We Wont Convert $30bn Domiciliary Account Holdings To Naira -CBN

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),has assured domiciliary account owners in the country that there is no plans to convert their deposits to Naira.

The assurance is coming on the heels of claims in some quarters that the federal government is considering converting $30bn domiciliary deposits to Naira.

Mrs. Sidi-Ali, Hakama Acting Director, Corporate Communications, in a statement, described the allegation as ‘absolutely false’.

She warned that the allegation aims to trigger panic in the foreign exchange market, which the CBN is working assiduously to stabilize.

She urged all stakeholders to disregard stories aimed at causing panic in the system and see them clearly for what they are – acts of national sabotage.

The statement reads in parts: “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to a story published by a national newspaper alleging that the Federal Government is considering converting $30bn domiciliary deposits to Naira.

“This allegation is absolutely false and aims to trigger panic in the foreign exchange market, which the CBN is working assiduously to stabilize, as evidenced by its recent work and policy directions.

“Similar false narratives have been spread on the work of the CBN over the past few months and it is clear that vested interests are determined to sabotage our efforts.

“We want to assure the general public that CBN is working to build confidence and would never do anything to undermine the currency and the economy.

“We, therefore, urge all stakeholders to disregard stories aimed at causing panic in the system and see them clearly for what they are – acts of national sabotage.

“We wish to advise, in the strongest terms, against the peddling of false reports that have the potential to be disruptive to the economy.

“The Bank is the only designated authority for monetary policy changes and will always advise on any policy change(s) before they are brought into operation. The CBN is always open to answer questions about our policies”.

Assessing Import Of Data Analytics In Circular Economy

Luther Kington Nwobodo

Lagos residents woke up on January 21, 2024, to news that the State government had banned the distribution and use of polystyrene (Styrofoam) and other single-use plastics (SUPs).

Some of the populace was surprised that such a decision had been taken on their popular “take-away pack”.

However, to several keen observers, this was a laudable and long-overdue decision, given the debilitating impact of polystyrene on the environment.The environmental impact of plastics is frightening.

Data from the UN Environment Programme shows that there are about 400 million tonnes of plastic waste generated every year across the world and 36 per cent of these are single-use plastics.

Science tells us that polystyrene and plastic bags take up to 500 years to decay.
Nigeria produces an estimated 32 million tonnes of solid waste per year, with only about 20-30 percent of it collected and managed correctly. The remainder is either dumped in unauthorized places or burned, contributing to pollution and health risks.

Due to improper waste disposal practices, about 199 million tonnes of plastics are dumped into oceans worldwide, leading to micro-plastics ending up in streams, rivers, and the ocean. This eventually poses a hazard to the consumers of fish and other marine animals, as these plastics poison, choke, starve, and kill marine life, effectively disrupting the marine ecosystem.

Lagos State alone, generates 870,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, with used plastics littering roads, gutters and estates. Reckless disposal of non-biodegradable items causes drainages to be clogged, and roads and markets littered despite the best efforts of the government. The multiplier effect of this reality across the country is seen in the level of flooding witnessed during the rainy season, year after year.

Speaking on the announcement of the ban on SUPs by the Lagos State government, Commissioner for the Environment and Water Resources, Tokunbo Wahab, said that the renewed war on the damage to the environment, would begin with items that do not have recyclable potential, including polystyrene (also known as Styrofoam), plastic spoons, micro beads, carrier bags, straws and disposable cups.

All over the world, the call for the adoption of sustainable practices remains strident, as it becomes glaring that a sustainable environment is critical to the continued existence and thriving of humanity.

Aside from the efforts to promote better waste management practices, there are increased calls for the implementation of a circular economy, an initiative for sustainable and efficient use and processing of all raw materials especially plastic, to protect the environment.

A circular economy ensures greater efficiency in the manufacture, use, and disposal of products, in a manner that ensures that each product life cycle is extended many times over, through recycling. Obviously, implementing a circular economy requires informed decision-making and this is dependent on reliable data.

Speaking on the intersection of data and a sustainable circular economy, CEO of Zeugnis International Limited, a Data Engineer with a proven track record of designing, developing, and maintaining robust data architectures, Luther Kington Nwobodo, posits that data is critical in advancing sustainability goals within a circular economy.

“The goal is to analyze and optimize resource flows, minimize waste, and enhance overall environmental and economic efficiency within the context of a circular economy”.

Citing from one of his past projects where he was tasked with implementing data analytics strategies to measure, analyze, and improve the sustainability of operations within the context of a circular economy.

Luther said, “I collected data from various sources within the organization, including production processes, supply chains, waste management systems, and energy consumption; I integrated external data, including market trends and environmental impact assessments, to provide a comprehensive dataset”.

He further emphasised the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and the importance of leveraging data to drive informed decision-making for sustainable practices.

“I collaborated with sustainability experts such as Recycling Association of Nigeria and stakeholders (government agencies such as LAWMA) to identify key performance indicators (KPIs) aligned with circular economy principles. I also conducted descriptive analytics to gain insights into historical trends and patterns related to sustainable practices”.

In 2023, to underscore the importance of the circular economy, a project partnership between the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), saw the Japanese government commit the sum of $2.9 million to support Nigeria’s march towards a circular economy.

Speaking at a sensitization event to launch the 36-month programme in Abuja, Oluyomi Banjo, Nigeria National Programme Coordinator, Environment and Energy, UNIDO, said, “By 2025, Nigeria will be the largest producer of these plastics that are harmful to the environment. That’s why a circular economy is recommended”.

Given the weight of the task to track and design appropriate strategies to aid the development of a circular economy, does Nigeria have the necessary expertise to manage a circular economy?

Luther assures that Nigeria does have the human resource, pointing to his past project. “I implemented optimization algorithms to identify opportunities for resource efficiency improvements and the project achieved a 15% improvement in resource efficiency by identifying and implementing optimization strategies based on data-driven insights”.

The essence of the circular economy is an economic system whereby you earn money from your waste rather than pay to dispose it. Thankfully, some Nigerian entrepreneurs have begun to exploit these opportunities by recycling waste materials for other uses, including PET plastic bottle and nylon recycling.

All that is left is to encourage other data experts to join hands with the likes of Luther Kington Nwobodo to provide the needed data analytics support that is central to the efficient implementation of the circular economy, to aid the sustainability goals of Nigeria and the globe.

FG Promises To Revive Ajaokuta Steel Company In Three Years

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government has expressed confidence in reviving the long-awaited Ajaokuta Steel Company in three years.

The Minister of Steel Development,Prince Shuaibu Audu,who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja,outlined the strategic initiative aimed at kickstarting the production of key components within the steel production line.

Identifying the historical challenges faced by the steel industry for over 60 years, Audu emphasized the complexities involved in reviving the Ajaokuta Steel Company, established more than 45 years ago.

He highlighted the significant gap between local steel production and consumption, revealing that over 5 million metric tons are consumed locally, with domestic production falling short of demand.

He outlined the ministry’s plan, including a 10-year roadmap for the overall revival of the metal and steel industry in Nigeria, with a specific three-year roadmap tailored for the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.

Crucial to the strategy is the concession of the Ajaokuta complex to competent entities capable of effectively executing the revival plan. The focus includes resuscitating the life steel mill for the production of iron rods for Ajaokuta Steel Company and engaging with the Ministry of Defence to revitalize the engineering aspect, particularly in producing military hardware.

He disclosed that Nigeria spends over $4 billion on steel imports, constituting 90 per cent of the country’s steel demand. The need for passing a bill for the meteorological industry to support the steel sector was also emphasized.

FG To Use Rivers To Boost Power Generation

Mohammed Shosanya

The Federal Government has revealed plans to utilize rivers in some states to generate electricity in the country .

Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu,disclosed this during his recent meeting with the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and States Energy Commissioners.

The meeting was organized to further promote provision of quality power supply to households, businesses and underserved communities in the country through collaboration between States and the federal government.

He said:”There are small dams that can generate between 500 kilowatts 10 megawatts, we want to encourage States to do that including hybridising the hydro with solar for seamless transition during the dry season when water level is low”.

The Minister,who re-emphasized the cardinal impact of power in economic growth and development of the nation, also spoke on the importance of distributed power to fast track provision of energy in the country.

He added that governments at the state level have a major role to play, not only in distribution but along all segments of the power sector value chain, including rural electrification, adding that the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) will be realigning its operational structure to ensure more visible impact across the various States of the federation.

The Minister who proposed a meeting with Energy commissioners across the States, also invited the NGF to a roundtable discussion with the Rural Electrification Agency, noting that every state is entitled to a portion of the allocation from the funding of rural electrification.

Adelabu explained that collaboration with States Energy Commissioners and the electricity boards would enable REA to know where to focus on rural electrification projects as the States are in the best position to know the communities that should benefit from rural electrification projects.

He said:”Rural Electrification Agency should collaborate with state rural electrification board for even distribution of benefits of rural electrification in all the states. This is one of the strategies to empower the underserved and unserved communities”.

He said apart from budgetary allocation, REA also has access to funding from foreign development partners that could further enhance access to power in different communities in the country.

He added:“However, apart from budgetary allocation, there is the Power Consumer Assistance Fund whereby a portion of tariff is preserved for the less privileged.Concerned about bills collections, the Minister appealed to the States to assist DISCOs in their states.

“Liquidity is essential in the sector and we need to improve bill collection, there are places the electricity distribution companies may not be able to access, the states thus need to use their apparatus to assist in collection.

“It is equally important for States to establish relationship with DISCOs in their various States in case of some emergencies that need urgent attention”.

He said that there should be an unbundling of DISCOs along state lines to ensure optimal performance and these could start with administrative unbundling

He added:”Every State must know who is in charge of power infrastructure for each of the states.”

Adelabu said states should also be encouraged in line with the new Electricity act to also generate hydro power by utilising small dams that are in different communities in their States.

Speaking on incessant vandalization of power facilities,he enjoined State government to help in safeguarding energy infrastructure from vandals and prevent energy theft.

“States can use their apparatus like the Amotekun In the south west to enter into the interiors of the state where the discos officials cannot access to arrest the criminals that vandalize power properties and those that engage in meter bypass”.

Earlier,the Director General of NGF, Mr Asishana Okauru had presented a six-page document to the Minister where he listed areas of concern of the NGF. He also emphasized the need to foster collaboration between federal and the state governments on electricity matters.


Gombe: Police Burst Fake US Dollars, Naira Syndicates

Mayowa Balogun

Police in Gombe have arrested two persons for printing and circulating fake US dollars and Naira notes to the public.

The syndicates who were paraded before newsmen, were arrested in in Bajoga, Funakaye LGA and Dukku, Dukku LGA, where they operate.

According to ASP Mahid Muazu Abubakar,the Gombe State Command’s Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), six of the suspects were arrested on the 23rd January, 2024 in Bajoga town after a tip off.

He explained that, on the same day around 10:00am, information got to the Bajoga Divisional Police Headquarters that one Buba Muhammadu, 45 years, went to a Chemist belonging to Muhammad Ismail with counterfeit notes of one thousand naira.

He said on receipt of the complaint Police detectives moved to the scene and arrested Buba Muhammadu and recovered the exhibits.

He added that further investigation led to the arrest of five others including Abubakar Muhammad who was arrested in Kano State and exhibits recovered from him were, 500 pieces of fake 100 US dollar bills and 265,000 counterfeit of Naira currency.

The four others arrested in the syndicate are; Jungudo Muhammadu, 53 years; Adamu Yusuf Mallum, 30 years; Abdulhamid Abdullahi, 60 years and Salihu Abdulhamid, 50 years.

The other syndicate, the PPRO revealed, were also arrested after a tip of on 24th January, 2024 in Malala, Dukku LGA in possession of sixty three pieces of fake 100 US dollar bills.

Those arrested in Malala are, Haruna Adamu, 60 years, from Taguji, Darazo LGA of Bauchi State; Garba Ibrahim, 25 years from Hashidu, Gombe State; Samaila Musa, 30 years from Gombe-Abba, Gombe State; Sa’adu Muhammed, 23 years from Badarawa Quarters, Kaduna State; Yusuf Abdullahi, 30 years from Gombe-Abba, Gombe State and Muhammadu Umaru, 26 years from Gombe-Abba, Gombe State.

He said all the suspects confessed to have committed the crime and will be charged to court for prosecution.

Troops Kill 185 Terrorists In One Week

Mohammed Shosanya

The Defence Headquarters, Abuja has said, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have killed 185 terrorists, arrested 212 and rescued 71 kidnapped victims in the last one week.

The Director, Defence Media Operation (DMO) Major General Edward Buba,disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

According to him, during the week under review, “Troops neutralised 185 and arrested 212 of them. Troops also arrested 44 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 71 kidnapped hostages.

“In the South South, troops denied the oil theft of the estimated sum of N1,065,885,050.00 only.

“Troops recovered 224 assorted weapons and 2,337 assorted ammunition. The breakdown as follows, 113 AK47 rifles, one G3 rifle, one PKT gun, 44 locally fabricated guns, 4 pump action guns, 2 pistols, 2 locally fabricated pistols, one berretta pistol, 25 dane guns, one double barrel gun, one single barrel gun, one locally fabricated revolver gun and 7 IEDs primed.

“Others are 1,382 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 387 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 74 rounds of 9mm ammo, 23 K2 rounds ammo, 111 live cartridges, 5,410 empty cases of 7.62mm special, 6 empty cases of cartridges, 2 magazines loaded with 60 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 21 magazines, one pistol magazine, 2 bandoliers, 2 vehicles, 22 motorcycles, 47 mobile phones, 11 HH radios and the sum of N2,369,670. 00 amongst other items.”

He stated that,troops in the Niger Delta area discovered and destroyed 12 dugout pits, 61 boats, 56 storage tanks and 13 vehicles.

Other items recovered incl 78 cooking ovens, 4 pump machines and 51 illegal refining sites. Troops recovered 815,980 litres of stolen crude oil, 163,675 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,750 litres of DPK,he said

He maintained that the military understands the true extent of the threat we are facing as a nation, noting that, the military is “facing and winning the war.”
Insisting that, “Countering insurgency is not a sprint but rather a marathon. Accordingly, troops are taking the fight to the terrorist and making strides each passing day. Much has been done, and much more is still being done to achieve peace and security across the country.”

This is as he said, “The armed forces is not oblivious of the security challenges across the country in recent times, particularly with the spike in kidnappings for ransom. Whether or not advertised crowd funding is contributing to the kidnappings across the country remains an ongoing debate.

“The ugly trend of kidnappings has dimed the light on the successes by gallant troops in combating the terrorist , insurgents and their cohorts across the country to create a safer environment for citizens.

“The military recognizes the urgency for an immediate turn around of the situation and is therefore actively working for peace and security across the country. It is worthy of mention to state that, achieving enduring peace in the country , requires that there is a change in the conditions that make the terrorist, insurgents and their cohorts willing to fight and carry dastardly acts on fellow citizens.

“The situation therefore calls for all hands on deck with everyone playing their role towards achieving enduring peace. The armed forces on its part, has boots on the ground strategically deployed across the country to combat the terrorist, insurgents and their cohorts,”he said.

CBN Discontinues Ad Hoc CRR Debits On Banks

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),has declared a significant shift in its approach to Cash Reserve Requirements (CRR) by discontinuing daily CRR debits and introducing a revised mechanism.

This was announced in a circular to all banks, dated February 2, 2024 and signed by Adetona S. Adedeji, acting director, banking supervision department.

The circular explained that the move aims to enhance commercial banks’ planning, monitoring, and aligning records with the directives of the CBN.

According to the circular,the implementation of the new Cash Reserve Requirement framework will follow a structured process, as outlined by the banking and financial institutions regulator.

The CBN said the existing ratio of 32.5 percent will be applied to increases in the weekly average adjusted deposits of banks. This incremental approach seeks to provide a measured adjustment to the CRR in relation to the growth in banks’ deposits.

In a bid to encourage lending activities, the CBN will enforce a CRR levy of 50 percent on the lending shortfall for banks that fail to meet the minimum Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) requirement.

This enforcement is in line with the CBN’s previous communication to all banks, referenced BSD/DIR/GEN/LAB/12/049, dated September 30, 2019.

The CBN assures banks that detailed information regarding the applied charges and the computation rationale behind them will be provided to ensure transparency and understanding.

In the circular, the CBN aims to streamline the CRR framework to facilitate better compliance, transparency, and efficiency in the banking sector.

Meter Manufacturers To Tinubu:Address Forex Crisis,Inflation To Avert Looming Prepaid Meter Scarcity

Mohammed Shosanya

The Association of Meter Manufacturers of Nigeria,AMMON, has implored President Bola Tinubu’s administration to urgently address the foreign exchange crisis, inflation, and instability in the metering industry in order to avert the looming scarcity of the product in the country.

The group conveyed this in a statement on Friday.

It challenged the government to consider the liberalization of meter prices in order to enable manufacturers adapt to market dynamics and maintain a steady supply of meters, adding that cost-effective meter specifications are also essential.

The association expressed concern over the challenges posed by foreign exchange fluctuations as it impacts the continuous supply of electricity meters to the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry, NESI.

It emphasized urgent need for regulatory measures to address the issue of a fixed meter price when all input costs are affected by increasing inflation and foreign exchange movements.

This attention is urgently required to ensure the seamless provision of meters across the nation,it said in the statement,adding that
the strategic move would not only facilitate the sustainability of the meter manufacturing industry but also ensure that end-users have access to reliable and affordable electricity meters”

The association emphasized the need for regulatory authorities to consider the liberalization of meter prices, allowing manufacturers to adapt to market dynamics and maintain a steady supply of meters.

The association added: “If urgent action is not taken and stakeholders to prioritize and expedite measures to address the impending shortage, which is occasioned by a three month, and growing, supply chain gap by our estimates.

“If this action is taken, it will ensure the continued and uninterrupted supply of meters to meet the nation’s growing demand for reliable electricity services barring the short gap already realized.

“AMMON advocates for collaboration between regulatory bodies and the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency, NEMSA, to develop cost-effective meter specifications tailored to NESI requirements.

“By working closely with NEMSA, the association believes that it can contribute to the development of standards that promote affordability without compromising quality and reliability.

“AMMON remains committed to supporting the nation’s power sector and believes that these proposed measures will contribute to a more robust and resilient electricity metering ecosystem,”it added.

CBN Stops Banks,Fintechs From International Money Transfers

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued a directive that banks and financial technology companies (fintechs) are no longer permitted to engage in international money transfer services.

The change also follows a dramatic increase in the application fee for licensing International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) by 1,900%.

The apex bank’s decision was conveyed in a CBN document dated January 31, 2024, which also outlined the revised guidelines for IMTO operations.

“All banks are prohibited from operating International Money Transfer services but can act as agents,” the document stated.

Besides,it specified that fintech companies are ineligible for IMTO approval.

The guidelines further extend employment prohibitions, as outlined in the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, to IMTOs.

The revision expands on the 2014 guidelines, which only restricted deposit money banks from these services, to now include fintechs.

The CBN has escalated the application fee for IMTO licensing from the previous N500,000 to N10 million, marking a significant increase over nearly ten years.

Prospective IMTOs seeking to operate in Nigeria are now required to submit applications with a non-refundable fee of N10 million to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department.

The document listed several prerequisites for the application, such as approval to operate in other jurisdictions, evidence of tax clearance, and incorporation documents for indigenous IMTOs.

The document read, “A non-refundable application fee of N10,000,000.00 (Ten Million Naira only) or such other amount that the Bank may specify from time to time and payable to the CBN through electronic transfer or bank draft,” the document read.

“Approval to operate in other jurisdictions or agency agreement (for all IMTOs).

“Evidence of tax clearance and incorporation documents in Nigeria (for indigenous IMTOS) to include Memorandum and Articles of Association (Certified True Copy), of which the primary object clause shall indicate provision of money transfer services.”

Kaduna Electric Promises To Build Robust Workforce

Mohammed Shosanya

The Chairperson, Special Board of Kaduna Electric, Mrs. Rahila Thomas has expressed the commitment of the Board to build a highly motivated and result oriented workforce for the company.

She spoke when she led the new Board members on their maiden duty tour of formations of Kaduna Electric and engagement with the staff in Kaduna on Thursday

A statement from the company quoted her as saying that,following the enactment of the Electricity Act 2023, the regulatory landscape of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory has shifted, which calls for more concerted efforts to reverse the performance trajectory of the company.

She said: “The intervention we are witnessing today is not merely a change in leadership but a response to the pressing issues that have affected the very core of Kaduna Electric operations. It is essential to be transparent about the reasons behind this regulatory intervention, the first under the new Electricity Act 2023, so you understand the urgency and necessity of the task ahead of all of us.

“We want to use this opportunity to assure all staff that your opinions and views matter in setting the pathway to a new Kaduna Electric. We are committed to fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration to build a resilient and sustainable workforce. We will look into the current staff welfare structure and develop performance driven incentives”.

She also expressed the Board’s appreciation to the staff for the efforts made so far in keeping “the lights on despite all the challenges” and pledged the Board’s determination to ensure a more workers’ friendly environment in the company.

She implored the staff to brace-up as the challenges of the current dispensation are high and demand more innovative solutions and collaboration for sustainable transformation of the company

Earlier in his welcome address, the MD/CEO, Dr. Umar Hashidu restated his resolve to put staff welfare on the front burner in order to keep motivation levels high to guarantee improved performance.