Photos: #EndSARS Protesters Block CBN Headquarters Abuja

Photo: Channels Television/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

#EndSARS protesters on Sunday blocked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) headquarters, calling for an end to police brutality and extrajudicial killings. 

The protest which has lasted over 10 days is also holding in other parts of the country with the protesters vowing not to leave the streets until their demands are met.

Although the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu had disbanded the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) in the wake of the protests, the agitation has continued to gain traction across the country.

They have rejected the new tactical unit –  Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) –  formed by the police authorities to replace SARS, saying there is no difference between the former and the latter.

Below are photos of the protesters at the CBN headquarters in Abuja:

Photo: Channels Television/Sodiq Adelakun.

 

CBN Reduces Monetary Policy Rate To 11.5%

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria has cut the Monetary Policy Rate from 12.5 per cent to 11.5 per cent.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele announced this on Tuesday while presenting a communiqué after the two-day Monetary Policy Committee Meeting in Abuja.

The MPC, however, opted to retain the Cash Reserve Ratio at 27.5 per cent and the liquidity ratio at 30 per cent.

“In the face of declining economic growth and rise in inflation, committee faced a difficult set of policy choices requiring trade-offs and sequencing,” he said.

According to Emefiele, reducing the MPR will put pressure on the deposit money banks to lower cost of credit and the cheaper credit will improve demand, stimulate production, reduce unemployment and support the recovery of output growth.

PHOTOS: INEC Distributes Electoral Materials For Edo Poll

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on September 17, 2020 distributes sensitive materials for the Edo State governorship election slated for Saturday.

 

Less than 48 hours to the Edo State governorship election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun the distribution of sensitive electoral materials for the exercise.

Channels Television learned that the sensitive materials are kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria in Benin City, awaiting onward distribution.

There is also a heavy security presence comprising officials of the Nigeria Army, the Nigeria Police Force among others.

See Photos Below:

CBN Approves N200bn Housing Loan, Targets 900,000 Low-Income Earners, Children

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

 

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has okayed N200 billion as mortgage finance loan to Family Homes Fund (FHF) targeted at low-income earners. 

A statement on the apex bank’s website, Tuesday, indicated that the money will be used to build 300,000 homes in all states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and is expected to generate about 1.5 million jobs in five years.

“The programme will house up to 900,000 children and adults (at an average of 3 persons/home) on a low income with direct impact on health, education and economic outcomes,” the bank explained.

“Most of these would currently live in informal settlements with shared facilities in unsanitary environments. Towards targeting people on low-income level across the country.”

READ ALSO: Electricity Tariff Hike: Nigerians Will Understand Where We Are Going – Osinbajo’s Aide

To conserve foreign exchange, the CBN disclosed that the buildings will be constructed using about 90 per cent of locally sourced materials.

“In that regard, the programme will deliberately aim to revitalize local manufacture of construction materials including doors and windows, ironmongery, sanitary fittings, concrete products, tiles, glass, electrical fittings/fixtures and bricks etc,” it added.

“For example, it is estimated that the programme will require up to 1.7m doors, 7m door hinges and locks etc.”

Beneficiaries are expected to pay an interest rate of not more than 5.0% p.a. (all-inclusive).

The Framework shall be subject to review from time to time as may be
deemed necessary, the bank stated.

Solar Connection

On Monday, the Bank introduced a Solar Connection Intervention Facility to complement the Federal government’s scheme which aims at expanding energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of solar home systems or connection to a mini-grid.

According to the apex bank in its released guideline on Monday, the long term low-interest credit facility has a maximum limit of N500 million for pre-qualified home solar value chain players that include manufacturers and assemblers of solar components and off-grid energy retailers in the country.

CBN Creates N500m Solar Connection Intervention Facility For Manufacturers

CBN Reviews Capitalisation Of Tier 2 Microfinance Banks
A Logo Of CBN

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a Solar Connection Intervention Facility to complement the Federal government’s scheme which aims at expanding energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of solar home systems or connection to a mini-grid.

According to the apex bank in its released guideline on Monday, the long term low-interest credit facility has a maximum limit of N500 million for pre-qualified home solar value chain players that include manufacturers and assemblers of solar components and off-grid energy retailers in the country.

Recently, the Federal Government said that the initiative, under the Economic Sustainability Plan, will achieve a roll-out of five million new solar-based connections in communities that are not grid-connected.

The scheme, according to FG, is expected to generate an additional N7 billion increase in tax revenues per annum and $10 million in annual import substitution.

“The solar connection Scheme is a Federal government initiative whose objectives are to expanding energy access to 25 million individuals (5 million new connections) through the provision of solar home systems (SHS) or connection to a mini-grid; increasing local content in the off-grid solar value chain and facilitating the growth of the local manufacturing industry; and incentivizing the creation of 250,000 new jobs in the energy sector..”

The CBN stated that participants in the upstream sector which involves the manufacturing of solar components, establishment, and upgrade of solar manufacturing facilities, must demonstrate a track record of experience in manufacturing of key off-grid components up to the quality standards instituted by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and/or Standards Organizations of Nigeria (SON).

It maintained that the funding with a maximum tenor of up to 10 years, shall not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project and it shall not be used to finance the importation of fully assembled solar components and balance of the system.

“The moratorium on principal shall depend on the type and nature of the project but shall not exceed 2 years or the construction/ completion period, whichever is shorter.

“Additional moratorium of up to 12 months may be added to the moratorium period in order to address the risk of completion delays,” it stated.

The apex bank revealed that the interest rate on the facility shall be administered at an “all-in” interest rate of NOT more than 9 percent per annum.

“As part of the Bank’s Covid-19 relief package, the interest rate to be charged up to 28th February 2021 shall not exceed 5 percent per annum.

“Interest shall be payable by the loan beneficiaries in accordance with the approved repayment schedule outlined in the Transaction Documents,” it added.

Meanwhile, participants in the downstream sector, involved in the distribution, and after-sales support of solar home systems, mini-grid project development activities including site identification and assessment, design and planning, and customer acquisition, must not take part in sales or deployment of fully imported solar home systems components.

The participants according to the CBN, will have up to seven years tenor and a moratorium of up to two years, depending on the nature of the project.

“Amount to be determined as a percentage of the average of 3 years adjusted projected cash flows subject to the maximum of a limit of N500 million,” it revealed.

Forex Ban: Nigerians Should Not Be Punished For CBN’s Failure To Protect Naira – Adamu

 

A senior lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, Dr Ahmed Adamu, has said that the timing of the policy which places a ban on giving foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports.

While featuring as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday, Dr Adamu said the decision is coming at a very wrong time, when the nation’s agricultural sector is not matured enough to handle such a major drift.

The scholar argued that there is an already existing inflation and as such this kind of decision can trigger hyperinflation, especially if the recently removed petrol subsidy is also brought into focus.

“This is happening at a time when Nigerians are not ready to boycott foreign food items because of their addiction or their attraction to foreign food items.

“I think its also a wrong time because we have not built the right infrastructure and we have not supplied sufficient agricultural facilities and we have not built the entire agricultural value chain.

“These are the reasons why I say this is the wrong time to do this.

“We are already facing insecurity, a lot of farmers have been displaced from their farms and they cannot produce much; so we are going to create a lot of scarcity in the country and now you are also discouraging cheaper importation of foreign products, so the only option most people will have is to tap into the comparative advantage from other countries,” Dr Adamu opined.


‘Not A Kobo’: Buhari Orders CBN Not To Give FOREX For Food, Fertilizer Imports

Forex Ban: Buhari’s Directive To CBN Born Out Of Patriotism – Garba Shehu

Hike In Food Prices Is Only For A Little While – COS Gambari


 

He further noted that at the moment the country is seeing a high rise in the prices of food items, adding that this new measure is going to increase the prices of food items further at a time when the nation has just come out of COVID-19 lockdown.

The economist stressed that Nigerians should not be punished for the failure and inability of government and policy-makers to protect the naira, reiterating that the government’s decision is “a recipe for hyperinflation”.

The Prices Of Food Items Are Coming Down – Garba Shehu

 

 

Contrary to complaints from many Nigerians, the Presidency has said that the prices of food items across the nation are dropping.

Speaking on behalf of the presidency, Mr Garba Shehu says the significant drop in prices of food items stems from President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms in the agricultural sector.

Mr Shehu who on Friday was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily said though prices may differ depending on the state and area, however, on the general, there is a drop in prices of food items.

READ ALSO: Forex Ban: Buhari’s Directive To CBN Borne Out Of Patriotism – Garba Shehu

A file photo of Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu

 

While reacting to the President’s directive Thursday that the Central Bank of Nigeria should with immediate effect stop the release of money for food and fertiliser importation, the presidential spokesman said his principal’s intentions are in the best interest of the country.

He said, “Nigerians must give consideration for the fact that the President’s directive to the CBN is driven by nothing other than a patriotic motive”.

According to Mr Shehu, this directive falls in line with the President’s quest to boost agriculture in the country, a position to which some persons disagree, arguing that the CBN’s policies should not be imposed by a political authority.

Addressing those who hold the view that Buhari’s directive is overreaching, Mr Shehu said, “I am not sure there is anywhere in the world that the Central Bank is So independent that it will operate as foreign ownership”.

DSS Invites Ex-CBN Deputy Governor Mailafia Again

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the nation’s Finance Bill (2019) into law.

 

The Department of State Security Services (DSS) has once again invited the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Obadiah Mailafia, to its office in Jos, the Plateau State Capital.

Mailafia, who was also the presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) has previously been interrogated by officials of the security agencies in connection with comments he reportedly made during a radio interview about the leadership of Boko Haram.

RELATED: DSS Releases Mailafia After Six Hours Of Interrogation

His lawyer, Yakubu Bawa, confirmed to journalists on Friday that this is the third time Mailafia will be appearing at the DSS office in Jos.

Mailafia’s recent invitation might not be unconnected with his comments during the radio interview and his claims that bandits terrorising Southern Kaduna moved weapons across the country even during the COVID-19- lockdown.

Bawa claimed that Mailafia had spent over 20 years working abroad as a university teacher, banker, and civil servant with an unblemished record and no criminal record but he is still being subjected to criminal investigation and persecution.

He explained that a recent invitation by the deputy inspector general of police, asking dr Mailafia to again appear at the force headquarters in Abuja, has forced him approached a Jos High Court to seek his fundamental rights not to appear before the police since the DSS is currently investigating the matter.

The former CBN Deputy Governor has maintained that he does not support or promote violence and will never support evil.

 

‘Not A Kobo’: Buhari Orders CBN Not To Give FOREX For Food, Fertilizer Imports

File photo: President Buhari and CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari’s quest to boost agriculture in the country took another turn on Thursday with the Nigerian leader directing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to give foreign exchange for food and fertilizer imports. 

At a meeting of the National Food Security Council at the State House, in Abuja, Buhari reechoed his administration’s commitment to ensuring Nigeria is self-sufficient in food production.

”From only three operating in the country, we have 33 fertilizer blending plants now working,” he explained, stressing that “We will not pay a kobo of our foreign reserves to import fertilizer. We will empower local producers.”

To beat the cartel of transporters undermining efforts to deliver the products to users at reasonable costs, Buhari equally ordered blenders of fertilizer to take their products straight to State Governments.

He advised businesses bent on the importation of food to source their foreign exchange independently.

Instead of bringing in “compromised” food items in the country, he, however, has a message for food importers: –  ”use your money to compete with our farmers.”

READ ALSO: China Is Nigeria’s Highest Import Partner, Total Trade At N6.2bn In Q2 – NBS

Able-Bodied Youths

Buhari believes farming is one of the ways to ensure food sufficiency and tackle unemployment in Nigeria.

”We have a lot of able-bodied young people willing to work and agriculture is the answer,” he added. “We have a lot to do to support our farmers.”

The meeting, chaired by the President with other key members of the Council in attendance, was briefed on the food security situation prevailing in the country.

Dr Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning also listed efforts aimed at tackling the challenges from COVID-19 on the nation.

She disclosed that the government will facilitate the cultivation of 20,000 to 100,000 hectares of new farmland in every state and back the take-off of agro-processing to create millions of job opportunities.

Nigeria will equally support Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to help them keep their employees and boost local manufacturing, Dr Zainab added.

 

 

 

 

CBN Cuts Interest Rate On Savings Deposits To 1.25%

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed deposit money banks in Nigeria not to pay less than 1.25% in interest on savings deposit accounts.

According to a circular signed by the financial regulator’s Director of Banking Supervision, Bello Hassan, on Tuesday, the implementation will take effect on September 1, 2020.

The circular stated that the bank is satisfied with the recent declining trend in market rates in the banking sector following the implementation of policies aimed at stimulating credit flow to the real sector.

READ ALSO: AfDB Will Support Africa With Quality Infrastructure In Healthcare, Manufacturing – Adesina

It added that the interest rate will be negotiable, subject to a minimum of 10% per annum of Monetary Policy Rate., which serves as the apex bank’s benchmark rate for lending in the financial services sector which is at 12.5%

“In line with recent market developments, the ‘Bank has reviewed the minimum interest payable on savings deposits as provided in its Guide to Charges by Banks’ consequently reviewing rates to 10% of Monetary Policy Rates.

“Consequently, all deposit money banks are hereby informed that effective September 1, 2020 interest on local currency savings deposits shall be negotiable subject to a minimum of 10% per annum of Monetary Policy Rate,” the circular read in part.

Financial Inclusion: CBN Directs Licence Payment Service Banks To Reach Unbanked Persons

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

 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued guidelines for licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) as it aims to enhance financial inclusion to small businesses, low-income households, and other financially excluded entities.

In a circular to PSBs on Thursday, the financial regulator said that despite several initiatives introduced, the inclusion rate remained below expectations.

It added that in collaboration with critical stakeholders in the digital financial ecosystem, the need to establish a guideline for the operations of the PSBs is crucial to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grassroots through the provision of financial services.

“The National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) seeks to ensure that over 80 percent of the bankable adults in Nigeria have access to financial services by 2020. The CBN in collaboration with stakeholders launched the NFIS on 23rd October 2012 with a view to reducing the exclusion rate to 20 percent by 2020.

“Despite several initiatives including the Introduction of Microfinance banking, Agent Banking, Tiered Know-Your-Customer Requirements, and Mobile Money Operation (MMO) in pursuit of this objective, the inclusion rate remains below expectation.

“In view of the challenges to effective outreach to rural communities as well as the need to complement the services provided by other licensed entities, the CBN issues this regulation to provide for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks (PSBs) in Nigeria,” it added.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Capital Investment Inflows Drop To $1.29bn In Q2 2020

According to the CBN, the Payment Service Banks structure shall include; “Operate mostly in the rural areas and unbanked locations targeting financially excluded persons, with not less than 25% financial service touchpoints in such rural areas as defined by the CBN from time to time; enter into direct partnership with card scheme operators. Such cards shall not be eligible for foreign currency transactions; deploy ATMs in some of these areas, amongst others.

However, the apex bank revealed that the PSBs shall not grant any form of loans, accept foreign currency deposits, deal in the foreign exchange market or accept any closed scheme in electronic value as a form of deposit or payment.

The CBN stated that banking agents, telecommunications companies, retail chains, postal and courier service providers, mobile money operators, FinTech, and any other entity whose application is approved on merit are eligible to promote the new scheme.

COVID-19: CBN, Bankers Committee To Support Airlines, Media

CBN Reviews Capitalisation Of Tier 2 Microfinance Banks

 

The Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Bankers’ Committee have agreed to extend special facilities to Nigerian-registered airlines and the media industry in Nigeria.

This will enable them to adequately address the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Addressing the Bank Chief Executives at the Bi-monthly virtual meeting of the Bankers’ Committee on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Mr. Emefiele urged the banks to do all within their powers to support airlines in the country, noting that such support was critical to helping the industry recover from the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic.

Similarly, Mr. Emefiele asked the banks to support the efforts of the media industry in Nigeria, to cope with the lingering pandemic, in order to avoid massive job losses in the industry.

It will be recalled that the CBN, in the advent of the coronavirus in Nigeria, announced a N1.2 trillion intervention funds to support critical sectors of the economy, N1 trillion of which was to support the local manufacturing sector and to boost import substitution.

The remaining N100 billion of the intervention fund was to support the health sector in equipping laboratories and enhancing research to produce vaccines and test kits in Nigeria.

The Bank, also in March 2020, unveiled guidelines for the implementation of a N100 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) as a stimulus package to support households and micro, small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s move by the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee might just be an answer to the optimism expressed by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, who said the ministry was hopeful that businesses in Nigeria’s aviation sector would be given an opportunity to access palliatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

With support expected for the media in Nigeria, many media houses will be able to weather the storm generated by the pandemic.