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LGs Can’t Withdraw More than N.5m Cash Daily from June – NFIU

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1000 naira bills (Nigerian currency)
  • LGs Can’t Withdraw More than N.5m Cash Daily from June – NFIU

The Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit has vowed sanctions for any commercial bank which allowed transactions from any local government account without monies first reaching the LG account.

In addition, the agency said no cash withdrawal exceeding N500,000 per day could be made from any local government account with effect from June 1,2019, noting that any other transaction must be done through valid cheques or electronic funds transfer.

The NFIU in an emailed statement by its acting Chief Media Analyst, Ahmed Dikko, on Monday, directed all financial institutions, relevant stakeholders, public servants and the public to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the guidelines which had been submitted to financial institutions and relevant enforcement agencies.

It stated that the directive was sequel to findings which indicated that cash withdrawals and transactions of the State and Joint Local Government Accounts posed the “biggest corruption, money laundering and security threats at the grassroots levels and to the entire financial system and the country as a whole.”

The anti-graft agency further explained that the measures were necessitated by the threats of isolation of the Nigerian financial system by other international financial systems on account of the deficiencies in the nation’s anti- money laundering and counter-terrorism financing implementation.

The NFIU explained that it would not allow the system to suffer the deliberate and expensive infractions or violations by public officials and private business interests.

It said, “Henceforth, all errant individuals and companies will be allowed to face direct international and locally targeted sanctions, in order not to allow any negative consequences to fall on the entire country.

“To be precise, with effect from 1st June, any bank that allows any transaction from any local government account without monies first reaching a particular local government account will be sanctioned 100 per cent both locally and internationally.”

“In addition, a provision is also made to the effect that there shall be no cash withdrawal from any local government for a cumulative amount exceeding N500, 000 per day. Any other transaction must be done through valid cheques or electronic funds transfer.”

The agency further disclosed that the complete guidelines had been released to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria; the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and Chief Executive Officers of all banks and other financial institutions.

“Any state government that is willing to seek any expert economic advice in the unlikely event of these guidelines constituting an inconvenience to the management of the state can work with the NFIU or CBN,” the statement added.

The Chairman, Human Resource Development Centre, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, described the initiative as right step in the right direction, saying it would curb free flow of money and financial crimes.

He added that it would promote better accountability and forestall a situation where state governors hijack local government accounts.

Suraju said, “This will strongly encourage and provide all the necessary support for the anti-corruption agencies and the NFIU in this regard. The CBN, the ICPC and the EFCC must also rise up to this challenge by ensuring that they collaborate with and support the NFIU in achieving this.

“Not only the liable local government officials should be investigated and prosecuted; the bank concerned should also not only be fined but also prosecuted accordingly.

“If this is effectively enforced, it will allow for the operations of the local government account by local government officials. And also to track where governors are usurping the powers of the local government chairmen.”

But the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the N500,000 daily cash withdrawal threshold might be too low for the operations of LGAs.

He advocated that it be moved up to about N2.5m.

“I think the cash withdrawal limit should be moved up to about N2.5m because there are occasions when for network reasons some payments have to be made.

“Even we, in the civil society organisation, sometimes we want to pay honorarium or transport support for those who attend our programmes and sometimes, we have more than 1,000 people and we want to pay each participant N1, 000. We cannot do transfer in all the cases because it will be cumbersome.

“So, N500,000 is too little for local governments. For individuals, that is the limit. For a local government, I think it should be more than that.”

On its part, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, said the initiative should not be limited to the LGAs but should be extended to the state and federal levels.

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Mr Kolawole Oludare, said, “The NFIU directive though welcome as an anti-corruption strategy is somewhat misplaced in the light of grand corruption at the state and federal levels.

“Corruption and attendant money laundering is better curbed at not only the local government but also all levels of government by the abolishment of security votes.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Economy

Nigeria-South Africa Trade Hits $2.9bn

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The volume of trade between Nigeria and South Africa hit $2.9 billion last year with expectation of it rising further with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

Nigeria’s Consul General, Malik Abdul, in a statement noted that Nigeria accounts for 64 per cent of South Africa’s trade in West Africa and is one of his country’s top three sources of crude oil.

He further added that in 2020, South Africa imported R35 billion ($2.48 billion) worth of goods, predominantly crude oil from Nigeria and exported R6 billion ($425milion) to Nigeria.

He stated: “South Africa is currently among the top 10 per cent of investors in Nigeria, globally and Nigeria is South Africa’s 10th biggest export market in Africa and thirty-second globally. Nigeria accounts for 64 per cent of South Africa’s trade with West Africa and is one of South Africa’s top three sources of crude oil.

“Also, Nigeria in 2020 was South Africa’s top import market in Africa and sixth globally, after China, Germany, USA, India and Saudi Arabia. Over the past year, South Africa imported $2.48 billion worth of goods predominantly crude oil from Nigeria and exported $425 million worth to Nigeria.”

Also, the consulate said his embassy issued a total of 10,341 passports to Nigerian citizens in South Africa between March 2020 and May 2021.

The consul general further said the Mission had 404 unclaimed passports, and advised all those whose passports were processed and pending from August 2020 to come for collection.

Abdul added that the consulate was working to clear all COVID-19 lockdown backlog of applications, urging members of the public to exercise patience while the mission was resolving the backlogs.

On the re-introduction of administrative fees and charges for lost passports, Abdul said that the step was taken to harmonise and standardise consular services following approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abuja.

The Mission had increased the fees for lost passports from R1,500 to R2,000, and admin charges of R120 for data capturing.

“On this issue, the Mission could not unilaterally impose any charges without headquarters’ approval or consent.

“The admin fees of R120 pertains to all services rendered by the two Missions,” he said.
According to the Nigerian envoy, the decision was taken to remove disparities in all consular services, noting that visa fees have also been harmonised.

On penalty for lost passports, Abdul disclosed that 484 Nigerian passports were reported missing at the mission between August 2020 and May 2021 with request for re-issue.

Abdul said it was discovered that there were criminal undertones and immigration rules infractions associated with the ‘so-called’ lost passport declarations.

“In line with practice in other Missions, there was a need to impose fines to deter people from engaging in such infractions.

“At such an astronomical rate of loss declarations, the option will be to refer such losses to Nigeria for processing.

“This will save the booklet for genuine requests of re-issue and thereby reducing the backlog and pressure on the Mission,” the envoy said.

Abdul disclosed that the consulate had received a directive to embargo processing of lost passports pending further instructions from the headquarters.

The consul general then accused some Nigerian groups in South Africa of, “peddling lies and outright falsehoods” against the Mission and his person.

“These disgruntled elements have gone ahead to incite fellow Nigerians with intent to sabotage the Mission.

“Moreover, a lie and falsehoods often repeated amounts to a propaganda which can be misinterpreted by the gullible and undiscerning as truth,” he said.

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Economy

NNPC Engages Gas Producers to Improve Power Supply

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Electricity - Investors King

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has started engaging gas producers across the country in an effort to boost gas supply to power generation companies (Gencos) and subsequently improve electricity supply.

Mr. Yusuf Usman, the Chief Operating Officer, Gas and Power, NNPC, disclosed this in Lagos during his tour of Egbin Power Plc facility on Monday.

Usman, who responded to concerns raised by the Chairman of Egbin Power Plc, Mr. Temitope Shonubi, said the company’s concern on gas supply and transmission restrictions had been noted, adding that the corporation would support it to ensure constant power supply.

I have listened to all the concerns you raised. An area of concern to me is when you talked about the gas constraints. We are going to support you to make sure that the power supply is steady. We are having a session with gas suppliers in this regard.

“I am aware that works are ongoing in this regard to ensure that all the power we generate is safely evacuated,” Usman said.

Usman, however, said he was impressed by the level of progress being recorded by Egbin, noting that the effort of the company’s management to effect turnaround maintenance at the company through overhaul of the entire system, was commendable.

Usman added: “The visit has been an eye opener for me. We have seen turbines that have been running for over 40 years. We have seen efforts being made by Egbin management to effect a turnaround at the plant through overhaul of the entire system.

“We have also seen the support you have been given to the youths through employment and capacity development opportunities.”

Shonubi, in his remarks, said Egbin Power was planning to increase power generation by 1,900 megawatt.

Shonubi said: “Egbin has 1,320MW capacity. As at the time we took over, the plant was generating 300MW which is abysmal 22 per cent. As at today, our generation capacity has surged and we do 89 per cent.

“We have reached the highest peak of 970MW and we are working hard to ensure sustainability of this feat.

“The 970MW we hit is the highest recorded this year and based on our core value of sustainability, we are working round the clock to make sure that we sustain the gains, which we have made.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Moderates to 17.93 Percent in May

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consumer price index - Investors King

Inflation in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, moderated from 18.12 percent year-on-year in April to 17.93 percent year-on-year in May, according to the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

On a monthly basis, headline inflation grew by 1.01 percent in May. Representing an increase of 0.04 percent when compared to 0.97 percent filed in April.

Core inflation, which excludes the prices of volatile agricultural
produce stood at 13.15 percent in May 2021, up by 0.41 percent when compared with 12.74 percent recorded in April 2021.

On month-on-month basis, the core sub-index increased by 1.24 percent in May 2021. This was up by 0.25 percent when compared with 0.99 percent recorded in April 2021.

The highest increases were recorded in prices of Pharmaceutical products, Garments, Shoes and other footwear, Hairdressing salons and personal grooming establishments, Furniture and furnishing, Carpet and other floor covering, Motor cars, Hospital services, Fuels and lubricants for personal transport equipments, Cleaning, repair and hire of clothing, Other services in respect of personal transport equipments, Gas, Household textile and Non durable household goods.

The average 12-month annual rate of change of the index was 11.50 percent for the twelve-month period ending May 2021; this is 0.25 percent points higher than 11.25 percent recorded in April 2021.

Food index rose by 22.28 percent in the month of May 2021, up by 0.06 percent points from 0.99 percent recorded in April 2021.

The average annual rate of change of the Food sub-index for the twelve-month period ending May 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 19.18 percent, 0.60 percent points from the average annual rate of change recorded in April 2021 (18.58) percent.

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