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Economy

Nigerians may pay more for cooking gas  —-as DPR advocates for market forces as determinant of  prices

Eyewitness reporter
If the Federal government heeds the call of  the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) to subject the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas(LPG), otherwise known as cooking gas, to the vagaries of market forces, then Nigerians may pay more for the product.
Mr Sarki Auwalu, the Chief Executive Officer, (DPR), believed that to achieve uninterrupted supply of gas, government should allow the  factor of demand and supply to guide the prices of the product.
The position of DPR, one of the regulatory government agencies in the oil and gas industry, aligned with the similar call by the Nigeria National  Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) when its Group Managing Director, Dr Mele  Kyari also said the corporation could no longer bear the burden of sustaining the expensive subsidy regime on Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and that its prices should be market- driven .
The positions of these two regulatory bodies in the Oil and Gas industry have further put pressure on Nigerians who should brace up to likely hike in the prices of these essential products.
While making this call in his  keynote address at the pre-summit conference on “Decade of Gas’, in Abuja, on Monday, Auwalu said that the right and market-based pricing of gas was critical, as it would assure producers of returns on their investments.
He also outlined five critical levers for gas development, especially as Nigeria moves to leverage its abundant gas resources for national growth, diversification of the economy and to use gas as the fuel for economic transformation.

According to him, the levers include availability, accessibility, affordability, and acceptability, as well as deliverability.

He noted that these were critical to utilising Nigeria’s proven gas reserves of 203 trillion cubic feet, TCF, for national development.

“Whereas references have been made to the other elements in this discussion, right pricing of gas is requiring particular attention to ensure security of gas supply and security of credible gas demand.

“This is because upstream gas producers must be assured that they will receive fair and equitable returns for their investments whereas, the price must be such that the end-users are able to pay for gas offtake in a reliable and consistent manner.

“Accordingly, the most robust and sustainable pricing mechanism is that which ‘let the market speak’ in a way that all costs are reflective of prevailing market conditions and for which the economic dynamics of demand and supply are allowed to interplay in an open, transparent, and free market environment.

“Thus, our drive as a nation should be early attainment to the ‘willing buyer; willing seller’ market status.

“Any transitional pricing arrangements, today, must be structured to quickly give way for market-led pricing regime and conditions,” he said.

Auwalu commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, for their outstanding leadership in deepening gas utilisation in Nigeria.

He noted that these efforts had culminated in the establishment of the National Gas Expansion Programme, National Gas Transportation Network Code and the National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme.

Others, he noted, include the ongoing construction of the ELPS-II, OB3 and AKK pipelines as critical backbone gas infrastructure required to improve gas deliverability and availability.

He added that government was also working toward the expeditious passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) which would enhance clarity in legislative, regulatory, fiscal, and administrative frameworks in the industry.

“This bill, when passed into law, will eliminate the uncertainties and bottlenecks associated with gas development in Nigeria and accelerate the growth of the Nigerian gas market to a fully developed and matured status.

“Specifically, on gas matters, the PIB provides for the following: promotion of dedicated gas exploration and development, gas terms, fiscal separation of gas as a commodity.

“It will also enhance the domestic gas delivery obligation, tariffing structure & methodology, open access regimes and revised gas pricing framework, to mention but a few,” Auwalu said.

He added that the DPR would continue to be an enabler and an opportunity provider in the oil and gas industry.

“Our focus remains the effective implementation of all policies and strategic programmes of government in an efficient manner that optimises the value of our petroleum resources for all stakeholders, all in overriding national interest,” he said.

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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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