- Foreign Reserves Drop to $37.37bn
The nation’s foreign reserves dropped from $38.535 billion recorded on January 2, 2020 to $37.37 billion, representing a decline of $1.16 billion, according to the report released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday.
The reserves peaked at $45 billion in June 2019 when global oil price was trading at $77 a barrel before declining to $38.34 in July and then $37.37 on Tuesday.
But with OPEC lowering global oil demand’s projection for 2020 by 230,000 barrels per day, global oil prices (Brent oil) are projected to drop further from $55.36 a barrel recorded today during Asian trading session as global business activities continue to slow down amid coronavirus outbreak.
While President Muhammadu Buhari administration has raised Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 percent to 7.5 percent to up revenue generation and further diversify the economy, the degree of compliance remains uncertain, especially after the recent criticism that trailed the new Finance Act.
Nigeria’s unemployment rate remained high at 23.1 percent while youth unemployment and underemployment stood at 55.4 percent. Last week, African Development Bank in its annual outlook puts the nations poverty rate at 67 percent of its population. Suggesting that more Nigerians are living below poverty line than admitted.
This is expected to surge even more after Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos State, banned popular tricycle, NAPEP, and Okada as a means to check insecurity.
A further decline in global oil price, especially if Libya managed to resume production in affected areas, could worsen Nigeria’s revenue generation ability and forced the Buhari administration to increase the already high debt to cover additional deficit.
Naira Mastercard: GTBank Reduces International Spending Limit to $100/Month
GTBank Further Caps International Spending Limit on Naira Mastercard
Forex scarcity has forced Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to further reduce the international spending limit on its Naira Mastercard from $500 per month to $100 per month.
The lender had reduced international spending limit from $3,000 per month set in 2018 to $1,500 per month in March 2020 when COVID-19 eroded the nation’s foreign reserves.
“We would like to inform you that the monthly spending limit on your GTBank Naira Mastercard has been reviewed from $3,000 to $1,500 for your international online and POS transactions effective March 25, 2020” GTBank stated in March.
However, persistent foreign exchange scarcity has forced the lender to once again reduced its international spending limit from $1,500 per month to $500 per month in the same March before finally reducing to $100 per month on August 11, 2020.
According to the bank, the new limit will affects online, PoS and ATM transactions, both transactions done in Nigeria and abroad.
The notice reads “Dear customer, the monthly spending limit on your GTBank Naira Mastercard is now $100 for international transactions. Thank you for banking with us.”
Customers have said GTbank has also implemented the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recent policy of ‘no cash withdrawal of transferred funds into domiciliary accounts.’
“Only electronic fund transfers into Domiciliary accounts can be transferred from such accounts while cash deposits into such accounts can only be withdrawn in cash also,” said Isaac Okorafor, Director, Corporate Communications.
Therefore, customers of GTBank and other Deposit Money Banks are advised to check with their banks for the latest developments that may hurt their operations.
Magu Probe: FCMB Denies Paying Money into Pastor’s Account
No Money Was Paid Into Pastor’s Account, FCMB Tells Nigerians
Following a widely publicised report that the Managing Director of FCMB Group Plc claimed that he mistakenly transferred N573 million to an account of Magu’s pastor, the lender has come out to refute the report.
In a statement released by the FCMB Group on Wednesday, the bank said the report was false as there was no transfer of such amount into the said account.
This, the bank said was clarified during the presidential hearing in Abuja by the bank’s Managing Director.
According to the bank, the error had occurred only on file during a system upgrade in 2016. This upgrade, the bank claimed led to multiple unrelated entries into a single account under the affected customer’s name on one of the lender’s reports.
The bank’s statement reads “Our attention has been drawn to widely circulating stories incorrectly stating that our Managing Director, during a recent presidential hearing in Abuja, testified that the bank mistakenly transferred N573m to the account of a church and the said error was not discovered for 4 years. We feel it is in the public interest to state emphatically that there was no transfer of N573m into this account, mistakenly or otherwise.
“To provide further clarity, during a maintenance upgrade of our systems in 2016, a defective file led to the aggregation of multiple unrelated entries into a single balance under the affected customer’s name in one of our reports.
“This aggregation occurred only in the weekly automated report to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit. It had no effect on any customer account balance or statements and therefore was not immediately identified.
“Our Managing Director clarified to the Presidential panel that the system generated report was incorrect and that there was no mistaken transfer of N573 million. He also submitted comprehensive documentary evidence to this effect.
“We appreciate that comments may have been misconstrued and therefore believe it is important to emphatically clarify the position that there was no mistaken transfer whatsoever, as stated above.
“FCMB continues to fully cooperate with the panel, and has been entirely transparent in its reporting. We remain committed to ethical and professional conduct at all times.”
FG Implores Parastatals to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy Initiative
FG Tells MDAs to Promote the Country’s Digital Economy
The Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy under the management of Dr. Isa Pantami, has implored all the federal government parastatals to promote and safeguard the country’s digital economy initiative.
Dr. Isa Pantami, while presenting the keynote address in a virtual forum organised by the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), said based on the negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for critical data infrastructure and broadband is now high.
The minister urged government parastatals to put in effort to uphold and promote government’s digital economy initiative designed to reduce the effect of the pandemic on the nation. He also disclosed that the interests of all Nigerians would also be protected by the government.
“Federal government will continue to develop its digital economy policy for a digital Nigeria. Both the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) that are under the supervision of my ministry, now have special departments that promotes digital economy initiative and I urge them and all other parastatals under my supervision, to ensure that they promote the digital economy initiative of the federal government in order to maintain investor’s confidence and to protect the interest of Nigerians, especially telecoms consumers.
“Government on its part will ensure that the interests of telecoms companies and the interest of Nigerians are protected. Government is currently addressing the challenges in the cost of investments such as the issue of vandalisation of telecoms infrastructure, and President Muhammadu Buhari has officially directed all security institutes, through the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), to protect telecoms investments in the country,” Pantami said.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, when making his presentation said “The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and sharply ravaged the globe, Nigeria is no exception. Governments therefore, faced unprecedented challenges from COVID-19 pandemic. The impact affects most sectors of the global economy, ranging from health, to education, to finance, to trade and investment.”
While explaining the Commission’s efforts at resolving consumer-related issues, Danbatta noted that less than 500,000 people activated Do-Not-Disturb (DND) code as at 2015 when the code was introduced by the Commission but presently, over 22,722,366 people line on the code.
He also made it known that the commission has resolved 98 per cent of service-related complaints received from telecoms consumers from January 2019 to April 2020.
according to Danbatta “the Commission has monthly engagements with operators as well as quarterly industry working group on Quality of Service and Short Codes, and is currently monitoring 2G Key Performance Indicators, while the KPIs for 4G are being prepared.”
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