- Subsidy Debts: Marketers, DMO, Others to Meet Senate Committee
The Debt Management Office, Ministry of Finance, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Central Bank of Nigeria as well as oil marketers are to meet with the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) on Thursday (today) regarding the payment of subsidy debts.
The Senate, on October 31, condemned the Federal Government for not paying the subsidy claims by the marketers despite approval by the National Assembly since July this year.
The upper chamber had in July approved the payment of subsidy claims totalling N348bn to oil marketing companies based on a request by President Muhammadu Buhari.
On Sunday, the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Depot and Petroleum Products Marketers Association of Nigeria decried the delay in the payment of the outstanding subsidy debts.
The Executive Secretary, DAPPMAN, Mr Olufemi Adewole, told our correspondent that the Senate called the marketers, the debt office and the Ministry of Finance three weeks ago and asked them about the status of the payment.
He said, “After the meeting, the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream) gave the DMO, finance ministry, PPPRA and CBN an assignment and they were supposed to report back to the committee on Wednesday, last week.
“Unfortunately, they did not report back because finance ministry, which was supposed to coordinate the meeting, was not there.
“That is why another meeting was fixed for Tuesday. But because of the public holiday, the meeting was shifted to Thursday to hear from the DMO and finance ministry what they are doing to pay the marketers.”
According to Adewole, the payment of the subsidy debts will enable marketers to sort out the issues they have with banks.
“We are incurring debts daily. Banks are seizing our depots, facilities and properties that were collaterised for the loans they gave to us. We are already down and we are begging that the subsidy debts should be paid. We employ people and we pay taxes to the government; so, they shouldn’t just let this industry collapse like this,” he added.
The Director, Portfolio Management Department, DMO, Mr Oladele Afolabi, in a telephone interview with our correspondent on Monday, said the debt office was not delaying the process for the payment of the subsidy claims.
He said, “As far as the DMO is concerned, the process started when we received approval from the National Assembly on September 26, 2018. Upon the receipt of that approval, the DMO has been implementing what was approved by the Federal Executive Council. There were processes that were built into the approval, and we are implementing those processes in an expedited manner.
“That is what we have been doing in compliance with the laws and guidelines on borrowing in the country. So, it is wrong to say that the DMO is slowing down the process. We understand their (marketers’) concerns too, but there are steps and guidelines to follow in government borrowing.”
Asked when the payment would be made to the marketers, he said, “We are accelerating the process that FEC prescribed in the approval that it gave. We are getting closer to that point but I can’t give you a definite date at this point. It will be done as soon as we can. There won’t be any delay as far as we are concerned.
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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