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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.

Economy

Fitch Agency Revises Nigeria’s Growth Projection for 2021

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Fitch Ratings

Fitch Agency Revises Nigeria’s Growth Projection for 2021

Fitch Ratings, one of the world’s leading agencies, has revised down Nigeria’s growth projection for 2021.

The global rating agency predicted that Nigeria will grow by 1.5 percent in 2021, down from the previous 2.3 percent projection.

Fitch based its latest prediction on weaker base effects coming out of a shallower contraction recorded by the country in 2020.

While the agency said oil exports would be the main growth driver for Nigeria in 2021, consumer spending and investment were expected to remain subdued because of the rising inflation and the slow distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fitch Ratings, however, said Africa’s largest economy could expand by 2.7 percent in 2022, adding that by then it “expect Nigeria’s vaccination programme to gather pace, which will result in private consumption and fixed investment accelerating.”

“We at Fitch Solutions have revised our estimate for Nigeria’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to a contraction of 1.9 per cent in 2020, compared to our previous estimate of a 3.2 per cent fall. The revision follows the release of stronger than expected GDP data indicating that the economy exited recession in the fourth quarter of 2020, growing by 0.1 per cent year-on-year, after contracting by 3.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2020 and by 6.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.

“The agriculture and services sectors led the Q4 2020 rebound, expanding by 3.4 per cent and 1.3 per cent respectively, resulting in non-oil growth rising by 1.7 per cent compared to a 2.5 per cent fall in Q3 2020. The oil sector (around 8.0% of GDP) contracted by 19.8 per cent in Q4 2020 – its third consecutive quarterly contraction – because of falling oil production and weak prices.

“Crude production slowed to 1.56 million barrels per day (b/d) in Q4 2020 from 1.67 milion b/d in Q3 2020, partly because of Nigeria’s commitments under the OPEC+ deal, while the price of Brent fell to an average of $43.2 per barrel (/bbl) in 2020 compared to $64.2/bbl in 2019,” it stated.

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Economy

Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

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Farm input

Stop Maize, Soybean Export to Reduce Scarcity – NIAL

The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science on Tuesday called on the Federal Government to halt the continued export of maize and soybean to reduce the scarcity of the commodities as well curb their price hike in Nigeria.

Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, NIAL, Prof. Eustance Iyayi, told journalists in Abuja that the poultry sector was currently hit by the severe scarcity of maize and soybean.

This, he said, was due to the continued export of the commodities, the COVID-19 pandemic, which had disorganised the international supply chain, lingering insecurity in the North-East, farmers/herders conflict and flooding in some parts of the country.

“Maize and soybean are being exported and this has exacerbated the situation leading to local scarcity and price escalation of the commodities in poultry production,” Iyayi stated.

He added, “The increasing prices of the essential commodities has resulted in the increase in price of finished feeds by about 75 per cent.

“This has led to the closure of small and medium sized poultry farms thereby threatening about 10 million jobs as a result of this scarcity.

“To set the poultry industry from total collapse, the institute urges the government to immediately halt the exportation of soybean and maize and grant import permit to importers at the official foreign exchange rate.”

Iyayi said there was shortage of soybean in Nigeria and other countries, stressing that the little amount being produced across the country should not be exported.

He said the current maize yield of about one to two tonnes per hectare being produced in Nigeria would not be enough to sustain the country.

The NIAL helmsman stated that the country should be producing between seven and 10 tonnes per hectare in order to meet the requirements for humans and animals.

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Economy

Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

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stakeholders

Petrol Landing Cost Jumps to N186, Oil Hits $64

Against the backdrop of the rising price of oil prices, the landing cost of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) imported into Nigeria has increased to N186.33 per litre.

Investors King had exclusively reported on February 9 that the landing cost of PMS rose to about N180 per litre on February 5 from N158.53 per litre on January 7.

Crude oil price accounts for a large chunk of the final cost of petrol, and the deregulation of petrol price by the Federal Government last year means that the pump price of the product will reflect changes in the international oil market.

Going by the petrol pricing template of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, the landing cost of petrol rose to N186.33 per litre on February 16, with the pump price of the product expected to be N209.33 per litre.

The international oil benchmark, Brent crude, closed at $63.96 per barrel on February 16, up from $59.34 per barrel on February 5.

The rising price of crude oil pushed the cost of petrol quoted on Platts to $560.75 per metric tonne (N163.08 per litre, using N390/$1) on February 16 from $543.25 per metric tonne (N157.99 per litre) on February 5.

Other cost elements that make up the landing cost include freight (N10.29), lightering expenses (N4.57), insurance cost (N0.25), Nigerian Ports Authority charge (N2.38), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charge (N0.23), jetty throughput charge (N1.61), storage charge (N2.58), and financing (N1.33).

The freight cost increased to $35.41 per MT (N10.29 per litre) last Wednesday from $30.04 per MT (N8.74 per litre) on February 5.

The pump price is the sum of the landing cost, wholesale margin and the distribution margins. The wholesale margin is N4.03 while the distribution margins comprise transporters allowance (N3.89), retailer (N6.19), bridging fund (N7.51), marine transport average (N0.15), and admin charge (N1.23).

Apart from the changes in global crude oil prices, the exchange rate of naira to the dollar also affects the cost of imported petrol.

The cost of petrol would be higher if the 410/$1 rate at which the naira closed on Monday at the Investors’ and Exporters’ Foreign Exchange Window was used. The naira closed at 480/$1 at the parallel market.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which has been the sole importer of petrol into the country in recent years, is still being relied upon by marketers for the supply of the product despite the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.

Oil marketers said recently that they were ready to resume importation of petrol if the foreign exchange was made available to them at a competitive rate.

“The discussion we should be having today is how best to maximise the benefits of the removal of price controls and subsidies while minimising the adverse effects of this action on our citizens,” the Chairman, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, Mr Adetunji Oyebanji, said at a virtual press briefing.

Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s oil is priced, rose by $1.67 to $64.58 per barrel as of 6:08pm Nigerian time on Monday.

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