Ex-CBN Deputy Governor, Mailafia Is Dead

 

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia is dead.

He died at the age of 64.

The family lawyer, Mr Yakubu Bawa, confirmed the news to Channels Television on Sunday morning.

He said Dr Mailafia died in the early hours of the day in Abuja.

Read Also: Angry Residents In Sokoto Community Set Ablaze Six Suspected Bandits

According to Mr Bawa, Dr. Mailafia’s death followed a brief illness.

Apart from working with the apex bank, Dr Mailafia was a renowned Public Affairs Analyst and he was the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress in the 2019 presidential election.

He hails from Kaduna State.

The deceased is survived by his wife.

FG To Clamp Down On ‘Aboki FX’ Website Over Exchange Rate

A file photo showing the CBN headquarters in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

The Federal Government through its bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday said it will shut down the operations of ‘Aboki FX’ over its posting of exchange rates.

‘Aboki FX’ is a website that provides currency exchange information, which the apex bank has described as an illegal platform.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated this after the Monetary policy committee’s two-day meeting in Abuja, revealing plans to arrest and prosecute the owner of the platform, Olusegun Oniwinde.

Emefiele accused Oniwinde of sabotaging Nigeria’s economy, vowing that Nigerian government would collaborate with other security agencies to track him down.

“I have given instructions to our experts to go after his website and let it be clear that we will go after him because we can’t allow this to continue,” he said.

“There was a particular time I asked our colleagues to find the so-called owner of ‘Aboxi FX’ that we want to engage him to understand his module, his basis and how he came about advertising those rates.

“We find him as a Nigerian who lives in England and conducts this nefarious and criminal activity on our economy. It is an economic sabotage and we will pursue him. Where ever he is, we will report him to international security agencies. Mr Oniwinde, we will find you!”

The CBN boss also decried the security challenges in the country, lamenting that Bureau de Change operators were encouraging kidnapping, banditry and terrorism though the sale of FOREX.

READ ALSO: CBN Cannot Continue Selling Dollars To People Who Buy Arms – Emefiele

He, however, noted that the apex bank will not continue to sell FOREX to people who purchase arms to hurt Nigerians.

According to Emefiele, the financial markets regulator is determined to eliminate the activities of illegal FOREX traders.

Speaking further, the CBN boss restated that the apex bank is the only national bank in the world that will dip its hand in the country’s reserve to sell foreign exchange to Bureau de Change operators in the market.

“Nobody ever mentions the rate of Bureau de Change in the city of London. It really beats my imagination that Nigeria carried on with this kind of practice that tended to support illegal activities of people who are involved in graft and corrupt practices,” the CBN boss added.

“We have supported the activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country and go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them into the country to commit crimes.

“We, the Central Bank, take our country’s dollars and sell to people to buy arms and ammunition to come and hurt us. That is what we are saying that people want us to do, we cannot do that any longer.”

Thirteen Days To Launch Of E-Naira, Here Are Six Things You Should Know

A screen grab of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

 

In June 2021, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced plans to launch a digital currency dubbed the ‘e-Naira’ by October 2021, joining  81 countries strongly considering digital currencies.

The CBN’s decision followed two years of contemplation on digital currency technology. Additionally, the CBN’s intention to achieve 80% financial inclusion by the end of 2021 is another motivation to launch digital money.

While there is much information about this digital currency which is soon to be launched, below are six things you should know about the nature of this innovation: 

It is purely digital.

The e-Naira would be a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) which means that while it is regulated by the CBN, it is a token that would only exist in digital and electronic form.

It is universally transferable.

The CBDC would be eligible for local and international transfers with little to no time lag and cheaper transaction fees than physical currencies. Also, it would allow you to transfer existing funds in your bank to your digital currency account.

It has a myriad of economic advantages

With the e-Naira, Nigerians can engage in easier cross-border trade, as well as enjoy a cheaper and faster inflow of remittances. Also, a digital currency would provide more financial opportunities for Nigerians as they would be able to create new business opportunities and financial products and services. 

According to the CBN, another perk of the e-Naira is a reduction in the cost of operations and cash management. It would also leave a clearer footprint of digital transactions, making it easier for financial institutions to track transactions.

Read Also: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Drops Further To 17.01% In August – NBS Report

Financial Institutions would still be relevant

The digital currency would be implemented through a two-tiered model which would enable a structure that leaves room for public-private partnership. Just like the physical currency, the CBN will design the e-Naira but disseminate it through regulated financial institutions, which would then provide digital cash to individuals and businesses.

It’s not a Cryptocurrency

While all cryptocurrencies are digital currencies, it is important to note that not all digital currencies are cryptocurrencies. The e-Naira would be regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria, but cryptocurrencies are not regulated by any government.

Implementation is on track

A recent development in the process of implementing digital currency is the selection of a technical fintech partner, Bitts Inc. After a thorough selection process, as prescribed by the Nigeria Public Procurement Act, Bitts Inc. emerged as a partner to the CBN for this innovative project.

Bitts Inc. prioritises the creation of payment systems that ensures an increase in social inclusion, financial inclusion and overall sustainable economic growth; the excellence in their operation methods has earned them acknowledgment from the Bretton Woods Institutions – IMF/World Bank. This is one of the reasons the CBN enlisted them for this crucial exercise.

Also, the company was the first fintech to digitize a national currency on a blockchain by creating a synthetic CBDC with the support of the Governor, Central Bank of Barbados and the country’s Minister of Finance.

As Nigeria counts down to her 61st Independence Day celebration, citizens can look forward to the start of a digital era where the CBN prioritises making financial operations more citizen-centric.

According to the Geo-economics Centre, the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and Gernada are five countries that have fully launched digital currencies; if things go according to plan, Nigeria will be amongst them.

CBN Cannot Continue Selling Dollars To People Who Buy Arms – Emefiele

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it cannot continue to sell dollars to people who purchase arms to hurt Nigerians.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated this on Friday after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which was held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Emefiele explained that the financial markets regulator is determined to eliminate the activities of illegal FOREX traders.

Read Also: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Drops Further To 17.01% In August – NBS Report

According to him, the CBN remains the only national bank in the world that will dip its hand in the country’s reserve to sell dollars to Bureau de Change operators in the market.

“Nobody ever mentions the rate of Bureau de Change in the city of London. It really beats my imagination that Nigeria carried on with this kind of practice that tended to support illegal activities of people who are involved in graft and corrupt practices,” he said.

“We have supported the activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country and go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them into the country to commit crimes.

“We, the Central Bank, take our country’s dollars and sell to people to buy arms and ammunition to come and hurt us. That is what we are saying that people want us to do, we cannot do that any longer.”

CBN MPC Retains Rates At 11.5%

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Monetary Policy Committee has maintained its key lending rate at 11.5 per cent, with the asymetric corridor of +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

At the end of its two-day bi-monthly meeting on Friday, the MPC also retained the cash reserve ratio at 27.5 per cent, and liquidity ratio at 30 per cent, in line with analysts’ expectation.

This comes as the latest report from the National Bureau of Statistics show that Nigeria’s inflation moderated for the fifth consecutive month to 17.01 per cent in August.

Read Also: Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Drops Further To 17.01% In August – NBS Report

At its last meeting in July, the CBN MPC voted to hold all policy parameters constant, believing that it would enable the continued passage of current policy measures in supporting the growth recovery recorded in the second quarter and macro-economic stability.

CBN Warns Microfinance Banks Against FOREX Transactions

File photo

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has cautioned microfinance banks in the country to stop engaging in foreign exchange transactions and other unauthorised dealings.

The apex bank stated this on Friday in a circular titled ‘Cessation of Non-Permissible Activities by Microfinance Banks’ issued by Ibrahim Tukur from the CBN’s Financial Policy and Regulation Department.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has observed the activities of some Microfinance Banks (MFBs) that have gone beyond the remit of their operating licenses by engaging in non-permissible activities especially wholesale banking, foreign exchange transactions and others,” the circular read.

“Given the comparatively low capitalisation of MFBs, dealing in wholesale and/or foreign exchange transactions are a significant risk with dire consequences for financial system stability.

“It has, therefore, become imperative to remind all MFBs to strictly comply with the extant Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines for Microfinance Banks in Nigeria 2012 (the Guidelines).”

Based on the remit of microfinance banks, they are strictly prohibited from foreign exchange transactions, according to the CBN.

Consequently, microfinance banks that deal in forex transactions risk sanctions.

“The CBN will continue to monitor developments in the MFB sector and apply severe regulatory sanctions for breaches of extant regulations, including revoking the license of non-compliant MFBs (in line with Section 19 of the Guidelines),” the apex bank said.

Microfinance banks are meant to focus primarily on providing financial services to retail and micro-clients.

The CBN insisted that micro-credit and retail transactions carried out by MFBs are limited to N500,000 per transaction for Tier 2 Unit, and N1,000,000 for other categories.

Micro-credit facilities shall constitute a minimum of 80 percent of the total loans portfolio for MFBs, it added.

 

CBN Warns Against Naira Abuse, Threatens To Prosecute Offenders

A file photo of naira notes.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned Nigerians against abusing naira notes, especially at social gatherings.

Acting Director of Corporate Communications at the apex bank, Osita Nwanisobi, gave the warning in a statement on Tuesday.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has again been drawn to the activities of persons, who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions,” he said.

“There have also been cases where people mishandle the naira, deface it, hawk the currency at parties and reject the currency in some instances.

“It should be stated that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is neither cultural nor moral, for people to disrespect the currency which citizens trade in.”

The abuse of legal tender is common during social gatherings such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals where people spray naira notes to rejoice with celebrants.

This has now become a major source of concern for the nation’s financial regulator which says it will prosecute offenders in accordance with the law.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (as amended) stipulates that ‘spraying of, dancing or matching on the naira or any note issued by the bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the naira or such note, and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both,” Nwanisobi stated.

According to him, the apex bank is collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to tackle the trend.

The CBN spokesman, therefore, warned Nigerians, especially those at social functions to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.

He described naira notes as Nigeria’s legal tender and symbol of national pride that must be respected and handled with care.

‘This Is Unsustainable’: Again, Sanusi Calls For Removal Of Subsidy

 

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido has again defended calls for the removal of subsidy on petroleum products.

He spoke at a colloquium to mark his 60th birthday in Kaduna on Saturday.

Sanusi, who was a former Emir of Kano, said payment of subsidy on petroleum products is unsustainable.

“Many years ago, when I was screaming about the trillions being spent on fuel subsidy, I remember there was actually an attempt to attack my house in Kano. I was in the Central Bank. Where are we today? We are face to face with the reality that this [fuel subsidy] is unsustainable,” the economist and banker explained during the event.

Nigeria spends over ₦100 billion monthly on subsidy, a development Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed confirmed at a public consultative forum on the draft 2022-2024 medium-term expenditure framework/ fiscal strategy paper (MTEF/FSP).

“We have a situation wherein a month, the subsidy costs as much as ₦150 billion,” she said at the event held in July. 

“That means NNPC has to use that amount to pay for buying the PMS and distributing it across the country.”

But Sanusi believes that subsidy should have been removed several years ago.

“And when the decision is taken,” he added, “it will even be more painful and much more difficult than if we had taken it 10 years ago or five years ago.”

Paying The Price

A file photo Lamido Sanusi II.

 

Sanusi also attributed the rising cost of living to the increased level of insecurity and poverty in Nigeria 

“It is a price we see in increased poverty, it is a price we see in insecurity, it is a price we see in the high rate of inflation, it is a price we see in the loss of the value of our currency, it is a price we see in the numbers around malnutrition, around unemployment, around out of school children, maternal mortality and infant mortality.”

Moves by past governments to remove subsidy on petroleum products – introduced in the ‘70s – have met stiff opposition and generated heated debates among Nigerians. 

CBN Bans Sale Of Foreign Exchange To BDC Operators

A file photo of the CBN Headquarters in Abuja.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced an end to the weekly allocation and sale of foreign exchange to Bureau De Change (BDC) operators in the country.

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, made the announcement on Tuesday while briefing reporters on the outcomes of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“In total disregard of the difficulty that the (apex) bank is facing in meeting its mandate of maintaining the country’s foreign exchange reserves to safeguard the value of the naira, we have continued to observe that stakeholders in some of the sub-sectors have not been helpful in this direction,” he lamented.

Emefiele added, “In particular, we have noted with disappointment and great concerns that our Bureau De Change operators have abandoned the original objective of their establishment which was to serve retail end users who need $5,000 or less.

“Instead, they have become (illegal) wholesale dealers in foreign exchange to the tune of millions of dollars per transaction.”

He accused the BDC operators of facilitating grafts, illicit financial flows, and money laundering in the country.

According to the CBN chief, the nation’s financial regulator will not hesitate to sanction any bank operating in the country found to be collaborating with BDC operators to facilitate illegal forex dealings.

He also accused international organisations, development finance organisations, and embassies of patronising BDC operators to fund local operations contravening Nigeria’s foreign exchange regulations.

“Despite the fact that Nigeria is the only country in the world today where a central bank sells dollars directly to Bureau De Change operators, operators in the Nigerian Bureau De Change segment have not reciprocated the bank’s gesture to help maintain price stability in that market.

“Given this behaviour, it is not surprising that since the CBN began to sell foreign exchange to Bureau De Change, the number of operators has risen from a mere 74 in 2005 to over 2,700 in 2016 – and almost 5,500 BDCs as of today (July 27, 2021),” Emefiele said.

CBN Restricts Sugar Importation To Dangote, Flour Mills And BUA

A file photo of sugar cubes.
A file photo of sugar cubes.

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Friday limited the importation of sugar into the country to three companies: Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, BUA Sugar Refinery Limited, and Golden Sugar Company, which is owned by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc.

According to the CBN, in a statement signed by its director of trade and exchange department, Ozoemena Nnaji, the three firms “have made reasonable progress in achieving backward integration” in the sugar sector.

Backward integration is when a company expands its role to fulfill tasks formerly completed by businesses up the supply chain.

It can be used to measure how much a company has invested in the development of a sector.

“The Federal Government of Nigeria under the National Sugar Development Council established the Nigerian Sugar Master Plan to encourage and incentivise sugar refining companies in their Backward Integration Programme (BIP) for local sugar production,” the CBN statement said.

“Accordingly, the underlisted three companies, who have made reasonable progress in achieving backward integration in the sector, shall only be allowed to import sugar into the country.

“BUA sugar refinery limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Golden Sugar Company.

“In view of the foregoing, authorised dealers shall not open Forms M or access foreign exchange in the Nigerian foreign exchange market for any company, including the three listed above for the importation of sugar without the prior and express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria as the bank is charged with the mandate of monitoring the implementation of the backward integration programs of all the companies.”

Emefiele Calls For More Collaboration Between Universities And Key Industry Players

 

The Governor of the Central bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has asked managers of higher institutions of learning in the country to draw knowledge from curricula that cater to the modern realities of the country.

Mr Emefiele made the call during the 51st convocation lecture of the University of Lagos on Tuesday where he was invited as the guest speaker on the topic: National Development And Knowledge Economy In The Digital Age: Leapfrogging SMEs Into the 21st Century.

The CBN boss harped on the need for an enhanced learning experience for students as well as fostered innovation amongst faculty and staff in schools across the country.

 

In his presentation, Mr Emefiele said: “enhanced collaboration between universities and players in key sectors of our economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and ICT are necessary to enable implementation of sound ideas generated from our universities. For instance, universities in most developing countries have little or no formal linkages to industry. This often arises from the implementation of training curricula that is irrelevant to the industry, thereby, resulting in the production of ill-equipped graduates.”

 

As one of the steps to addressing that challenge, Emefiele advocated collaboration between institutions of higher learning and industry key players in key sectors of the economy.

Mr Emefiele maintained that “the current economic situation in Nigeria requires an accelerated adoption of knowledge to drive our developmental goals. The fast pace of growth and innovation in the digital space along with the large and growing population of vibrant youths places Nigeria on a vantage position to harness these potentials for accelerated development.”

He beamed his light on advanced economies whom he affirmed had adopted technology-driven development models rather than the previously adopted traditional factors of production including labour and capital.

The CBN governor identified SMEs as the backbone of national and economic development which he said is due to their contributions to GDP through employment generation and poverty eradication.

He gave identified SMEs as accounting for close to 90 per cent of total enterprises in most countries. In a report which he said is from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, 98 per cent of Chinese firms are SMEs, contributing around 68 per cent to exports and a whopping 60 per cent to Chinese’s GDP while employing 75per cent of the Chinese workforce. The experiences of Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong are like China with about 90 per cent of their industries classified as SMEs.

In spite of the numerous benefits of the SMEs to economic development and job creation, limited access to finance, inadequate infrastructure and poor digital penetration were some of the challenges Mr Emefiele identified to be confronting it.

To tackle those challenges, the CBN boss revealed some of the interventions of the apex bank to include the provision of support to selected higher institutions in the country to enhance training and quality as well as development of finance interventions to support SMEs.

Other programmes of the bank include the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (SMECGS), Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Programme (YEDP); Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprises Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS). Others are the Entrepreneurship Development Centres (EDCs), National Collateral Registry(NCR), Creative Industry Financing Initiative (CIFI), Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) and the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).

Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund is another scheme through which Mr Emefiele said the CBN is channelling low-interest wholesale funds to the MSME segment.

So far, over N83.9 billion are reported to have been disbursed to 216,704 beneficiaries with a nine 9 per cent interest charge.

Former Vice presidential candidate, Pastor Tunde Bakare was the Chairman of the convocation lecture.

He advised graduating students to take up the attributes of respect for value, discipline, dedication, calculated risk, integrity and intelligence; attributes he said he learnt from his mother and have helped him through life.