Each branch of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in the country that pays out counterfeit or mutilated banknotes will be fined N1 million, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said.
 
According to the CBN, such goes contrary to its ‘Banknote fitness guidelines and clean note policy documents for the industry.’
 
The apex bank disclosed this in a circular to all DMBs on ‘Penalty for payment of counterfeit monies from ATMs, Teller Points’ on Wednesday.
 
It said: “The management of the CBN has observed with concern the incidences of counterfeits paid through some DMBs’ ATMs/Teller points. This situation has continued unabated despite moral suasion to the affected DMBs.
 
“To address this, among others, the CBN in collaboration with key currency management stakeholders developed ‘Banknote fitness guidelines and clean note policy documents for the industry.”
 
“In order to sustain public confidence in the national currency and ensure compliance with the provisions of the policy documents, the CBN said it approved the, “Spot checks on DMBs’ ATMs and Teller points to ensure compliance; and imposition of penal fee of N1m per branch of DMBs for non-compliance.”
 
The CBN also said that the enforcement of the sanction would take effect after the launch of the two policy documents at a date which would be communicated to all stakeholders.
 
The apex bank, which claimed that it has the statutory obligation to provide adequate supply of clean banknotes to facilitate seamless payment and settlement of transactions by the public, government and banks, said it observed that the growth in economic activities and the upsurge in population had necessitated the rise in the volume of banknotes in circulation.
 
It also noted that in view of technological advances, the CBN, like other central banks, introduced various forms of electronic payment systems for an effective and efficient settlement of transactions and to reduce the volume of cash usage with its attendant cost implications.
 
The CBN however noted that demand for cash continued to grow despite technological advances.
 
“The volume of currency in circulation as at the end of 2012 rose significantly by 10.34 per cent to N7.91tn pieces, as at half year of 2018,” it stated.
 
 
Source: NAN
 
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the alarm that Nigeria may return to the pre-2005 Paris Club debt level, if the Federal Government fails to come up with immediate measures to address the rising debt profile.
 
The MPC stated this on Tuesday in Abuja after its first meeting of the year.
 
It would be recalled that in October 2005, Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18bn and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s debt stock by $30bn.
 
The deal was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt.
 
Statistics from the debt management office showed that Nigeria’s debt profile as at June 2018 stood at $22.08 billion.
 
However, key officials of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration have consistently dismissed fears raised by Nigerians over the rising debt profile.
 
Prominent among these Buhari administration officials are the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola.
 
Speaking on behalf of the MPC on Tuesday, CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, said that the committee noted the rising debt profile and called for caution.
 
He said: “On external borrowing, the committee noted the increase in debt level advising for caution, noting that it could fast be approaching the pre-2005 Paris Club level.”
 
According to Emefiele, the committee noted that while the real Gross Domestic Product grew by 1.81 per cent during the third quarter of 2018, the persistence of herdsmen attacks on farmers, cattle rustling and flooding in parts of the country affected agricultural and livestock output.
 
He said in view of this, the output for growth remained fragile as the late implementation of the 2018 budget and the residual impact of flooding and security challenges constituted headwinds to growth.
 
The MPC called for the effective implementation of the 2018 capital budget and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in other to stimulate economic activities.
 
It also hammered on the need for improvements in the security situation in the country as well as continued stability in the foreign exchange market to enhance aggregate demand and growth.
 
“The committee observed that the near term risk to inflation remain the impact of flooding on agricultural output, insecurity on food producing belts in the country, exchange rate pass through to inflation due to the weakening of oil price and campaign-related spending towards the 2019 general elections.
 
“Accordingly, the Monetary Policy Committee called on the Federal Government to sustain its efforts towards improving security to ease supply chain bottlenecks.
 
“The committee recommended that the Federal Government should focus investment on infrastructure and urge the Federal Government to sustain the pace towards addressing infrastructure deficit in Nigeria.
 
“It noted that the immediate impact of this on the GDP will be slow in coming but it will expand the economy, reduce unemployment and increase aggregate demand in a more sustainable manner”, Emefiele said.
 
The MPC also backed the plan by the Federal Government to raise more revenue through Value Added Tax, saying the move would help to reduce pressure on government expenditure.
 
“The committee also noted the attempts by the government to broaden the base of the Value Added Tax and urge the authorities to expedite action in that effect, arguing that increased tax collection will reduce pressure on government expenditure and create fiscal buffers to improve macroeconomic management,” he added.
 
On the recent increase in foreign capital inflow into the country despite the political risks, Emefiele said this was based on the confidence of the international community in the country’s macroeconomic management.
 
He said: “The observed and recent high foreign capital inflow into the Nigerian economy despite the perception of political risks is based on the confidence of the international community in the country’s macroeconomic management and provides a compelling reason for the committee to await clarity on the macroeconomic performance after the general elections in February and March.”
 
 
Source: The Ripples
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has granted approvals in principle for the merger of Access and Diamond banks.
 
This was disclosed by the Executive Director, Personal Banking at Access Bank, Mr Victor Etuokwu in Lagos.
 
According to Etuokwu, the banks were awaiting the final approval which would be granted after convening shareholders meeting.
 
“So far, we have gotten approvals up to approval in principle. There are three approvals that we need for this process.
 
“The first one is the pre-order approval which is like the first approval, the next approval is the approval in principle.
 
“The final approval comes after approval in principle and it will come after you have convened your shareholders meetings,’’ Etuokwu said.
 
Etuokwu further disclosed that the banks would convene shareholders meetings in February, adding that the approval would be taken to court once approved by the shareholders.
 
Explaining that all the processes, including final approval would be completed in the next 60 days, Etuikwu said the new bank would remain committed to retail and corporate banking to drive financial inclusion for desired growth and development.
 
“We need to invest in retail market to drive economic growth, this is what the new bank will do, a strong corporate and a strong retail bank,’’ he said.
 
Speaking on the likelihood of staff retrenchment, Etuokwu said that members of staff would be retrained for different roles in case of overlapping.
 
“Staff will be retrained for new roles where there are overlaps, one of the branches can be converted to an e-branch or Automated Teller Machine (ATM) gallery,’’ he added.
 
 
Source: NAN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed that loans granted to about 550,000 rice farmers in the country who were affected by the 2018 flooding be structured for another four years as a form of compensation.
 
This was disclosed by the National President of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) Aminu Goronyo on Tuesday in Abuja.
 
Goronyo said: “Instead of paying the loan in three installments within a year, the loan will be restructured to be paid within four years now and be paid by installments.’’
 
Goronyo further said that only the affected farmers under the RIFAN/CBN/ABP model programme would benefit from the compensation, adding that the resolution was an outcome of a meeting with the Director, Developing Finances of CBN and RIFAN executive.
 
The RIFAN president, who said his association only championed the case of affected farmers under its care, expressed the hope that all the registered farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme that were affected would benefit from it.
 
The CBN, according to Goroyo, has also directed that a fresh loan should be given to the affected farmers so that they could go back to the field and recover their losses.
 
“RIFAN is working on the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Presidency and the CBN to compensate the victims as promised by President Mohammadu Buhari.
 
“RIFAN is also seeking assistance from the CBN to restructure the loans to alleviate the suffering of the affected farmers and make them go back to the field,’’ he said.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
The Federal High Court Sitting in Lagos has entered as judgement the settlement terms in a suit filed by MTN Nigeria Communications Limited against the Federal Government.
 
MTN had challenged the $8,134,312,397.63 demanded from it by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over alleged forex remittance infractions.
 
In the suit, the telecoms firm asked the court to restrain the CBN and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) from imposing punitive sanctions on it.
 
On the other hand, the apex bank had accused MTN Nigeria of improper dividend repatriations and demanded that $8.1 billion be returned “to the coffers of the CBN”.
 
When the case came up in court on Thursday, MTN’s lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, informed Justice Saliu Saidu that parties have resolved the dispute amicably.
 
He said the terms of the settlement were filed in on December 28, 2018.
 
CBN’s counsel, Mr Henry Ejiofor, also confirmed to the judge that both parties have settled out of court.
 
He, thereafter, urged the court to enter the terms of settlement as judgment.
 
In his ruling, Justice Saidu thanked the parties for not wasting precious judicial time by going through the rigours of a trial.
 
He adopted the terms of settlement as the judgment of the court and struck out the AGF’s name from the suit.
 
The terms of the settlement were not read in open court and this reporter was unable to get a copy of the document as at the time of this report.
 
However, we will keep you updated as soon as we get the details.
 
The Federal Government had accused MTN of unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports, asking it to pay approximately $2billion in relation to the taxes.
 
According to the CBN, MTN and four banks deliberately flouted the “laws and regulations … including the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1995 and the Foreign Exchange Manual, 2006.”
 
The banks allegedly colluded with MTN, using irregular Certificates of Capital Importation (CCI) to illegally remit foreign exchange abroad.
 
The four banks were slammed with a combined N5.87 billion fine.
 
 
 
Source: PmNews
 
MTN had denied the allegations and subsequently filed the suit to challenge it.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, intervened in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales by injecting the sum of $263 million, the first in 2019.
 
A statement by the Director, Corporate Communications at CBN, Isaac Okorafor, on Friday, indicated that the apex bank also injected CNY39m into the sector for a combination of spot and short-tenored forwards, arising from bids received from authorised dealers.
 
According to figures from CBN, the US dollar-denominated interventions were for requests in the agricultural and raw materials sectors, while the Yuan sale was for payment of Renminbi-denominated letters of credit for agriculture as well as raw materials.
 
According to Okorafor, the move was in furtherance of the CBN Governor’s commitment to ensuring foreign exchange liquidity in the system as well as boosting trade and production.
 
He revealed that the CBN would sustain its intervention through the sale of foreign exchange to all segments of the market to meet all legitimate foreign exchange demand while also striving to achieve exchange rate stability in the market in the weeks ahead.
 
Okorafor also disclosed that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, will further unfold the bank’s plans for the year during the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting for the year scheduled to hold between 21st and 22nd January, 2019.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
MTN Nigeria Communications Limited, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have settled their differences over the $8.1 billion demanded by the apex bank, out of court.
 
The telecommunications company disclosed this on Thursday at the resumed sitting of the court in the suit it filed against the CBN.
 
The CBN had demanded that MTN pay the amount following alleged infractions in forex remittances.
 
MTN, through its lawyer, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), had approached the Federal High Court, Lagos, challenging the powers of the CBN and the Attorney General of the Federation to make the monetary demand from it and prayed the court to restrain them from coming after it.
 
The parties to the suit however on December 4, 2018, asked the court for time so that they could settle out of court.
 
Olanipekun, on Thursday informed the court that they have reached an agreement with the CBN. He also presented a document to the court, and said his client had finally reached an agreement with the CBN.
 
He prayed the court to adopt the document as the judgement of the court.
 
Mr Henry Ejiofor, who stood in for CBN’s lead counsel, Mr Seyi Sowemimo (SAN), confirmed the position, while the counsel for the AGF, Olanike Idenu, did not oppose the application by MTN and CBN but urged the court to strike out the name of the AGF from the suit.
 
In his judgement, Justice Saidu thanked the parties for saving the precious time of the court and sparing it the rigours of litigation and consequently struck out the name of the AGF from the suit and adopted the terms agreed upon by the parties as the judgment in the suit.
 
The terms of the agreement and out of court settlement have not been made public.
 
 
Source: The Cable
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, intervened in the Retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales by injecting the sum of $263 million, the first in 2019.
 
A statement by the Director, Corporate Communications at CBN, Isaac Okorafor, on Friday, indicated that the apex bank also injected CNY39m into the sector for a combination of spot and short-tenored forwards, arising from bids received from authorised dealers.
 
According to figures from CBN, the US dollar-denominated interventions were for requests in the agricultural and raw materials sectors, while the Yuan sale was for payment of Renminbi-denominated letters of credit for agriculture as well as raw materials.
 
According to Okorafor, the move was in furtherance of the CBN Governor’s commitment to ensuring foreign exchange liquidity in the system as well as boosting trade and production.
 
He revealed that the CBN would sustain its intervention through the sale of foreign exchange to all segments of the market to meet all legitimate foreign exchange demand while also striving to achieve exchange rate stability in the market in the weeks ahead.
 
Okorafor also disclosed that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, will further unfold the bank’s plans for the year during the first Monetary Policy Committee meeting for the year scheduled to hold between 21st and 22nd January, 2019.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has revealed that Nigeria’s total debt portfolio leaped from N12.12 trillion as of June 30, 2015 to N22.43 trillion as of September 30, 2018.
 
According to data from the DMO, the total debt of the country rose by 85.07 percent since President Muhammadu Buhari took office on May 29, 2015, representing N10.31 trillion.
 
Of the total debt, the external component of both the Federal Government and state governments’ debts including that of the Federal Capital Territory stood at $21.59 billion from $10.32 billion as of June 30, 2015, while the domestic debt of both the Federal Government and the state governments stood at N15.81tn.
 
The data also showed that the domestic debt of the Federal Government stood at N12.29 trillion as of September 30, 2018 from N8.4 billion as of June 30, 2015 while the domestic debts of the state’s and the FCT stood at N1.69 trillion.
 
The DMO added that the debt statistics as of September 30, 2018, was only slightly different from the statistics as of June 30, 2018.
 
“External debt declined by 2.02 per cent to $21.59bn due largely to the redemption by Nigeria of a $500m Eurobond which matured on July 12, 2018.
 
“The Eurobond which was issued for a tenor of five years in 2013 was the first Eurobond maturity for Nigeria and Nigeria’s ability to repay it seamlessly boosted Nigeria’s position as a good credit in the International Capital Market.
 
“The domestic debt of the FGN, states and the FCT grew by 1.19 per cent from N15.63tn in June 2018 to N15.8tn in September 2018. This increase of N185bn was attributed to the FGN (N135bn) and states and FCT (N50bn).
 
“The combination of an increase in the level of domestic debt and a decrease in the external debt stock resulted in a slight shift in the portfolio composition.
 
“As of September 30, 2018, the share of domestic debt was 70.51 per cent compared to 69.83 per cent in June 2018.
 
“This trend is expected to be reversed in Quarter Four 2018 as the new external borrowing of N849bn (about $2.78bn) provided in the 2018 Appropriation Act is expected to be raised within the quarter”, the DMO said.
 
 
Source: NAN
The Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) has said that Nigeria’s electronic payment (e-payment) services recorded transactions worth N56.85 trillion from January to September 2018.
 
This is contained in a report the NIBSS released recently.
 
The report showed an increase of N16.4 trillion when compared to the N40.45 trillion that was recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.
 
The report also showed that most of the electronic transactions were done through the NIBSS Instant Payment (NIP), Point of Sale (PoS), Automated Transfer Machines (ATMs), Mobile Money, Electronic Bills Payment (E-Bills) and Web payments.
 
Breaking down the transactions, the report showed that ATMs transactions grew from N4.61 trillion in 2017 to N4.76 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2018.
 
Also, the volume of transactions on ATMs under the period in review grew from 560.86 million in 2017 to 650.06 million in 2018.
 
The report also showed that the use of PoS as a means of payment by Nigerians grew by about N635 billion.
 
Under the reviewed period, 98.73 million transactions worth N975 billion were carried out using PoS in 2017, while in 2018, the volume grew to 196.83 million, valued at N1.61 trillion.
 
The volume of transactions carried out by Nigerians, using mobile money also rose from N795.18 billion in 2017 to N1.22 trillion as at September 2018.
 
Also, using the web payment channel, the total value of transactions under the reviewed period rose from N129.24 billion in 2017 to N183.07 billion in 2018.
 
The value of transactions on e-bill payments, which allowed customers to pay utility bills such as power, cable and so on online, however declined from N420.73 billion in 2017 to N370 billion in 2018.
 
 
Source: The Ripples
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