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CBN Orders Bank Workers to Declare Assets

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered workers in all the 19 Deposit Money Banks in the country to declare their assets. The  move analysts say looks like the Federal Government is beginning to expand its ongoing anti-corruption crusade to the private sector, especially the banking industry.

The directive, which came in a letter through the Banking Supervision Department of the CBN to all the 19 commercial banks in the country about four weeks ago, gave bank officials only one week to complete the assets declaration process, sources close to the DMBs said.

As of Thursday, investigation by our correspondent revealed that all the staff members of Ecobank Nigeria, First City Monument Bank Limited and Fidelity Bank Plc had complied with the directive.

Top officials of Ecobank, Fidelity Bank and FCMB, among others, confirmed the development. The workers said there was a directive from their management asking them to comply within one week.

Narrating his experience, a top official of one of the tier-1 banks, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “All our staff members, from the most junior to the most senior, were asked to declare their assets through a court affidavit. It was handled by the company’s lawyer.

“We were asked to declare all our assets, including developed and undeveloped parcels of land, properties, houses in Nigeria and outside Nigeria etc. We were asked to also declare everything, including power generators at home. We complied within one week.”

Top bank executives said the move by the apex bank was not unconnected to the Federal Government’s plans to extend its anti-corruption crusade to the private sector.

It was also gathered that fear had descended on bank workers, especially top officials whose assets were beyond their means.

It was learnt that the fear that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission might soon begin the examination of the details of the assets declaration forms vis-à-vis the properties some top banker own.

Some top bankers, who own huge assets, it was gathered, were panicky on how they would be able to justify the huge assets in their names should the EFCC and ICPC come knocking on their doors.

Commenting on the assets declaration, an executive director in one of the top three banks, said, “It is part of the ongoing anti-corruption crusade in the country. The Federal Government is trying to deepen the anti-corruption war in the private sector, and it is believed that the banking sector is a very critical sector. This is why the CBN has been mandated to do this.”

Unconfirmed sources at the CBN said the directive followed a letter from the Code of Conduct Bureau asking the central bank to direct all bank employees to declare their assets with immediate effect.

“The directive is from the Code of Conduct Bureau. It is an extant rule. Before now, most people have not been complying. So the CCB wrote a letter to the CBN reminding it about it. This is why the CBN had to write the banks to comply,” a top official of the apex bank told our correspondent on condition of anonymity.

The spokesperson for the CCB, Mr. Muhammed Idris, did not respond to calls or a text message sent to his mobile telephone.

However, independent findings by our correspondent showed that the CCB’s scope of operations covers only political officeholders.

By law, the CCB is mandated to distribute assets declaration forms to the general public.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said the assets declaration was not a directive of the apex bank but a statutory requirement in line with the Bank Employees’ Declaration of Assets Act of 1986.

Asked why the CBN was enforcing its compliance at the moment, he said, “Why not now?”

The Bank Employees Declaration of Assets Act Cap B1 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 provides for asset declaration by all bank employees.

The Act also empowers the President to extend the application of the law to other categories of persons.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Finance

FG to Earn N462 Billion from Electronic Money Transfer Levy in 2021 – World Bank

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Money Transfer - Investors King

The World Bank has said the Federal Government of Nigeria will earn an estimated N462 billion from electronic money transfer levy in 2021.

The leading multilateral financial institution disclosed in its ‘Resilience through Reforms’ report.

The Federal Government had introduced a levy on electronic money transfer in the Finance Act 2020 to take advantage of the growing electronic transfer in the country and up revenue generation.

The electronic money transfer levy is a single one-off charge of N50 on electronic fund transfer in any deposit money bank or financial institution on any type of account on sums of N10,000 or more.

Akpan Ekpo, the Chairman of the Foundation for Economic Research and Training, who spoke in a telephone interview voiced his concerns on the levy.

He said, “The levy is remitted to the government, which is fine. But I think the savers, the people who use the transfer channels, are over-levied. You pay maintenance fee, transfer fee, and I think if this level of levying continues, it will discourage people from using electronic channels.

“Personally, I think the EMT levy should be out of the Finance Act. There is too much burden on the citizens, although the government is making great money from it. Let us hope they use the money wisely, but it shouldn’t have been put there in the first place.

“It is a law now; there is nothing that can be done about it. But I hope it is used wisely, and they would be transparent about how the money is being used.”

Akpan said the EMT levy would discourage individuals outside the formal banking net.

He said, “With the EMT levy, more people are discouraged from using the banks and its services. A lot of Nigerians sell in rural areas, and are outside the financial system net.

“With the EMT, more people are further excluded. There really was no need to introduce the EMT; it will discourage those who are not already in the formal banking sector from even coming into it. It is likely to further deepen the financial exclusion of many Nigerians.”

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Banking Sector

Hope PSBANK Collaborates With FG To Create 100 Jobs In Each Local Government

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Hope PSBank- Investors King

Hope Payment Service Bank, a subsidiary of Unified Payment Services Limited and Nigeria’s premier digital bank is collaborating with the Federal Government through the Ministry of Labour and Productivity to create jobs for no fewer than 77,400 people across the country.

The employment opportunity is part of the exit strategy of the Federal Government’s Special Public Works Programme being executed alongside the bank by empowering 100 Nigerians in each of the 774 local governments.

Speaking at the official kick-off of the collaboration, the Managing Director, Hope Payment Service Bank, Mr. Ayotunde Kuponiyi noted that the digital bank serves as an enabling platform that would interface with 77,400 beneficiaries selected from the Special Works Programme of the FG to exit them into self-employment.

Kuponiyi stressed that the focus of the collaboration is geared towards empowering beneficiaries through the agency banking platform in carrying out financial services such as account opening, bills payments, fund transfer, cash in/cash for Nigerians while they earn commission in return with just the use of their smartphones.

According to him, this initiative comes at no cost to the beneficiaries as they can use their phones to carry out agency banking activities for which they earn commissions on each activity carried out. “Once on board, these beneficiaries will become HOPE PSBANK agents. They will undergo training on the various activities by the bank at no cost to them”, he added.

“We are very excited about this collaboration with the Ministry, which is in line with the thrust of the social objectives of Hope Payment Service Bank – poverty reduction through financial inclusion and diffusion of digital financial services”, he said.

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Insurance

Airtel Partners AXA Mansard, Unveils Mobile Health Insurance via USSD

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AXA Mansard USSD Code-Investors King

Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard, have entered a strategic partnership to deepen access, participation and enrolment in health insurance for more Nigerians.

The partnership by Airtel and AXA Mansard is in response to the Federal Government’s goal, through the National Health Insurance Scheme, to provide easy access to healthcare for all Nigerians by leveraging on the USSD channel, an easy-to-use and interactive platform.

By dialing the shortcode, *987*7#, Airtel customers can now conveniently enroll for affordable and robust health insurance plans from AXA Mansard, with access to over 1,000 hospitals nationwide for quality healthcare services.

Commenting on Airtel’s partnership with AXA Mansard on the Mobile Health Insurance, the Head Mobile Financial Services, Airtel Nigeria, Muyiwa Ebitanmi, said the mobile health insurance initiative demonstrates Airtel’s commitment to providing innovative and relevant solutions that will empower more Nigerians to conveniently access best-in-class health insurance value offerings.

“Airtel Nigeria is always exploring innovative ways and platforms that will make life easier, more meaningful and more enjoyable for Nigerians. With this initiative, we are not just delivering bespoke health insurance services to the doorstep of more people, we are also leading a quiet revolution that will drive and deepen health insurance inclusion by removing the many barriers that have hitherto excluded many well-meaning Nigerians from participating in the sector.”

Speaking about the Mobile Health Insurance initiative, the Head, Emerging Customers and Digital Partnerships Group at AXA Mansard, Mr. Alfred Egbai, stated that “our research has shown the value and importance of having a health insurance plan to the public especially for the emerging customers in the country, but for many reasons, the uptake of insurance products has been low”.

He continued, “In order to mitigate these challenges and satisfy the health needs of the retail consumer whilst also encouraging the uptake of health insurance in the country, we have partnered with Airtel Nigeria to provide a solution that gives users a convenient way to purchase and manage their AXA Mansard micro-insurance plans.”

Malaria Cover, Inpatient, Outpatient, Specialist medical consultations, Immunizations, Family planning, Ambulance services, Dental care and more are some of the covers provided in the AXA Mansard Health plans.

“The challenges to the implementation of health insurance schemes hitherto include a low level of awareness, affordability, ineffective distribution systems and inefficient payment models.

“The partnership between Airtel Nigeria and AXA Mansard is aimed at solving these challenges and assisting Nigerians to access a viable Health Insurance Scheme,” he said

Airtel Nigeria, as a socially responsible organization, will continue to partner with industry leaders to bring products and services that will touch the lives of its subscribers in very positive ways.

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