The Nigerian Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the withdrawal of old currency notes from circulation to June 30, 2023.
Recall that the CBN announced the redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes in October. The apex bank also fixed January 31, 2023, as the deadline for the withdrawal of the old notes.
Moving the motion for extension in plenary on Wednesday, Senator Ali Ndume noted that the extension should be considered a matter of urgent national importance, stating that anything otherwise will compound imminent hardship on Nigerians.
“Some Nigerians are already envisaging long queues in the banking hall across the country as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira note.
“It is expected that many Nigerian businesses will start to rig the old notes as soon as banks start paying redesigned notes to customers”.
Taking the senate back to 1984 when naira notes were redesigned, the senator said “the withdrawal of old notes from circulation if not extended beyond January 31, 2023, many Nigerians will be thrown into hardship and to avoid the repeat of 1984 experience withdrawal of old notes.”
Investors King learnt that the naira redesign policy of 1984 threw many businesses off as business owners could not sell for fear of receiving old bills which would be almost impossible to change to the new ones.
Some business owners also closed their shops to join long queues at the bank while the short supply of new notes led to traumatic experiences for many.
Contributing to the motion, Sen. Adamu Aliero stated that it was true rural dwellers were not aware of the currency redesign.
ICPC Nabs Three Banks’ Officials, Security Guards For Flouting CBN’s New Notes Directives
More startling discoveries have continued to rattle Nigeria’s banking sector following scarcity of the new naira notes.
In some parts of the country, some senior officials of commercial banks have been arrested for hoarding the newly redesigned currency of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Following bitter complaints from Nigerians, especially bank customers over paucity of the new cash, the Federal Government has directed anti-graft agencies to swoop on those frustrating Nigerians.
This situation has led to chaos and long queues at banks across the country.
In order to tame the menace, CBN officials and security operatives have been monitoring conducts of commercial bank management in the manner they dispense cash.
Operatives of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said they discovered N258 million stashed in the vault at the head office of Sterling Bank in Abuja.
According to a statement by ICPC, the discovery followed one of the commission’s operations at ensuring that commercial banks and other interest groups do not flout the apex bank’s directive of cash hoarding.
Explaining how the operation went, ICPC said when its officials visited the bank and discovered the stashed new naira notes in the bank’s vault, it was informed that the cash was the remnant of what the CBN had given the bank for onward distribution to its branches.
The monitoring team said it found out that only the sum of N5 million each was distributed to various branches of Sterling Bank.
Signed by the ICPC spokesman, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, the statement further revealed that the regional and service managers of the bank were apprehended but later granted administrative bail while further investigation would be carried out on the matter.
Also, a security guard of one of the banks was arrested for contributing to the chaos within the bank premises.
The ICPC said it also nabbed the Head of Operations, Keystone Bank, Mararaba in Nasarawa State for frustrating its customers at getting the new naira notes by hoarding the currency.
According to the anti-graft team, while on its routine operation, it found out that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) at the branch were not dispensing to its customers while other bank customers were accessing only N1000 despite being given all the denominations by the CBN.
After the unscheduled visit to the bank, the commission disclosed that the ATMs started dispensing N5000 to non-customers and N10000 to its customers.
The team also revealed that it arrested one Abdulkareem Shaibu, a Security Guard with Zenith Bank, 3rd Avenue Gwarimpa, as well as Ali Adam and Shafiu Umar.
While Shaibu, the security guard, was arrested for being in possession of five ATM cards which he was using to collect money for different unknown persons who were not within the bank premises at that time, Adam and Umar were arrested in front of Zenith Bank, 1st Avenue Gwarimpa, for selling the new naira notes.
Relatedly, two officials of FCMB Ogo-Oluwa, Osogbo, Osun State were apprehended for assaulting officers of ICPC and CBN Cash Swap Monitoring Team.
Investors King reports that these fresh arrests came as Nigerians continue to rage over the cash crisis ravaging the country for weeks now.
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.
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