…CPPE lauds Supreme Court ruling on old currency notes validity
By Seun Ibiyemi and Mathew Dennis
Following the announcement made by the Supreme court of Nigeria over old Naira note that it remains legal and in circulation till December 31 this year, the Federal government and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is yet to address Nigerians whether banks can continue to accept the old notes.
This is even as business operators said they are anxious to hear from President Muhammadu Buhari and/or the Central Bank over validity of old Naira notes.
The apex court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to allow both the old naira notes and the new ones to circulate side by side till the end of the year.
The business operators were reacting to the Supreme Court ruling that the old N500 and N1000 notes remained legal tender till Dec. 31.
They, however, said it was risky to accept the notes until directive from either the Presidency or the CBN.
They said their decision was borne out of the controversy that followed a similar Supreme Court pronouncement that was not adhered to.
A taxi driver, Mr Akin Gbenga, said he was hopeful that Buhari or the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele would speak within the week on whether or not they should go ahead and accept those old notes.
He said until such directive was given, he would insist that customers paid him only with new N500 or N1000 notes.
A petty trader, simply identified as Mrs Adeosun Titiloye, also told Nigerian lNewsDirect that she won’t accept the old notes, saying “until I hear from the horse’s mouth I will not collect the old notes”.
Adeosun said she would not want to go through the stress she went through when the notes were declared invalid by the CBN.
A resident, Mr Moshood Olalekan, said he was excited when the pronouncement validating the use of the old notes was made by the Supreme Court.
Olalekan, however, expressed dissapointment that he could not use the old notes he had, adding that business operators are still rejecting them in spite of the ruling.
“I have about N3,000 of the old N1000 notes with me and I felt elated when the court gave the ruling, but to my dismay the money was rejected when I went out to buy a few items.
“I tried informing them that the ban had been lifted by the Supreme Court and they asked if the CBN had spoken.
“I further tried to educate them that once the Supreme Court gives a ruling, everyone was bound by it but they insisted on hearing from the Executive before taking any action.
“At that point I got discouraged and went back home, and as I speak with you I still have the money with me,” he said.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said only N200 old notes are to be reissued and circulated concurrently with the new notes in line with the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The bank restated this in a statement jointly signed by Mr Edward Adamu, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, and Mr Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, on Tuesday in Lagos.
The CBN said that Buhari had not given any approval for the old denominated notes to be reissued and re-circulated as legal tender for 70 days up to May 1, as stated in a fake press release.
“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria has been drawn to a FAKE PRESS RELEASE purported to have emanated from the Bank.
“The fake press release purported that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the reissuance and release of old N500 and N1000 notes as legal tender in the country.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Central Bank of Nigeria reiterates that in line with the directives of Mr President, only N200 old notes are to be reissued and to circulate concurrently with the new notes.
“Members of the public are therefore advised to ignore this fake news,” it said.
It added that the bank was working with the law enforcement agencies to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the purveyors of this fake news.
The statement urged Nigerians to be guided and to ignore the fake press release credited to the President
Speaking to Nigerian NewsDirect Daily newspaper, the Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Isa Abdulmumin said CBN will react soon on the judgement.
As at the time of filling this report, CBN could not officially respond to the rulling of the Supreme court over the old naira notes.
Supreme Court ruling on Old Naira notes is targeted to satisfy the rich — Ehindero
A popular Activist and Executive Director of Nigerian Workforce Strategy and Enlightenment Centre (NIWOSEC), Dr. David Kayode Ehindero has chastised the ruling by the Supreme Court on the old Naira Notes Redesigned policy arguing it’s targeted at satisfying only the rich.
Speaking to Nigerian NewsDirect Exclusively, he said “The Supreme Court judgement is envisaged and looks like an arrangement for the power that be.
“The old Naira notes has left the Nigeria streets, the remainder could be in their vaults. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has provided various openings for the exchange of the monies and the masses have complied, but, the Governors and other political office holders that have them in excess are the ones complaining.”
According to him reasons for the hardship is not the new Naira note but accessibility and Bank policy of limitation in amount to be withdrawn per day.
He stressed that, “It is unfortunate that our courts dance more to the beats of politicians, that is why anytime they catch cold, the court sneezes.
“Nigerians have sacrificed for the policy, and now with the Supreme Court judgement, our sacrifices are futile.”
Dr. Ehindero revealed that the policy has its gains, like the reduction in rate of kidnapping and robbery in Nigeria.
“We need a total overhaul in our system, a Governor’s Threat or Will should not override the collective good of all.”
2024 Budget: SERAP condemns Wike’s proposal to allocate N15bn for VP’s residence, N2.8bn for publicity
…Urges senate to reject wasteful spending in supplementary budget
…Calls on EFCC, ICPC to investigate alleged spending of previous allocated N7bn for VP’s residence construction
By Sodiq Adelakun
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on Senate President Godswill Akpabio to reject the plan by FCT Minister Nysom Wike to spend N15 billion on a residence for Vice President Kashim Shettima.
SERAP, in a letter dated December 2, 2023, and signed by deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, urged Akpabio to exercise the Senate’s authority and constitutional oversight roles by rejecting the proposed N2.8 billion for publicity by the FCTA, as well as any other wasteful and unnecessary spending in the 2023 supplementary budget and the 2024 budget proposed by President Bola Tinubu.
SERAP has criticised the plan to allocate N15 billion for a new residence for the vice president, stating that it violates the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations regarding corruption and human rights.
The group has called on the Senate to ensure that Governor Wike’s proposed expenditure aligns with constitutional provisions and his oath of office.
SERAP has also emphasised that the National Assembly, including the Senate, has a constitutional duty to address Nigeria’s debt crisis by rejecting extravagant and unnecessary spending that caters to the personal comfort and lifestyles of public officials.
The letter read in part, “The National Assembly cannot continue to fail to fulfil its oversight function. The Senate must assert and demonstrate its independence by checking and rejecting all wasteful and unnecessary spending by the executive.
“It would be a grave violation of the public trust and constitutional oath of office for the Senate to approve the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president at a time when the Federal Government is set to spend 30 percent (that is, N8.25 trillion) of the country’s 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion on debt service costs.
“The Federal Government also plans to borrow N7.8 trillion to fund the 2024 budget. Nigeria’s public debt stood at 87.4 trillion naira as of June with 38 percent owed to external creditors including multilateral and commercial lenders.
“Should the Senate and its leadership fail to stop wasteful and unnecessary spending and rein in government borrowing, SERAP would consider appropriate legal action to compel the National Assembly including the Senate to discharge its constitutional oversight roles in the public interest.
“SERAP urges you to refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) the allegations of corruption in the spending of the previously approved N7 billion for the construction of a new residence for the vice president.
“The ‘construction’ was reportedly abandoned but the whereabouts of the N7 billion remain unknown.
“The Senate has the constitutional competence and legitimacy to compel compliance with the Nigerian Constitution and the country’s international obligations.
“The Senate ought to assert its authority and vigorously exercise its constitutional oversight roles to check the apparently wasteful and unnecessary spending by Mr Wike especially given the growing debt crisis and the indiscriminate borrowing by the government.
“It is a travesty and a fundamental breach of the lawmakers’ fiduciary duties for the National Assembly to allow the executive to use the national budget as a tool to satisfy the comfort and lifestyle of public officials.
“Nigerians have a right to honest and faithful performance by their public officials including lawmakers, as public officials owe a fiduciary duty to the general citizenry.
“Cutting the N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ from the FTCA budget would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution, as it would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money.
“According to our information, the Minister of the FCT, Nysom Wike and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) plan to spend N15 billion for the construction of ‘a befitting residence’ for the Vice-President, Mr Kashim Shettima.
“The plan is contained in the N67 billion FCT supplementary budget which President Bola Tinubu had on Tuesday transmitted to the National Assembly for approval.
“SERAP notes that Mr Wike proposed plan to spend N15 billion on a new residence for the vice president despite the recent allocation of N2.5 billion for the renovation of the current residence of the VP in the federal government’s supplementary budget already passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Tinubu.
“The House of Representatives has reportedly approved the plan to spend N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president.
“The National Assembly has also approved another N3 billion for the renovation of the vice president’s residence in Lagos State. Mr Wike also plans to spend N2.8 billion on publicity for the FCTA.
“The proposed plan to spend 15 billion on a ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president is different from the N100 billion for the FCT contained in the federal government supplementary budget.
“SERAP notes that the Federal Government has also budgeted N8 billion on the two official residences of President Tinubu in Abuja and Lagos.
“On top of the planned spending of N15 billion on ‘a befitting residence’ for the vice president, billions of naira have been allocated for the purchase of cars for the Villa and the Office of the First Lady.
“Section 14(2)(b) of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] provides that, ‘the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.
“Under Section 16(1)(a)(b), the National Assembly including the Senate has the obligations to ‘harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, a dynamic and self-reliant economy’, and to ‘secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen.’
“Under sections 59(2) and 299 of the Nigerian Constitution, the National Assembly including the Senate has legislative powers over money bills including the proposed N15 billion, and other wasteful and unnecessary spending by the Federal Government.”
FIRS grants waiver on penalties, interests on outstanding tax liabilities till December 31
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has granted a full waiver on accumulated penalties and interests for outstanding tax liabilities.
Chairman of the revenue service, Zacch Adedeji, made the decision known in a notice personally signed by him and made available to newsmen through his Special Adviser on Media, Dare Adekanmbi.
The agency imposes penalties and interests for failure by companies to fulfil their tax obligation as and when due as stipulated in extant tax laws.
Adedeji said the forgiveness of piled up penalties and interests was “in recognition of the challenges that many taxpayers have faced in settling their outstanding tax liabilities.”
According to him, the concession also syncs with the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to support businesses to flourish.
He explained that full payment of outstanding original tax liabilities without interest on or before the 31st of December this year must be done by companies wishing to benefit from the peculiar concession.
“Taxpayers are advised that the waiver of interest is subject to the full settlement of outstanding principal on or before 31 December, 2023.
“Please note that the full penalty and interest shall be reinstated after the expiration of this one-off concession window where the outstanding undisputed liability remains fully or partially unpaid.
“FIRS appreciates all taxpayers who have been diligent in complying with their tax obligations as and when due, while seeking their continued support and cooperation for a more responsive and robust tax system,” Adedeji said.
UBA bags African Bank of the Year, eight other awards at The Bankers Award in London
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has bagged the African Bank of the Year at the Bankers Awards 2023, organised by The Banker Magazine, a publication of Financial Times of London, the world’s leading business newspaper.
This is as the Bank also clinched eight other awards across its subsidiaries solidifying its position as the leading financial institution on the African continent.
The Bank’s subsidiaries also emerged as the Bank of the Year in eight of the 20 countries where it operates in Africa. The winning subsidiaries are UBA Cameroon, UBA Chad, UBA Ghana, UBA Cote d’Ivoire, UBA Mozambique, UBA Congo, UBA Sierra Leone, and UBA Tanzania, underscoring the bank’s dominance and impact across diverse African markets. It is noteworthy that this would be the second time in the past three years that the Bank has won the regional award as the best bank in Africa, as it had emerged winner in 2021.
UBA’s Group Managing Director, Oliver Alawuba, who received the awards on behalf of the bank, expressed his gratitude and excitement about the awards, and said the recognitions come as a reassurance that the bank is on track in its goal of consolidating its leadership position in Africa, and creating superior value for its stakeholders.
“UBA is honoured to be named the Bank of the Year in these eight countries and to receive the overall Award for Africa. This accomplishment is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and innovative spirit of the entire UBA team. We remain committed to delivering top-notch banking services that positively impact the lives of our customers across the continent.”
Continuing, Alawuba said, “We have our millions of customers across the globe and our many thousands of staff to thank for this. They are the very reason why we keep winning and receiving these accolades.”
The Banker Awards is widely recognised as a benchmark for banking excellence globally, and UBA’s multiple victories underscore the institution’s commitment to providing exceptional financial services and superior financial intermediation on the continent. As Africa’s Bank of the Year, UBA has demonstrated its ability to navigate the complexities of the African banking landscape and emerge as a leading force in driving economic growth and financial inclusion.
Speaking earlier about UBA’s consistent excellence in the financial services sector across the continent which has earned the bank great accolades overtime, Editor of The Banker, Joy Macknight, said that as always, “UBA remains a clear winner across a wide range of criteria, having performed impressively across its footprint with a strong financial performance across most of its markets.
“In a year of strong competition among the continent’s major banking groups, UBA has gained the edge on its rivals to win the Bank of the Year award for Africa for the 2nd time in three years. Congratulations. The award recognises the bank’s strength across Africa, including many of its most competitive markets,” Macknight stated.
Since 1926, the Bank of the Year awards has been celebrating the best of global banking and is regarded as the industry standard for banking excellence.
Just recently, UBA won the 2023 FMDQ Gold Awards in three Categories including the Best FX Liquidity Provider, Dealing Institution of the Year and Best Money Market Liquidity Provider. This recognition is a testament to UBA’s impressive capital strength and capacity to provide liquidity to the Nigerian financial market even in the face of harsh economic realities. Despite the headwinds, UBA Group has consistently maintained its position as Nigeria’s leading financial institution.
In June, the banking group announced impressive half-year financial results, and further increased the performance in Quarter 3, 2023, with profit before tax (PBT) soared to N502.01 billion, Shareholders’ Funds standing strong at N1.778 trillion, and total assets, reaching N16.24 trillion.
These outstanding figures not only reflect UBA’s institutional strength, but also demonstrate its position as a corporate role model in Nigeria and across Africa.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than thirty-five (35) million customers, across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. With presence in New York, London, Paris, and Dubai, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.
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