- 51.72m Bank Customers Enrolled on BVN as at February
The total number of bank customers that now have Bank Verification Number (BVN) has increased to 51.72 million as at February 2017.
Data compiled from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems Plc’s (NIBSS) website, showed that as at January 2017, the number of bank customers that had obtained their BVN stood at 50.92 million.
The data showed that on monthly basis, the enrolment on BVN has continued to improve steadily.
For instance, as at January last year, 30.13 million customers had gotten their BVN, compared with the 2.24 million it was as at January 2015. Also, enrolment increased further to 31.11 million as at February last year (2.71 million as at February 2015); 32.19 million as at March last year (3.34 million as at March 2015); 33.63 million as at April 2016 (7.71 million April 2015); 35.44 million as at May last year (9.2 million as at May 2015); and 36.12 million as at June 2016 (12.49 million as at June 2015).
Furthermore, the data showed that enrolment on the BVN platform sustained its uptick as at July last year, when it climbed to 36.79 million registered bank customers (12.73 million as at July 2015); 46.39 million in August 2016 (13.74 million in same month in 2015); 47.35 million in as at September 2016 (14.58 million as at September 2015); and 48.14 million customers as at October last year. BVN enrolment was also at 49.14 million as at November last year and 49.99 million as at last December.
The BVN has been very helpful in the fight against corruption in the country, especially since the federal government whistle-blowing policy was unveiled last December.
For instance, through BVN, Bankers, mainly account officers, have been taking advantage of the whistleblowing policy to report the wrongdoings of former and current public office holders suspected to have embezzled public funds and stashed them in several Nigerian banks, investigations recently revealed.
A reliable source with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had revealed that some bankers have been encouraged largely by the reward of between 2.5 per cent (minimum) and five per cent (maximum) of the total amount recovered.
According to the source, several former and current public officers who had allegedly stolen from the treasury either hid the physical cash in safe houses or used shell companies, close aides, associates and family members to stash the ill-gotten funds in bank accounts using the names of the companies or their friends, family members and associates.
However, though the accounts are not in the names of the political office holders, they usually operate the accounts themselves, a fact that is well known by the bank account officers who help them to manage the accounts.
As a result, since the federal government unveiled the whistleblowing policy as a means of recovering stolen public sector funds, a number of junior and middle-level bankers have been quietly ratting on the true beneficiaries of the accounts in order to cash in on the rewards derivable from the policy.
The EFCC source said that once the commission is contacted by a banker, it is usually easy to identify the real beneficiary of the bank accounts through the BVN, since an account holder can only have one BVN for all of his individual and company accounts.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee had introduced the BVN on February 14, 2014. The initiative was aimed at ensuring unique identity for all bank customers and other users of financial services in the country by the use of the customers’ biometrics as means of identification.
The BVN is a number that enables one person to have a single identity in the banking system. It basically ensures that a customer’s identity is not stolen. It has been described as a ‘silver-bullet solution’ to many of the challenges in the banking industry. A customer is only expected to register at one bank, irrespective of the number of accounts he has.
Certain forms of identification are easy to counterfeit, which had led to a rise in identity theft today. But by making use of the BVN biometrics technologies, the banking industry would enjoy enhanced security, providing consumers with better security that protects their money, financial information and identity.
According to a report by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, there are many advantages associated with secure, unique identification. The primary effect will be improved access to financial services, enabling people to benefit from credit and savings facilities.
Research has also shown that proper customer identification can have a positive effect on the behavior of risky users of financial services. The scheme is also expected to improve the banking system’s Know-Your-Customer (KYC) requirements as stated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) as well as to support innovative banking solutions, especially for retail banking.
The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele recently explained that the BVN solution would stimulate banking transactions and also improve access to credit by customers. Emefiele noted that with the BVN, the banking industry would begin to see the opening up of consumer credit opportunities.
He said: “We are saying that with this project people who want to buy cars, want to do mortgage with the kind of data that would be fed into the centralised system and it should be possible for you to access bank credit easily.”
Meanwhile, the NIBSS data showed that the total number of bank accounts was 95 million as at November 2016. But the total active bank accounts were 64.13 million as at November.
NNPC Plans Divestment Pathway For Joint Ventures Partnership
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said it would outline policies to guide its joint venture partners (JVC) that wish to divest from joint ventures or the Nigerian oil and gas industry.
NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari on Monday said that Nigeria, as a key player in global energy security, was addressing its challenges, mainly fiscal, security and cost competitiveness, to stimulate investments in the oil and gas industry.
Kyari, who spoke in Lagos while delivering an address at the opening ceremony of the Nigeria Annual International Conference and Exhibition said, “NNPC, as a national oil company, is leading multiple initiatives to address this and other issues.
“As we celebrate the passage of the PIB, we have moved our focus to improve security architecture through collaboration with major stakeholders.”
According to him, the Nigerian Upstream Cost Optimisation Programme is working with operators and service contractors to challenge the cost of operations and increase profitability and growth in the industry.
“On the other hand, we are seeing a wave of divestment by oil majors operating in Nigeria. NNPC as a national oil company cannot stop partners from divesting their interest, even though it creates challenges for us in ensuring that we get the right and competent investors to take a position and add value to the assets.
“The NNPC will ensure that Nigeria’s national strategic interest is safeguarded by developing a comprehensive divestment policy that will provide clear guidelines and criteria for divestment of partners’ interest,” Kyari said.
He said the corporation would make clear distinctions between divestment of shares and operatorship agreements under various joint operating agreements while leveraging its rights of pre-emption and evaluating the operational competence and tract records of new partners.
Kyari said in order to sustain a prosperous business environment, particular attention would be paid to abandonment and relinquishment costs, severance of operator staff, third party contract liabilities, competency of the buyer, and post purchased technical, operational and financial capabilities.
He said the NNPC would declare its first dividend to Nigerians as it prepares to release its 2020 financial statements in the third quarter of this year.
The local unit of the Royal Dutch Shell had in May said that its onshore oil portfolio in Nigeria was ‘no longer compatible with its strategic ambitions.
“We have reduced the total number of licenses in onshore Nigeria by half. But unfortunately, our remaining onshore operations continue to be subject to sabotage and theft,” Chief Executive Officer, Ben van Beurden, told investors at the company’s AGM.
Early this year, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited concluded the sale of their combined 45 percent interest in Oil Mining Lease 17 and related assets in the Eastern Niger Delta to TNOG Oil and Gas Limited.
Petrol Subsidy Likely to Gulp N2T This Year –Rainoil GMD
Nigeria may end up spending N2 trillion on petrol subsidy this year if the current situation persists, the Group Managing Director, Rainoil Limited, Dr Gabriel Ogbechie, has said.
Ogbechie said this on Sunday at the Nigeria History Series of the Centre for Values in Leadership, themed ‘Indigenous participation in the downstream oil and gas sector’ moderated by Prof. Pat Utomi.
While lamenting the lack of deregulation in the downstream sector, he said the government was spending about N8m daily on petrol subsidy.
He described the sector as highly regulated, saying, “I wonder if there is any other sector of the economy that is as regulated as the downstream.”
He said, “The biggest elephant in the room today as far as the downstream is concerned is the failure, so to speak, of the government to deregulate the downstream – fixing the price at which petroleum products are sold, I believe, is very seriously harmful to this economy.”
According to him, the landing cost of the petrol imported into the country is about N300 per litre, based on the current naira-dollar exchange rate.
Sirius Petroleum and Baker Hughes Collaborate on OML 65 Drilling in Nigeria
Sirius Petroleum, the Africa-focused oil and gas production and development company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Baker Hughes. The MoU names Baker Hughes as the approved service provider for Phase 1 of the Approved Work Program (AWP) of the OML 65 permit, a large onshore block in the western Niger Delta, Nigeria. Baker Hughes will provide a range of drilling and related services at a mutually agreed upon pricing structure to deliver the initial nine-well program.
Sirius has signed various legal agreements with COPDC, a Nigerian joint venture, to implement this program. COPDC has signed a Financial and Technical Services Agreement (FTSA) with the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) for the development and production of petroleum reserves and resources on OML 65. The FTSA includes an AWP which provides for development in three phases of the block. and Sirius has entered into an agreement with the joint venture to provide financing and technical services for the execution of the PTA.
The joint venture will initially focus on the redevelopment of the Abura field, involving the drilling and completion of up to nine development wells, intended to produce the remaining 2P reserves of 16.2 Mbbl, as certified by Gaffney Cline and Associates (GCA) in a CPR dated June 2021.
Commenting, Toks Azeez, Sales & Commercial Executive of Baker Hughes, said: “We are extremely happy to have been selected for this project with Sirius and their JV partners. This project represents an important step towards providing our world-class integrated well-service solutions in one of the most prolific fields in the Niger Delta. Baker Hughes’ technological efficiency and execution excellence will help Sirius improve its profitability and competitiveness in the energy market.”
Bobo Kuti, CEO of Sirius, commented: “We are delighted to have secured the services of one of the world’s leading energy technology companies to work with our joint venture team to deliver the approved work program on the block. OML 65. We look forward to building a long and mutually beneficial partnership with Baker Hughes.”
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