The Australian government is considering the launch of a Central bank Digital Currency (CBDC), and has supported several forward-facing regulatory cryptocurrency proposals as part of an all new “payments and crypto reform plan.”
The government’s Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg stated that the reforms will give Australia a seat among some leading countries across the globe.
This crypto reform plan is set to be the largest reshuffle of the Australian payments system since as far back as the 1990s, as part of the crypto-related preparations will be set by the innovative proposals brought forward by an Australian Senate Committee back in September.
According to the Australian Financial Review, the government looks to be backing six out of nine crypto reforms proposed by the Senate Committee, as well as a licensing regime for cryptocurrency exchanges, laws to oversee decentralised autonomous organisations and an access regime for newer payment platforms.
Two proposals which are related to taxes and financial compliance have been forwarded to their respective government agencies for consideration, while the government has knocked back a new proposal related to discounts on tax on renewable energy Bitcoin mining.
Frydenberg gave out the government’s plans for regulating crypto, taxation as well as CBDCs in a speech delivered on Wednesday at rhe Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC). He stated that embracing the new developments would provide Australia a huge opportunity to capitalise on the recent convergence between technology and finance.
Speaking on CBDCs, a senior government source mentioned that a retail scale RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) supported Bitcoin or cryptocurrency is being considered at the moment, and will be a vital part of the governmen’s regulatory reform on digital payments.
During his speech at AICC, Frydenberg was bullish on the crypto asset reform. He said that for businesses, the reforms would address the ambiguity that is possible concerning the regulatory and tax treatment of crypto assets and new payments.
CBN Threatens to Withdraw License of POS Operators That Charge High
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has threatened to withdraw the license of any POS Operators found guilty of inflating charges beyond the approved amount.
Blaise Ijebor, Director of CBN Risk Management department made this known while speaking with journalists on efforts of the apex bank alongside state government on ensuring the availability of cash in circulation.
He emphasized that the approved charge for every N5,000 is N100, adding that charges beyond that by agents taking advantage of the situation would attract punitive measures.
According to him, the apex bank is not unaware that the POS agents are engaging in all sorts of practices that involve charging customers up to 30% of their money before making funds available.
He said, “We are monitoring the situation and anyone caught would have his or her license withdrawn and would not be in the business because we are going around with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“Customer should not be agitated; there is no need for any tension because your money is safe in the bank for now. Just get the little cash you need while using alternative means available to make payment”
He also disclose that the CBN disbursed over N1 billion to banks between Sunday and Tuesday to ease withdrawal tension. Meanwhile, it appears the tension has failed to die down in spite of this as POS operators continues to charge above the required amount and cash remains scarce across states.
Investors King can confirm that agents still charge as high as N500 and above for withdrawals on N5000, and N1,000 on N10,000 at various locations as of the time of this report.
Despite the CBN’s claim of disbursing enough money to banks, Nigerians have continued to lament unavailable cash at the ATM stands, banks and POS, yet election date is around the corner.
Sterling Bank’s PAT Hit N18.6 Billion in 2022
Sterling Bank Plc increased its Profit After Tax for the year 2022 by 38% to N18.6 billion compared to the N13.5 billion filed in the previous year.
The bank’s interest income improved to N128 billion in 2022 compared to the N111 billion recorded in the previous year as deposits from banks, customers and other borrowed funds increased for the period, Investors King reports.
Interest expense also improved to N52 billion compared to the N45 billion in the previous year as deposits from banks and customers, as well as other borrowed funds, increased for the period while the net interest income stood at N76 billion from N66 billion in the previous year.
Net Fees and commission income amounted to N21 billion from N19 billion in the previous year. This is as Facility management fees, account maintenance fee, commissions and similar income all increased during the year – Although, Fees and commissions income reported excludes amount included in determining effective interest rate on financial assets that are not at fair value through profit or loss.
Similarly, net trading income rose on the back of Bonds while Treasury bills and foreign exchange trading saw a decline. The banks also saw foreign exchange revaluation loss for the period.
Important to note is the fact that foreign exchange trading income includes gains and losses from the spot and forward contracts and other currency derivatives while other foreign exchange differences arising on non-trading activities are presented as foreign exchange revaluation loss.
Other operating income at N11 billion from N6 billion was driven by other sundry income, Cash recoveries on previously written-off accounts and other items including income on FX forward discounting, Mudaraba Commodity Income among others.
The bank reported a credit loss expense on financial assets to the tune of N8.5 billion in 2022 compared to N9.8 billion in 2021. This is as impairment charges on loans and contingents, other assets, and investment securities declined for the period, hence the net operating income after impairment stood at N107 billion from N87 billion in the previous year.
Total expenses improved to reach N87 billion compared to the N73 billion the previous year as the bank saw improvement in its personnel expenses, other operating expenses, general and administrative expenses and other property, plant and equipment costs.
Profit before tax stood at N20 billion from N14 billion the previous year while earnings per share was 65 kobo compared to N47 kobo in previous year.
Hoarded N6m New Naira Notes Exposed in Ekiti Bank
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has uncovered N6 million new naira notes hoarded by a commercial bank in Ekiti State.
The apex bank decried the act as it claimed that the new naira notes had been given to the bank two weeks ago to be dispensed at its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) for better circulation of the redesigned currencies.
The hoarded notes were exposed by the CBN Deputy Director, Oluwole Owoeye who led a monitoring team of officials on compliance of banks to the CBN directives in the state.
Investors King had earlier reported that the CBN had deployed monitoring teams to various states since January 2023 to ensure that new naira notes are given to bank users for its quick circulation but citizens have continuously lamented the unavailability of the new naira notes in banks.
Expressing displeasure over the occurrence, Owoeye said the bank had no excuse for keeping the money for over two weeks considering the nation’s lament on scarcity of new naira notes.
He stated that Deposit Money Banks are frustrating the efforts of CBN in ensuring the circulation of the new naira notes across the country.
The deputy director, has however directed the bank management to immediately get its ATMs ready to dispense the new notes to the citizenry.
Owoeye explained, “I am currently at the Bank, Ado-Ekiti as part of this monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have six million which they have collected from the bank for almost two weeks. They have not dispensed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATM.
“I don’t know why. I have brought their attention to the penalty clause of one million per day. They have five ATMs. They don’t have any reason for keeping this money.
“The zonal service manager, Mr Tunde Onipede promised that by 10am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him latest by 10:00 am, I will be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.”
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