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Economy

Nigerians may still buy petrol at over N200 per litre –as government considers subsidy removal.

 

Eyewitness reporter
In the months ahead, the Federal Government may jerk up the prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as Petrol as it is seriously considering removal of subsidy.
Despite the claims that the country has exited the subsidy regime on Petroleum products, government is still paying for the difference  between the landing costs, ex-depot prices and the retail prices which the  Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said are presently underpriced due to the rising crude prices in the international market and the high but unstable exchange rates.
The Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr. Mele Kyari,gave an insight into the thinking of government yesterday  during a ministerial briefing  in Abuja.
He pointedly declared that  the corporation can no longer continue to bear the differentials in prices.
At the event, Dr Kyari said Petroleum products are underpriced in the country compared with other neighboring countries where, according to him,  Nigerian petrol is sold between N300 to N550 per litre.
He said that the price of the product in Nigeria should have been between N211 and N234 per litre.
“The price could have been anywhere between N211 and N234 to the litre. The meaning of this is that consumers are not paying for the full value of the PMS that we are consuming and therefore someone is paying that cost.
“As we speak today, the difference is being carried in the books of NNPC and I can confirm to you that NNPC may no longer be in a position to carry that burden,” Kyari said.
He pointed out the Federal government is working towards deepening the auto-gas regime as an alternative to petrol.
According to him; “that is why early last year if you recall, the full deregulation of the PMS market was announced and we have followed this through until we got to September when prices shifted to N145.
“As we speak today, I will not say we are in a subsidy regime but we are in a situation where we are trying to exit this subsidy or underpriced sale of PMS until we get in terms with the full value of the product in the market.
“Today, PMS sells across our borders anywhere above N300 at any of our neighbours. And in some places, it is up to N500 and N550 to the litre.
“In some countries, the Nigerian fuel is their primary fuel. We are supplying almost everybody in the West African region, so it is very difficult to continue this because we have our own issues and that is why the eventual exit from this is completely inevitable.
“When that will happen, I do not know. But I know that engagements are going on. The government is very concerned about the natural impact of price increases on transportation and other consumer segments of our society and as soon as those engagements are taken to logical conclusion, I am sure that the market price of PMS will be allowed to play at the right time”.
The NNPC may be pandering to the kite which  Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) flew earlier this month when it published on its website a new template for the prices of the product which it put between a market band of 209.61 and N212.61.
It also put the ex- depot prices of the product at N206.42 per litre and landing cost at N189.61.
The PPPRA then said the new price template for March was in response to the increasing prices of crude in the international market as well as the high but unstable exchange rates.
It would be recalled that even though the NNPC denied any price increase,  some Petroleum marketers took advantage of the situation to hike the prices of the product before  the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Timipre Sylva, intervened for nomalcy to return.
The PPPRA thereafter hastly pulled down the website where the controvesial price template was published.
However, with the new stand of the NNPC, the sole importer of Petroleum products in the country, it is a matter of time before the prices of the commodity are increased once again.
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Economy

CBN reverses itself on cash withdrawal limits as Emefiele succumbs to pressure

Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele

 

—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.

 

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Economy

ICT media chiefs launch foundation to drive advocacy, development

Bimbo Tooki
Abiodun Bayo
Top ICT media practitioners and pioneers in Nigeria have launched a Foundation known as Cloud Network Foundation, (CNF), to drive advocacy for skills acquisition and capacity building among youths and push for policy that encourages local content in ICT development in Nigeria.
The Foundation, made of the first eleven in ICT journalism in Nigeria, is worried that, among others, policy direction and implementation in the country has primarily neglected local content development and the creation of the requisite skills and enablement for Nigeria’s teeming youth to excel in the ICT ecosystem.
Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Abimbola Tooki, who remarked at the body’s inaugural meeting, said Nigeria has so much untapped potential that, when harnessed by the provision of the right policies and strategies, could replicate another Silicon Valley in California, the United States to Bangalore in India.
“We can move from a consuming nation to a producing one in a few years in the ICT ecosystem, and over 20 million of our youths can be lifted out of poverty every year if they have the right information, guidance, enabling environment and skills at their disposal if we take the right steps”, Tooki said.
 He said if the government prioritised integrating technology (ICT) infrastructure into public service delivery to promote growth-oriented policies, it would be easier for all tiers and arms of government to collaborate to pull Nigerians out of poverty.
The Cloud Network Foundation promises to provide an influential voice for stakeholders in the media, business community and government on the benefits of ICT in economic growth and national development.
It will also promote multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary initiatives on ICT to foster the creation, usage and sharing of knowledge in the fields of ICT for national development.
Also speaking at the body’s inauguration, Vice Chairman of the Foundation, Mr. Don Pedro Aganbi further said industry stakeholders should look forward to the Foundation’s resolve to ensure a more active ICT industry in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the CNF announced in the statement that as the election produced the Chairman and Vice Chairman, the group also elected the following officials: Olubayo Abiodun (Secretary); Ufuoma Emuophedaro, (Treasurer) and Ayo Makinde, as  Publicity Secretary.
Aganbi said CNF would ensure that all operators wake up to their responsibilities of delivering quality services to Nigerians while fostering a friendly environment for all.
Other members of the fully registered non-political, non-religious and non-profit organisation include award-winning and pioneering ICT journalists such as Mr. Aaron Ukodie, Mkpe Abang, Bayero Agabi, Bunmi Idowu, Enyi Moses, Ken Nwogbo, Shina Badaru, Biyi Fasoyin, Tayo Adewusi, and Otunba Biodun Ajiboye, among others.
The CNF stated that it will also work with educational institutions at all levels in advancing the usage and adoption of ICT in learning and educational endeavours, and providing an effective voice for stakeholders in the media, business community and government on the benefits of ICT in economic growth and national development.
It will also promote research in diverse segments of ICT, develop professionals in ICT Journalism, and promote multidisciplinary collaboration and interdisciplinary initiatives on ICT to foster the creation, usage and sharing of knowledge in the fields of ICT for national development.
Cloud Network Foundation has an active online presence, with a dedicated website (cloudnetwork.ng), twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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Economy

Cashless policy: CBN limits daily cash withdrawals to N20k

—-removes N500, N1000 notes from ATM

The Eyewitness reporter

In a bid to give a bite to the cashless policy of the Federal Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has pegged the daily cash withdrawal threshold.
It has also mandated banks not to anymore load N500 and N1000 notes into their Automatic Teller Machines(ATM).
In a circular by the apex bank to all the Deposit Money Banks Tuesday, only N200 notes or below are now to be loaded into their ATMs.
“The maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machine (ATM) shall be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.
This is as the apex bank pegged over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities per week to not exceeding N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively.

The maximum cash withdrawal over the counter (OTC) by individuals and corporate organisations per week shall henceforth be N100,000 and 500,000 respectively.

 Withdrawals above these limits shall attract processing fees of 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively,” the circular reads.

“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.

Analysts believe the latest policy, which comes on the heel of the Naira redesigning policy, will not only strengthen the cashless policy of the federal government but will also considerably inhibits the illicit use of the naira notes.
They also noted that the policy will control the amount of money in circulation which will enable the apex bank to monitor and control inflation in the economy.
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