CBN Unveils Strategy To Double Remittances,Grants AIP To 14 New IMTOs

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has activated plans to double foreign-currency remittance flows through formal channels by granting 14 new International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) Approval-in-Principle (AIP).

The Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs. Hakama Sidi Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.

She stated that the initiative will help increase the sustained supply of foreign exchange in the official market by promoting greater competition and innovation among IMTOs to lower the cost of remittance transactions and boost financial inclusion.

She added: “This will spur liquidity in Nigeria’s Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEX), augmenting price discovery to enable a market-driven fair value for the naira.”

She said that the CBN viewed increasing formal remittance flows— one of the major sources of foreign exchange, accounting for over 6% of GDP—as a means of reducing the historical volatility in Nigeria’s exchange rate caused by external factors, such as fluctuations in foreign investment and oil export proceeds.

The increase in the number of IMTOs is one of the primary actions initiated by the CBN’s remittance task force, overseen by Governor Cardoso as a collaborative unit pulling together specialists to work closely with the private sector and market operators to facilitate the ease of doing business in the remittance ecosystem in Nigeria.

The task force was established as a direct result of an executive learning session with IMTOs during the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings held in Washington DC, United States of America, in April 2024.

The task force will meet regularly to implement strategy and monitor the impact of its measures on remittance inflows.

Tinubu,Other VIPs To Start Paying Tollgate Fees At Airports

Mohammed Shosanya

The Minister of Aviation, Festus Kayemo,has mandated all Very Important Personalities VIPs in Nigeria to pay the tollgate fees on their entry to airports in the country.

He explained that the act was to block revenue leakages in the aviation value chain, where millions of naira are lost from public officials traveling through the airports.

It was deliberated upon at the Federal Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, where President Bola Tinubu and the Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima agreed to be included in the payment plan.

All cabinet members who deliberated on the issue approved that there should be no more exemption granted to users of the airports from paying tollgate fees.

The approval was made following a memorandum presented to the council by the Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, who argued that the government was losing over 82 percent of the revenue it should have earned from the e-tags that provide access to the toll gates.

Keyamo explained that the memoranda had initially prescribed an exemption for only the president and the vice president before Tinubu overruled and directed that both of them should be included among those that must pay.

He regretted that Very Important Persons (VIPs) with money who should pay are those that have not been paying, noting that only poor people had been charged for using the toll gates.

He frowned at the development where uniform officers harass staff of government at the airport, assuring that cameras would be mounted in strategic positions to capture those officers in such habit.

On his alleged interference in the aviation activities especially as it concerns the closure of Dana airline, Keyamo said any airline operator that shows substantial signs of danger, he will continue to interfere to save lives until he leaves office.

Keyamo also told regulators in the aviation sector to get ready for rough rides, adding, “”I will breath down on the regulators. I must direct them to do what the law says diligently. I will ensure that they don’t waterdown the regulatory measures”.

Meanwhile,FEC has approved the establishment of a tripartite committee to streamline visa processes and acquisition for persons interested in investing in Nigeria.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this while briefing journalists.

He said: “Our visa processes are becoming cumbersome…The ease of doing business is also tied to our visa processes.Going forward, those investors, tourists will find it easy to acquire a visa within the next 48 hours”.

CSR: NNPC/First E&P JV Gives NGOs N53.4m

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) and First Exploration & Production Limited (First E&P) joint venture (JV) has donated the sum of N53million to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Nigeria.

Under the JV’s Impact First Initiative, the donation, targeted towards enhancing societal welfare, would address areas such as good healthcare and well-being, quality education as well as economic growth within the nation,Olufemi Soneye,Chief Corporate Communications Officer,NNPC Ltd,said in a statement.

During the cheque presentation ceremony, NNPC Ltd’s Chief Upstream Investment Officer (CUIO), NNPC Upstream Investment Management Services (NUIMS), Mr. Bala Wunti, expressed gratitude to First E & P for initiating the laudable programme,the statement quoted.

Represented by the Deputy Manager, External Relations, NUIMS, Mrs. Edith Lawson, Wunti highlighted NNPC Ltd’s belief in the power of CSR, stressing that the Company remains committed to working with its partners to impact the lives of the less-privileged.

Wunti said under the initiative, projects and programmes executed include the provision of classrooms, ICT Centres, laboratories and other infrastructural intervention projects, scholarships, quiz competitions, skill acquisitions, and economic empowerment, a testimony to NNPC’s dedication to fostering sustainable development in Nigeria.

He described First E & P’s foresight and leadership as commendable, adding that the partner has spearheaded the initiative towards meaningful change that will ensure a better future for all Nigerians.

Among the beneficiaries of the donation were the Irede Foundation, which provides custom-made artificial limbs to child amputees aged 0-18 and Human Development Initiative (HDI), which focuses on tackling fundamental issues of poverty, injustice, neglect, deprivation, and equality among vulnerable people.

Others were the OISA Foundation, which transforms lives through interventions in the education and healthcare sectors; Cerebral Palsy Center, which renders support to families with children with cerebral palsy as well as the Niola Cancer Care Foundation, which organises awareness talks and screens communities for colon cancer.

Promo: Access Bank Gives Customers N200m, Three SUVs

Mohammed Shosanya

The 16th season of DiamondXtra, a savings and reward account where customers of Access Bank are rewarded with several prizes has finally been launched.

The event which took place on May 8th at Access Bank branch in Abuja, rewarded over 15,000 of its customers with N200 million in cash prizes, 3 brand new cars, and various other rewards.

The bank,which has been running the reward scheme since 2008, explained that the program is set asides to show appreciation by giving back to its loyal customers.

In his welcome address at the launch, Mr. Emeka Uzowuru,the Regional Director for North Central,Access bank, expressed delight on what the brand had been able to achieve over the years.

“As we launch the 16th season of Diamond Xtra reward, we are overwhelmed with gratitude and pride, the resounding success of the past seasons. And with the support of our esteemed customers, and unparalleled dedication of our colleagues, to date we have rewarded over 26,000 customers with outstanding sum of 6.5 billion naira”,he said

He further revealed how the brand has thrived well among competitors. “Despite challenges and attempts by competitors to mimic what we do, DiamondXtra remains unrivaled in the industry,” Mr. Uzowuru noted.

Among the DiamondXtra winners, Mr. Akowe John, an accountant who won a prize of N20,000, shared his excitement.

“Access bank is a wonderful bank And I must appreciate them for the encouragement. Truly they are doing well. I didn’t even believe that it would be my turn, but I thank God for what they have done and they should continue to wax stronger in the financial industry”, Mr John said.

Another winner, Mrs ijeoma Okeke expressed her joy at emerging as one of the winner of the 16th season of DiamondXtra rewards.

“I came to the event just to see what going on, I never knew I would be among the people that will win, cause towards the end I had lost hope, not until I heard my name, I was so excited. And that made me believe in access bank, and I will continue to upgrade my account with them”,Mrs Okeke enthused.

Enugu State Govt, FAAN Constitute Committee On Upgrade Of Enugu Airport

Mohammed Shosanya

The Enugu State Government and
and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,have constituted committee on infrastructural upgrade of Enugu Airport.

The constitution of the committee will fine-tune the terms of cooperation between the state government and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and work out other modalities towards the actualisation of the long-awaited infrastructural upgrade.

Meanwhile, the Committee is to be chaired by the Commissioner for Transportation in Enugu State, Dr. Obi Ozor, and co-chaired by Mr. Hycienth Ngwu, Head of Business Development, FAAN.

The Managing Director of FAAN, Mrs. Olubunmi Oluwaseun Kuku,commended what she described as “the wisdom of the Enugu State Government to partner with FAAN in providing critical infrastructure that will enhance the ability of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in providing seamless operations in cargo, domestic, and international passenger facilitation.”

Speaking at a meeting between the state government and FAAN at the Government House, Mrs. Kuku stressed that the infrastructural upgrade, when completed, would “catalyse the business potential of the South East region, increase wealth creation within the zone, reduce poverty, and enhance the GDP of the states within this geopolitical zone.”

She explained that separate studies by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Airport Transport Association had demonstrated that ”airports are engines of economic growth and that “one percent of a state budgetary allocation spent on an airport has the ability to triple the state’s GDP.“

“In this regard, we welcome the nomination of experts from the state and from FAAN to join a committee that will commence further actions and with timelines. That will aid in signing the necessary MOU for the immediate implementation of the project as envisioned by the governor,” she stated.

Speaking,Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, reiterated his government’s determination to make the state the preferred destination for investment, business, tourism, and living as well as grow the state’s economy from the current $4.4 billion GDP to $30 billion GDP in the next four to eight years.

He, however, said that the government was aware that such exponential growth would not happen without providing the necessary environment, including world class airport, aviation, and logistics services, that would make the state attractive to private investors.

“For example, in our plan for tourism, we have projected to have over three million visitors come into Enugu State every year from next year. So, when we think in numbers, in terms of logistics, we will be expecting over 100 flights to come into Enugu on a daily basis. Therefore, the current infrastructure cannot handle it.

“Therefore, we are going to work with you to operationalise the international wing of the airport. We are also interested in constructing the cargo terminal and warehouses,” the governor stated.

He explained that the initial issues with the Nigerian Airforce surrounding the proposed site for the cargo terminal had been resolved following the execution of an MoU with the military service and there was nothing encumbering the commencement of the project.

“One of the impediments, which is something we came across when we assumed office and we have been able to deal with that, is our relationship with the Nigerian Airforce. We now have green lights to go ahead with the construction of the cargo terminal following our agreement because we have executed an agreement with the Airforce.

“We have an understanding where they are to build their barracks and where we are to build the other infrastructure. That is all sorted out now. We are hoping that we get this Committee sitting done and concluded within the next two weeks. And so, by the next time we will meet, it will just be to sign the dotted lines. This is a priority for us as government”, Mbah stated.

Telecoms Sector Fetches N33trn For Nigeria-Report

Mohammed Shosanya

The Telecoms sector’s contributions to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) stood at 13.5%, a global organization, GSMA report has revealed.

According to the report,tagged: ‘The role of mobile technology in driving the digital economy in Nigeria’, GSMA also said the telecom sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s overall economic activity is much greater, estimated at 33 trillion NGN in 2023, with 2.4 trillion NGN in tax revenue contributions with 2.4 trillion NGN in tax revenue contributions.

Angela Wamola, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at the GSMA, who stated during a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Thursday, also advocated collaboration among industry players for the overall growth of the nation’s economy.

She said: “High-speed connectivity is the bedrock of any digital nation, and the Nigerian government recognises the mobile industry’s role in laying key foundations on which digital transformation is built.

“It is estimated that, in 2023, the telecoms sector was contributing 13.5% to the GDP of Nigeria. Considering the direct and indirect contribution of the mobile ecosystem, as well as the productivity impact throughout the economy, the telecom sector’s contribution to Nigeria’s overall economic activity is much greater, estimated at 33 trillion NGN in 2023, with 2.4 trillion NGN in tax revenue contributions.

“High-speed connectivity is the bedrock of any digital nation, and the Nigerian government recognises the mobile industry’s role in laying key foundations on which digital transformation is built. Future policies should be geared towards reducing the cost and complexity of infrastructure rollout to encourage investment and boost the adoption of mobile broadband. The impact of such actions would go far beyond mobile, driving productivity gains across the economy and creating millions of new jobs in Nigeria.”

According to her, the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) are committed to investing to support the realisation of the digitalisation ambitions that will unlock economic growth and development in the country.

“Navigating a complex operating environment to unlock these economic opportunities, connectivity and mobile financial services are crucial foundations.

“The GSMA’s report emphasises that while 29% of Nigerians are regularly using mobile internet, there remains untapped potential, as 71% are not accessing these services on a regular basis. An improved policy environment has the potential to help the industry boost coverage and adoption, resulting in 15 million additional internet users by 2028. However, the sector faces challenges to infrastructure deployment.

“Complex and costly process of securing Rights of Way (RoW) significantly increases the time and costs associated with rolling out infrastructure.

“The complex tax environment in Nigeria, providing for high and increasing costs of tax compliance because of the complex and overlapping tax structure within the country.Increasing costs are making it difficult for the industry to maintain sustainable levels of investment.

“The primary driver of this has been increases in the cost of power for sites due to the rapid increases in the price of fuel, increased government fees and levies, and increased demand for forex, in an import-dependent environment, due to contractual obligations for network infrastructure and services that are denominated in USD”.

CBN Directs PoS Operators To Register With CAC Before July 7

Mohammed Shosanya

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ordered all Point-of-Sale operators in the country to register their businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in two months.

This was disclosed in a statement after a meeting between Fintechs and the Registrar-General/Chief Executive Officer, CAC, Hussaini Magaji (SAN) in Abuja on Monday, May 7.

The CAC boss said the two-month timeline for the registration, which will expire on July 7, was not targeted at any groups or individuals but was “in line with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

The statement said: “The Corporate Affairs Commission and Fintech companies in Nigeria, better known as PoS operators, have agreed to a two-month timeline to register their agents, merchants, and individuals with the CAC in line with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The Corporate Affairs Commission and Fintech companies in Nigeria, better known as PoS operators, have agreed to a two-month timeline to register their agents, merchants, and individuals with the CAC in line with legal requirements and the directives of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“The agreement was reached today during a meeting between Fintechs and the Registrar-General, CAC, Hussaini Ishaq Magaji, in Abuja.”

NDIC Increases Maximum Deposit Insurance Coverage For Financial Institutions

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on Thursday announced the approval of a 3 increase in the maximum deposit insurance coverage levels for all licensed deposit-taking financial institutions.

Mr. Bello Hassan, Managing Director and Chief Executive of NDIC made the announcement at a press conference on the review of the maximum deposit insurance coverage level, in Abuja, saying the policy takes immediate effect.

According to Hassan, details of the adjustments are that: for the ‘Deposit Money Banks (DMBs): The increase of the maximum deposit insurance coverage from N500,000 to N5,000,000, would provide full coverage of 98.98% of the total depositors compared with the current cover of 89.20%. In terms of the value of deposit covered, the revised coverage would increase the value of deposits covered by deposit insurance to 25.37% compared with the current cover of 6.31% of total value of deposits.

“ii. Microfinance Banks (MFBs): The increase of the maximum deposit insurance coverage from N200,000 to N2,000,000, would provide full coverage of 99.27% of the total depositors compared with the current level of 98.76% and would increase the value of deposits covered by deposit insurance to 34.43% compared with 14.38% of total value of deposit, currently covered.

“Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs): The increase of the maximum deposit insurance coverage from N500,000 to N2,000,000 would provide full coverage of 99.34% of the total depositors compared with the current 97.98% and would increase the value of deposits covered by deposit insurance to 21.04% compared with 10.77% of total value of deposit, currently covered.

“Payment Service Banks (PSBs): The increase of the maximum deposit insurance coverage from N500,000 to N2,000,000 would provide full coverage of 99.99% of the total number of depositors and would increase the value of deposits covered by deposit insurance to 43.10% of the total value deposits from the current cover of 40.60%.

“Subscribers of Mobile Money Operators: The increase of the maximum Pass-through deposit insurance coverage from N500,000 to N5,000,000 per subscriber per MMO as the applicable coverage level for depositors of DMBs. 4 7.0 I must emphasise that, the revised deposit insurance coverage has balanced the NDIC’s goals of deposit protection and financial system stability with incentives for depositors to practice market discipline and prevent banks from unnecessary risk-taking and moral hazard. Consideration was given to ensure that the coverage was limited but adequate enough to protect a large number of depositors and credible enough to prevent the destabilizing effect of bank runs” he said.

He reiterated that the Corporation’s mandate of Deposit Guarantee is a critical component of depositors’ protection, as it guarantees the payment of deposits up to a maximum set limit in the event of bank failure.

According to him,the deposit guarantee, covers depositors of all deposit taking financial institutions licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, which includes Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks (PMBs), Non-Interest Banks (NIBs), Payment Service Banks (PSBs) and subscribers of Mobile Money Operators.

He said the maximum deposit insurance coverage is determined through periodic research based studies, to ensure its adequacy and credibility, adding that various factors considered in setting the coverage level are; deposit distribution, impact of inflation, per capita GDP, exchange rate and other statistical models, among others.

According to him,the adoption of the revised maximum deposit insurance coverage is supported by the Corporation’s current funding, represented by the balances in the various Deposit Insurance Funds (DIFs), expected annual premium collection, enhanced supervision that would reduce the likelihood of bank failures, effective bank resolution frameworks and other funding arrangements provided by the NDIC Act No. 33 of 2023.

Accident:FG Suspends  Dana Air Operations

Mohammed Shosanya
Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Aviation,has directed the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been directed by

The development was sequel to the incident involving a Dana Air plane at Lagos airport on April 23, which veered off the Lagos airport runway.

In a letter to the NCAA director general dated April 24, signed by Emmanuel Meribole, permanent secretary, ministry of aviation, and seen by TheCable, the ministry said Keyamo’s attention has been drawn to the “serious concerns” that followed the incident.

The Ministry said the incident has raised concerns regarding both the safety and financial viability of Dana Air operations.

“In light of these incidents and with the paramount priority being the safety and well-being of our citizens and travelers, the Honourable Minister has directed that you immediately initiate the suspension of Dana Airline’s fleet until a comprehensive audit can be conducted. This audit should encompass all aspects of safety protocols, maintenance procedures, and financial health to ensure full compliance with our aviation regulations,” the ministry said.

It added:“The recent incidents have underscored the urgency of this matter, and it is imperative that swift and decisive action be taken to safeguard the interests of all stakeholders involved. I trust in your expertise and diligence in carrying out this audit thoroughly and expeditiously.”

Dana Air Accident: NCAA Commences Investigation, Says All Passengers Alive

Mohammed Shosanya

The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau [NSIB) has commenced its investigation into circumstances leading to Dana Airline aircraft`s runway excursion on Tuesday in Lagos even as the agency confirmed that all 83 passengers and 6 crew members onboard were successfully evacauted.

Acting Director General of NCAA, Capt. Chris Najomo,disclosed this in a statement.

It said:”The Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) wishes to inform the public that on 23rd April, 2024 at about 08:25, a Dana Airline aircraft was involved in a runway excursion occurrence.

” The Aircraft, an MD82 with registration marks 5SN-BKI, departed Abuja for Lagos with 83 passengers and 6 crew members onboard.

” Upon landing at MMIA, the Air Transport Controller [ATC] Tower observed at C4 that the Nosewheel had retracted and the nose of the aircraft collapsed and the aircraft veered off the runway info the grassy area.

” Very importantly, all passengers and crew disembarked and were evacuated safely while Runway 18L was closed. In accordance with statutory procedures, the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau [NSIB) has commenced its investigation into the occurrence.

“The NCAA reiterates its avowed commitment to a safe and secure aviation sector. In furtherance to this commitment, the Authority will be looking to implement the safety recommendations expected from the NSIB investigation while it carries out its own in-house safety assessment of the occurrence.

“The traveling public is hereby assured of NCAA’s unrelenting efforts in holding all operators and service providers in the sector to the highest international safety standards.”