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ABCON backs CBN’s cryptocurrency trading ban for stronger anti-money laundering compliance

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The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has given its backing to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy mandating banks to close all accounts belonging to cryptocurrency traders.

Speaking to financial journalists in Lagos on the CBN’s move against cryptocurrency trading, ABCON President, Alhaji (Dr)  Aminu Gwadabe, said the regulator acted fast to curtail an emerging dangerous trend capable of eroding Nigeria’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) gains.

He said that before placing a ban on financial dealings that does not conform with the norm, the regulator must have gotten a financial intelligence  on such operations, as seen in kidnappers now collecting Bitcoin for ransom.

Gwadabe said the new changing global behaviour towards cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria is not in tandem with Nigeria’s AML/CFT compliance structure as the country battled to move out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions list.

He said that cryptocurrency trading is so pervasive and widespread that every segment and all operators in the financial industry is becoming vulnerable to their operations that are not guided by regulation.

That is why many financial sector regulators, prominent financial institutions including global banks, and investment firms are moving swiftly against the cryptocurrency operators .

“All over the world, no regulatory institution has given a fiat approval of the new digital money due to its vulnerability to money laundering and counter terrorism financing. It is therefore the belief of our Association that the measures of the CBN will ensure confidence of our foreign partners to boost economic growth,” Gwadabe stated.

According to the ABCON boss, rather than criticising the CBN, the nay sayers should have advised government to introduce Digital Agri-business to Nigeria’s teeming youth for capacity and self employment.

“We therefore support the CBN measures and urge the Apex Bank to support a paradigm shift in Bureaux de Change (BDCs) business where we are moving from traditional bricks and mortar operations to a digitized model that boosts  transparency, foreign capital inflows and  ease of monitoring and supervision of our operations,” he said.

According to Gwadabe, the BDCs have so far introduced four factors authentication digital applications in their operations to improve efficiency and transparency in operations.

The Applications include SAAS MASTERS for rendition of utilisation of returns to CBN online real time; many BDCs are in the the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIUs) GOAML  platform for suspicious and cash transactions reports.

Equally,  BDCs are on the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) Bank Verification Number (BVN) Validation portal of their members and finally, ABCON is also working with Data Pro Consultant to integrate their new Application Programming Interface (API) for Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) and sanction list search.

Gwadabe said he believes that every player in the financial sector should be regulated, and where such regulations are not available, caution should be applied.

“There is need for every segment of the financial system to be regulated and guided by the CBN Act, BOFIA, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing Terrorism guidelines, Know Your Customer (KYC) Requirements for a safe and secured Nigeria and stable financial system,” he said.

He said ABCON will continue to support CBN’s moves to tighten and strictly enforce regulations in the foreign exchange market for sustained exchange rate stability and improved economic growth.

Gwadabe said ABCON leadership backs the CBN’s ongoing clampdown on cryptocurrency trading and believes that money laundering through the channel or any other financial institutions is unacceptable and those found wanting should be punished based on the law.

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NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers

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…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event

By Seun Ibiyemi

It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.

With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.

Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.

According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”

Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”

On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.

In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).

Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.

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LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.

Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.

Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.

Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.

She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.

She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.

“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.

 ”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.

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Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.

According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.

Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.

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