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Naira scarcity: Mob attack fear in banks

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…As sales of Naira notes persist

…POS operators charge over 25 per cent

…Entrepreneurs count losses

…CBN to meet banks, telcos on PoS withdrawal charges

…Bank media chiefs debunk hoarding indictment of banks

…CBN needs to address scarcity – CPPE

By Seun Ibiyemi, Sodiq Adelakun, Ismail Azeez (Osogbo) Mathew Dennis (Abuja), Barth Ndubuwah (Port Harcourt) and Austine Agbo Emmanuel (Kaduna)

Uncertainties have clouded the operations of banks as fear over possible mob attacks from citizens who have been facing frustrations over the scarcity of Naira may limit the opening of banks for services this week, as the deadline for the old notes draws close in less than five days.

Last week it was gathered since citizens began to face frustration from getting withdrawals from their banks, customers have begun to take aggressive actions at the counters and cubicle of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), a development that led some banks beefing up their premises with more security personnel.

The aggression over the weekend recorded attacks in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital where the facility of a Wema Bank was vandalised by irate mob, while in Benin, at the University of Benin there was a face off between students and military men over withdrawals at the ATM, a development that led to vandalism.

Nigerian NewsDirect gathered that the development would inform the branches of many banks to take precautions to avoid invasion of their facilities and possible aggression that may lead to attacks on their staff and facilities.

This is just as bank officials in branches of major cities where customers are becoming more infuriated are beginning to take caution to avoid been victimized.

The scarcity of Naira notes have led Nigerians taking aggressive reactions as alternative Point of Sales (POS) Operators have begun to charge as high as 25 percent as charges to get cash.

This is just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has pointed accusing fingers banks, accusing their officials of hoarding the new notes.

However, following the indictment of some banks’ Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the scarcity of the Naira notes in circulation, the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) has said that banks are not responsible for scarcity of new Naira notes.

A statement made available to Nigerian NewsDirect by the President of ACAMB read that banks are not hoarding new Naira notes, stating that normalcy is returning soon.

The statement reads, “ACAMB empathises with the Nigerian public on the unintended hardships being faced in the process of the ongoing rollout of re-designed Naira notes and enhanced cashless policy.

“There is no doubt that the unintended constraints in the withdrawal of old naira notes and circulation of new naira notes, alongside the national policy to enhance cashless transactions, have had unintended effects on the generality of the Nigerian populace.

“Nigerian Banks have invested an estimated total sum in excess of N100 billion in setting up and maintaining cutting-edge electronic channels over the past few years as part of ongoing commitment to seamless customer experience and real time digital financial transactions.

“From internet banking to mobile apps, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Point of Sales (PoS) merchants, mobile wallets, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) codes, agents and digital franchises among others; not less than 80 per cent of Nigerians now enjoy one form of digital or cashless transaction or another, powered by investments by Nigerian Banks.

“These commitments by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) have seen Nigeria rising steadily and recognised as having arguably Africa’s most advanced digital financial services industry and one of the worl d’s top 10 real-time payment markets.

“It is a national pride and a proof of Nigerian Banks’ commitment to customer service that Nigeria is regarded as having Africa’s most digitised banking industry.

“Nigerian Banks remain committed to continuing investments in seamless and secured digital banking that excite customers to voluntarily use and rely on the various digital and alternate payment systems available.

“In view of its numerous benefits and the cutting-edge capability of the Nigerian banking sector, ACAMB fully supports the enhanced cashless policy championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“The entire banking sector is working with the apex Bank and other stakeholders to urgently address constraints in the implementation and ensure that Nigerians suffer no untoward pains in the transition process.

“Nigerian Banks are currently working with the CBN to ensure that customers have access to cash through ATMs and other channels as well as Over The-Counter (OTC) in the banking halls.

“ACAMB affirms without any equivocation that Banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience.

“ATMs are being loaded every day and cash is being paid as provided by the CBN, as regularly being checked by CBN Inspectors and other regulators including anti-graft agencies.

“In the past few hours, Banks have taken additional measures to quicken the flow of naira notes.

“These measures, among others, include deployment of extra technical supports for online payments, additional security at ATMs to ensure all clock usage, technological back up to reduce online downtime to the barest minimum, additional staff deployment to counters to attend to cash transactions and timely interbank and inter branch networking to bridge any gap.

“We are confident that these measures, in addition to efforts by the regulatory CBN, will result in greater ease of access and cash liquidity. The Federal Government and the CBN have reiterated similar readiness to address any constraint i nthe cyclical flow, including making adjustments, where necessary.

“ACAMB urges Nigerian banking public to exercise patience and not to resort to any untoward behavior against Bank staff or banking facilities.

“Nigerian Banks, majority of which are publicly quoted, are owned by millions of Nigerians and provide employment to several millions of staff, who work 24/7 to ensure that the generality of Nigerians have reliable and secured, globally competitive banking services.

“The cashless policy is generally in line with the yearnings of the most Nigerians for the elimination of corrupt practices in financial transactions, adequate security and improvements in law enforcement s and general integrity of the wealth creation process.

“As shown by global evidence, cashless policy helps in curbing crimes such as; kidnapping, banditry and official sleaze, among others.

“Cashless or digital transaction is also a boost to commerce and industry; as well as public finance. It is noteworthy that digitisation of public finances of many states and at national level has led to phenomenal improvement in revenue generation, which form the basis of improved infrastructural renewals Nigerians now cherish. It is also noteworthy that all stakeholders agreed on the importance and advantages of the redesigning of naira notes.

“The redesigning of naira notes safeguards the Nigerian economy and the country’s sovereignty, by strengthening the nation’s currency flow and control.

“We believe that ongoing concerted efforts will address the constraints currently being experienced in the cyclical flow of the new naira notes and the legal tenders generally.

“Banks and customers are inseparable stakeholders as they exist for one another. It is therefore, detrimental to the interest of the general banking public to disrupt banking operations by untoward actions against Bank staff or vandalisation of banking facilities.

“Nigerian banking industry owes its global success as a leader in digital banking to its enthusiastic customers and remains committed to do everything possible to ensure customers continue to have delightful experience; in the banking halls and across the electronic and other alternate channels.

“ACAMB implores Nigerians to consider the big picture of the advantages of the redesigning of the naira and enhanced cashless policy, and therefore exercise patience, as stakeholders work to ensure normalcy. Customers must demonstrate ownership of their Banks and eschew any act that could lead to the disruption of banking operations or damage of banking facilities.

“ACAMB shall continue to engage all stakeholders and stimulate effective communications to foster greater understanding and forbearance.”

Fidelity Bank’s reaction on new notes controversy

In a swift reaction to new notes distribution at Ado-Ekiti branch, the management of Fidelity bank said, “We would like to formally state the facts surrounding our branch in Ado Ekiti.

“The Naira notes referenced were received prior to the re-configuration of the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to dispense the 200 Naira denomination.

“On January 23, 2023, a regulatory official visited our branch in Ado-Ekiti and the vault contained N6,000,000 in N 200 denominations.

“During the visit, the official observed that we had ran out of N1,000 and N500 notes on that day and were unable to load the N200 as the ATMs had not yet been configured to dispense N200 notes.

“At the time of the visit, the subsisting instruction was that the newly designed notes were not to be dispensed over the counter.

“All our ATMs have been dispensing the available quantities of the N1000 and N500 denominations of the newly designed currency as received since the commencement of the policy. We have also successfully reconfigured our ATMs nationwide to dispense N200 notes.

“All denominations can now be withdrawn from our ATMs and over the counter in line with regulatory pronouncement on February 2, 2023.

“We hereby confidently assure the public that the branch was not hoarding any funds and that Sterling remains at the forefront of ensuring that this exercise is a resounding success.

“Together, we will all overcome this inconvenience and come out stronger.”

Fear of attacks

Meanwhile, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has again called on the security agencies to ensure the safety and security of banks’ staff and property.

Its  President, Mr Olusoji Oluwole, in a statement on Saturday, made the call, while condemning recent attacks on some financial institutions, destruction of equipment, and damage to their buildings.

Oluwole,  in a statement on Saturday, expressed worry over such attacks endangering the lives of the union’s members and other staff of banks.

“We strongly condemn this act which is borne out of the propaganda against banks as the sole cause of the inability of the public to have access to cash across the country.

“We have seen a few videos of bank branches allegedly hoarding cash in their vaults.

“While we do not hold brief for these isolated cases or condone any verified bad behaviour, we expect that the same sources of these videos to also project the many locations that have continued to provide cash to customers or have empty vaults due to the unavailability of cash.

“Unfortunately, we do not deem it security conscious for us to share videos or pictures of our vaults with the public as professionals,” he said.

Oluwole said that bank workers had, in the past few weeks, worked tirelessly, everyday for long hours against the prescribed work hours.

According to him, such sacrifice is to ensure customers are able to deposit their old currency notes and make the new ones available for withdrawals at Automated Teller Machines.

“This exercise has taken its toll on their health, work life balance, and families while being faced daily with the fear of physical assaults by irate customers.

“While we assure the public of our commitment to ensure their pain is ameliorated, we appeal for calm and understanding at this time as we call on the security agencies to ensure the safety and security of our lives and bank property.

“We are not saboteurs, but are professionals who follow and implement policies of regulators and will never be engaged in any act that will bring our institutions or persons to disrepute,” Oluwole said.

Despite CBN’s directive, sales of Naira note persist as economy bites hard

…POS operators charge over 25 per cent

Following the rising demand by Nigerians and scarcity across the country, investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect as shown that sales of Naira notes continue to persist, despite CBN’s directives as the economy bites hard.

This is even as some PoS operators alleged that bank officials sell cash (both old and new Naira notes) to them depending on the amount withdrawn.

Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele had, while disclosing the extension of the swap of the old notes till February 10 by President Muhammadu Buhari, said the Apex bank would engage security agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to track those involved in the sale of the new Naira notes.

The scarcity of the new redesigned Naira notes had generated outcry in the past week in view of the January 31st deadline set by the CBN for the old notes to cease from being legal tender and their acceptance terminated.

The deadline had grounded economic activities till Sunday when the CBN Governor disclosed that President Buhari had approved the extension of the use of the old notes for transactions till February 10, while extending the timeline to revert all the notes back to the CBN till February 17.

Investigation by Nigerian NewsDirect shows many POS agents now charge high as 25 per cent on new Naira notes transactions while some charge 10 per cent to 15 per cent.

While many of the POS transaction point visited over the weekend had their shops locked because of shortage of cash, the few that operated imposed very huge charges on cash withdrawal over the weekend.

Our correspondent who visited Ikeja axis of Lagos state, report that POS agents charged N2,500 for withdrawal of N10,000 and N1,300 for withdrawal of N5,000.

Also, findings shows that some of the agents charge N1,500 for withdrawal of N10,000 across area of Lagos.

In Nyanya area of Abuja for instance which is about few kilometers to the city centre, many of the POS operators charged between N1,000 and N1,500 for withdrawal of N10,000, while for N5,000 withdrawal, the sum of between N500 and N700 was imposed as transaction charges.

Speaking to NewsDirect, a POS Operator, Jemima Yusuf said, “I went to the bank around 5:00am today to withdraw and spend so much time on the queues to get this cash and if after spending two or three hours on the queue and I’m only able to get few cash, you won’t expect me to give it out to customers without charging high.”

At Gwuzape area of Abuja, findings revealed that it costs a charge of about N2,000 to withdraw the sum of N10,000 considering their distance from the commercial areas.

A POS agent, Chinaza Okarafor said, “You will pity us if you had visited the bank too to get some cash this morning.

“At GT bank ATM, machine was only paying N10,000 per withdrawal, for anybody using another bank ATM card, it was dispensing only N5,000, therefore this justifies the charges on customers.”

Another customer at Garki area, Mr. Ekpo James disclosed that “there is shortage of cash here in Bwari because many of the banks’ ATM are not dispensing cash. The few ones that are working had plenty of queues. I am a businessman and it will not be profitable for me to do business in a manner that will make me incur loss.”

The Point Of Service (POS) operators in Rivers State have cashed on the situation to milk dry fellow Nigerians, in the name of currency scarcity.

About 10 POS centres in Port Harcourt and the operators were boldly charging N150 to N200 for every N1000 withdrawn.

As at Saturday, POS operators were still having a field day with charges as high as N700 for N3,000 withdrawal on the heels of the continued scarcity of the redesigned new Naira notes.

Speaking, one of the POS operators in Osogbo, Osun State, Comrade Abdulmojeed Adesola  over the weekend said that Naira notes policy has affected the POS business, stressing that some of the traders who are the main source of their cash for transactions are now cashless.

He further said that the scarcity of Naira notes has caused some operators to quit the business.

Adesola maintained that he charges N100 on N1000 due to the stress he always passed through before he can withdraw N20,000 after many hours in the queue at the ATM.

According to him, “The e-naira, and cashless policies that the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria introduced are not in favour of POS operators not only in Osun but the entire country because we are using cash for our business.

“There is cash scarcity everywhere because those that sell goods that most operators run to for money as at now they were cashless.

“As a POS owner if I want to open my container in a day, it is a must for me to wake up as early as 4:00AM to come down to the ATM to pick a number at the ATM queue. The money that I’m using to transport myself from my house at that hour to the queue is very high compared to the transport I’m using before.”

A young lady POS operator, who identified herself as Islamiyat said that she normally goes to bank as early as 5:30am to queue for cash withdrawal at the ATM.

She said that there are no profits in the POS business any longer due to the limitation of cash withdrawal from the ATM.

A middle-aged woman who is also a POS operator, Opeyemi said that she needs to visit different banks early morning to pick up numbers at the ATM.

According to her, “I do wake up early in the morning to visit banks to pick numbers and at least I do withdraw N40,000 daily for POS transactions and I charge N500 per N5,000.”

In Ogun State, finding shows that to withdrawal of N10,000 cost 1,000 Naira, N5,000 cost N500, while N1200 was charged for withdrawal of N13,000.

POS operators in Ifo LG who usually charge 100 for a withdrawal of N1000 now charge 200 for the same amount.

However, N400 for 2000, N600 for 6000 respectively.

It was gathered that the increase in POS charges is responsible for the growing outrage among residents of the area.

Also, In Ile-Ife, Miss Garuba Benedicta, a P.O.S operator said, the new Naira notes have been affecting her business because she could not withdraw money from banks, noting that she had been on an ATM queue for hours without withdrawing a kobo.

She said she has no money to give to customers, adding that she charged 200 on 1000 but others charged 3000, 2000 on 10,000, noting that this has reduced patronage as people now prefer withdrawal from ATM to POS.

“What we are doing presently is transfer and charge 400 for 10,000.”

Another POS operator, Mrs. Caroline Elusakin, of Ire Nigeria Limited, said she is charging as low as 100 in 2000, saying she wouldn’t want to use the opportunity of Naira scarcity to make money from an ordinary Nigerian but is contented with what she had.

They called on the government to resolve the Naira crisis in the country as this has been causing untold hardship for ordinary Nigerians.

Findings by NewsDirect in Sango Otta, business hub of Ogun State revealed that many of the Point of Sale (POS) operators claimed they had to use the “black market” to procure both the old and new notes, hence their resolve to charge unbelievable amounts as the transaction fee from individuals who are desperate and willing to withdraw cash.

Some of the point of sale operators charged as high as N800 as the transaction fee for N5,000 which is absurd considering the fact that N100 was the fee formerly requested for N5,000 as at two weeks ago.

In Sango, the cash scarcity has continued to impact negatively on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

Adetola Femi, a resident of Sango in anguish lamented on how he had to resort to paying N1500 as the transaction fee for N10,000 after spending the whole of his Friday at the bank.

In Kaduna State currently, many residents go to banks as early as 3:am, looking for opportunity to get money from ATM machine but all to no avail; some sleep in the bank with hope that the financial institution may do the needful, only to be disappointed at the end of the day.

While the search for Naira notes whether old or new without discrimination continues, POS operators continue to make it big.

For instance, in Narayi situated in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State, POS operators charge N200 upon collection of every N1000, while some that are considerate, collect N150 as charges for each N1000 cash collected.

The story is not different from Kaduna main town in Kaduna North and South Local Government Area, respectively where major businesses are taking place, with all complaining that despite the exorbitant charges from POS operators, the Naira notes are not available as they go from one POS point to the other without solution.

Speaking with a POS operator who pleaded anonymity, he said, “Where do you see cash? Even me right now don’t have money with me. I went to the bank very early, yet I met with crowd. At the end of the day, if you have the opportunity to withdraw as a POS operator, you are given only N20,000, is that one money that one can use for business?”

Asked where he gets the one he is using currently, he stressed, “Most times, I go to bigger POS shop to buy cash from them after which I come to start my own business too. Also, some of my friends that are into petty businesses I pleaded with them to give me their sales money while I make transfer for them but all these does not solve anything because everybody now wants to make transfer,” he added.

Another POS operator, Chineye said, “Nigeria is at it again. Even me, I’m afraid of giving out my cash so that myself and family won’t become stranded at the end of the day. Like you can see, I sell phone accessories. So it’s the cash I get from here that I’m giving out to people not even for the sake of profit but to assist people. For instance, when someone needs 10,000 I give the person N5,000 to reduce his or her plights at that moment and collect a charge fee of N500 but I don’t even have cash now because everybody is complaining, so most of my sales now is via transfer,” She noted.

In the same vein, a POS customer, Yakubu Musa when asked about his experiences said, “They deceived us to go and deposit our money. Now, we cannot have access to it again. When you go to the bank, it is a survival of the fittest.

“POS charges are too exorbitant but the truth is, you don’t even see the money with them too so you don’t have choice than to get it at whatever amount. I have checked more than three POS points but they don’t have cash. So it’s not also their fault but the situation we all found ourselves.”

The residents, therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to review the new policy so that Nigerians can go back to their normal businesses.

CBN to meet banks, Telcos on PoS withdrawal charges

Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will meet with deposit money banks (DMBs), mobile money operators, and telecommunications companies in the coming days to address the excess withdrawal charges by Point of Sale (PoS) operators in the country.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated this while briefing the media on the redesigned naira on Saturday in Lagos.

He said, “We have also noticed that some Nigerians are capitalising on the transition to charge exorbitant fees or demand cash payment on the false pretext that PoS doesn’t work, especially at petrol stations.

“These selfish actions for personal monetary gain are creating hardship for Nigerians and may come at the expense of fellow citizens’ lives and livelihood.”

The CBN Governor said the apex bank might review upward the daily withdrawal limit from N20,000 in the future.

Emefiele urged Nigerians to remain calm and show more understanding as the country transits from old to new naira notes.

He revealed that the CBN was collaborating with the entire financial ecosystem including the DMBs, other financial institutions, MMOs, Super Agents, Microfinance Banks, Payment System Providers, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and other law enforcement agents to ensure that Nigerians have a variety of options for financial transactions either through electronic channels or in exceptional circumstances, cash.

Emefiele added, “We are mindful of the challenges some citizens have faced and are addressing them. There have been reports of occasional failures in e-channel platforms.

“Our monitoring suggests that whilst there has been an expected surge in electronic transactions, these have not risen to unprecedented levels and the payment system is well equipped to handle even higher transaction volumes.

“Whilst transaction failures are bound to occasionally occur, the public is encouraged to have full confidence in Nigeria’s globally recognised payment system infrastructure. Banks have also been instructed to ensure 24/7 service availability and promptly address any customer refunds arising from such service failures.

“We call on all Nigerians to be calm, law-abiding, and considerate of their fellow citizens (particularly the vulnerable and weak) in the conduct of their affairs as we execute this policy of national significance.

“As with all far-reaching consequential policies, there is a transition period during which short-term hiccups will be inevitably experienced but eventually overcome.”

Entrepreneurs count losses over scarcity of new Naira notes

According to Dr Solomon Vongfa, the National President of Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI), the redesigning of the Naira is actually a good policy but the implementation came at the wrong time.

Vongfa, who expressed concern that the Naira scarcity was adversely affecting commercial activities in the country urged the Federal Government to quickly address the situation.

He said that businesses of most members of the association were going down thus bringing hardship to them.

“Also, the time limit they gave for the exchange of the money has brought untold hardship on Nigerians, people are fighting on the queue as they can’t withdraw their money.

“It is not a palatable thing. It has really affected a lot of people as so many businesses are down because of this situation.

“Some people may not be able to recover from this experience that they have had because many businesses are shut down.

“These are people who depend on daily activities to get small money but they are finding it very difficult. Some of them do not have bank accounts.

“For those who have bank accounts, you may say after the storm they will still go back to their banks and get back their money but people who depend on daily activities to run their business using cash may not survive it,” he said.

Vongfa, however, urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to intensify efforts to ensure that money circulates to all parts of the country through the POS.

While expressing concern that some people use the opportunity to cash out, Vongfa urged the Federal Government to provide the needed technology that would enhance electronic cash transfer.

According to him, the infrastructure to run this thing is not as available as expected, so transferring is a problem. The network is already cloned because a lot of people are on it.

“It is not an easy one and even to see the cash is also another problem, the people who manage to get it take advantage as a business and start marketing it,” he said.

Similarly, Dr Abdulrasheed Yerima, the National President, Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) said that the scarcity of the Naira notes has much negative impact on the operations of SMEs in the country.

“We cannot fend for some of our needs and at the same time most of our Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) cannot pay their staff, especially the casual workers.

“More so, there are no banks and poor network coverage where they are operating, therefore, they cannot operate optimally.

“Some of them don’t have accounts, especially those in the rural areas and some of them cannot afford a smart phone to enable an electronic transfer.

“Their businesses depend on daily activities in the rural areas and they are also battling with the issue of power supply, so it is a lot of stress for them and it is affecting their businesses negatively,” Yerima said.

He urged the Federal Government to allow the continuous use of the old naira notes while also allowing for a gradual phasing out of the notes.

CBN needs to address scarcity – CPPE

In a swift response to the sales of Naira notes, the Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Dr Muda Yusuf said that these are consequences of scarcity, in any system.

He said, “Once you increase scarcity, all manners of practices will emerge.”

Yusuf said, “You now create a black market, you create hoarding, you create all sort of problems.

“So what has happened is that, the CBN has not addressed the problem of scarcity, the CBN has not dropped the thing they have mopped up to N2trn. How much have they given back? That is where the problem is coming from.

“If you mop up N2.1 trillion, How much did you give back to those people who gave you the money?

“You can’t promote cashless policy by sitting on people’s money. That is not the way it is done.

“You told people that you are doing cash drop, if I collect N1 million from David, I should be able to give back N1 million, so that you will continue your business.

“If you now want to say that you want to bring it back, you bring it back on your own at your own volition.

“You can’t bring your N1 million to me, I will sit on it and now ask you to go to counter and be collecting N20,000, money that you are using to do business. So, my own position is that unless you compel the CBN to address this supply issue, this problem will not go away.

“No matter how many battalions of army or police or DSS you send out it is not going to go away. We need to address the problem of scarcity of the currency note, so that’s my view.

“You should give it back to the people and if you don’t have the new note, give them back old notes and extend this thing and let them continue their business.”

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Hardship: FG kicks off N100bn consumer credit scheme

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…Civil servants to benefit in first phase

By Grace Olatundun

The Federal Government of  Nigeria has kicked  off the N100 billion Consumer Credit Scheme for Nigerians as a tool to alleviate the escalating economic hardship in the country.

In a press statement on Wednesday by the President’s spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, he disclosed that interested Nigerians are expected to visit the portal of Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation before May 15, 2024.

The President noted that the “consumer credit serves as the lifeblood of modern economies, enabling citizens to enhance their quality of life by accessing goods and services upfront, paying responsibly over time. It facilitates crucial purchases, such as homes, vehicles, education, and healthcare, which are essential for ongoing stability and the pursuit of their aspirations.

“Individuals build credit histories through responsible repayment, unlocking more opportunities for a better life. The increased demand for goods and services also stimulates local industry and job creation.”

The President stated further that every hardworking Nigerian should have access to social mobility, with consumer credit playing a pivotal role in achieving this vision.

“The Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) achieves its mandate through the following: Strengthening Nigeria’s credit reporting systems and ensuring every economically active citizen has a dependable credit score. This score becomes personal equity they build, facilitating access to consumer credit, Offering credit guarantees and wholesale lending to financial institutions dedicated to broadening consumer credit access today and Promoting responsible consumer credit as a pathway to an improved quality of life, fostering a cultural shift towards growth and financial responsibility.

“In line with the President’s directive to expand consumer credit access to Nigerians, the Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CREDICORP) has launched a portal for Nigerians to express interest in receiving consumer credit.

“This initiative, in collaboration with financial institutions and cooperatives nationwide, aims to broaden consumer credit availability.

“Working Nigerians interested in receiving consumer credit can visit www.credicorp.ng to express interest. The deadline is May 15, 2024.

“The scheme will be rolled out in phases, starting with members of the civil service and cascading to members of the public,” the statement read.

Recall that two months ago, a presidential spokesman, Bayo Onanuga, announced that the Federal Executive Council had given the nod for the establishment of the Consumer Credit Scheme.

He said the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, will lead a committee that includes the Budget Minister, Attorney-General, and Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance to make the scheme a reality.

In March, the Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service Chairman, Zacch Adedeji, said the Nigerian government would unveil its proposed N100 billion consumer credit loan in a few days.

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EFCC goes after PtoP operators, hands over 14 forfeited properties to Enugu Govt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes  Commission (EFCC) has commenced a clampdown on users of Peer to Peer platforms for foreign exchange transactions.

Speaking at a meeting with media executives in Abuja on Tuesday, Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede disclosed that the EFCC,  in its bid to ensure the safety and stability of the foreign exchange market, has uncovered a new fraudulent scheme called P to P (peer to peer) trading scheme.

The platform, according to him, is operating outside  the official banking and financial corridors with more than 300 (three hundred) accounts linked to it already frozen by the EFCC.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to the economic growth and development of the country,  promising that the EFCC would not relent in the exercise of its mandate.

He also revealed that the Commission has recovered more than N120 billion from fraudsters within six months and secured more than 1300 convictions.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has also handed over 14 properties initially forfeited to the Federal government to the government of Enugu State.

The transfer of the properties to Enugu State governor, Dr Peter Mba was performed by the EFCC Chairman at the corporate headquarters of the Commission.

Speaking before the brief handover ceremony, Olukoyede who disclosed that the road to the forfeiture dated back to 2007, stated that event spoke of the mutually beneficial relationship  existing  between the federal government and states.

“What we are witnessing today testifies to a symbiotic relationship that should exist between the federal government and the state governments. The essence of our meeting here today is for us to handover properties that were forfeited to the federal government, which of course belong to Enugu State people back to the people. It shows that governance can work in Nigeria. Our people deserve the benefits of good governance and that is what is being evidenced here today.”

Speaking further, he said, “If you look at the history of this particular matter, it takes us back to 2007 when we started the prosecution. So we are looking at about 17 years since the matter has been on.

“Eventually some of the properties were forfeited and since then, the EFCC has been managing those properties even though the titles of quite a number of the properties have been revoked by the Enugu State government. What we are witnessing here today is the official handing over of the properties to the people of Enugu State through His Excellency, Dr Peter Mba,” Olukoyede said.

Earlier in his remarks, Governor Ubah expressed gratitude for the  handover and thanked the EFCC chair and the Commission for ensuring that the people of his state reclaimed their common patrimony.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude for the event we are witnessing today. The importance and significance of this event can never be lost on us and we do not also take it for granted.

“So I want to take this opportunity to convey my profound gratitude and deep appreciation to the chairman and members of the EFCC team that have brought us to where we are today.

“This is a journey that began several years ago and we are marking a formal closure to that journey here today.  A journey that saw the successful prosecution of certain companies in possession of assets belonging to the people of Enugu State.”

The Governor who noted that the properties were forfeited not to his state but to the federal government expressed gratitude to President Bola Tinubu for making it possible for them to be returned to the government and people of Enugu State.

“Those assets were forfeited to the federal government. And this brings me to another gratitude that I want to convey here today. I want to acknowledge and recognise the important role played by the President, His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“Without the proactiveness and speed at which he acted on our request to cede these assets back to the people and government of Enugu State, we wouldn’t have been here today. So I want to thank him most sincerely for granting our request for these assets that were forfeited to the federal government to be ceded back to Enugu State.”

He lauded Olukoyede’s initiatives at making the EFCC a strong institution and cautioned against attempts by some individuals to distract the Commission.

“I will not end this remark without acknowledging the work the EFCC chairman is doing in strengthening this very important institution. It is important that we do not weaken our institutions.

“Whatever we do in governance is transient. So I want to commend him for the efforts he is making in ensuring that this very important institution, the EFCC is strengthened. Thank you very much for all the great work you and your team are doing and particularly for the effort that you have put in to make today a reality,” the Governor stated.

The properties comprise houses, transmission equipment for radio and television stations, a building for medical operations, among others.

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MRS considers voluntary delisting from NGX, to hold EGM

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The management of MRS Oil Nigeria Plc is considering voluntary delisting from the Nigerian Exchange.

The company has called for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to make the decisions on the share buyback and voluntary delisting.

The EGM is scheduled to hold at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe Avenue, Victoria Island, Lagos, on May 21, 2024, at 11:00 am according to a corporate disclosure made by the company.

The corporate disclosure reads that the company will meet to transact the following special business:

“To consider, and if thought fit, pass, with or without modification, the following sub-joined resolutions as special resolutions:

“That the voluntary delisting of all the Company’s issued shares from the daily official list of Nigerian Exchange Limited (the ‘Voluntary Delisting’) be and is hereby approved on such terms and conditions (including but not limited to the timing of implementation, arrangements for dissenting shareholders (if any) and the fulfilment of specific conditions precedent to effectiveness (if any), that the Board of Directors of the Company deems appropriate in connection with the Voluntary Delisting; and subject to obtaining all requisite regulatory approvals.

 ”That the Memorandum and Articles of Association (“MemArts”) of the Company be and are hereby amended to authorize the Company to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction.

“That the Company be and is hereby authorised to undertake a share buyback and share capital reduction in connection with any of its issued shares that may be purchased from dissenting shareholders where necessary as a consequence of the Voluntary Delisting; on such terms and conditions, in such volumes and at such times as the Board deems fit; subject to, and in accordance with, applicable laws and regulations.

“That the company’s MemArts be amended upon completion of the share buyback and share capital reduction to reflect the updated share capital.

“That upon conclusion of the Voluntary Delisting, and whilst the Company remains a public limited liability company, the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such action as may be required to admit the Company’s shares on the NASD OTC Securities Exchange to ensure that dealings in the Company’s shares are implemented in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Rules on Trading in Unlisted Securities.

“That the Board be and is hereby authorised to take all such lawful actions and steps (including but not limited to entering into/executing such agreements and documents, appointing professional advisers and other parties, and complying with directives of any regulatory authority) deemed necessary to give full effect to the above-referenced resolutions.

“That the Company Secretary be and is hereby authorised to make all such filings, take all necessary lawful actions and/or steps to give effect to the above-referenced resolutions and comply with all relevant regulatory requirements.

“A member of the Company entitled to attend and vote at the EGM is entitled to appoint a proxy in his/her/its stead. A proxy need not be a member of the Company. It is important to ensure that all proxy documents are properly stamped by the Commissioner of Stamp Duties and deposited at the Registrar’s Office, First Registrars and Investor Services before the EGM commences.”

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