- Anxiety as Withdrawal, Deposit Charges Begin
There are concerns over the fate of the nation’s financial inclusion project as the first phase of planned full implementation of the accompanying cash-less projects take full course today.
Although slated for April 1, which falls on the weekend, the full take off of the policy will begin today as financial institutions, markets and all corporate activities resume weekly operations.
As the new phase in the nation’s payments system begins, it is either the stakeholders have understood the rules and play by it or react negatively due to perception, with attendant effects on the overall goal of deepening financial inclusion.
Already, analyst said the move is timely and all about using various alternate channels for transactions aside from cash and has nothing negative to do with financial inclusion.
Meanwhile, the surprised rebound of speculators and the parallel market rates at the weekend, which closed at N394/$, against N375/$ on Wednesday, has been blamed on defiance to rules by some banks.
The development came just as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sustained its dollar intervention in the market for more than five weeks, after it took a new policy direction to liberalise further the foreign exchange market.
According to the schedule of the cash-less policy drive, Lagos, Ogun, Abia, Kano, Anambra, Rivers states and the Federal Capital Territory has taken off.In these states, individuals can only withdraw or deposit money to the tune of N500,000 in a single bank account per day without charges.
This means that any withdrawal above N500,000 to N1 million will attract two per cent charge; between N1 million and N5 million, three per cent; and above N5 million will get 7.5 per cent charge.
On the other, deposits above N500,000 will attract 1.5 per cent charge; between N1 million and N5 million, two per cent; and above N5 million, three per cent.For corporate organisations, only withdrawal and deposit of N3 million will be without charges.
Deposits between N3 million and N10 million will get two per cent charge; above N10 million to N40 million, three per cent; and more than N40 million will be charged five per cent.On the other hand, withdrawals between N3 million and N10 million will be charged five per cent; above N10 million to N40 million, 7.5 per cent; and more than N40 million will be charged 10 per cent.
Meanwhile, the second phase will take off on May 1, comprising Bauchi, Bayelsa, Delta, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Ondo, Osun and Plateau states.Dispelling the fears of derailing financial inclusion projects, Executive Director, Finance, BGL Captal Limited, Femi Ademola, said the rural mass target in financial inclusion has no N500,000 daily transactions to make.
According to him, those with such amount are already in the financial system and have access to multiple channels of payment, which are free and without limit.“The policy is just about letting people do transactions without physical cash. That is where the world is going. You have chque, Point of Sale, transfers through ATM, mobile phone, Internet banking, even the latest USSD code. These are without charges. There is no discouragement and there is nothing to fear,” he said.
However, a reliable source from the apex bank told The Guardian yesterday that Nigerians are beginning to find out where the real problems are coming from, if banks at this point would have the audacity to tell wicked lies about CBN’s supply of forex to them.
“How can banks refuse to sell forex to retail segment now? How can they prove the claim that there is not enough supply for the retail segment? It is just that they cannot do as it pleases them. But they will hear from us soon,” the source said.
The President of the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, at the weekend, told journalists that banks refused to sell the dollars as directed by the apex bank and lamented the reversed fortune of the naira at N394/$, more than 10 per cent depreciation. “CBN’s knack for last minute solution in recent times is the reason for the misfortune of the naira at the foreign exchange market.
“It is evident that the injection of liquidity to the interbank market rather than the BDC sub-sector is not effective and transparent for sustained exchange rate convergence and unification.
“About 20 banks get $80 million weekly for invisible transactions, while $20 million weekly is shared among 3000 CBN licensed BDCs nationwide. The banks will not help in this matter and transparency cannot be assured,” he said.
CBN, in a statement at the weekend, laid credence to Gwadabe’s claim, when it confirmed the worrisome development that some customers seeking to buy forex for business/personal travel allowances, medical and school fees are being frustrated by some banks with the false claim that the CBN is not allocating enough forex to them.
While the apex bank refuted the insinuations, which held down the free flow of forex in the liberalised retail segment of the market, it now urged any customer not attended to within 24 hours for BTA/PTA or 48 hours for tuition and medical fees to call 07002255226 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the name and branch of the non-cooperating bank.
“Indeed, on a weekly basis, the CBN has been selling at least $80m to banks for onward sale to their customers for these invisible items. No customer should accept to buy forex from any bank at more than the currently prescribed rate of N360/$,” CBN’s spokesman, Isaac Okorafor, said.
He warned commercial banks and other dealers to desist from sabotaging the efforts aimed at making life easier for foreign exchange end users. Similarly, there are strong indications that CBN is set to inject more fund into the foreign exchange market with a view to ensuring liquidity in the interbank market and crashing the parallel market rate.
This is in addition to the planned increase in sale volume to the bureau de change operators from $8,000 to $10,000 dollars per week. The move by the apex bank seems to be returning calm among traders against earlier apprehension over the ability of the CBN to sustain the intervention.
FirstBank Holds Non-Oil Export Webinar Series, Creates Awareness of The Bank’s Export Solutions
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, has announced the convening of its non-oil export webinar series. The Event is centered on deliberating opportunities that will enhance the country’s expansion of its drive towards diversifying the national economy, thereby reducing the reliance of oil as a mainstay of the country’s revenue.
The first series of the virtual event is scheduled for 10am on Tuesday, 30th November 2021 via Zoom meeting. To register and be part of this transformational knowledge session, click on this link-https://www.firstbanknigeria.com/business/non-oil-export/ . Registration is Free!!
The event is themed “Building Sustainable Non-Oil Export in Nigeria; Harnessing Opportunities within the AfCFTA Treaty & Agro Commodities” and will have the attendance of Mr. Segun Awolowo MD/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC); Dr Biodun Adedipe, Founder and Chief Consultant of B. Adedipe Associates Limited (BAA Consult) amongst others, as guest speakers.
The webinar series aims to facilitate sustainable exports as well as guide participants on ways of navigating the hurdles and challenges of exports in Nigeria. The webinar will explore market and economic trends, unique export opportunities and potentials within the non-oil export industry across the geopolitical zones in the country.
The importance of exports in Nigeria remains a front burner conversation by individuals and organisations as it provides a means of increasing the markets for producers, and an opportunity to attract the much needed foreign exchange earnings to boost the national economy, which is critical to expanding its Gross Domestic Products.
Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said: “in recent years, the country has witnessed increased activities by the government towards diversifying the economy, thereby boosting the export potentials of the country – beyond the contribution of crude oil – which has been the mainstay of the national economy for many decades.
Our forthcoming Non-oil Webinar series will expand discussions that are crucial to the growth of Nigeria’s export potentials as we unlock numerous opportunities that will promote the economic diversification drive of the government which is essential to the continued growth of the national economy, especially with the current business challenges posed by the pandemic.”
Currency in Circulation Now N2.97 Trillion in October – CBN
Currency in circulation hit N2.97 trillion in the month of October, according to the latest report from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The currency in circulation rose by N129 billion from N2.84 trillion recorded in the month of September to N2.97 trillion in October. This was after the currency in circulation declined from N2.8 trillion in July to N2.78 trillion in August.
Currency in circulation stood at N2.74 trillion in June, N2.79 trillion in May, N2.79 trillion in April, N2.8 trillion in March, N2.78 trillion in February and N2.83 trillion in January.
The CBN said, “The currency in circulation increased by N465.47bn or 19.06 per cent to N2.91tn in 2020, compared with N2.44tn in 2019.
“In 2020, there were higher withdrawals by DMBs than deposits, due to the panic need to hold cash to deal with the emergencies and reduced banking hours due to restrictions to curb spread of the pandemic.”
The bank said to maintain public confidence and ensure integrity of circulated notes in the economy, it developed and unveiled a clean note policy and banknote fitness guidelines in 2018.
The guidelines outlined details of quarterly and yearly activities towards the achievement of this objective.
The CBN said it employed the “accounting/statistical/withdrawals and deposits approach” to compute the currency in circulation in the country.
2021 NCOY: FirstBank Partners Junior Achievement Nigeria, Reiterates Commitment to Innovation and Education
For 11 years, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to host its annual flagship event; the National Company of the Year competition (NCOY), which convenes winners of the JA Company Regional Competitions across Nigeria to compete for the National Company of the Year Award.
This year, the event will bring together outstanding ‘student business teams’ across Nigeria to compete for prizes and an opportunity to represent the country at the national competition – JA African Company of the Year Competition (ACOY). The 2021 edition of the NCOY competition will be held virtually via Zoom meetings at 10am on Saturday, 27th November 2021. Interested participants are to register via the link https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qvqz4pE90NXOHcy-tve6aEXpY_yYAE
The competition themed ‘Innovation with Grit’ will have 12 teams from 12 schools pitch their innovations to a team of 5 guests judges. The represented schools at the competition include: The Seer company from Alvana High School; Sonic Informatics company from Heritage Global Academy; Nexus Queens company from Queens School; JA Stars from Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); Amazing Amazon Students from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Abaji; KereTerra Company from Secondary School Etoi, Uyo and The Exploit thinkers from Taidob College.
Other teams competing include: Mystic Global Company from Rosa Mystica High School, Agulu; PetraMech Tech from Petra Schools; The Amazing Inventors from Government Secondary School Tudun Wada; Blue crystal company from Methodist Girls school and the Artisans from Igbobi College.
Judges at the event include: Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos & West First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Chidimma Juliana Okparah, Project Management Consultant (PMIEF); Sheila Ojei, Head of Communications Jobberman; Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Simbo Olatoregun, Policy Programs Manager for Facebook in Africa. In attendance also is the Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as a Special Guest.
The 2021 National Company of the Year Program will also feature SPARK Competition. SPARK as an initiative of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is an acronym for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. SPARK reiterates the Bank’s commitment to institutionalise kindness in Nigeria by encouraging and amplifying a culture of kindness.
The SPARK competition will feature 15 finalist schools across Nigeria, whose CSR projects align with the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability pillars of Education, Welfare and Health, Financial inclusion and Responsible Lending and Procurement.
Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “FirstBank’s partnership under its Future First initiative with JA Nigeria Company programme has positively impacted over 100,000 people in different locations across the country in preparing and teaching them how to generate wealth, effectively manage it and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Our commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development amongst youths is mainly the driving force behind our support of the National Company of the Year (NCOY) and Africa Company of the Year (ACOY) competitions in past 11 years”.
According to the Executive Director, JAN, ‘’the National Company of the Year Company competition provides our students with a platform to show how innovative they are while displaying their dexterity and grit especially as it relates to creating sustainable business solutions to problems in their immediate community. The students have learned critical skills during the implementation of the Company Programme and we are proud to celebrate them as they compete in the National competition. I would like to specially appreciate FirstBank Nigeria for their continued support and belief in the boundless potential of young Nigerians’’.
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