Nigerians abroad, mostly students, on Saturday took to the streets to protest against Deposit Money Banks’ proposed ban on naira-denominated Automated Teller Machine cards for dollar-denominated transactions when users are outside the country.
The ban is to take effect from January 1, 2016.
The banks will not allow their customers to use naira-denominated ATM cards locally for transactions denominated in forex.
This means that bank customers will not be able to use their cards to buy products from foreign e-commerce sites like e-bay and amazon.com in which payments are made in forex.
Different photographs of placard-carrying protesters had gone viral on the Internet on Saturday, in which the youths stated that they needed the payment cards to survive.
Various websites and blogs that published the photos however did not give the details of the protesters’ location.
In one of the photographs, a lady who held a Nigerian flag had displayed a placard that read, “My father is a successful palm wine tapper. He is not a corrupt thief. We need our naira ATM (card).”
In another photograph, a male youth had also said in his placard, “CBN Governor, why? Can you not advise Buhari? We need our naira ATM cards to survive.”
Another held a placard in another photograph which also read, “My father is not a politician or government thief. He is only a businessman. I need my naira ATM (card).”
The Nigerians in the Diaspora also protested against the slashing of transaction allowance of their dollar-denominated debit and credit cards.
In a group photo, a lady said, “Nigerian students abroad need their naira MasterCard (ATM) to survive,” while a man who wrapped himself with Nigerian flag wrote on his placard, “$1000/month on ATM/POS/online does not cover hospital bills.”
According to findings by our correspondent, Ecobank Nigeria Plc has reduced its limit from $50,000 to $5,000, with a maximum of $500 monthly and $100 daily expenditure.
Skye Bank Plc, in a notice to its customers via email, also slashed its international card spending limit from $50,000 to $12,000 annually, a maximum of $1,000 monthly and $100 daily.
Wema Bank Plc also slashed spending on its payment cards from $50,000 to $10,000 annually, $1,000 monthly and $100 daily.
Although other banks have yet to confirm their new international card spending limits, findings by our correspondent revealed that the new limits for most of them ranged from $5,000 to $15,000 annually, and $500 to $1,000 monthly.
The DMBs in the country are said to be recording unprecedented foreign exchange bills, owing to heavy and frequent use of payment cards by their customers who travel abroad.
CBN Maintains 11.5 Percent Monetary Policy Rate, Leaves Other Ratios Unchanged
The Central Bank of Nigeria led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has left the interest rate unchanged at 11.5 percent to further stimulate activities in the real sector of the economy.
Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this at the end of the MPC meeting on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said other parameters, the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR), Liquidity ratio, and asymmetric corridor, were left unchanged.
According to the Governor, the committee voted unanimously to maintain the current monetary policy and attributed the surge in inflation to structural policies, the increase in pump price and the recent #EndSARS protest.
Highlights of CBN-MPC’s Decision
- MPR was kept at 11.50%
- The asymmetric corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR
- CRR was retained at 27.5%
- Liquid Ratio was also kept at 30%
Unity Bank Grew Gross Earnings by 8 Percent to N34 Billion in Nine Months
Unity Bank Plc grew gross earnings by 8 percent despite COVID-19 and other headwinds that hurt the profitability of most businesses in the first nine months of the year.
A break down of the bank’s unaudited financial results for the period showed gross earnings rose by 8 percent to N33.91 billion for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, up from N31.26 billion posted in the same period of last year.
The lender’s total assets rose by 44 percent from N293.05 billion in the corresponding period of 2019 to N420.87 billion in the period under review.
Unity Bank grew profit before tax from N1.61 billion in 2019 to N1.71 billion in the period under review, while profit after tax expanded from N1.48 billion in the corresponding period to N1.57 billion in 2020.
Customers’ deposits stood at N332.36 billion during the period under review, up from N257.69 billion posted in 2019.
Commenting on the performance, Mrs. Tomi Somefun, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Unity Bank Plc, expressed delight at the strong growth recorded across the bank’s balance sheet, especially from both the liability and assets side of the business and across key indices.
She said, “even as the bank continues to innovate in its e-business product bouquet to target and support value chain business with robust technology and thus diversify its earnings base.”
Somefun said, “One of the areas that will define our strategic direction going forward is investment in alternative channels, leveraging further deployment of resources in technology.
“COVID-19 gave us a chance to test the integrity and scalability of our technology, the IT infrastructure, and the electronic banking channels, and provided us an opportunity to see where we needed to improve and strengthen, knowing that the future of sustainable banking business is in alternative channels.”
Financial Sector Grew by 6.8 Percent in the Third Quarter
The finance and insurance sector that comprises of both the financial institutions and insurance subsectors grew by 5.91 percent year-on-year in nominal terms in the third quarter (Q3).
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest report, the financial institutions’ subsector accounted for 88.89 percent of the sector in real terms in the quarter under review while the insurance subsector contributed the remaining 11.11 percent.
During the third quarter of 2020, the financial institutions’ subsector grew by 6.8 percent in Q3 2020 from 28.41 percent in Q2 2020 and 0.61 percent in Q3 2019 despite COVID-19 and a tough operating environment. The insurance subsector, however, contracted by -18.67 percent in Q3 2020 from -29.53 percent in Q2 2020 and 3.96 percent in Q3 2019.
On a quarterly basis, the sector declined by 24.76 percent.
In terms of contribution to GDP, the finance and insurance sector contributed 2.46 percent in Q3 2020, higher than the 2.40 percent it represented a year ago and lower than the contribution of 3.76 percent achieved in the previous quarter.
The economy contracted by 3.62 percent in the third quarter following a 6.10 percent decline posted in the second quarter. Nigeria is officially in the second economic recession in four years.
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