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Quickteller Paypoint celebrates agents to mark CSW



By Kayode Tokede

Quickteller Paypoint, the agency banking service of Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS), has joined the rest of the world to celebrate this year’s customer service week themed “Power of service” by recognising 40 transacting agents in October across four different regions in Nigeria.

The agents drawn from Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan and Port-Harcourt were celebrated for their excellent service delivery and constant dedication to ensuring customers were spared the stress of visiting banking halls to execute financial transactions.

The event was billed to recognise the importance of customer service as well as show appreciation to Quickteller Paypoint agents who have been consistent in providing outstanding services.

This year’s Customer Service Week theme – The Power of Service highlights the importance of customer service and the people who serve and support customers daily. It also encompasses all that Interswitch stands for as its core values – Innovation, Customer Success, Individual and team efficiency and Ethical Conduct.

Speaking at the event, Titilola Shogaolu, Divisional CEO at IFIS, said the event was an auspicious moment to celebrate the company’s agents and appreciate their commitment.

“We are seizing this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to ensuring excellence in our services and products to our agents and their customers. The theme for this year’s customer service week echoes the outstanding impact their services had during the coronavirus pandemic period.

“Despite the lockdown, our agents evolved and became reliable and secure touchpoints for customers who were often stressed and anxious about visiting banking halls. We celebrate every one of them. We are grateful that they chose Quickteller Paypoint.”

Shogaolu also expressed her gratitude to the agents for their consistency and loyalty over the years. She said that the firm fully recognizes the power of customers and their services.

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to provide you with our services and products. We don’t take your support and consistency for granted. We will continue to focus on delivering the very best products and services to meet your current and future financial needs,” she said.

She also seized the opportunity to elaborate on some of Quickteller Paypoint’s future plans. She explained that Quickteller Paypoint is on the right course in establishing itself as the preferred financial inclusion service in the hearts of existing and potential agents.

“Our long-term objective is to build a fully integrated digital (electric) power-as-a-service (PaaS) network that is able to develop and deliver a range of services alongside our power distribution infrastructure. We also look forward to rolling out more sub-agents as our network of projects expand. This is truly at the core of our essence and how we wish to be primarily recognized always,” she added.

One of the agents, Oladimeji Kazeem, expressed his profound gratitude to Quickteller Paypoint for creating a platform where he can make a source of living as well as live the life of his dreams. He revealed that he won an all-expense-paid trip to Dubai, courtesy of Quickteller Paypoint.

Across all the locations, agents were treated to lots of gifts and were awarded plaques of excellence. The awardees comprised of10 agents from Lagos, and 10 agents each from Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

Money market

Naira continues to weaken as black market exchange rate reaches N1165/$1



By Sodiq Adelakun

In the latest developments in the foreign exchange market, the black market exchange rate for the Dollar to Naira, also known as the parallel market or Aboki fx, has been reported.

According to sources from Bureau De Change (BDC) yesterday, players in the Lagos Parallel Market are purchasing a dollar for N1162 and selling it at N1165.

It is important to note that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) does not officially recognise the parallel market and advises individuals engaging in Forex transactions to approach their respective banks.

The CBN’s official exchange rate for the Dollar to Naira stands at a buying rate of 952 and a selling rate of 953.

However, it is crucial to keep in mind that these rates may vary based on market dynamics and individual transactions.

Therefore, individuals are advised to check with their banks for the most accurate and up-to-date rates. Several factors influence foreign exchange rates, including inflation rates, interest rates, government debt levels, speculative activities, and conditions of trade.

Inflation plays a significant role in determining black market exchange rates, and stabilising the Nigerian economy and controlling inflation can contribute to the strengthening of the Naira against the Dollar.

Additionally, changes in interest rates can impact the economy and lead to a depreciation of the Naira. National debt levels also impact investor confidence and fund influx, which can favor the Naira in the exchange market.

Speculative activities and conditions of trade, such as trade deficits and sourcing products from various countries, also play a role in the exchange rate dynamics.

Meanwhile, individuals and businesses involved in foreign exchange transactions should stay informed about these factors and consult with their banks for the most accurate rates.

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Money market

UBA pledges $6bn to support SMEs in AfCFTA trade deal



United Bank for Africa (UBA), one of Nigeria’s leading lenders, has announced that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) worth $6 billion with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) secretariat.

The agreement aims to provide funding for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in order to help them take advantage of the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

The Head of SME Banking at UBA, Babatunde Ajayi, made this announcement during the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable, which took place in Lagos.

The roundtable, themed “Enabling Growth by Unlocking Access to Capital, Technology, And Markets,” was the second of its kind.

During a panel session at the event, Ajayi expressed concern about the low level of intra-African trade, which currently stands at less than 20 percent. In comparison, other continents have seen higher levels of trade between countries.

UBA’s partnership with the AfCFTA secretariat is expected to address this issue by providing financial support to SMEs. By unlocking access to capital, technology, and markets, UBA aims to empower these businesses and enable them to participate more actively in regional trade.

The AfCFTA, which came into effect on January 1, 2021, is a landmark agreement that aims to create a single market for goods and services across the African continent.

UBA’s commitment to supporting SMEs aligns with the broader goal of the AfCFTA, which seeks to promote inclusive and sustainable economic development across Africa.

Through this partnership, UBA aims to play a significant role in driving the growth and success of SMEs in Nigeria and beyond.

He said, “I’m the one driving the newly signed $6bn in partnership with the AfCFTA to fund SMEs across Africa. We are focusing on four sectors – Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals and Transport and Logistics.

“Across Africa, what we found is that these sectors have the highest potential for import substitution and those are the sectors we can easily make huge gains within Africa.”

On his part, the Director of Trade Promotion at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sunny Omeiza said energy, access to finance and multiple taxation have continued to constitute an albatross for SMEs.

He added that the high cost of production in Nigeria had made the prices of commodities produced by Nigerian SMEs not competitive with the prices of products imported from other countries.

In her welcome address, the Chairperson of the NCBA, Ebi Obaro noted that the three pillars of access to capital, technology, and markets provide essential guidance for SMEs navigating the intricacies of the global economy.

She said, “Technology is drastically changing the future of business and holds a lot of potential for small and medium-sized enterprises. Our goal is to explore the many ways in which we can harness technology to improve efficiency and productivity in businesses in both Nigeria and Canada.”

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Money market

CBN to freeze bank accounts without BVN, NIN from March 2024



By Sodiq Adelakun

Starting from March 1, 2024, individuals holding Tier-1 bank accounts and wallets in Nigeria will be required to have either the Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identity Number (NIN), or both.

This announcement was made by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, emphasising the importance of these identification numbers in the banking sector.

The CBN further warned that any funded accounts or wallets without BVN or NIN after the deadline will be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit,” and no further transactions will be permitted.

This move is aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in the banking industry, as well as reducing the risk of fraud and money laundering.

Also, the CBN has mandated that all BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts or wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024.

The implementation of this policy is expected to have a significant impact on the banking sector, as it will encourage more Nigerians to obtain their BVN or NIN and promote financial inclusion. It will also help to strengthen the country’s financial system and improve the overall economy.

The apex bank addressed to all commercial, merchant, non-interest and payment service banks; as well as Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), and mobile money operators, which was signed jointly by the CBN Director, Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.

The apex bank noted that henceforth, all existing customer accounts or wallets for individuals with validated BVN shall be profiled in the NIBSS Industry Customer Account Database (ICAD) immediately and within 24 hours of opening accounts/wallets.

The circular highlighted key amendments to Section 1.5.3 of the Regulatory Framework for Bank Verification Number (BVN) Operations and Watch-List for the Nigerian Banking Industry (The Guidelines).

The central bank said the development was part of its effort in promoting financial system stability by strengthening the Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures in financial institutions under its purview.

Among other requirements, the CBN said it remained mandatory for Tiers 2 and 3 accounts and wallets for Individual accounts to have BVN and NIN.

It stated that the process for account opening shall commence by electronically retrieving BVN or NIN related information from the NIBSS’ BVN or NIMC’s NIN databases and for same to become the primary information for onboarding of new customers.

The CBN also ordered for the immediate implementation of the new policy, stressing that no new Tier-1 accounts and wallets should be opened without BVN or NIN.

Also, for all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN, the CBN said effectively, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on “Post No Debit or Credit” until the new process is satisfied.

In order to ensure consistent and complete adherence to the new procedures, the CBN has instructed Executive Compliance Officers, Chief Compliance Officers, and Heads of Compliance Functions to familiarise themselves with the applicable Guidance Notes for all institutions regulated by the CBN.

The CBN will conduct a thorough audit of BVN and NIN records, and any violations discovered will be met with appropriate penalties.

Furthermore, the CBN has advised all financial institutions under its supervision to strictly comply with restrictions on Tier-1 accounts/wallets, including transaction value limits and cumulative balances.

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