- CBN May Cut MTN’s $8.1bn Repatriation Demand –Emefiele
The Central Bank of Nigeria may reduce the amount it has ordered MTN Nigeria to repatriate, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said on Sunday.
While addressing reporters in London on Sunday, Emefiele said new documents provided by the telecom company would help to reduce the size of the claim.
Reuters reported that Emefiele said during a visit to London, “I don’t think it will be staying at $8.1bn,”adding that he expected the issue to be dealt with amicably and equitably.
“I want to believe that the figure will reduce. Whether it will be dropped completely, I honestly cannot say at this time,” he added.
Emefiele said the central bank had received documents about two weeks ago from MTN and four lenders involved in the case – Standard Chartered, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank –and was in communication with all parties involved.
“The central bank will be examining these, then it will be escalated up to my level,” he said, adding that he expected to get the results in a couple of weeks.
The two sides are locked in a court dispute over the transaction as the CBN filed a counter-claim on Friday to a court request by MTN, which is seeking to stop the bank from forcing it to bring back the money.
The apex bank also asked the Johannesburg-based mobile phone company to pay 15 per cent annualised interest on the sum until the court could give a judgment, and 10 per cent from then until the whole amount would be paid.
Emefiele stated that the MTN case was a one-off, and the central bank was not looking at transactions involving any other companies operating in Nigeria.
“We respect the sanctity of these companies,” he added.
Emefiele also said the central bank would continue to intervene in the foreign exchange markets, adding that he believed in a stable exchange rate regime.
He insisted that Nigeria’s current stance of monetary tightening would continue.
The dispute over $8.1bn repatriated funds started when the CBN alleged that MTN used improperly issued certificates to transfer funds out of Nigeria after the telecom giant converted shareholder loans in its Nigerian unit to preference shares in 2007, but MTN denied the allegations.
The monetary authority said MTN’s banks had failed to verify that the telecom group had met all the country’s foreign exchange regulations.
As such, the CBN imposed a total of N5.87bn on four banks for allegedly remitting dividends with irregular Certificates of Capital Importation on behalf of MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015.
CBN Extends Letter of Credit Issuance Timeline Amid Forex Crisis
Move Aims to Address FX Scarcity Challenges and Enhance Customer Service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an extension of the timeline for issuing letters of credit from 24 hours to five working days, according to the newly approved 2023 service charter.
This adjustment comes as the country grapples with foreign exchange scarcity, impacting local and international trade.
The 2020 service charter initially stipulated a 24-hour timeline for the issuance and management of letters of credit, but the updated charter now reflects a timeline extension to five working days.
Also, the CBN has prolonged the timeline for the registration of Form M and NXP from 24 hours to two working days.
The move follows the CBN’s unification of all forex market segments in June 2023, aimed at promoting liquidity and stability.
However, this measure appears to have led to increased market instability, with the naira losing nearly a fifth of its value.
Reports indicate that foreign suppliers are now rejecting letters of credit from Nigerian businesses, affecting the importation of goods and services.
Letters of credit are crucial for the payment of visible goods imports, wherein a bank commits in writing to pay the exporter a specified sum within a defined timeframe upon receipt of proper documentation from the customer.
The extended timelines for letters of credit, Forms M, and NXP in the service charter are seen as measures to manage cash flow and instill confidence in the process amidst the ongoing forex crisis.
CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso stressed the commitment to responsive and citizen-friendly governance through efficient, responsible, and transparent service delivery in the revised service charter.
The move is part of the CBN’s effort to comply with the Business Facilitation Act 2022 and enhance ease of doing business in Nigeria.
Unity Bank MD Advocates Policy Actions to Stem Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria
The Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun has called for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures that enable gender-based violence in Nigeria.
At the Ebony Life Cinema, the venue of the film screening in Lagos, Unity Bank supported the BECKMA movie premiere by ARDA Development Commuications Inc. which was held to highlight issues of Gender-Based violence and driving positive change in society.
Making the call, Somefun stated that the Bank committed to partnering with the movie premiere and putting the power of the brand behind BECKMA as the event brings sustainability and gender equality to the front burner.
Represented by Unity Bank’s Group Head of Compliance, Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Somefun noted that “9 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had suffered sexual assault at least once in their lifetime and 31% had experienced physical violence,” citing a recent study by UNDP in Nigeria.
Speaking further, Somefun said “Gender-based violence is not just a women’s issue, but a societal ill that demands our collective attention. It is high time for us to step forward and advocate for comprehensive policy actions that will dismantle the structures allowing such atrocities to persist”.
She added, “I urge policymakers to enact stringent laws against gender-based violence, ensuring swift and severe consequences for perpetrators. Our homes and various organisations must also be a catalyst for change, inspiring others to follow suit.”
While commending the ARDA Development Communications Inc. for their initiatives to promote gender equality and empowerment in line with SDG5, Somefun assured of the Bank’s commitment to sustainable initiatives and further collaborative initiatives and advocacy programmes for the elimination of gender-based violence.
Nigeria’s NIBSS Directs Banks to Disconnect Non-Deposit Financial Institutions from NIP System
Banks in Nigeria have received a directive from the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) to disconnect Switches, Payment Solution Service Providers (PSSPs), and Super Agents from the NIBSS Instant Payment Outwards System.
The circular, dated December 5, 2023, highlighted that including these non-deposit-taking financial institutions as beneficiaries on the NIP funds transfer channels violates the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guideline on electronic payments.
The NIBSS emphasized that while Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents might process outward transfers as inflows to banks, their licenses do not permit them to hold customers’ funds.
The circular referred to the CBN’s guidelines on electronic payment of salaries, pensions, suppliers, and taxes, dated February 2014, as the basis for this regulatory stance.
The directive also pointed to a circular dated May 11, 2018, titled “Permissible Services and Products of PSSP Operation in Nigeria,” reinforcing the need for compliance.
As a result, banks were urged to delist all Switches, PSSPs, and Super Agents from the NIP Outward Transfer channels while allowing their participation in inward transfers.
In Nigeria’s payment ecosystem, operators are required to obtain licenses such as Switching and Processing, Mobile Money Operations, Payment Solution Services, or Regulatory Sandbox from the CBN.
Only Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) have the authority to hold customer funds, according to the CBN’s regulatory framework.
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