Tag Archives: CBN

COVID-19: CBN reduce interest rates – send directive to Banks Nationwide


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

The rate has been slashed from 9 to 5 percent per for one year, effective March 1, 2020.

This was contained in a circular to banks on Wednesday by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.

Similarly, CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments.

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This is also effective March 1, 2020.

OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, said the decisions were part of the bank’s efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on Nigerians, businesses and regulated institutions.

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He assured that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May will be held on Thursday.


#Newsworthy…

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CBN stops Banks from sacking staff

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all banks not to retrench workers.

A statement from the apex bank signed by Mr. Isaac Okorafor Director, Corporate Communications said the CBN, Bankers’ Committee decided to suspend lay-offs in banks.

Access Bank has been trending in the media after an alleged video of a town hall meeting between the Managing Director of the bank Herbert Wigwe and the staff.

In the video, Wigwe was heard informing staff of the bank that some contract staff of the bank will be laid off while other staff will have their salaries cut.

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Following the backlash that greeted the video, the CBN on Sunday stated:

“In order to help minimise and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time).”

This decision the CBN said was taken “following special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry.”

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The Committee, the CBN noted “deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties.”

At the end of the deliberations, it was also decided that “the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff.”


#Newsworthy…

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[Nigeria] More than 80,000 people apply for CBN N50bn loan in 3 weeks amid lockdown.


In three weeks, over 80,000 applications were received from businesses and individuals after the Central Bank of Nigeria released the guidelines for the N50bn targeted credit facility.

The Managing Director, NIRSAL Microfinance Bank, Mr Abubakar Kure, confirmed this during a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.


The CBN had introduced the N50bn Targeted Credit Facility as a stimulus package to support households and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the guidelines released by the CBN, those that can benefit from the fund are households with verifiable evidence of livelihood adversely impacted by COVID-19.


Others are existing enterprises with verifiable evidence of business activities adversely affected as a result of the pandemic and enterprises with bankable plans to take advantage of opportunities arising from the pandemic.

According to the CBN guidelines, activities covered under the scheme are agricultural value chain activities; hospitality (accommodation and food services); health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies); and airline service providers.


Others are manufacturing/value addition; trading and any other income generating activities as may be prescribed by the CBN.

Giving a breakdown of the 80,000 applications, the NIRSAL MD said that 40,000 applications were from households while 30,000 applications were received from the SMEs.


He said from next week, the bank would begin the disbursement of the fund to those who met the criteria set by the apex bank.

Kure, who was accompanied by top officials of the apex bank and NIRSAL said, “We have over 80,000 applications out of which 40,000 came from households while 30,000 were from the SMEs.


“From next week, genuine applicants will start receiving alert for their loans.

“Our people are working remotely and disbursements will start next week.”


On the controversy surrounding the payment of N10,000 for business plan before the loan could be accessed, Kure said the management of the bank had shelved the requirement for business plan.

He said, “The issue of business plan was a requirement for the SME applications as stipulated by the CBN guidelines.


“In order to stem further controversy, the management of the NMFB has resolved that the business plan is no longer a mandatory requirement and the third party provision of a business plan is not compulsory.

“We assure Nigerians of adhering to the guidelines as laid down by the CBN.”


Also speaking at the briefing, the CBN Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, warned applicants against making payments for business proposal.

He said the CBN and NIRSAL MFB had decided to push on with the intervention programmes in order to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on Nigerians.


He warned that the fund was not a grant, adding that beneficiaries of the fund would be made to repay what they collected based on the terms of agreement.

The N50bn intervention is being financed from the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund.

In terms of loan limit, the amount would be determined based on the activity, cash flow and industry size of beneficiary, subject to a maximum of N25m for the SMEs.

Households could access a maximum of N3m while working capital would be a maximum of 25 per cent of the average of the previous three years’ annual turnover.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19 tragedy, opportunity for better Nigeria – CBN Governor.


As many people are now aware, the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in China rapidly permeated and profoundly changed the world.

While this crisis is first and foremost a public health issue, which has claimed the lives of over 123,600 people worldwide, and counting, the economic damages are unprecedented on several fronts: Crude oil prices declined dramatically to as low as US$17 per barrel by the end of March, even before applying the discounts many oil exporters are offering; Stock valuations for the NSE-ASI, Nikkei, Dow Jones and FTSE-100 declined by an average of 23.8 percent between January and March 2020; Global airlines have lost about US$252 billion in revenues and across the broad range of industries from hospitality to services, the pain is growing.

These outcomes have expectedly thrown the global economy into a recession, the depth and duration of which is currently difficult to fathom. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the global economy would decline by 3 percent this year.

Around the world, countries have moved away from multilateralism and responded by fighting for themselves with several measures to protect their own people and economies, regardless of the spillover effects on the rest of the world.

According to the World Customs Organization, a total of 32 countries and territories, adopted stringent and immediate export restrictions on critical medical supplies and drugs that were specifically meant to respond to COVID-19. As of 10 April 2020, an updated count of total export restrictions by the Global Trade Alert Team at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland suggest a total of 102 restrictions by 75 countries.

On 4 March 2020, Germany announced an export ban that applied to all sorts of medical protection gear including breathing masks, medical gloves and protective suits.

Around the same time, President Macron announced that France will requisition all face masks produced in the country, a de facto export ban.

Between 8 February 2020 and 6 April 2020, India released eight (8) different export notifications banning several drugs and medical supplies including hydroxychloroquine, ventilators, personal protections masks, oxygen therapy apparatus, and breathing devices.

On 3 April 2020, the Trump Administration invoked the war-era US Defense Production Act to stop major US mask manufacturer, 3M, from exporting N95 respirator masks to Canada and Latin America.

Fears of a long global recession have also led to worries about unprecedented global food insecurity, with concerns that agricultural production may be dislocated by containment measures that constrain workers from planting, managing and harvesting critical crops.

Rather than seek cooperative and global solutions, several countries have resorted to export restrictions of critical agricultural produce. According to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), about 37 countries have enacted various forms of food export restrictions in response to COVID-19, even in countries where average production exceeds domestic consumption.

For example, Vietnam, the world’s third largest exporter of rice, suspended granting rice export certificates until the country “reviews domestic inventories”. Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, announced a ten-day ban on the export of buckwheat and rice due to concerns over panic buying in local supermarkets.

What if these restrictions become the new normal? What if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in a second wave or another pandemic occurs in which all borders are shut and food imports are significantly restricted? What if we cannot seek medical care outside Nigeria and must rely on local hospitals and medical professionals? For how long shall we continue to rely on the world for anything and everything at every time?

What if these restrictions become the new normal? What if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in a second wave or another pandemic occurs in which all borders are shut and food imports are significantly restricted? What if we cannot seek medical care outside Nigeria and must rely on local hospitals and medical professionals? For how long shall we continue to rely on the world for anything and everything at every time?

Although these developments are troubling, they present a clear opportunity to re-echo a persistent message the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been sending for a long time, and at this time even more urgently so: We must look inwards as a nation and guarantee food security, high quality and affordable healthcare, and cutting-edge education for our people. For a country of over 200 million people, and projected to be about 450 million in a few decades, we can no longer ignore repeated warnings about the dangers that lie ahead if we do not begin to depend largely on what we produce locally. The security and well-being of our nation is contingent on building a well-diversified and inclusive productive economy.

When I became Governor of the Central Bank in June 2014, imports of rice, fish, wheat and sugar alone consumed about N1.3 trillion worth of foreign exchange from the Bank. My immediate question was: can we not produce these ourselves? After all, only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts. Today, we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes of palm oil, whilst Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that were far behind us in this crop, now combine to export over 90 percent of global demand. In 2017, Indonesia earned US$12.6 billion from its oil and gas sector but US$18.4 billion from palm oil. I believe that this pandemic and the immediate response of many of our trading partners suggest it is now more critical than ever that we take back control; not just control over our economy, but also of our destiny and our future.

Although these developments are troubling, they present a clear opportunity to re-echo a persistent message the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been sending for a long time, and at this time even more urgently so: We must look inwards as a nation and guarantee food security, high quality and affordable healthcare, and cutting-edge education for our people. For a country of over 200 million people, and projected to be about 450 million in a few decades, we can no longer ignore repeated warnings about the dangers that lie ahead if we do not begin to depend largely on what we produce locally. The security and well-being of our nation is contingent on building a well-diversified and inclusive productive economy.

In line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN has indeed created several lending programmes and provided hundreds of billions to smallholder farmers and industrial processors in several key agricultural produce. These policies are aimed at positioning Nigeria to become a self-sufficient food producer, creating millions of jobs, supplying key markets across the country and dampening the effects of exchange rate movements on local prices.

This philosophy has been a consistent theme of the CBN’s policies over the last few years. At the 2016 Annual Bankers’ Dinner, I challenged the bankers that we needed to take decisive actions to fundamentally transform the structure of our economy. Throughout that speech, I talked about the damaging effects of Nigeria’s unsustainable propensity to import, and opined that it was high time we looked inwards and stopped using hard-earned foreign exchange (FX) to import items that we should produce locally. This determination, therefore, formed the bedrock of the Bank’s policy, which restricts access to FX for importers of many items. These sentiments were re-echoed at the 2017 edition of the same Bankers’ Dinner with specific examples of several companies that have benefited significantly from this policy of self-sufficiency. With President Buhari’s full support, we have continued to refine this policy to ensure that the best interest of Nigeria is served.

Many times, the Bank has been accused of promoting protectionist policies. My answer has always been that leaders are first and foremost accountable to their own citizens. If the vagaries of international trade threaten their wellbeing, leaders have to react by compelling some change in patterns of trade to the greater good of their citizens.

That is why in response to COVID-19, we are strengthening the Nigerian economy by providing a combined stimulus package of about N3.5 trillion in targeted measures to households, businesses, manufacturers and healthcare providers. These measures are deliberately designed to both support the Federal Government’s immediate fight against COVID-19, but also to build a more resilient, more self-reliant Nigerian economy.

Only a few decades ago, Nigeria was one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of many agricultural products like palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts. Today, we import nearly 600,000 metric tonnes of palm oil, whilst Indonesia and Malaysia, two countries that were far behind us in this crop, now combine to export over 90 percent of global demand. In 2017, Indonesia earned US$12.6 billion from its oil and gas sector but US$18.4 billion from palm oil. I believe that this pandemic and the immediate response of many of our trading partners suggest it is now more critical than ever that we take back control; not just control over our economy, but also of our destiny and our future.

We do not know what the world will look like after this pandemic. Countries may continue to look inwards and globalization as we know it today may be dead for a generation. Therefore, as a nation, we cannot afford to continue relying on the world for our food, education and healthcare. The time has come to fully transform Nigeria into a modern, sophisticated and inclusive economy that is self-sufficient, rewards the hardworking, protects the poor and vulnerable, and can compete internationally across a range of strategic sectors.

In order to achieve this goal, we must begin immediately to support the Federal Government to:
1) Build a base of high quality infrastructure, including reliable power that can engender industrial activity;
2) Support both smallholder and large scale agriculture production in select staple and cash crops;
3) Create an ecosystem of factories, storages, and logistics companies that move raw materials for value-added production, and finished goods to markets;
4) Use our fiscal priorities to create a robust educational system that enables critical thinking and creativity, which would better prepare our children for the world of tomorrow;
5) Develop a healthcare system that is trusted to keep all Nigerians healthy, irrespective of social class;
6) Facilitate access to cheap and long-term credit for Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates;
7) Develop and strengthen pro-poor policies that bring financial services and security to the poor and the vulnerable; and
8) Expedite the development of venture capitalists for nurturing new ideas and engendering Nigerian businesses to compete globally.

India is in a position to ban exports because it is producing critical drugs and medical supplies that the rest of the world needs. It also has companies that are global champions, and even merging with or acquiring peers in advanced nations. Why should this be out of our reach? We have the companies and the manpower. Some of the best brains in the world from the Americas to Europe and from Asia to Africa are Nigerians; driving global innovations in all fields. Nigerians are successful everywhere, and are already one of the most sought after immigrant groups in the United States. Now is the time to seize this opportunity and create an environment that empowers our people to thrive within our own shores.

To this end, the Central Bank has developed a Policy Response Timeline to guide our crises management and the orderly reboot of the Nigerian economy.


Immediate-Term Policies (0-3 Months)


In light of the fact that this crisis is an exogenous one thrust upon us without much warning, this phase reflects the government’s efforts at containment and mitigation. Although global cases are heading towards two million with over 123, 600 deaths as of 14 April 2020, we now have 343 cases, of which there have been 91 recoveries and sadly 10 deaths. With President Buhari’s continuing strong leadership, Nigeria can now test 1,500 persons per day in twelve (12) Molecular Test Laboratories.

We believe that his strong leadership to impose early travel restrictions, lockdown, social distancing, and other measures have been greatly effective in curbing the spread of the disease.

More so, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have helped the country stay ahead of the curve with increased testing capacity, provision of better-equipped isolation centres, and effective contact tracing.

Within this milieu, the CBN has responded in several ways, first by supporting hospitals and pharmaceutical industry with low interest loans to immediately deal with the public health crises; then by working with the private sector Coalition Against COVID (CACOVID) to support the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 across its response, while mobilizing palliatives for the poor and vulnerable.


Under this Immediate-Term Response, we have activated the following:


1) Ensure financial system stability by granting regulatory forbearance to banks to restructure terms of facilities in affected sectors;

2) Trigger banks and other financial institutions to roll-out business continuity processes to ensure that banking services are delivered in a safe social-distance regime for all customers and bankers;

3) Grant additional moratorium of 1 year on CBN intervention facilities;

4) Reduce interest rates on intervention facilities from 9 percent to 5 percent;

5) Create N50 billion targeted credit facility for affected households and SMEs;

6) Strengthen the Loan-Deposit Ratio (LDR) policy, which is encouraging significant extra lending from banks;

7) Improve FX supply to the CBN by directing all oil companies (international and domestic) and all related companies (oil service) to sell FX to CBN and no longer to the NNPC;

8) Provide additional N100b intervention in healthcare loans to pharmaceutical companies, healthcare practitioners intending to expand/build capacity;

9) Provide N1 trillion in loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors;

10) Engender financial inclusion by ensuring the poor and vulnerable are able, by all means necessary, through banks, microfinance, community and non-bank financial institutions, to access financial services to meet their basic needs.


Short-Term Policy Priorities (0 – 12 months)


As soon as President Muhammadu Buhari and the Health authorities determine our Coronavirus Transmission Curve is flattening and many of the ongoing restrictions are eased, this will be the phase for repositioning the Nigerian economic space.

As part of the lessons from the current pandemic, we must ensure that that our value-added sector, the manufacturing industry is strengthened. Accordingly, the CBN will pursue the following policies in this phase:

1) Reinvigorate our financial support for the manufacturing sector by expanding the intervention all through its value-chain. In most cases, we will ensure that primary products sourced locally provide essential raw material for the manufacturing sector except where they are only available overseas;

2) With the support of the Federal Government, the CBN will embark on a project to get banks and private equity firms to finance homegrown and sustainable healthcare services that will help to reverse medical tourism out of Nigeria. By offering long-term financing for the entire healthcare value-chain (including medicine, pharmaceuticals, and critical care), banks will work with healthcare providers to consolidate on the current efforts to rebuild our medical facilities in order to ensure Nigeria has world class affordable hospitals for the people of Nigeria and those wishing to visit Nigeria for treatment;

3) The CBN will promote the establishment of InfraCo PLC, a world class infrastructure development vehicle, wholly focused on Nigeria, with combined debt and equity take-off capital of N15 trillion, and managed by an independent infrastructure fund manager. This fund will be utilized to support the Federal Government in building the transport infrastructure required to move agriculture products to processors, raw materials to factories, and finished goods to markets, as envisaged at the CBN Going for Growth Roundtable in March 2020; and

4) Continue to prioritize the provision of FX for the importation of machinery and critical raw materials needed to drive a self-sufficient Nigerian economy.

COVID-19 may have plunged us into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. But, as Winston Churchill once admonished, we must never let a crisis go to waste.


Medium-Term Policy Priorities (0 -3 Years)


Once the world returns to some new normal having tamed COVID-19 by a combination of vaccines and social distancing, and the Nigerian economy reopens fully for business, we will act quickly to enable faster recovery of the economy by targeted measures towards particular sectors that are able to support mass employment and wealth creation in the country.

We will do so by focusing on four main areas, namely, light manufacturing, affordable housing, renewable energy, and cutting-edge research.

In manufacturing, for example, it is pertinent to note that Nigeria’s gross fixed capital formation is currently estimated at N24.55 trillion made up residential and non-residential properties, machinery and equipment, transport equipment, land improvement, research and development, and breeding stocks.

Of this estimated value, machinery and equipment, which are the main inputs into economic production, are currently valued at only N2.61 trillion. In order to pursue a substantial economic renewal, including replacement of at least 25 percent of the existing machinery and equipment for enhanced local production, we estimate at least N662 billion worth of investments to acquire hi-tech machinery and equipment.

Therefore, the CBN will consider an initial intervention of N500 billion over the medium term, specifically targeted at manufacturing firms to procure state-of-the-art machinery and equipment and automated manufacturing models that would fast-track local production and economic rejuvenation, as well as support increased patronage of locally processed products such as cement, steel, iron rods, and doors, amongst several other products. The recent private sector investments in cement production using enhanced technology and automated manufacturing models is a good example of the kind of economic renewal we will be pursuing in this phase. We will develop a thorough screening process and stringent criteria for equipment types that would qualify for funding under this phase.

In order to boost job creation, household incomes and economic growth, we will focus our attention on bridging the housing deficit in the country by facilitating government intervention in three critical areas: housing development, mortgage finance, and institutional capacity.

We will pursue the creation of a fund that will target housing construction for developers that provide evidence of profiled off-takers with financial capacity to repay. The current identification framework in the banking sector using the bank verification number (BVN) will be used to verify the information provided by the off-takers before the developer can access the funds.

We will consider ways to assist the Mortgage Finance sub-sector as well as build capacity at the State levels for their land administration agencies to process and issue land titles promptly, implement investment friendly foreclosure laws and reduce the cost of land documentation, as these have remained major inhibiting factors in the provision of affordable housing in the country.

Over the next 3 years, we will also support the financing of environmentally friendly energy production, as this has a tangential long-term health benefits. We will look at efforts to drive innovation and research in every sector, through our universities, research institutions, creative industry initiatives, and all other media of novelty and inventions.

In conclusion, I believe we must now envision and work toward a Nigeria with the cutting edge medical facilities to provide world class care to the sick and vulnerable, enable our universities and research institutions to provide the requisite education and training that is required to keep these ecosystems functioning sustainably and efficiently, and millions of Nigerians employed in meaningful and well-paying jobs.

This is the Nigeria that we must aspire to build.

COVID-19 may have plunged us into a crisis of unprecedented proportions. But, as Winston Churchill once admonished, we must never let a crisis go to waste.

*Godwin I. Emefiele, CON is Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria


#Newsworthy….

Breaking: Naira plunges again, falls to N412 per dollar.


The dollar exchanged for N412 on Monday at the Bureau De Change segment of the market.

This followed a temporary suspension of sale of forex to the Bureau De Change operators in the industry by the Central Bank of Nigeria.


The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria had made a request to the CBN to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in the local and global economies due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The CBN granted the BDCs two weeks market holiday as requested.

According to the BDCs, there had been drastic decline in demand for forex due to the impact of the COVID-19 on the economy, as businesses were down and many people were not travelling.

The naira had also suffered setbacks as a result of crude oil price that fell drastically in the international market, which raised speculations among the BDC operators and Nigerians in general


#Newsworthy…

CBN gives N50 Billion credit to affected businesses, households.


A N50bn Credit Facility has been unveiled by the Central Bank of Nigeria – a facility specifically to cater for the needs of households and small businesses that have and will be adversely affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to the CBN, those will be eligible for the stimulus package must prove that they, their livelihood and business operations have been adversely affected by the spread of the virus.


Businesses eligible for the scheme are agricultural value chain activities, hospitality, health (pharmaceuticals and medical supplies), airline service providers, manufacturing and value addition, and trading.

The maximum amount to be received depending on proof of cash flow of investment size is N25m while households can access N3m with an interest rate of 5 per cent per annum for a maximum period of one year.

The apex bank says facility will be administered by its officers and the NISRAL Microfinance Bank.


#Newsworthy…

Senate send arrest threat to Emefiele over $289m payment.


The Senate Public Accounts Committee said on Tuesday that it might consider demanding a warrant for the arrest of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, over his alleged refusal to honour invitations extended to him by the legislature.

The committee invited Emefiele to address it on the release of $289m cash to a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke, sometime in 2015.


The Senate had, while acting on a report of the Auditor General for the Federation, last week, uncovered how the CBN released $289m cash to the former NIA DG.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, said the CBN governor had been summoned several times but he ignored the invitations.


Urhoghide fumed that Emefiele did not also deem it fit to send any official of the CBN to appear before the committee.

He said, “We have summoned the CBN governor; it is the only part remaining in the investigation.


“The CBN governor has not sent any of his officials; they have to corroborate the story being told by those mentioned in the audit query, whether they are correct or not correct.

“The committee may consider consulting with the Senate leadership with a view to issuing a warrant for the arrest of the governor of Central Bank if he pushes us to the extreme.


“There are over 10 issues highlighted in the audit query that needed to be addressed by Emefiele and his top officials.”

He added that other issues, like the sales of federal bonds, funds collection, and discrepancies in figures between some agencies and the CBN, needed to be addressed by the governor of the apex bank.


The Director of Finance of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Godwin Okonkwko, had last week told the committee that $289m was released to the former NIA DG.

Okonkwo had explained that the $289m cash given to the former NIA boss by the CBN was based on a directive to that effect from the NNPC.

The $43m found in an Ikoyi apartment in 2017 that led to the sacking of Oke as the DG of NIA was a fraction of $289m cash collected by the DG from the NNPC.


#Newsworthy…

N380 forex rate per dollar not devaluation of Naira – CBN.


Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Saturday clarified that the recent jump in foreign exchange rate to N380 to a dollar is not a devaluation but an adjustment.

According to Mr Emefiele, the apex bank has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the Naira, insisting that the bank has no hand in what happens in the Investors, Exporters and End- users window.

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CBN technically devalue Nigeria Naira.

The CBN had issued a circular to all banks and Bureau De Change on Friday, advising that the BDC should not sell the Dollar more than N380/1USD to end-users.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has the responsibility to see to the adjustment in the currency; what you have seen is an adjustment in currency and we have been accused that we have a hand, we don’t have a hand, Emefiele said.


We allow the I&E window, which is the dominant market to dictate the exchange rate in the market.

At this time the CBN provides FX in that market at 380, anyone who has higher than the 380 can go ahead, but it should be available in the market to fund the domestic market.

He added that the new rate is only an adjustment, but in economics and foreign exchange management language, it is not a devaluation, he maintained.


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: CBN drops N1.1trn for support.


The Central Bank of Nigeria on Wednesday announced a N1.1tn intervention fund to support critical sectors of the economy.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele said this in a statement made available to journalists.


The governor in the statement said the out of the N1.1tn, about N1tn would be used to support the local manufacturing sector as well as boost import substitution.

He added that the balance of N100bn would be used to support the health authorities to ensure laboratories, researchers and innovators work with global scientists to patent and produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.


This, he said, was imperative following the Coronavirus pandemic, adding that the N100bn would enable the country prepare for any major crises ahead.

He said given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN will increase its intervention in boosting the economy.


He said, “First the CBN is directing all Deposit Money Banks to increase their support to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries.

“In local drug manufacturing, in increased bed count in hospitals across Nigeria, in funding intensive care as well as in training, laboratory testing, equipment and R&D.


“In addition to the N50bn soft loans to small businesses already announced, the CBN will increase its intervention by another N100bn in loans this year to support health authorities.

“Secondly, given the continuing impact of the disease on global supply chains, the CBN will increase its intervention in boosting local manufacturing and import substitution by another N1tn across all critical sectors of the economy.”

He said the management of the CBN will meet with the Bankers Committee this Saturday at 10.00 am to work out the modalities for the intervention.

The N1.1tn intervention is coming about three days when the apex bank announced a N50bn facility for Small and Medium Enterprises sector of the economy


#Newsworthy…

CBN denies to have devalue Naira, threatens sanction.


The Central Bank of Nigeria has denied rumours that it had devalued the naira, the country’s currency.

According to the apex bank, fraudulent speculators were behind the artificial scarcity of the United States dollars in parts of Nigeria, thereby jacking up the exchange rate and weakening the naira.


In some parts of the country earlier this week, the dollar sold for N375, a situation that caused a bit of rancour in the financial market across Nigeria.

However, reacting to the development, the CBN called on members of the public not to panic because the value of the naira to the US dollars had not depreciated.


In a statement by Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor, the apex bank said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to note with displeasure the rumours and speculative activities of unscrupulous players in the foreign exchange market, borne out of the impression that the CBN is on the verge of devaluing the naira and triggering panic in the FX market.

“These rumours are false, unwarranted and calculated to serve their dubious and selfish ends.


“We therefore wish to state that we have begun a robust and coordinated investigation in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit and related agencies to uncover the unscrupulous persons and FX dealers creating this panic, and the full weight of our rules and regulations will fall on them, including but not limited to being charged for economic sabotage.

“The size of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves remains robust and comfortable, given the current realities of Nigeria’s genuine and legitimate FX demand.


“As such, the CBN remains able and willing to meet all genuine demands for foreign exchange for legitimate transactions.

“In light of current circumstances and macroeconomic fundamentals, the CBN has not devalued the naira.

“Consequently, the CBN will invoke the full weight of applicable sanctions on any persons and authorised dealers found to be involved in such disruptive and speculative market behaviour.”


#Newsworthy…

COVID-19: Virus affecting Lagos-ibadan rail project – Amaechi.


Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has claimed that the outbreak of Coronavirus, is affecting the completion of Lagos-Ibadan expressway.

Amaechi stated this on Wednesday, while speaking at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) consultative round table.


The former Governor of Rivers state said the contractors handling the project, are employees of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC).

Amaechi said most of those involved, have been quarantined after travelling for the Chinese New Year celebration.


“Lagos-Ibadan would have been ready in May. Unfortunately, nearly all of them that went for the Chinese New Year were quarantined by their government.

“Their government said they cannot come back until they find a solution to the Coronavirus.

“It is only those who didn’t travel that are here and therefore the speed of the construction has reduced,” Amaechi said.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: CBN return excessive charges to customers


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday said it has so far recovered over N60 billion from erring banks as excessive charges imposed on customers. The bank also said it has equally returned same amount to the affected customers.

This is just as the Apex Bank announced that it had commenced the processes for creation of 10 million jobs in the next five years through investment support in agriculture, using 10 commodity models.


Speaking during a two-day customers sensitisation forum in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor said the recovery of the excess bank charges was made possible through the bank’s Consumer Protection Department.

According to him, the amount was recovered following complaints by 13,000 customers over excess and illegal charges on their accounts by banks.


#Newsworthy…

Obiora turns CBN new deputy governor, Senate confirms ..


The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Dr. Kingsley Isitua Obiora for appointment as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).

President Muhammadu Buhari, had in a letter to the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, urged the senate to screen and confirm the appointment of Obiora for the position.

The confirmation of Obiora followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions by the Senate.


Chairman of the Committee, Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) presented the report.

The Senate approved the appointment of Zikrullah (Sikiru) Olakunle Hassan as the Chairman of the National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON).


Other members of the Commission confirmed by the upper chamber include the Executive Commissioner-Operation, Inspection and Licensing, Abdullahi Magaji Hardawa, Executive Commissioner-Policy, Personnel, Management and Finance, Nura Hassan Yakasai and the Executive Commissioner, Planning, Research, Statistics, Information and Library, Sheikh Momoh Suleman Imonikhe.

Other part-time members of the Commission also approved by the Senate include: Mrs Halimat Jibril (Niger State), Abba Jato (Borno State), Garba Umar (Sokoto State), Ibrahim Ogbonnia Amah (Ebonyi State), Sadiq Oniyesaneyene Musa (Delta State) and Mrs. Akintude Basirat Olayinka (Ogun State).

Representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are Shehu Dogo (Ministry of Aviation), Nura Abba Rimi (Ministry of Foriegn Affairs), Rabi Bello Isa (Finance, Budget and National Planning) and Zainab Ujudud Sherrif (Health).

Others are Aminu Bako Yerima (Nigeria Immigration Service), Ibrahim Ishaq Nuhu (Central Bank of Nigeria), Dr. Bala Muhammad (Jama’atul Nasril Islam) and Mrs. Yusuf Chinedozi Nwoha (Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs).


#Newsworthy…

Tomato supply void: CBN swear to make it up ..


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele on Monday assured tomato farmers and processors that they would be sufficiently financed under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).

According to him, this is tohelp meet local demand and bridge an annual shortfall of more than 1.2 million tonnes valued at about $2.5billion, met before now through importation and smuggling.

This is as the Managing Director of Tomato Jos, Miss Mira Mehta, said the company would invest N7 billion within the next five years to scale up its investment in tomato farming and processing.


Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of Tomato Jos Farming and Processing Limited located in Kaduna, Emefiele said that the CBN, as far back as June 2015, before the current tomato policy was approved in 2017, had excluded importers of 41 items, among which is tomato, from accessing foreign exchange (forex) at the Nigerian forex markets.

“Pursuant to the above, we introduced the Commodity Champion model in the first quarter of 2019, to stimulate production of tomato and strengthen the end-to-end linkages in the value chain from input supplies to the final consumer. The strategy adopted is largely hinged on the twin approaches of outgrower contractual arrangement in the short to medium term, and backward integration in the medium to long term. Efforts have begun to yield results with the mobilisation and validation of about 140,848 farmers from various tomato farmers associations across 25 states in Nigeria. They are to be financed under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) where they would be linked to proximal processors where applicable, or financed to produce fresh fruits for direct consumption, which constitutes the largest use of tomato in Nigeria.


“We are also partnering with other big players in the tomato value chain like Dangote Tomato Processing Ltd,

Sonia Foods, GB Foods (GBF), Vegefresh Company Limited and a host of others. This is with a view to ensuring that Nigeria becomes self-sufficient in tomato, and our processing companies, functioning at full capacity and employıing millions of Nigerian youths”, he said.

Emefiele said the CBN was also addressing the challenge of low quantum of production per hectare that results in low yield.

The CBN Governor appreciated the management of Tomato Jos and the Kaduna State Governor, Mr Nasir el-Rufai, for the robust investment in agriculture.


#Newsworthy…

Just in: CBN to support Ekiti state cotton farmers


The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) has assured members of National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN) Ekiti chapter of its financial assistance to enable them embark on massive production of cotton in the state.

A Representative of CBN, Mr Olutayo Sowumi, gave the assurance on Friday at the inauguration of the Recovery of Cotton Outputs for 2019/2020 planting season under the CBN and NACOTAN Anchor’s Borrower programme.


The programme was held in Itapaji Ekiti, Ikole Local Government Area of Ekiti, N.Rs learnt

”The Anchor Borrower’s Programme was inaugurated by the Federal Government to boost productivity and alleviate poverty among the farmers, it is on this note that the CBN determined to assist the NACOTAN members to make life better for them,” Sowumi said.


He said that the apex bank management was delighted with the conduct and hard work of the NACOTAN members for maximizing the scheme in the state.

He, therefore, urged other cotton farmers, who benefited from the facility, not to delay in the repayment as the loan was a revolving one which other farmers were expected to benefit in subsequent years.


“The beneficiaries should come willingly and pay so that others can also benefit. If they do not pay it means they are trying to terminate the programme.

“It should be a revolving fund, as you collect, you produce, you sell and then pay the loan so that others that have not benefited earlier can also benefit.


“I wish to say that NACOTAN members are the best association that CBN has ever worked with without any problem.

“They are disciplined, hardworking and I want to assure them that the CBN management will continue to support them financially to make their cotton production easy and successful,” he said.


Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, represented by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Folorunso Olabode, said that his government was determined to support NACOTAN to nurture and sustain the production of cotton in the state.

Fayemi said that the state would welcome investors who are determined to improve the economy of the state and provide job opportunity for the youths.


The governor, who described Ekiti as an agrarian state, said that his administration was determined to make agriculture, not only lucrative but also attractive.

He charged NACOTAN members to mobilise cotton farmers to go back to farm and also encourage more private investors into the cotton sector.


The State Chairman of the association, Mr Michael Olorunfemi, assured the Federal and state government that they were determined to work hard to produce cotton to boost the state and the nation’s economy in general.

He commended the Federal Government for including cotton farmers in the Anchor Borrowers Programme, noting that, it would go a long way in enhancing the living standard of farmers in addition to ending the importation of the commodity.

He said that the CBN intervention was to enhance food production in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy on food security.

He, therefore, appealed to the state government to provide adequate security for the farmers against the invasion of the herdsmen in their farms.


#Newsworthy…

Breaking: CBN set to ban forex importers come 2022 – NIMASA


The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has said that the Federal Government would ban importation of certain categories of vessels into Nigeria by 2022 as part of efforts to encourage local participation in shipbuilding.

As a result, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would, from 2022, stop granting foreign exchange, (forex) and the Nigeria Customs Service would stop issuing any forms of permit to importers of vessels.


The Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, who disclosed this in Lagos at the weekend during a press conference, said the Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act 2003, which came into force in 2004 is essentially a local capacity-building law.

“Its central plank is to empower Nigerians for greater participation in maritime trade. The law seeks to achieve that goal through four key pillars, namely, ensuring that vessels that operate in our coastal waters within the countrys territory are built in Nigeria, owned by Nigerians, manned by Nigerians, and registered in Nigeria.


“It was in an attempt to arrest the seeming drift that NIMASA came up with a five-year strategic plan, beginning from 2021, to end in stages the grant of Cabotage waiver. The winding down process is phased to avoid major disruptions to the Cabotage trade. The plan is to achieve the key objectives of the Cabotage Act in terms of in-country construction, ownership, manning, and flagging of ships engaged in coastal trade,” he added.

According to him, the process of bringing the grant of Cabotage waiver to a gradual end has already begun, with the Agency launching a renewed effort to implement the provisions of the Cabotage Act, which, he said, followed a series of engagements with stakeholders.


He said that NIMASA has adopted a strategy of encouraging Nigerians to go into joint ventures and joint ownership of vessels with foreign operators on a 60-40 basis, saying it has started yielding fruit with about 20 new vessels currently flying the Nigerian flag under the arrangement, as against one in 2018.

He hinted that bareboat charter of vessels has witnessed an increase, while foreign-owned vessels on Nigeria’s Cabotage register has witnessed a decline.


He noted: “It will interest you to know that, there has been an increase in the number of wholly owned Nigerian vessels on the Nigerian Cabotage register. The 2018 half year result showed that 125 vessels were registered, representing a 33 per cent increase when compared with the 94 registered in the corresponding period in 2017. Currently, there are more than 200 vessels captured in the Cabotage register.

“Also, about 68 per cent of vessels trading within the country’s maritime space are Nigerian-flagged. So the Agency is doing a lot in ensuring adequate attention is paid to the essence of the Cabotage, aimed at encouraging indigenous participation and job creation.”

He said one of the critical agencies NIMASA is collaborating with in the capacity-building and Cabotage waiver cessation strategy is the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

He said NCDMB has the mandate to build local capacity in the oil and gas sector in line with the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act.


#Newsworthy…

Just in – HEDA takes CBN to court

…over failure to provide details on exchange rate differences


Agenda has threatened to take legal action against the Central Bank of Nigeria for refusing to provide details on the exchange rate differential schemes in the country and the beneficiaries.

HEDA had in October 2019 written a letter to the CBN using the Freedom of Information Act to ask the apex bank in the country to furnish it with a detailed breakdown of the schemes created to sell the dollar at a subsidised rate.


HEDA also asked the CBN to provide “the value of the amount that has been given out so far for each scheme; the breakdown of the value per sector; and the detailed information on the beneficiaries of the various schemes inclusive of the forex intervention scheme.”

In its response, the CBN said it was not in possession of the information requested by HEDA.


“We refer to your letter dated October 28, 2019 on the above subject and regret to inform you that the management of the bank is unable to accede to your request for the fact that the bank was neither involved in the pilgrims’ subsidised exchange rate nor operated a subsidised exchange rate scheme,” CBN replied.

Not satisfied with the response, HEDA said it would be instituting a legal case against the CBN compelling the bank to make public the exchange rate differential scheme and beneficiaries.


HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, in a chat with SaharaReporters, said the CBN indicted itself by saying it lacks information of how funds are being disbursed in the country.

He stated that there are evidences that the funds were being mismanaged by certain people.


He said, “HEDA is in the process of filing a legal action against the bank to obtain the information requested.

“The bank stands indicted with that response. How can a central bank claim lack of access to information on funds disbursed.

“We have intelligence report to the effect that these funds were mismanaged and doled out to secure favourable consideration for request of the CBN governor at the parliament and even presidency.

“These are public funds and we deserve information on the usage and beneficiaries.”


#Newsworthy…

Bank customers complain after banks turn deaf ears to CBN on decreased bank charges.


Some bank customers have frowned at their banks’ non-compliance with the new guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which ordered them to cut their charges on Automated Teller Machine (ATM)and other services.

Some of the customers who spoke in Abuja lamented that banks have now devised means of deducting ATM charges without sending the notifications to their customers.

CBN had last December released new guidelines on service charges’ reduction for banks, other financial and non-bank financial institutions, to take effect from January 1, 2020.


The guidelines involved reduction in the amount payable for cash withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs as Remote-on-Us transactions.

The reduction is from N65 to N35 after the third withdrawal within one month.


Mr Tony Iruu, a customer with one of the old generation banks, told NAN on Thursday, that the bank refused to adhere to the CBN guidelines.

Iruu appealed to the apex bank to take decisive action against any bank that is found wanting.


“When I heard about the new CBN guidelines, I was impressed because my bank charges me for virtually everything I do. But I have noticed that most times, banks do not adhere to some guidelines except the ones that favour them,’’ he said.

Miss Joy Akpakuma, a customer with one of the new generation banks said that though her bank did not send a debit notification for the ATM charge, it had however, reflected in her account.


“I withdrew money from an ATM that is not my bank on January 1, but they only sent me the alert of the money I withdrew without the charges.

“I was happy thinking that they have complied with the guidelines, but when I checked my balance, I knew that there was something wrong.


“I had about N194, 000 in my account, I withdrew N5, 000 but I did the withdrawal three times to see if they will remove N35 at the third withdrawal.

“When the alert came, my money was remaining N188, 263. It means that the bank charged me about N800 for the transaction.


“Even if the money removed was for other transactions or monthly charges, they would have stated it in the alert.

“As it stands right now, I do not even know the charges or what they debited my account for.


“It is so sad that even with the new CBN guidelines, they are still charging exorbitantly,’’ Akpakuma said.

On N50 stamp duty charged customers at filling stations, they appealed to CBN to also look into the issue with a view to forcing the merchants to adhere to its directive.


Mrs. Lilian Ukwu, a teacher, noted that though CBN said that the N50 stamp duty charged to customers for using PoS (Point of Sale), on goods and services is illegal, fuel stations are yet to comply with the directie.

“When I go to a filling station, I often use the PoS, but they still deduct extra N50 from my account.


“I read a report where CBN said the additional N50 deducted from customers is illegal.

“CBN should please help us to force these merchants and banks to adhere to its directives.


“If CBN cannot hold these people accountable, it means that we customers are handicapped,’’ Ukwu said.

The CBN’s Director of Payment System Management, Mr Musa Jimoh, said that the stamp duty circular issued to merchants was misinterpreted.

According to him, the circular that talks about merchants paying stamp duties, according to the law, did not state that it should be paid by the consumers, that is a misinterpretation of CBN’s directive.

“What our directive says is that merchants should pay all necessary taxes as regulated by government agencies, including stamp duty.’’


#Newsworthy…

Bank officials, Emefiele set to commence redevelopment


Despite stiff opposition from stakeholders, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers’ Committee have announced that it would commence the redevelopment of the National Arts Theatre in Lagos, by January 2020.

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while making a presentation on the Bankers’ Final Briefing monitored on Channels Television Business Morning, announced that the Bankers Committee has received presentations from the project consultants.

He said the Bankers’ Committee, having reviewed their presentations, including project numbers and details, set up a governance and trustee committee to oversee the process that would lead to the award of contract for the bid winners.


‘‘The contract award is expected to go through a competitive bid process and that jobs for the commencement of the renovation works for the National Arts Theatre as well as the building and development of a creative hub must start by January 2020’’.

He said the hub would serve as a fulcrum for massive activities and events even after shows must have ended inside the theater.


The CBN boss added that the building of the hub within the National Theater wouldhelp create opportunities for people to come around and undertake different business and economic activities that would help not only to grow the economy of Lagos but that of Nigeria as a whole.

Two Nigerian companies, Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust, had in November, called on the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), and the Board of the National Arts Theatre, to prevail on the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee to cease all plans for the redevelopment of the National Arts Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.


The call came on the heels of recent media reports that the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee have been given the go-ahead by the Federal Government to transform the National Arts Theatre Complex and the surrounding fallow ground into a creative industry park.

Topwide Apeas and Jadeas Trust, who are a part of a consortium comprising a team of international financial institutions and private sector partners, are claiming the rights to develop the structure via a concession granted by the ICRC.

Godwin Emefiele


Topwide Apeas Limited, through a letter by its law firm, Associated Attorney, and addressed to the ICRC, copying the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee, stated that they had emerged the preferred bidders to develop the national monument following a series of negotiations that started in 2003 with the Bureau of Public Enterprise, BPE, and later the ICRC.

The agreement was sealed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that mandated both companies to jointly execute the project via a harmonised master plan and under the terms of the project endorsed by the BPE and ICRC.


#Newsworthy…

CBN, Emefiele set 100 million goal for BVN enrollment.


The Central Bank of Nigeria has said it will get the number of people enrolled on Bank Verification Number system to 100 million over the next five years.

NobleReporters learnt that the apex bank said the increase in BVN enrolment would address the constraint that poor identification has on the availability of credit to prospective banking customers, particularly those in the informal sector.


According to recent figures released by Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems, over 40 million active bank accounts are currently linked with BVN and the CBN had pledged to increase the figures within the next five years through its proactive measures.

The BVN project, which captures the uniqueness of every bank customer, is one of the most-innovative projects introduced into the Nigerian financial system in 2014.


The Bankers’ Committee has also unveiled a new plan that requires classification of BVN into two – BVN Premium and BVN Lite.

CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said BVN Premium will cover customers that can provide the 18 basic requirements for a complete BVN enrolment, while the BVN Lite will require minimal documentation like name and phone number for bank customers, especially those in rural areas that do not meet the full requirements.


This, he said, would enable such grassroots’ customers, mainly the poor, conduct minimal financial services and reduce financial exclusion rate.

The CBN boss said the Bankers’ Committee was collaborating with the Nigerian Communication Commission and Mobile Money Operators to ensure that the project succeeds and more Nigerians brought into the financial system.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele


Emefiele said the Know Your Customer scheme would be migrated into the BVN Lite.

He said, “However, there are people currently financially excluded, like people in our rural communities that carry phones, but not having financial services. With the collaboration of NCC, we are putting this BVN arrangement to allow them conduct minimal financial services.”


#Newsworthy…

Customers Applaud CBN for reducing N65 bank charges.

...says they have being celebrating

Banks customers on Monday commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its move to slash various banks charges.

A cross section of customers, who spoke with media in Abuja on Monday, described the development as being in the right direction.

NobleReporters reports that on Sunday the apex bank, in a new guidelines, announced the downward review of most charges and fees for banking services, other financial and non-bank financial institutions, with effect from Jan. 1, 2020.

Among the charges, CBN said bank customers would now pay N10 for electronic transfers below N5,000, and N25 for electronic transfer between N5,000 and N50,000, adding that electronic transfer above N50,000 attracts N50 charge.

Previously, bank customers pay N50 charge for electronic transfers below N500,000.

The bank also slashed charges for cash withdrawal via other bank’s ATM to “maximum of N35 after the third withdrawal within the same month” from N65.

A bank customer, Mr James Onumah told media that the CBN’s directive was a New Year gift to bank customers.

Onumah said most Nigerian banks were still characterised with inefficiency, yet they charge customers for services not provided.

He said that withdrawal charge of N65 after three withdrawals in other banks in a month was exploitative.

Mrs Hadiza Maikarfi said the announcement was a cheering news for her at the weekend.

Maikarfi said various bank charges, before the reduction, were too high for customers like her to bear.

She urged the apex bank to still review the charges downward.

According to her, these charges can discourage people from getting involved in financial services, thereby affecting financial inclusion that is being promoted by the CBN.

Sani Nura, another bank customer, urged CBN to supervise banks to ensure the directive was implemented fully.

Nura added that the bank’s charges reduction by the apex bank was timely due to the current hardship being experienced by the citizens.

Funke Akin told media that she had been celebrating over the reduction as announced by CBN.

Akin said she was particularly happy over the removal of card maintenance charges, adding that she never understood the essence of such charges.

#Newsworthy…