitate early exit of the economy from the current recession.

According to him, sports cannot be left behind while deploying available tools to ensure the development of the country since it attracts foreign exchange.

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This, he said, had propelled the CBN into sponsoring numerous sporting events in the country including golf.

He said that the apex bank would not relent in its effort to empower the youth, sportsmen and sportswomen as they had constantly launched the country and themselves into the international sporting arena.

“The Bank’s consistency in promoting the game of golf and other sports in the country has had a remarkable impact on youths and sportsmen and women generally.

“In particular, the sponsored events have continued to provide platforms for Nigerians to express themselves and launch into the international sporting sphere.

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“At the CBN, we are committed to sustaining people-centered policies,” he said.

According to him, through interventions in various sectors of the economy, the Bank is able to touch lives and livelihoods; specifically, the Bank’s policies prioritise jobs, wealth creation and inclusion.

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“The CBN has been in the vanguard of promoting youth empowerment not only through sporting events, but also through development finance initiatives and schemes.

“These include Youth Entrepreneurship Development Scheme, Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Development Centres .

“Others are the Agri-Business and Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme and the Private Sector-led Accelerated Agricultural Credit Scheme.

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According to Emefiele, the bank’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) has a tremendous effect on agriculture, impacting greatly on local production of various crops, most significantly rice and nine other crops.

He noted that the ABP had significantly contributed in cutting down rice importation in the country, while the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme recorded considerable beneficiaries who have greatly contributed to the nation’s drive for sustained food security.

“I urge Nigerians to take advantage of these initiatives to contribute to the country’s growth and development and share in her prosperity,” he added.

Noble Reporters Media reports that the one-day golf tournament saw winners emerged from various categories of the tournament including the CBN Staff category which O. Owoeye won with a handicap of 28 and gross nett of 116 and 88.

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Abubakar Abdullahi emerged as the runner up with a handicap of 11, gross score of 97 and 86 nett.

Winners also emerged from the Auxiliary, Veteran Ladies, Veteran

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#Newsworthy

EndSARs: Protesters are terrorists – CBN accuses.

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The apex bank said unless the order was granted, it would not be able to ensure that the money remained intact, while investigations were ongoing.

The Federal Government was able to freeze the accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners after telling a Federal High Court in Abuja that the funds in their accounts might have been linked to terrorist activities.

This is according to a written address in support of a motion ex parte filed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The CBN had in the second week of October frozen 20 accounts and thereafter approached the court to seek an ex parte order to freeze the accounts.

In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN, however, made no mention of the fact that the 20 accounts were owned by persons involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities.

The written address read in part, “My lord, the nature of the transactions undertaken through the defendants’ accounts are of suspected terrorism financing in contravention of Section 13(1)(a)and(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention)(Amendment) Act, 2013 and Regulation 31(2)(a)and (3)(b) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism Regulations, 2013.”

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In a supporting affidavit deposed to by one Aondowase Jacob on behalf of the CBN, it was stated that the Head of the Economic Intelligence Unit of the Governor’s Department, CBN, Joseph Omayuku, had conducted an investigation on the accounts of the defendants and other individuals and entities held with certain banks in Nigeria.

According to the affidavit, the investigation showed that the owners of the accounts may have been involved in terrorist activities.

It added, “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.

“The applicant (CBN governor) is thus desirous to have the court empower him to direct the freezing of the 20 accounts listed on the annexure to this application and all other bank accounts held by the defendants.

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“A freezing order of this honourable court in respect of the defendants’ accounts would also enable the investigation of the activities of the defendants to a logical conclusion with a view to reporting same to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.”

The 20 accounts frozen by the CBN are domiciled in Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fidelity Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank.

The accounts were said to have been flagged after they received money with the narration #EndSARS.

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One of the frozen accounts, marked 0056412470 and domiciled in Access Bank, belongs to Bolatito Olorunrinu Oduala, an #EndSARS campaigner, who was appointed into the Lagos State judicial panel set up by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

Another frozen account marked 0033974485 and domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Bassey Israel, the medical team coordinator for the #EndSARS protests in Port Harcourt.

Similarly, an account marked 0054676984 domiciled in Access Bank belongs to Gatefield Nigeria Limited, which paid freelance journalists to cover the protests.

Justice Mohammed froze the accounts for 180 days subject to renewal, but said anyone who was not satisfied with the ruling was free to challenge it.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Nigerians react after Court grant CBN request to freeze protesters’ accounts

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This has stirred reactions from Nigerians who blatantly condemned the Buhari-led adminstration for oppressing the youths.

A cross section of Nigerians has threatened to protest after the court granted the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the EndSARS protests.

Noble Reporters Media reported that the request filed by the CBN in October 20 was granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of Federal High Court in Abuja.

The court order directed all head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank, directed the banks to freeze all transactions on the 20 accounts on the list for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of investigation and inquiry conducted by CBN.

Some of the affected individuals include Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

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Some Nigerians threatened to hit the streets again to protest oppression, even as others called for withdrawal of Rinu and other members from the judicial panel set up to investigate alleged cases of police brutality.

Here are some reactions gathered by NRM from Twitter:

@Salman “ Central Bank just Freezed the bank accounts of Rinu, Pamilerin and some major youths who used their Bank accounts to receive Donations for the #EndSARS movement.For how long are we going to continue to live in fear of the people who are supposed to serve us?

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@Ceogreg “ Let them keep it up,the are showing us the kinda leaders that they are and simply getting us prepared for 2023.we. need good plans to knock these rogues we call leaders out.werey ni gbogbo won.”

@_Pexy “ Omo make we resume this protest
This tensioning and bullying is plenty.”

@DoctorEmto “ This should even make us hit the streets again and that panel can wait till they decide to be serious… There’s no need continuing with that panel.”

@FisayoSoyombo “ CBN has now become so idle that it’s most pressing mandate is chasing the court for an order to freeze the accounts of 19 individuals and a company that supported the #EndSARS movement. But ask them to strenghten the naira against the dollar and it’s mission impossible!

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@Ayemojubar “ So @SavvyRinu bank account was frozen even while on judicial panel? This people have no respect for the future of this country.”

@Ozzyetomi “ So Rinu is serving on a SARS judiciary panel for Lagos state, borne of the #EndSARS protest, but checks notes, her accounts have been frozen for taking part in the protest in the first place?

@Natashagold “ Protest resumes Monday CBN HQ. Godwin Emefiele has started it, we will finish it.”

@Extrasheeter “ A second wave! A dogged, resilient second wave of #EndSarsProtests! The rogue regime of Muhammadu Buhari must be stopped!! Enough with the panel. Godwin Emefiele has been sent in. They just need to send soldiers to pick people at their homes before we understand it is bad already.”

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@Feel_NN “ The police are killing us, the governors are hiding palliatives and stealing state funds, the military are killing and maltreating us, the CBN is freezing accounts..Oppression everywhere..We are tired of this country called Nigeria..#EndSARS

@Ogbenidipo “ The federal government and CBN should not be blocking accounts and dragging young people to court in one breath and asking young people to come sit down and talk in another. They need to rebuild confidence, trust, and allow this issue die down while ensuring justice for victims.

@a_taorix “ This country stinks. If I were to be Rinu Oduala,I would have withdrawn myself from the useless and fake judicial panel set up by the insensitive government and would have urged every youth representative to do the same. The judicial panel is a sham. How the hell will a democratic government freeze people’s account and seize people’s passport simply because they exercised their fundamental human right?

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What is Nigeria turning into? Are we back to the Military Regime?

@Hernameisarik “ How many corrupt politicians accounts have they frozen and listed out to the public to see? Useless Government.”

@Tosho “I think it’s high time we shutdown Nigeria.let’s kuku fight the fight once and for all.”

@Williamsefe16 “ The Judicial panel is a distraction for two weeks nothing have been achieved.They just used it to wind down the #EndSarsProtests, I wish it can continue in the streets again.”


#Newsworthy…

CBN outline businesses eligible for N75BN NYIF

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The plan details the needed actions required to support business establishment, expansion and consequent employment creation for youth in critical economic and social sectors.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed main business activities and sectors in the Nigerian economy that are eligible to access its N75 billion Youth Investment Fund.

They are: technology/innovation; agriculture and related value chain; green economy and renewable energy sector; manufacturing, hospitality/tourism; construction and logistics and supply chain. Others are healthcare value chain, creative sector and trading and services while the rest shall be determined by NYIF/CBN from time to time.

“However, preference shall be given to enterprises that will support the growth of priority sectors, specifically those identified by the Economic and Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan”, it stated in a framework for the operation of the NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (MfB) window of the Fund released last week.

To this effect, the Federal Government of Nigeria has set a target of generating at least 500,000 jobs between 2020 and 2023 through financial empowerment of Nigerian youth between the ages of 18 and 35 years.

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According to the banker to the government, major objectives of the scheme are to: “improve access to finance for youth and youth-owned enterprises for national development; generate much-needed employment opportunities to curb youth restiveness and boost the managerial capacity of the youth and develop their potentials to become the future large corporate organizations.”

The Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan was developed by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMYSD) as a built-in strategy to respond effectively to the youth employment challenge in Nigeria. The major objectives of the plan are to address fragmentation of youth initiatives that prevent assessment of impact, and to provide Nigeria youth with investment inputs required to build successful businesses that can become sustainable employers of labor and contributors to Nigeria’s development.

The Federal Executive Council on July 22, 2020, approved the sum of N75, 000,000,000.00 (seventy five billion naira) for the establishment of the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund for the period of 2020 – 2023 dedicated to investing in the innovative ideas, skills and talents of Nigerian youth, and to institutionally provide the youth with a special window for accessing much needed funds, finances, business management skills and other inputs critical for sustainable enterprise development.

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The framework stipulates that the NYIF will facilitate the transition of informal enterprises owned by youth into the formal mainstream economy where they can be supported comprehensively, build a bankable track record; and be accurately captured as active participants in economic development.

Also, for Formal Business Enterprises (Youth Owned Enterprises) or enterprises that are legal entities duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), documents required are: evidence of registration with Corporate Affairs Commission (Certificate of Incorporation and Form CAC 2A); business questionnaire; list of directors with BVN nos.; evidence of regulatory approvals (where applicable); Tax Identification Number (TIN).

“Cooperative societies duly registered with the relevant government authorities and members of Commodity Associations that fall within the eligible age bracket are also eligible to participate.

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“Individual (unregistered business) shall be determined based on activity/nature of project subject to the maximum of N250,000.

“Registered businesses (business name, limited liability, cooperative, commodity association shall be determined by activity/nature of project subject to the maximum of N3.0 million (including working capital).

“Applicants currently enjoying NMFB loans, including the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AgSMEIS) loans that remain unpaid are not eligible to apply. Beneficiaries of other government loan schemes that remain unpaid are also not eligible to participate,” the framework read in part.

It further stated that applicants shall undergo a compulsory entrepreneurship training arranged or approved by the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development.


#Newsworthy…

EndSARs: Protesters block CBN H/Q in Abuja.

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While hundreds of the protesters are in front of the building, some of them are also camped on the road by the rear exit of the building.

Protesters demanding an end to police brutality have blocked the two entrances of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) head office in Abuja.

Chanting anti-government songs and wielding different placards, the protesters have vowed to prevent activities at the nation’s apex bank on Monday.

The protesters packed vehicles in front of the main gate of the CBN headquarters, blocking movement in and out of the premises and from connecting roads.

As of 9:30pm, music was blaring from loudspeakers at the premises while some of them vowed to spend the night there.

Security operatives guarding the building are on standby in case of any break out of violence.


#Newsworthy…

CBN Moves License Payment Service Banks To Unbanked Individuals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines for licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) as it aims to enhance financial inclusion to small businesses, low-income households, and other financially excluded entities.

In a circular to PSBs on Thursday, the financial regulator said that despite several initiatives introduced, the inclusion rate remained below expectations.

It added that in collaboration with critical stakeholders in the digital financial ecosystem, the need to establish a guideline for the operations of the PSBs is crucial to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grassroots through the provision of financial services.

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) seeks to ensure that over 80 percent of the bankable adults in Nigeria have access to financial services by 2020. The CBN in collaboration with stakeholders launched the NFIS on 23rd October 2012 with a view to reducing the exclusion rate to 20 percent by 2020.

“Despite several initiatives including the Introduction of Microfinance banking, Agent Banking, Tiered Know-Your-Customer Requirements, and Mobile Money Operation (MMO) in pursuit of this objective, the inclusion rate remains below expectation.

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“In view of the challenges to effective outreach to rural communities as well as the need to complement the services provided by other licensed entities, the CBN issues this regulation to provide for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria,” it added.

According to the CBN, the Payment Service Banks structure shall include; “Operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25% financial service touchpoints in such rural areas as defined by the CBN from time to time; enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators. Such cards shall not be eligible for foreign currency transactions; deploy ATMs in some of these areas, amongst others.

However, the apex bank revealed that the PSBs shall not grant any form of loans, accept foreign currency deposits, deal in the foreign exchange market or accept any closed scheme in electronic value as a form of deposit or payment.

The CBN stated that banking agents, telecommunications companies, retail chains, postal and courier service providers, mobile money operators, FinTech, and any other entity whose application is approved on merit are eligible to promote the new scheme.


#Newsworthy…

DSS freed former CBN deputy governor, Mailafia

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The Department of State Services has released a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, after questioning him for more than six hours.

Dr. Malaria was on Tuesday questioned by officials of the agencies in Jos, the Plateau State Capital in connection with comments he reportedly made on Monday about the leadership of Boko Haram.

It is not clear if the DSS is through with their questioning but the former CBN chief was released after Reverend Gideon Para Mallam presented himself as his surety.

Following his release from custody, the former CBN Deputy Governor thanked his family members, the media for their support while in detention, adding that he didn’t regret the comments he made.

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“Since yesterday there has been a lot of support voluntarily from the media, I want to thank them for their courage.

Former Central Bank Deputy Governor, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, briefing newsmen after his release from the DSS custody on August 12, 2020 (Noble Reporters Media / Adigun Michael Olamide)

“If I had retracted anything, I don’t think I would have been able to leave this place because the youths of this country are fed up, all these killings have made people fed up.

“Those who tolerate it are committing great evil, we must remain steadfast, I love Nigeria, we must love our country”.

The former CBN Deputy Governor buttressed that he does not support or promote violence and will never support evil.

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“We must seek the progress of our country, we must work for peace, my name means peace, I am a servant of the people, I don’t use violence and do not promote the use of violence”, he added.

While Dr Mailafia was being questioned, a protest was held demanding his release and calling for an end to the killings in Southern Kaduna, the same issue he was commenting about that led to his invitation.

During a radio programme on Monday, Dr. Mailafia reportedly said repentant Boko Haram members had revealed that a serving northern governor was a leader of the terrorist group.

Dr Mailafia, who was the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress, was also reported to have linked bandits terrorising Southern Kaduna and elsewhere to the terrorists, adding that they moved weapons across the country even during the COVID-19- lockdown.


#Newsworthy…

Reps committee frowns as CBN Emefiele refuses to honor their invitation again

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Chairman of the House of Representatives adhoc committee which is investigating the privatisation process of the power sector, Ado Doguwa, has once again frowned at the refusal of the Central Bank governor to honour the invitation of the committee.

This is the second time the Central Bank governor has failed to honour the invitation of the committee.

Mr Doguwa says the Central Bank governor has been busy expending taxpayers’ money but has refused to appear before the committee to account for those monies.

He, however, said the committee will take all necessary actions to compel him to appear before the committee even as he questioned if the CBN governor has something to hide.


#Newsworthy…

CBN halt importation of maize

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A day after a report showed that Nigeria’s maize importation failed to decline in two years despite farmers saying they can meet local demand, the Central Bank of Nigeria has stopped the issuance of forex for the importation of the cereal.

The CBN made this known on Monday in a circular signed by O.S. Nnaji, its director, Trade and Exchange Department.

The decision, according to CBN, is to boost local production of maize.

“As part of effort by the Central Bank of Nigeria to increase local production, stimulate a rapid economic recovery, safeguard rural livelihoods and increase job, which were lost as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, Authorized dealers are hereby directed to discontinue the processing of Form M for the importation of maize/corn with immediate effect,” CBN said in the memo.

Form M is a mandatory document used by the Ministry of Finance and the CBN to monitor goods that are imported into the country as well as enable collection of import duties where applicable.

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The bank, however, asked the dealers to still submit the already registered forms.

“Accordingly, all authorized dealers are hereby requested to submit the list of Form M already registered for the importation of maize/corn using the attached format on or before the close of business on Wednesday 15, 2020,” CBN said.

Data obtained from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows that Nigeria imported 400,000 tons of maize in 2019 as it did in 2018.

That figure, recorded separately in both years, is the second-highest maize import volume for the country since 2009.

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The highest was recorded in 2016 when 650,000 tons of maize was imported by the country.

Since its introduction to Africa in the 1500s, maize has become one of Africa’s dominant food crops.

Nigeria is Africa’s top producer of maize, followed by Tanzania, according to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. But the country is also a leading importer as demand for animal feed grows in the country.

Nigeria’s annual need for maize is estimated at 15 million metric tons while the country’s local production is 10.5million tons.

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According to Edwin Uche, the national chairman of Maize Growers and Processors Association of Nigeria (MAGPAN), he told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) that maize farmers in Nigeria can produce enough maize needed in the country if the government supports them with more incentives.

“We are capable of producing the needed quantity of maize in the country if the government can place a ban on maize importation and provide us with the necessary incentives such as financial aids, loans, fertilizer among others,” Mr Uche said.

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Also, according to Abraham Godson, a former research supervisor at IITA, Ibadan, continuous importation of agricultural commodities like maize can weaken the country’s economy.

“It is sad that we still import many of the agricultural produce that we produce locally. This leads to the continued depreciation of the naira and in turn weakening of the economy and our international purchasing power. More efforts should be made at changing our economy and especially the agricultural sector from a consumption-oriented to export-oriented,” Mr Godson said.

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“A new strategic policy is urgently needed to reverse this trend. It should be geared towards modernizing agriculture through supply of agricultural machinery to farmers, improved seeds, agrochemicals to farmers, and a nationwide capacity building and training for those involved in agriculture,” he added.

The CBN on June 23 during the flag-off of 2020 wet season maize farming in Delta State expressed its readiness to support about 200,000 maize farmers across the country to boost maize production.

The plan, according to CBN, is to support maize farmers with 166,000 farming inputs that will lead to the production of a minimum of 4 tons of maize in a hectare of land.

The bank said it would do more next season if farmers deliver.


#Newsworthy…

Nigeria’s production index falls further – CBN

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Nigeria’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing sector, stood at 41.1 points in June 2020, indicating contraction in the sector for the second time, data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) website on Thursday has revealed.

Similarly, the production level of the manufacturing sector fell to 36.6 points in June for the second straight month.

Of the 14 sub-sectors surveyed, only 5 recorded growth (above 50% threshold) in the following order according to the PMI Survey Report for June 2020: electrical equipment; cement; petroleum and coal products; transportation equipment and paper products.

According to the survey carried out by the CBN statistics department between 8th and 12th June 2020, the 9 sub-sectors that witnessed decline included printing and related support activities; textile, apparel, leather and footwear; primary metal; plastics and rubber products; non-metallic mineral products; fabricated metal products; food, beverage and tobacco products; chemical and pharmaceutical products and furniture and related products.

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3 sub-sectors saw increase in their production level, 2 remained unchanged while the rest 9 experienced decline.

The manufacturing supplier delivery time index stood at 60.9 points in June, reflecting growth in supplier delivery time index for the second time.

9 of the 14 sub-sectors reported improved suppliers’ delivery time, 3 sub-sectors recorded no change while 2 witnessed slump in delivery time.

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“The employment level index in June 2020 stood at 38.8 points, indicating decline in employment level index for the third month. Of the 14 sub-sectors, two sub-sectors recorded increases in employment, one sub-sector remained unchanged, while the remaining 11 sub-sectors recorded lower employment level in the review month.

“The manufacturing sector inventories index showed contraction for the third time in June 2020. At 41.0 points, the raw materials inventories index is contracting at a slower rate when compared to its level in May 2020.

“Three of the 14 sub-sectors recorded reported growth in inventories, one remained unchanged, while the remaining 10 sub-sectors recorded lower raw material inventories in the review month,” the report said.

The composite PMI for the non-manufacturing sector stood at 35.7 points, implying contraction for the third month in a row.


#Newsworthy…

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We will protect Nigeria from Recession – CBN

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• Police to begin recruitment this week – CP allege •


The Nigeria Police Force says its investigation shows that Boko Haram, Ansaru and other terror groups are getting support from some Nigerians.

The Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Kenneth Ebrimson, has disclosed that the recruitment of special constables in the state would commence this week.

Ebrimson said the recruitment which is aimed at fighting crimes at the grassroots, is part of efforts to encourage community policing in the state.

Ebrimson said this on Wednesday, after the inauguration of the new state chairman of the Police Community Relations Committee, Samson Popoola.

He added that the recruitment would commence shortly after arrangements have been finalised at the Area Command, Local Government Areas and the divisional levels, this week.

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The Commissioner noted that the constables would be trained on police operation and would be given police uniform, although without badge.

According to him, the constables would assist the command to prevent criminal activities, gives the command intelligence report and resolve crisis among members of the public.

He said, “All other strata of the community policing, the Area Command, the Local Government Area and the divisional level will be concluded without any doubt this week.

“Thereafter we will now start with a pilot scheme of the recruitment of the constabulary who will now form the bulk of the community policing practitioners at the community level to assist the police in prevention, information and intelligence gathering and conflict resolution.

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“So, in no distance time when all these level of advisory committee of the community policing has finalised we will now see the next level will now be the consolidation of the recruitment of the constabulary and sending them to a modicum training of the police operation which will translate to bringing them in as part of our partners and remember also part of the concept.

“The idea is to give them a sense of belonging is that when recruited they will be given the police uniform but the only difference will be the signal, the badge, so that one can give them that sense of belonging and they will now see the police as our police not their police.”

The CP applauded the PCRC’s contributions and support towards fighting crime in the state, and urged members of the PCRC to further corporate with the police command to make the state free of criminal activities.

In his remarks, the new chairman of PCRC pledged that his administration would transform the community policing in the state.
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He said “We want to bring out that innate African security consciousness back to our people so that they will be able to work with us. They will be able to see police as one of their people, they will be able to see police as their own people.


• CBN set to save Nigeria from Recession •


The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday said it would not be deterred in its effort to steer the Nigerian economy away from the looming recession due to the impact of COVID-19.

It said this was in spite of the push by some vested interests to impugn the integrity of the bank.

The Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okorafor, said the bank had uncovered sinister plans by some persons in Nigeria’s economic and socio-political space to distract the CBN.

He said such persons want to discredit the institution through deliberate misinformation, complete fabrications and outright lies.

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He, however, noted that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team at the bank would not be deterred by the actions of such persons.

Okoroafor said the bank, in pursuit of its mandate enshrined in the CBN Act 2007, as Amended, would continue to strive to ensure accretion to the external reserves to safeguard the international value of the naira.

He added that it would continue to ensure that no individual or institution circumvents the system.
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According to Okorafor, the naira, in the past three years, had remained stable against other world currencies, due to strict measures put in place by the CBN to check cases of round-tripping.

He said the bank, working with other relevant agencies of government, had equally curtailed the activities of economic saboteurs neck-deep in smuggling and other economic crimes.

He noted that those opposed to the policies of the CBN would not relent in their effort to undermine the bank, but stressed that the bank remained resolute to the dictates of its enabling Act.

The CBN spokesperson said the bank would not be distracted by subjective criticisms from persons who do not mean well for the general good of the Nigerian people and the economy.


#Newsworthy…

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COVID-19: CBN reduce interest rates – send directive to Banks Nationwide


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

The rate has been slashed from 9 to 5 percent per for one year, effective March 1, 2020.

This was contained in a circular to banks on Wednesday by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.

Similarly, CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments.

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This is also effective March 1, 2020.

OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, said the decisions were part of the bank’s efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on Nigerians, businesses and regulated institutions.

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He assured that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May will be held on Thursday.


#Newsworthy…

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CBN stops Banks from sacking staff

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all banks not to retrench workers.

A statement from the apex bank signed by Mr. Isaac Okorafor Director, Corporate Communications said the CBN, Bankers’ Committee decided to suspend lay-offs in banks.

Access Bank has been trending in the media after an alleged video of a town hall meeting between the Managing Director of the bank Herbert Wigwe and the staff.

In the video, Wigwe was heard informing staff of the bank that some contract staff of the bank will be laid off while other staff will have their salaries cut.

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Following the backlash that greeted the video, the CBN on Sunday stated:

“In order to help minimise and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time).”

This decision the CBN said was taken “following special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry.”

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The Committee, the CBN noted “deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties.”

At the end of the deliberations, it was also decided that “the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff.”


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] More than 80,000 people apply for CBN N50bn loan in 3 weeks amid lockdown.


In three weeks, over 80,000 applications were received from businesses and individuals after the Central Bank of Nigeria released the guidelines for the N50bn targeted credit facility.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr Abubakar Kure, confirmed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.


The CBN had introduced the N50bn Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the guidelines released by the CBN, those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19.


Others are existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the pandemic.

According to the CBN guidelines, activities covered under the scheme are agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.


Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Giving a breakdown of the 80,000 applications, the NIRSAL MD said that 40,000 applications were from households while 30,000 applications were received from the SMEs.


He said from next week, the bank would begin the disbursement of the fund to those who met the criteria set by the apex bank.

Kure, who was accompanied by top officials of the apex bank and NIRSAL said, “We have over 80,000 applications out of which 40,000 came from households while 30,000 were from the SMEs.


“From next week, genuine applicants will start receiving alert for their loans.

“Our people are working remotely and disbursements will start next week.”


On the controversy surrounding the payment of N10,000 for business plan before the loan could be accessed, Kure said the management of the bank had shelved the requirement for business plan.

He said, “The issue of business plan was a requirement for the SME applications as stipulated by the CBN guidelines.


“In order to stem further controversy, the management of the NMFB has resolved that the business plan is no longer a mandatory requirement and the third party provision of a business plan is not compulsory.

“We assure Nigerians of adhering to the guidelines as laid down by the CBN.”


Also speaking at the briefing, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, warned applicants against making payments for business proposal.

He said the CBN and NIRSAL MFB had decided to push on with the intervention programmes in order to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians.


He warned that the fund was not a grant, adding that beneficiaries of the fund would be made to repay what they collected based on the terms of agreement.

The N50bn intervention is being financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.

In terms of loan limit, the amount would be determined based on the activity, cash flow and industry size of beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25m for the SMEs.

Households could access a maximum of N3m while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19 tragedy, opportunity for better Nigeria – CBN Governor.


As many people are now aware, the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in China rapidly permeated and profoundly changed the world.

While this crisis is first and foremost a public health issue, which has claimed the lives of over 123,600 people worldwide, and counting, the economic damages are unprecedented on several fronts: Crude oil prices declined dramatically to as low as US$17 per barrel by the end of March, even before applying the discounts many oil exporters are offering; Stock valuations for the NSE-ASI, Nikkei, Dow Jones and FTSE-100 declined by an average of 23.8 percent between January and March 2020; Global airlines have lost about US$252 billion in revenues and across the broad range of industries from hospitality to services, the pain is growing.

These outcomes have expectedly thrown the global economy into a recession, the depth and duration of which is currently difficult to fathom. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the global economy would decline by 3 percent this year.

Around the world, countries have moved away from multilateralism and responded by fighting for themselves with several measures to protect their own people and economies, regardless of the spillover effects on the rest of the world.

According to the World Customs Organization, a total of 32 countries and territories, adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs that were specifically meant to respond to COVID-19. As of 10 April 2020, an updated count of total export restrictions by the Global Trade Alert Team at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland suggest a total of 102 restrictions by 75 countries.

On 4 March 2020, Germany announced an export ban that applied to all sorts of medical protection gear including breathing masks, medical gloves and protective suits.

Around the same time, President Macron announced that France will requisition all face masks produced in the country, a de facto export ban.

Between 8 February 2020 and 6 April 2020, India released eight (8) different export notifications banning several drugs and medical supplies including hydroxychloroquine, ventilators, personal protections masks, oxygen therapy apparatus, and breathing devices.

On 3 April 2020, the Trump Administration invoked the war-era US Defense Production Act to stop major US mask manufacturer, 3M, from exporting N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin America.

Fears of a long global recession have also led to worries about unprecedented global food insecurity, with concerns that agricultural production may be dislocated by containment measures that constrain workers from planting, managing and harvesting critical crops.

Rather than seek cooperative and global solutions, several countries have resorted to export restrictions of critical agricultural produce. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), about 37 countries have enacted various forms of food export restrictions in response to COVID-19, even in countries where average production exceeds domestic consumption.

For example, Vietnam, the world’s third largest exporter of rice, suspended granting rice export certificates until the country “reviews domestic inventories”. Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, announced a ten-day ban on the export of buckwheat and rice due to concerns over panic buying in local supermarkets.

What if these restrictions become the new normal? What if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in a second wave or another pandemic occurs in which all borders are shut and food imports are significantly restricted? What if we cannot seek medical care outside Nigeria and must rely on local hospitals and medical professionals? For how long shall we continue to rely on the world for anything and everything at every time?

What if these restrictions become the new normal? What if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in a second wave or another pandemic occurs in which all borders are shut and food imports are significantly restricted? What if we cannot seek medical care outside Nigeria and must rely on local hospitals and medical professionals? For how long shall we continue to rely on the world for anything and everything at every time?

Although these developments are troubling, they present a clear opportunity to re-echo a persistent message the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been sending for a long time, and at this time even more urgently so: We must look inwards as a nation and guarantee food security, high quality and affordable healthcare, and cutting-edge education for our people. For a country of over 200 million people, and projected to be about 450 million in a few decades, we can no longer ignore repeated warnings about the dangers that lie ahead if we do not begin to depend largely on what we produce locally. The security and well-being of our nation is contingent on building a well-diversified and inclusive productive economy.

When I became Governor of the Central Bank in June 2014, imports of rice, fish, wheat and sugar alone consumed about N1.3 trillion worth of foreign exchange from the Bank. My immediate question was: can we not produce these ourselves? After all, only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts. Today, we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes of palm oil, whilst Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that were far behind us in this crop, now combine to export over 90 percent of global demand. In 2017, Indonesia earned US$12.6 billion from its oil and gas sector but US$18.4 billion from palm oil. I believe that this pandemic and the immediate response of many of our trading partners suggest it is now more critical than ever that we take back control; not just control over our economy, but also of our destiny and our future.

Although these developments are troubling, they present a clear opportunity to re-echo a persistent message the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been sending for a long time, and at this time even more urgently so: We must look inwards as a nation and guarantee food security, high quality and affordable healthcare, and cutting-edge education for our people. For a country of over 200 million people, and projected to be about 450 million in a few decades, we can no longer ignore repeated warnings about the dangers that lie ahead if we do not begin to depend largely on what we produce locally. The security and well-being of our nation is contingent on building a well-diversified and inclusive productive economy.

In line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN has indeed created several lending programmes and provided hundreds of billions to smallholder farmers and industrial processors in several key agricultural produce. These policies are aimed at positioning Nigeria to become a self-sufficient food producer, creating millions of jobs, supplying key markets across the country and dampening the effects of exchange rate movements on local prices.

This philosophy has been a consistent theme of the CBN’s policies over the last few years. At the 2016 Annual Bankers’ Dinner, I challenged the bankers that we needed to take decisive actions to fundamentally transform the structure of our economy. Throughout that speech, I talked about the damaging effects of Nigeria’s unsustainable propensity to import, and opined that it was high time we looked inwards and stopped using hard-earned foreign exchange (FX) to import items that we should produce locally. This determination, therefore, formed the bedrock of the Bank’s policy, which restricts access to FX for importers of many items. These sentiments were re-echoed at the 2017 edition of the same Bankers’ Dinner with specific examples of several companies that have benefited significantly from this policy of self-sufficiency. With President Buhari’s full support, we have continued to refine this policy to ensure that the best interest of Nigeria is served.

Many times, the Bank has been accused of promoting protectionist policies. My answer has always been that leaders are first and foremost accountable to their own citizens. If the vagaries of international trade threaten their wellbeing, leaders have to react by compelling some change in patterns of trade to the greater good of their citizens.

That is why in response to COVID-19, we are strengthening the Nigerian economy by providing a combined stimulus package of about N3.5 trillion in targeted measures to households, businesses, manufacturers and healthcare providers. These measures are deliberately designed to both support the Federal Government’s immediate fight against COVID-19, but also to build a more resilient, more self-reliant Nigerian economy.

Only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts. Today, we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes of palm oil, whilst Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that were far behind us in this crop, now combine to export over 90 percent of global demand. In 2017, Indonesia earned US$12.6 billion from its oil and gas sector but US$18.4 billion from palm oil. I believe that this pandemic and the immediate response of many of our trading partners suggest it is now more critical than ever that we take back control; not just control over our economy, but also of our destiny and our future.

We do not know what the world will look like after this pandemic. Countries may continue to look inwards and globalization as we know it today may be dead for a generation. Therefore, as a nation, we cannot afford to continue relying on the world for our food, education and healthcare. The time has come to fully transform Nigeria into a modern, sophisticated and inclusive economy that is self-sufficient, rewards the hardworking, protects the poor and vulnerable, and can compete internationally across a range of strategic sectors.

In order to achieve this goal, we must begin immediately to support the Federal Government to:
1) Build a base of high quality infrastructure, including reliable power that can engender industrial activity;
2) Support both smallholder and large scale agriculture production in select staple and cash crops;
3) Create an ecosystem of factories, storages, and logistics companies that move raw materials for value-added production, and finished goods to markets;
4) Use our fiscal priorities to create a robust educational system that enables critical thinking and creativity, which would better prepare our children for the world of tomorrow;
5) Develop a healthcare system that is trusted to keep all Nigerians healthy, irrespective of social class;
6) Facilitate access to cheap and long-term credit for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates;
7) Develop and strengthen pro-poor policies that bring financial services and security to the poor and the vulnerable; and
8) Expedite the development of venture capitalists for nurturing new ideas and engendering Nigerian businesses to compete globally.

India is in a position to ban exports because it is producing critical drugs and medical supplies that the rest of the world needs. It also has companies that are global champions, and even merging with or acquiring peers in advanced nations. Why should this be out of our reach? We have the companies and the manpower. Some of the best brains in the world from the Americas to Europe and from Asia to Africa are Nigerians; driving global innovations in all fields. Nigerians are successful everywhere, and are already one of the most sought after immigrant groups in the United States. Now is the time to seize this opportunity and create an environment that empowers our people to thrive within our own shores.

To this end, the Central Bank has developed a Policy Response Timeline to guide our crises management and the orderly reboot of the Nigerian economy.


Immediate-Term Policies (0-3 Months)


In light of the fact that this crisis is an exogenous one thrust upon us without much warning, this phase reflects the government’s efforts at containment and mitigation. Although global cases are heading towards two million with over 123, 600 deaths as of 14 April 2020, we now have 343 cases, of which there have been 91 recoveries and sadly 10 deaths. With President Buhari’s continuing strong leadership, Nigeria can now test 1,500 persons per day in twelve (12) Molecular Test Laboratories.

We believe that his strong leadership to impose early travel restrictions, lockdown, social distancing, and other measures have been greatly effective in curbing the spread of the disease.

More so, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have helped the country stay ahead of the curve with increased testing capacity, provision of better-equipped isolation centres, and effective contact tracing.

Within this milieu, the CBN has responded in several ways, first by supporting hospitals and pharmaceutical industry with low interest loans to immediately deal with the public health crises; then by working with the private sector Coalition Against COVID (CACOVID) to support the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 across its response, while mobilizing palliatives for the poor and vulnerable.


Under this Immediate-Term Response, we have activated the following:


1) Ensure financial system stability by granting regulatory forbearance to banks to restructure terms of facilities in affected sectors;

2) Trigger banks and other financial institutions to roll-out business continuity processes to ensure that banking services are delivered in a safe social-distance regime for all customers and bankers;

3) Grant additional moratorium of 1 year on CBN intervention facilities;

4) Reduce interest rates on intervention facilities from 9 percent to 5 percent;

5) Create N50 billion targeted credit facility for affected households and SMEs;

6) Strengthen the Loan-Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, which is encouraging significant extra lending from banks;

7) Improve FX supply to the CBN by directing all oil companies (international and domestic) and all related companies (oil service) to sell FX to CBN and no longer to the NNPC;

8) Provide additional N100b intervention in healthcare loans to pharmaceutical companies, healthcare practitioners intending to expand/build capacity;

9) Provide N1 trillion in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors;

10) Engender financial inclusion by ensuring the poor and vulnerable are able, by all means necessary, through banks, microfinance, community and non-bank financial institutions, to access financial services to meet their basic needs.


Short-Term Policy Priorities (0 – 12 months)


As soon as President Muhammadu Buhari and the Health authorities determine our Coronavirus Transmission Curve is flattening and many of the ongoing restrictions are eased, this will be the phase for repositioning the Nigerian economic space.

As part of the lessons from the current pandemic, we must ensure that that our value-added sector, the manufacturing industry is strengthened. Accordingly, the CBN will pursue the following policies in this phase:

1) Reinvigorate our financial support for the manufacturing sector by expanding the intervention all through its value-chain. In most cases, we will ensure that primary products sourced locally provide essential raw material for the manufacturing sector except where they are only available overseas;

2) With the support of the Federal Government, the CBN will embark on a project to get banks and private equity firms to finance homegrown and sustainable healthcare services that will help to reverse medical tourism out of Nigeria. By offering long-term financing for the entire healthcare value-chain (including medicine, pharmaceuticals, and critical care), banks will work with healthcare providers to consolidate on the current efforts to rebuild our medical facilities in order to ensure Nigeria has world class affordable hospitals for the people of Nigeria and those wishing to visit Nigeria for treatment;

3) The CBN will promote the establishment of InfraCo PLC, a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, and managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager. This fund will be utilized to support the Federal Government in building the transport infrastructure required to move agriculture products to processors, raw materials to factories, and finished goods to markets, as envisaged at the CBN Going for Growth Roundtable in March 2020; and

4) Continue to prioritize the provision of FX for the importation of machinery and critical raw materials needed to drive a self-sufficient Nigerian economy.

COVID-19 may have plunged us into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. But, as Winston Churchill once admonished, we must never let a crisis go to waste.


Medium-Term Policy Priorities (0 -3 Years)


Once the world returns to some new normal having tamed COVID-19 by a combination of vaccines and social distancing, and the Nigerian economy reopens fully for business, we will act quickly to enable faster recovery of the economy by targeted measures towards particular sectors that are able to support mass employment and wealth creation in the country.

We will do so by focusing on four main areas, namely, light manufacturing, affordable housing, renewable energy, and cutting-edge research.

In manufacturing, for example, it is pertinent to note that Nigeria’s gross fixed capital formation is currently estimated at N24.55 trillion made up residential and non-residential properties, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, land improvement, research and development, and breeding stocks.

Of this estimated value, machinery and equipment, which are the main inputs into economic production, are currently valued at only N2.61 trillion. In order to pursue a substantial economic renewal, including replacement of at least 25 percent of the existing machinery and equipment for enhanced local production, we estimate at least N662 billion worth of investments to acquire hi-tech machinery and equipment.

Therefore, the CBN will consider an initial intervention of N500 billion over the medium term, specifically targeted at manufacturing firms to procure state-of-the-art machinery and equipment and automated manufacturing models that would fast-track local production and economic rejuvenation, as well as support increased patronage of locally processed products such as cement, steel, iron rods, and doors, amongst several other products. The recent private sector investments in cement production using enhanced technology and automated manufacturing models is a good example of the kind of economic renewal we will be pursuing in this phase. We will develop a thorough screening process and stringent criteria for equipment types that would qualify for funding under this phase.

In order to boost job creation, household incomes and economic growth, we will focus our attention on bridging the housing deficit in the country by facilitating government intervention in three critical areas: housing development, mortgage finance, and institutional capacity.

We will pursue the creation of a fund that will target housing construction for developers that provide evidence of profiled off-takers with financial capacity to repay. The current identification framework in the banking sector using the bank verification number (BVN) will be used to verify the information provided by the off-takers before the developer can access the funds.

We will consider ways to assist the Mortgage Finance sub-sector as well as build capacity at the State levels for their land administration agencies to process and issue land titles promptly, implement investment friendly foreclosure laws and reduce the cost of land documentation, as these have remained major inhibiting factors in the provision of affordable housing in the country.

Over the next 3 years, we will also support the financing of environmentally friendly energy production, as this has a tangential long-term health benefits. We will look at efforts to drive innovation and research in every sector, through our universities, research institutions, creative industry initiatives, and all other media of novelty and inventions.

In conclusion, I believe we must now envision and work toward a Nigeria with the cutting edge medical facilities to provide world class care to the sick and vulnerable, enable our universities and research institutions to provide the requisite education and training that is required to keep these ecosystems functioning sustainably and efficiently, and millions of Nigerians employed in meaningful and well-paying jobs.

This is the Nigeria that we must aspire to build.

COVID-19 may have plunged us into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. But, as Winston Churchill once admonished, we must never let a crisis go to waste.

*Godwin I. Emefiele, CON is Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria


#Newsworthy….

Breaking: Naira plunges again, falls to N412 per dollar.


The dollar exchanged for N412 on Monday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market.

This followed a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria.


The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.

According to the BDCs, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not travelling.

The naira had also suffered setbacks as a result of crude oil price that fell drastically in the international market, which raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general


#Newsworthy…

CBN gives N50 Billion credit to affected businesses, households.


A N50bn Credit Facility has been unveiled by the Central Bank of Nigeria – a facility specifically to cater for the needs of households and small businesses that have and will be adversely affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the CBN, those will be eligible for the stimulus package must prove that they, their livelihood and business operations have been adversely affected by the spread of the virus.


Businesses eligible for the scheme are agricultural value chain activities, hospitality, health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), airline service providers, manufacturing and value addition, and trading.

The maximum amount to be received depending on proof of cash flow of investment size is N25m while households can access N3m with an interest rate of 5 per cent per annum for a maximum period of one year.

The apex bank says facility will be administered by its officers and the NISRAL Microfinance Bank.


#Newsworthy…

Senate send arrest threat to Emefiele over $289m payment.


The Senate Public Accounts Committee said on Tuesday that it might consider demanding a warrant for the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over his alleged refusal to honour invitations extended to him by the legislature.

The committee invited Emefiele to address it on the release of $289m cash to a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, sometime in 2015.


The Senate had, while acting on a report of the Auditor General for the Federation, last week, uncovered how the CBN released $289m cash to the former NIA DG.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said the CBN governor had been summoned several times but he ignored the invitations.


Urhoghide fumed that Emefiele did not also deem it fit to send any official of the CBN to appear before the committee.

He said, “We have summoned the CBN governor; it is the only part remaining in the investigation.


“The CBN governor has not sent any of his officials; they have to corroborate the story being told by those mentioned in the audit query, whether they are correct or not correct.

“The committee may consider consulting with the Senate leadership with a view to issuing a warrant for the arrest of the governor of Central Bank if he pushes us to the extreme.


“There are over 10 issues highlighted in the audit query that needed to be addressed by Emefiele and his top officials.”

He added that other issues, like the sales of federal bonds, funds collection, and discrepancies in figures between some agencies and the CBN, needed to be addressed by the governor of the apex bank.


The Director of Finance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Godwin Okonkwko, had last week told the committee that $289m was released to the former NIA DG.

Okonkwo had explained that the $289m cash given to the former NIA boss by the CBN was based on a directive to that effect from the NNPC.

The $43m found in an Ikoyi apartment in 2017 that led to the sacking of Oke as the DG of NIA was a fraction of $289m cash collected by the DG from the NNPC.


#Newsworthy…

N380 forex rate per dollar not devaluation of Naira – CBN.


Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Saturday clarified that the recent jump in foreign exchange rate to N380 to a dollar is not a devaluation but an adjustment.

According to Mr Emefiele, the apex bank has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the Naira, insisting that the bank has no hand in what happens in the Investors, Exporters and End- users window.

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CBN technically devalue Nigeria Naira.

The CBN had issued a circular to all banks and Bureau De Change on Friday, advising that the BDC should not sell the Dollar more than N380/1USD to end-users.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the currency; what you have seen is an adjustment in currency and we have been accused that we have a hand, we don’t have a hand, Emefiele said.


We allow the I&E window, which is the dominant market to dictate the exchange rate in the market.

At this time the CBN provides FX in that market at 380, anyone who has higher than the 380 can go ahead, but it should be available in the market to fund the domestic market.

He added that the new rate is only an adjustment, but in economics and foreign exchange management language, it is not a devaluation, he maintained.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: CBN drops N1.1trn for support.


The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday announced a N1.1tn intervention fund to support critical sectors of the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said this in a statement made available to journalists.


The governor in the statement said the out of the N1.1tn, about N1tn would be used to support the local manufacturing sector as well as boost import substitution.

He added that the balance of N100bn would be used to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.


This, he said, was imperative following the Coronavirus pandemic, adding that the N100bn would enable the country prepare for any major crises ahead.

He said given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN will increase its intervention in boosting the economy.


He said, “First the CBN is directing all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

“In local drug manufacturing, in increased bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, in funding intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment and R&D.


“In addition to the N50bn soft loans to small businesses already announced, the CBN will increase its intervention by another N100bn in loans this year to support health authorities.

“Secondly, given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN will increase its intervention in boosting local manufacturing and import substitution by another N1tn across all critical sectors of the economy.”

He said the management of the CBN will meet with the Bankers Committee this Saturday at 10.00 am to work out the modalities for the intervention.

The N1.1tn intervention is coming about three days when the apex bank announced a N50bn facility for Small and Medium Enterprises sector of the economy


#Newsworthy…

CBN denies to have devalue Naira, threatens sanction.


The Central Bank of Nigeria has denied rumours that it had devalued the naira, the country’s currency.

According to the apex bank, fraudulent speculators were behind the artificial scarcity of the United States dollars in parts of Nigeria, thereby jacking up the exchange rate and weakening the naira.


In some parts of the country earlier this week, the dollar sold for N375, a situation that caused a bit of rancour in the financial market across Nigeria.

However, reacting to the development, the CBN called on members of the public not to panic because the value of the naira to the US dollars had not depreciated.


In a statement by Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, the apex bank said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to note with displeasure the rumours and speculative activities of unscrupulous players in the foreign exchange market, borne out of the impression that the CBN is on the verge of devaluing the naira and triggering panic in the FX market.

“These rumours are false, unwarranted and calculated to serve their dubious and selfish ends.


“We therefore wish to state that we have begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and FX dealers creating this panic, and the full weight of our rules and regulations will fall on them, including but not limited to being charged for economic sabotage.

“The size of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves remains robust and comfortable, given the current realities of Nigeria’s genuine and legitimate FX demand.


“As such, the CBN remains able and willing to meet all genuine demands for foreign exchange for legitimate transactions.

“In light of current circumstances and macroeconomic fundamentals, the CBN has not devalued the naira.

“Consequently, the CBN will invoke the full weight of applicable sanctions on any persons and authorised dealers found to be involved in such disruptive and speculative market behaviour.”


#Newsworthy…