The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the bankers’ committee have made move to digitize dollar sales for legitimate needs through creating an App.
Such legitimate needs include Business Travel Allowance (BTA), Personal Travel Allowance (PTA), school fees and medicals. This was the outcome of the 357th meeting of the banker’s committee meeting held virtually on Thursday.
The committee also disclosed that anyone engaged in fraudulent practices would be reported to the CBN for sanction.
“The committee discussed a number of issues, updates were provided on the State of the economy and FX policy following the stoppage of FX sales to the BDCs. There were also discussions on the ongoing rehabilitation of the National art theatre which is going to be a game-changing development to reposition the theatre to reposition Nigeria on the global tourism map,” Haruna Mustapha, CBN director of banking supervision, said while briefing journalists on the outcome of the meeting.
Segun Agbaje, Group chief executive officer, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO) Plc, who spoke on the CBN’s latest foreign exchange policy said, the new FX policy with regards to Invisibles – BTA, PTA, school fees and health is working very well.
“The banks are taking it upon ourselves along with the regulator to make sure that this works. Most of the things you are doing today involve going into the branches to do most things. We are going to try also to digitize this whole thing the way the world is going,” he said.
He said an App is being created by NIBSS where customers will be able to buy online. “You have to bring your ticket so we are sharing this information on the portal. This is very important information because if we find that people are trying to defraud the system, we will track it on the portal. The banks will report the individuals to the CBN.
“The likely punishment is that your account will be PMDied. PMD of your account means that you won’t be able to do anything in the banking system. This is for people who have genuine needs so fraudulent transactions or fraudulent individuals will be reported to the CBN and the portal will help us this,” Agbaje said.
In addition to digitizing the dollar sales, he also hopes that all the transactions will not just be cash as the world today is not completely friendly about arriving in countries with cash. “So we are hoping that people will be able to put this on a card, put it into your card account, you travel, you will use it for medical, school fees and so on,” he said.
The committee believes that most people who qualify for medical or school fees or for BTA, PTA will be people who have bank accounts and therefore encourage customers to go to their own banks because all banks are the same and customers can access BTA, PTA in their own bank.
“Progress today is very good, completely committed to doing this is for people who have legitimate needs, their needs will be met. We do not want fraudulent transactions taking place in this space and we will continue to make it quicker, faster and cheaper and more efficient by digitizing things, putting them in the cards and so on and so forth. I think that is the kind of things that we have decided around BDCs and the use of Invisibles,” Agbaje said.
Buttressing, Ireti Samuel-Ogbu, managing director of Citibank, said, there will be sanctions where people abuse the system because it is all about ensuring the foreign exchange is fairly allocated among legitimate users.
“We have digital means of being able to to determine if people are using fraudulent documentation or wanting to gain the system in a way that was not intended. We are here to support the demand, to make sure people get their foreign exchange. It is important that people realize that there is a responsibility that comes to that,” she said.
Other bank’s CEOs that spoke included Herbert Wigwe, Group managing director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Demola Sogunle, managing director, Stanbic IBTC, Oluwatomi Somefun, managing director/CEO Unity Bank Plc, and Yemisi Edun, managing director/CEO, FCMB.
Wigwe said Banks have been criticized for not being able to handle PTA, BTA transactions. “This is just to let people know that we will continue to the due diligence required with respect to KYC compliance.
Foreign exchange is a very scarce resource if we find people trying to come up with tickets that have expired or that they are going to cancel or passports that are not legitimate by any way or people coming to buy more than they are supposed to buy using all the banks, we will report them to the law enforcement agency for them to deal with these people,” he said.
Access Bank, Others Collect N154 Billion in Electronic Banking Fees in H1’23, a 16.7% YoY Surge
In the first half of 2023, customers of Nigeria’s top nine commercial banks paid a whopping N154 billion in fees for utilizing electronic banking services, reflecting a robust 16.7% year-on-year increase compared to H1’22’s N131.97 billion.
The data, extracted from the financial statements of these banks, underscores the escalating trend of Nigerians embracing electronic payment channels.
Leading the pack in revenue generation from these fees is Access Bank, amassing N43.9 billion, followed by United Bank for Africa Plc (N51.07 billion), Zenith Bank (N22.27 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N21.2 billion), and others like Stanbic IBTC (N2.14 billion), First City Monument Bank (N7.4 billion), Unity Bank (N1.96 billion), Fidelity Bank (N1.85 billion), and Wema Bank (N3.13 billion).
Electronic banking services encompass a gamut of options, including internet banking, mobile banking, ATMs, and Point of Sale (PoS) systems.
Recent data from the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) for Q1’23 indicates a substantial surge in electronic transactions.
Transaction volume increased by 209% YoY to 4.7 billion, and transaction value grew by 48% YoY to N137.52 trillion.
The nine banks collectively raked in N66.7 billion in account maintenance fees and commissions during H1’23, reflecting a 14.7% YoY rise.
Zenith Bank led this category with N21.02 billion, trailed by Access Bank (N13.36 billion), Guaranty Trust Bank (N10.5 billion), and United Bank of Africa (N9.6 billion).
Overall, the banks’ cumulative net fees and commission income registered a substantial 20.7% YoY growth, reaching N448.47 billion in H1’23 from N371.43 billion in H1’22.
Access Holdings Posts 52.6% Profit for the First Half of the Year
Parent Company of Access Bank Celebrates Remarkable Financial Performance in H1’23
Access Holdings Plc, the parent company of Access Bank, has reported a 58.9 percent surge in gross revenue to N940.3 billion for the first half of 2023.
The financial services giant also recorded remarkable growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) at 71.4 percent and 52.6 percent, respectively, culminating in N167.6 billion for PBT and N135.4 billion for PAT during the same period.
These financial milestones were unveiled as part of Access Holdings’ Audited Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements for the period concluding on June 30, 2023.
The driving force behind this unprecedented growth can be attributed to a potent combination of factors. A 63.0 percent growth in interest income and a 51.9 percent increase in non-interest income fueled the surge in gross revenue.
Access Holdings also witnessed a 35 percent year-to-date growth in customer deposits, capping the first half of 2023 at an impressive N12.5 trillion. This remarkable achievement encompassed all business segments, reinforcing the Group’s status as Nigeria’s largest financial institution by total assets.
The company’s total assets grew by 39.0 percent year-on-year to N20.9 trillion while shareholders’ funds surged by 40.6 percent to N1.7 trillion.
These astounding figures underline the Group’s ability to generate value from a diversified business portfolio, spanning banking, asset management, and payment services.
Herbert Wigwe, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, commented on the company’s positive performance, saying, “Our growth plans for the African continent remain firm and clear, driven by the strong long-term growth prospects and trade opportunities seen across many of the countries.”
He went on to emphasize the company’s commitment to its 5-year cyclical strategy, stating, “Our primary objective remains to transform Access Holdings Plc into a leading financial and ecosystem player, fostering opportunities for shared prosperity among all stakeholders.”
Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.
Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.
In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”
While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.
President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.
The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.
The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.
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