United Nations agencies have predicted a grim picture of possible starvation of over 1.2 millions Nigerians in the Northern part of the country by August, 2021.
Two United Nations agencies also warned that millions of people in South Sudan and Yemen, also stood the risk of famine in the coming months.
“Urgent and targeted humanitarian action is needed to prevent hunger or death” in these areas, the agencies said in a joint report.
The three countries were among 20 “hunger hotspots” identified by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) where existing acute food insecurity risks deteriorating further by July.
A specific sub-group — Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen and Zimbabwe, are particularly at risk.
Parts of their populations are already experiencing “extreme depletion of livelihoods, insufficient food consumption and high acute malnutrition”, the joint report warned.
“In such fragile contexts, any further shocks could push a significant number of people over the brink and into destitution and even starvation”, it said.
In parts of Jonglei state in South Sudan, the UN agencies said famine was already occurring, and “urgent, at-scale action is now needed to stop likely widespread starvation and death”.
Overall in South Sudan, some 7.2 million people are expected to be in food crisis — with high malnutrition or just marginally meeting minimal food needs — from April to July.
Some 2.4 million people are classified as in an “emergency” situation, with 108,000 people in the agencies’ “catastrophe/famine” grouping.
Urgent action is also required to prevent further destitution in parts of Yemen, the report said, with the number of people in or nearly in famine estimated to triple from 16,000 last October-December to more than 47,000 this June.
Those facing acute food insecurity in Yemen will rise by three million, it said, to 16.2 million people, with five million in an emergency situation.
There was some improvement, last November, the UN agencies classed Burkina Faso as a fourth country at risk of famine alongside South Sudan, Yemen and northern Nigeria.
But the alert in Burkina Faso had slightly lowered for the coming months, after a good harvest and improved delivery of food assistance to remote and inaccessible areas.
Continued conflict in the zone, however, means the situation “remains very concerning.”
CBN reverses itself on cash withdrawal limits as Emefiele succumbs to pressure
—now pegs weekly withdrawal for individual to N500,000, Corporate N5million
The Eyewitness Reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) may have succumbed to pressure from the National Assembly and other rich Nigerians as it has reversed itself on its earlier cash withdrawal limits for individuals and corporate organisations.
In a circular number BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/073 dated December 21st, 2022 and addressed to all Deposit Money Banks(DMBS) and other financial institutions, the apex bank disclosed that the new weekly cash withdrawal limits for both the individuals and corporate organisations have now been reviewed to N500,000 and N5million respectively.
The new weekly cash withdrawal limits now superseded the earlier one released on December 6th, 2022 which were put at N100,000 for individuals and N500,000 for corporate organisations.
In the new revised cash withdrawal limits, the CBN claimed the revision of the policy was in response to feedback from the stakeholders.
The new revised policy also slashed the processing fees for amounts above the approved threshold from an initial 5 percent for individuals to 3 percent and for corporate organisations from 10 percent to 5 percent.
The circular, which was signed by Haruna Mustafa, the Director of Banking supervision, the CBN said the new revised cash withdrawal policy takes effect from January, 9th,2022.
”Following our circular BSD/DIR/PUB/LAB/015/069 dated December 6, 2022, on the above subject and based on feedback received from stakeholders, the Central Bank Of Nigeria(CBN) hereby makes the following reviews;
–the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations shall be N500,000 and N5 million respectively.
–In compelling circumstances where cash withdrawal above the limits in (1) above is required for legitimate purposes, such requests shall be subject to a processing fee of 3 percent and 5 percent for individuals and corporate organisations respectively.
–Futrher to (2) above, the financial institution shall obtain the following information from the Customer, at the minimum,and upload same on the CBN portal created for the purpose
a. Valid means of identification of the payee(National ID, International passport, or driver’s license)
b.Bank Verification Number(BVN) of the payee.
c.Tax Identification Number(TIN) of both the payee and the payer.
d. Approval in writing by the MD/CEO of the financial institution authorising the withdrawal.
–Third-party cheques above N100,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while the extant limit of N10 million on clearing cheques still subsists.
—Monthly returns on cash withdrawal transactions above the specified limits should be rendered to the banking supervision, Other financial institution supervision and Payment System Management Departments as applicable
—Compliance with extant AML/CFT regulations relating to KYC, ongoing customer due diligence, currency and suspicious transaction reporting, etc is mandatory in all circumstances.
—Customers should be encouraged to use alternative channels(internet banking, mobile banking apps, USSD, cards/POS, eNaira,gets) to conduct their banking transactions”, the circular reads.
The CBN however warned all the banks and OFIS that aiding and abetting the circumvention of this policy will attract severe sanctions.
It could be recalled that the policy, which was first announced on December 6th, 2022, generated mixed reactions, especially from the members of the National Assembly who invited the CBN Governor. Godwin Emefiele to come and explain the rationale behind the cash withdrawal limits.
Twice, the National Assembly invited Mr. Emefiele, but twice, he did not appear, citing national assignment engagement as the reason for his non-appearance.
The review may, however, be as a result of the intense pressure that the CBN governor has lately been subjected to as a result of this policy which analysts believed does not favour the elites, the politicians and the rich Nigerians, especially giving the forthcoming elections.
ICT media chiefs launch foundation to drive advocacy, development
Cashless policy: CBN limits daily cash withdrawals to N20k
—-removes N500, N1000 notes from ATM
The Eyewitness reporter
The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organisations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and 500,000 respectively.
“Third-party cheques above N50,000 shall not be eligible for payment over the counter, while extant limits of N10,000,000 on clearing cheques still subsist.
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