- 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.
Oil Inches Higher But Rangebound as COVID-19 Cases Soar
Oil prices edged higher in rangebound trade on Monday on optimism about a rebound in the U.S. economy as vaccinations accelerate, but rising COVID-19 cases in other parts of the world kept a lid on prices.
The prices have remained rangebound in the last three weeks, with Brent between $60 and $65 per barrel and WTI at $57 to $62.
“Oil prices are entering a consolidation phase after swinging wildly last month,” Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
“While there are still plenty of reasons to be bullish, market players have become more cautious as infections have surged in Europe, India and some emerging markets, while vaccine rollouts have proved slower than anticipated,” he added.
India now accounts for one in every six daily infections worldwide, and other parts of Asia are seeing infection rates rise.
Asian oil demand remained weak and some buyers asked for lower volumes in May partly because of refinery maintenance and higher prices.
The United States has fully vaccinated more than 70 million people but U.S. gasoline demand has not picked up as much as expected.
The U.S. economy is at an “inflection point” amid expectations that growth and hiring will accelerate in the months ahead, but faces the risk of reopening too quickly and sparking a resurgence in coronavirus cases, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“There really are risks out there. And the principal one just is that we will reopen too quickly, people will too quickly return to their old practices, and we’ll see another spike in cases,” Powell said in a CBS interview, recorded on Wednesday.
On the production side, no new oil drilling rigs were started in the United States in the most recent week, a report published by Baker Hughes showed.
Equatorial Guinea to Launch Vision on Post-COVID Energy Transition Plans with Report and Film
The Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 campaign – comprising a report and a documentary – will serve as a critical tool to navigate the energy investment landscape in one of Africa’s more mature petroleum producing markets; Equatorial Guinea has largely been able to sustain its pace of engagement with global investors in the face of COVID-19, forecasting $1.1 billion in FDI in oil and gas activities in 2021; The third edition of the AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 report will be released at Africa Oil & Power’s U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 networking event in Washington, D.C. this July.
Africa Oil & Power is proud to announce the upcoming launch of its Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report and documentary, as part of a multimedia campaign set to champion the domestic energy sector and shape the West and Central African energy narrative.
The dual-language publication will target key developments driving a post-COVID-19 recovery in Equatorial Guinea – namely, the growth of petroleum and power industries; regional gas monetization initiatives; a clean energy transition; the impact of environmental, social and governance criteria; and expansion of the national diversification agenda.
A 30-minute documentary will provide a visual complement to the publication, featuring first-hand interviews with government officials, private sector players, industry regulators and energy experts discussing Equatorial Guinea’s unparalleled ambition and future plans.
“From spearheading regional gas monetization initiatives to drilling new exploration wells as early as Q2 2021, Equatorial Guinea continues to cement its reputation as a progressive, dynamic force on the African energy stage,” said H.E. Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The Africa Energy Series publication in conjunction with a detailed documentary format, gives us the voice to showcase the depth of our full-stream investment opportunities to a global audience.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, Equatorial Guinea has been proactive in safeguarding opportunities for foreign investors and continuing to drive capital into its hydrocarbon resources. In February, Chevron achieved first gas flow from the successful execution of its Alen Gas Monetization project, a $475-million investment representing the first phase of Equatorial Guinea’s Gas Mega Hub masterplan.
The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is currently promoting several capital-intensive projects – including the construction of modular oil refineries, a gold refinery, liquefied petroleum gas strategic tanks, a urea plant and the expansion of a compressed natural gas project – which are open for investment. Last December, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons announced a forecast of $1.1 billion in foreign direct investment in oil and gas activities in 2021.
Active in Equatorial Guinea since 2015, AOP released its first AES documentary on the country in 2016, followed by investment reports in 2018 and 2019.
The AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 online seminar and in-person networking event in Washington, DC. (July 12). The documentary will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum conference in Houston (October 4-5) and broadcast globally on news networks.
U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 Launches: Promotes U.S. Role as Primary Investor in African Energy
The U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 – organized by Africa Oil & Power, in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – will foster alignment between U.S. and African governments’ energy policies and highlight African oil, gas, power and renewable projects across the energy value chain for U.S. investors; the multi-day forum unites U.S. and African policymakers, energy executives and industry leaders to create new linkages and foster discussions that drive long-term policy formation and project execution; the in-person, two-day summit and gala dinner will be hosted in Houston, Texas (October 4-5, 2021) and an online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. (July 12).
Africa Oil & Power (AOP) and the African Energy Chamber are excited to announce the launch of the first-ever U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF). This event aims to create deeper cooperation between the U.S. and Africa on energy policy, to reach alignment on long term sustainability goals, to stimulate greater American investment in the African oil, gas and power sectors, and to engage and reposition the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developments.
Under the theme “New Horizons for U.S. Africa Energy Investment” the forum will explore diverse foreign investment and export opportunities across the continent, including natural gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition; energy storage and battery minerals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area; evolving energy technologies and how they relate to the future role of petroleum resources; and on-and off-grid power developments.
An online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2021, building up to the in-person U.S. Africa Energy Forum summit and gala dinner, to be hosted in Houston, Texas, on October 4-5, 2021. Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber invite all U.S.-based companies with an interest in engaging with African industry leaders and project developers to participate in the USAEF Houston summit.
This initiative comes at an important juncture in U.S.-Africa relations. The Biden Administration’s announcements of its intentions to proactively build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership coincides with the fact that African projects are seeing rising interest from U.S. companies and lending institutions alike. The USAEF event is thus dedicated to enabling dialogue between its participants that advances these developments.
“Our mission has always been to showcase the resource potential that Africa has to offer while at the same time showing its growing preference for sustainable energy policies and technologies. Toward that end, we hope it becomes evident that Africa does not just want investment capital: it wants smart capital and an accompanying partnership with the investors,” says James Chester, Senior Director of Africa Oil & Power. “The U.S. Africa Energy Forum represents the first-of-its-kind opportunity to catalyze U.S. participation in Africa’s energy transformation – via technology, policy support, capital injection and skills development – and turns a new page in the chapter on global energy investment.”
In partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee, AOP will introduce American companies to African opportunities and advance an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy and other sectors by U.S. organizations.
“The rise in support from the U.S. to the continent is a credit to Africa itself, which is increasingly viewed as a favored destination for global investors, multilaterals and export credit agencies,” says Jude Kearney, President of Kearney Africa and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration. “Africa continues to command a healthy share of global FDI in oil and gas industries. It has for decades shown that investment in those sectors is favorable compared to other jurisdictions and can be successful by many measures. Even as Africa and the rest of the world wrestles with a global pandemic, Africa’s energy sector shows vitality and resiliency – not only in hydrocarbons but in regard to new opportunities in mining, liquefied natural gas, and agriculture.”
Both African governments and private sector sponsors of African energy projects value highly the combination of investment and partnership that US investors famously convey. The USAEF seeks to enable successful partnerships between its participants such that the energy development goals of U.S. investors and strategic partners and their African counterparts can be achieved.
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