The Central Bank of Nigeria has said, as part of its efforts to alleviate the sufferings experienced by Nigerians, who source forex for school fees, medicals and personal traveling allowance (PTA), it has decided to fund banks directly with additional forex to satisfy their obligations . Acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Isaac Okoroafor, who dropped […]
By Ndahi Marama
Maiduguri—Following recent attacks by remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents in parts of Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima, weekend, held an emergency security meeting with heads of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Police and the Department of State Services, DSS, aimed at stepping up measures on increased surveillance to forestall further security breach.
Before the meeting with security chiefs, Governor Shettima had earlier held a three three-hour closed-door meeting with the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Leo Irabor at the Governor’s Office, Maiduguri.
During the meeting, the governor was briefed over recent attacks and ongoing military operations while discussions were held with assurances that the remnants of the insurgents were on suicidal mission given their displacement from their former Sambisa forest headquarters.
Special Adviser on Communications and Strategy to Governor Shettima, Malam Isa Gusau, said in a statement yesterday, that after meeting with the Theater Commander, who is not a member of the State Security Council, Shettima presided over an emergency meeting of the state Security Council that involved core armed forces.
Held at the council chambers of the Government House, the meeting had in attendance the General Officer Commanding, 7 Division of the Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu; the Commander, 79 Composite group of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Charles Oho; the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu; the Garrison Commander, 7 Division of the Army, Brigadier General Jibrin Mohammed; the State Director of the DSS, Suleiman Kankia; Commandant of the Nigerian Civil Defense Corps, Ibrahim Abdullahi; the Secretary to the State Government, Usman Jidda Shuwa, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Shehu Lawan and the Permanent Secretary in charge of security.
At the end of meeting, new guard locations were established in some routes across the state to curtail the movement of remnants of Boko Haram fighters; deployment of security personnel to various locations were increased with more members of Civilian JTF (youth volunteers involved) while the Governor gave approval for release of additional patrol vehicles to security agencies for increased surveillance.
The governor also approved logistics to compliment efforts of the Federal Government in strengthening armed forces while measures were adopted to strengthen the Civilian JTF and hunters.
The meeting also reviewed synergy between armed forces and volunteers with steps adopted to increase collaboration and clamp down on cattle rustling used by insurgents to raise funds. The council deliberated on recent false information spread by mischief makers to cause disaffection between armed forces and volunteers particularly the Civilian JTF with the council warning mischief makers against destabilizing the emerging peace across the State.
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Former boss of Manchester City Manuel Pellegrini who is now the head coach of Chinese side Hebei China Fortune has spoken out about his plans to sign some players he has worked with in the past.
Pellegrini who gave Nigerian forward Kelechi Iheanacho his breakthrough at Manchester City last season, listed the Nigerian as part of the players he would love to work with at the Chinese club in the future.
Although the Nigerian has found games hard to come by under new City boss Pep Guardiola, Pellegrini insists the 20 year old forward is very happy at the Etihad.
“ I have worked with a whole lot of players, but some I feel I won’t love working with them in the nearest future but I won’t mind luring some to join me in China,” Pellegrini said.
“ The young players I have worked with in the past are the ones I strongly feel we could work together again before I retire, there are many like Iheanacho, but I know he is very happy at Manchester City”,
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Heritage Bank’s Divisional Head, E- Business and Collections, eBank, Olusola Longe-Okenimkpe highlights factors behind the huge volume of cash withdrawals through ATMs despite the cashless policy, stressing that the recent introduction of eproducts like mCash and mPOS will curb this phenomenon.
By Babajide Komolafe
NIBSS reported that Nigerians withdrew N4.7 trillion through ATMs in 2016. Why are we will still depending so much on cash despite cashless policy initiatives?
You will recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria initially set policies for the cashless state in Nigeria but later amended the goal to a Cashlite one. So the intent of the policy is to reduce the amount of cash used for our day to day transactions.
In a sense, an element of success has been achieved in this regard as transactions done via the cashless channels have increased over time.
However, we have cases where due to failure of the payment acceptance touchpoints consummating transactions, customers have gone ahead to withdraw cash from the ATMs to make payment for their purchases.
A school of thought has advocated that ATMs are not part of the cashless initiatives as they only lead to more cash flowing into the payment space.
One of the reasons for the reduced traction of the policy is the willpower of the regulators to push through needed incentives to enhance behavioural change. When the policy started, the CBN set cash handling charge on daily cash withdrawals that exceed N500,000 for individuals and N3,000,000 for corporate bodies. Equally, thresholds were also set for cash deposits.
The charge was later reduced due to political pressure and that removed the bite and some of the incentives to drive merchants to alternative payment methods.
Another impediment is the high cost of the POS terminals for payment acceptance. A lot of the transactions carried out are of small value and justification for these devices became a hard sell. However, the introduction of Mcash, mPOS and MasterPass will cater for these target market and would lead to greater success in our cashlite initiatives
Despite increased roll-out of PoS and mobile app, lots of merchants (petrol stations, traders, etc) do not have or offer e-payment channels to customers. Why is this so?
Like I mentioned earlier, the high cost of the devices is one of the reasons. A second reason is network instability which reduces confidence in the system. Also, settlement failures also contribute to the problem. Some of the merchants also run away from the merchant discounts, the amount deducted from their sale price during settlement.
Some merchants have problem with the T+1 (transaction date + 1) settlement for their goods when with cash they get immediate settlement (mCash and MasterPass will take care of this fear)
Some banks, in recent times have launched various mobile payment applications. What is the prospect that Nigerians will embrace the culture of using the phones for payment?
The fact of the matter is that 85 percent Nigeria internet traffic is through mobile devices. According to the Guardian, Mobile phone penetration in Nigeria is about 94 percent which means almost everyone has a mobile phone. There is a concerted effort to acquire merchants for the POS embedded in Mobile phones (Mcash and Masterpass) and the good thing about it is that customers can pay directly from their bank accounts and wallets without the use of debit cards. The prospect that we will embrace the culture is high given that on the merchant side, they get immediate settlement like cash and on the consumer side they just use what they carry around with them all the time.
The world has witnessed upsurge in the rise and use of virtual currencies like Bitcoin. In your view, what should be the appropriate response from the banking industry and the government?
Many virtual currencies like bitcoins have emerged in the last 10 years. There have been concerns that criminals will use the money to hide proceeds of criminal activities.
The Central Bank should seek to understand the methodology of the currency and the exchanges and institute proper regulation within the context of the currency’s interaction with regular financial instruments.
Then the banks can easily deal with them as one of the regular financial instruments. Also, the regulators can also insist on some form of insurance to protect users in the different markets.
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By Olayinka Latona
GENERAL Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who presides over a global church with members in about 198 nations of the world, at the weekend, described his early years as the General Overseer of the mission as turbulent, saying the church’s total income then was about half of his salary as university lecturer.
Ministering during a three-day special programme to end the church’s 40-day fasting and prayer period at the Redemption Camp, Kilometre 46, Lagos Ibadan Expressway, Pastor Adeboye shocked the worshippers when he declared that the church’s total income when he took over its leadership was less than his pay.
His words: “When God called me into full time ministry, I must tell you the truth, I was afraid because things were rough. I knew poverty when I was young but I became a university teacher with the belief that my days of poverty were gone.
“When God asked me to leave my job to become a full-time pastor, the total income of the church was less than my salary and we were to share it among some 39 people.
‘’I was really afraid but God gave me one promise. He said do not worry my son, I will be with you. If you are wondering why my case is different, it is because God told me that He will be with me and He has been faithful to His promise.”
He also narrated some unpalatable experiences he had in repositioning the church.
All parishes of mission, yesterday celebrated the end of the 40-day fasting and prayer which commenced on Wednesday, January 11, 2017.
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All Progressives Congress, APC, in Delta State has said that members of the party were not part of the celebration of the return of Chief James Ibori, a former governor of the state, who recently returned to the country after serving a prison sentence in the United Kingdom, UK, over money laundering charges.
Mr Leonard Obibi, state acting Publicity Secretary of the party, in a statement, weekend, said “In the course of these events, it was observed that a few of our party members who are relatives, acquaintances or former associates of Chief Ibori also took the chance to join in paying him visits which were widely publicized.
“Inadvertently, the media tended to play up this perspective, and in the process contrived a false impression that our party, APC Delta, may have joined in celebrating the return of Chief Ibori.
“APC Delta, therefore, wishes to state emphatically and put it on record that unlike the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, which, for whatever reasons, chose to identify with a return of one of their own, APC Delta is not affiliated in any way with these celebrations.”
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By Demola Akinyemi
ILORIN—VICE Chancellor of University of Ilorin, UNILORIN, Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali, weekend explained why the university refused admission to 711 candidates after collecting their money, saying they uploaded excellent results, which the authorities later discovered during screening to be fake.
It was reported that management of the university had offered admission to no fewer than 2,000 candidates and afterwards withdrew the admission from the candidates.
Speaking with reporters, Professor Ambali said: “The issue of people trying to say we collected their money and refused to offer them admission is uncalled for. They wasted our time. In any civilized society those people should be prosecuted. That is examinations malpractice. If those people are using fraudulent means to come in, you can imagine what they will do when they become our students fully. But we thought they were young people, we say they should learn by losing the opportunity. They can reapply. We thought they had to be taught a lesson and that was why we kept quiet.
“They are just trying to portray the university negatively. You know the university has come a long way. For the last three years we have been the most patronized university with over 100,000 applicants wanting to come and join us.”
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By Abdulwahab Abdulah
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has called for an immediate court action by the Federal Government against those states that allegedly diverted or mismanaged the London Paris Club refunds.
The group, has therefore, urged the Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris to pass information to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, regarding the release of N388.304 billion London Paris Club loan refunds to 35 states by the federal government to enable the AGF initiate legal action against states that allegedly diverted and mismanaged the funds.
In the letter signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization argued that: ‘’This will compel the states to widely publish, including on a dedicated website, details of spending of the funds by them. We request that you take this step within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, failing which SERAP will institute legal proceedings to compel the discharge of duty in this matter.
“Pursuing such action will also send a strong message that President Muhammadu Buhari would not tolerate corruption in the disbursement of funds by his government.”
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•To face Zamalek, Al-Merrikh respectively
•IfeanyiUbah, Wikki crash in Confed Cup
The two teams representing Nigeria in the CAF Champions League, Rangers and Rivers United have qualified for the first round of the continent’s premium club football tournament.
While Rivers United qualified in emphatic style, beating AS Real from Mali 4-0, Rangers pulled through via the away goals’ rule as yesterday’s game at the Nnamdi Azikwe stadium ended in a barren draw.
Rangers had played out a 1-1 draw in last weekend’s first leg game against JS Saoura, hence the 0-0 score from Sunday’s game was just enough to see them through.
The reigning Nigeria League champions will now face Egyptian giants, Zamalek, in the First Round.
On their part, Rivers United, who drew their first leg 0-0, will confront t Sudanese club, Al-Merrikh, in the First Round.
In the CAF Confederation Cup, Wikki Tourists were eliminated from the competition despite beating Royal Armed Forces Football Club of Sierra Leone 1-0 at home.
The Bauchi Elephants lost out 2-1 on aggregate.
Captain Mustapha Ibrahim scored the only goal of the game from the spot in the 58th minute.
Abubakar Lawal had earlier missed a penalty in the 19th minute.
Mohammed Babagaru’s side dominated play from start to finish in the game but were ousted from the competition due to their profligacy in front of goal.
Also last night, Ifeanyi Ubah crashed out of the Confederation Cup at the hands of Al Masry in Egypt. After winning the first leg in Nnewi, the Nigerian side were handed a similar 1-0 defeat by the Egyptian side, after extra time and in the ensuing penalties, the latter converted three of their spot kicks while Ifeanyi Ubah failed to score, putting an abrupt end to their campaign in the Confederation Cup.
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—The Debt Management Office, DMO, said yesterday that the nation’s total debt profile currently stood at $57.39 billion.
Director-General of DMO, Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, who disclosed this when he appeared before the Senator Shehu Sani’s Committee on Foreign and Local Debts to defend his agency’s budget proposal, said the total debt stock comprised external and domestic debts of the federal government, those of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, as at December 31, 2016.
This came on a day the Presidency slashed its 2017 budget by N3 billion, in view of the present economic recession in the country.
Nwankwo explained that of the total debt stock, external debt stood at $11.41 billion, while domestic debt stock was put at $45.98 billion.
According to him, the 36 states and FCT accounted for about 32.45 percent of the total external debt as at December 31,2016, while the federal government accounted for about 67.55 percent.
He added that the disaggregated external debt stock of the 36 states and FCT as at June 2016 was $3.65 billion, while the disaggregated domestic debt stock of the states and the FCT as at September 2016 was N2,822.89 billion.
Explaining the increase in the debt profile, Nwankwo said: “We observed that the increase was about 6.5 percent and this was as a result of additional disbursement because we don’t disburse a good number of the external loan we take at a go.”
Nwankwo who noted that the domestic debt stock by instruments as at 31st December, 2016 stood at N11,058,204,296,592.00, adding that federal government bonds were N7,564,937,465,592.00; Nigerian Treasury Bills, N3,277,278,831,000.00; and Treasury bonds, N215,988,000,000.00.
When chairman of the committee, Senator Sani asked why the debt profile had not been forgiven, at least with the goodwill of the present government, the DMO boss said Nigeria would not beg for debt forgiveness, since the economy was in good shape.
Senator Sani, who was apparently not comfortable with the position of the DMO Director- General, said: “It is shocking that in 2016, people don’t find it easy to feed their families, pay the fees of their children, pay their rents.
‘’Now things are in very bad shape, but not typical of somebody who lives with the people, but somebody speaking from an expert point of view to say we are not in a bad position to ask for forgiveness.
‘’These are two things, if you are talking from the point of how our people live nowadays, you will not be able to say such things. But you are speaking naturally as an expert.
‘’Our most concern is the fact that most of the states simply collect money, piled up so many debts for their children and grandchildren and there is nothing to show for it. Many of them couldn’t pay salaries and we have seen how some new sets of cash disbursement were done to them from excess crude account to ecological funds.”
Meanwhile, the Senate was told yesterday that the Presidency has slashed its 2017 budget by N3 billion, even as N94.5 million was budgeted for the purchase of bullet proof tyres for state house officials.
Speaking yesterday in Abuja when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs to defend the 2017 Budget, Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi, said the budget cut in 2016 from N16,563,395,984 to N13, 567,979,279 in 2017 represented 18.08 percent reduction, compared with the sum appropriated last year.
The Permanent Secretary, who disclosed that the State House had proposed the sum of N4.9 billion for villa maintenance, said it also owed Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, AEDC, N552 million and an outstanding sewage charges of N52.8 million.
He said the N100 million earmarked for kitchen equipment in 2016 budget was not released, noting that “there is a proposal for the sum of N52.8 million in the 2017 budget. The committee may wish to be informed that the bills received from Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) for liquid waste disposal for the state House for 2016 is N15.6 million, with outstanding liabilities of previous years standing at N37.5 million (totaling N52.8m). The figure has remained consistent.
“This informed the provision of the same amount of N52.8 million in 2017. This position was the same sought for in our 2016 proposal but only paltry sum of N6.1 million was appropriated. We have, however, commenced negotiations with AEPB to arrive at a mutually acceptable charge henceforth.’’
Commenting, two members of the committee, Senators Duro Faseyi and Joshua Lidani, expressed displeasure over the level of releases by the Ministry of Finance to the State House.