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Economy

Fraud rocks Anchor Borrowers’ Programme- –as CBN suspends intervention funds

 

Eyewitness reporter
The Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) has uncovered a monumental fraud in its Anchor Borrowers’ programme.
The programme, which was an initiative of the Federal government to create an intervention funds for Nigerian Farmers to boost agricultural production, was inaugurated in 2015.
But almost six years after the programme was created, the CBN, who drives the initiative with no- interest, no- collateral loans to farmers, has discovered that the anchor companies involved in the processing of the loans, were engaged in reckless sleaze with the funds.
The anchor companies are the middlemen between the CBN and the beneficiary farmers who process and facilitate the loans.
As a result of this shocking discovery, the apex bank has suspended the programme pending the conclusion of investigations into the allegation of financial impropriety against the facilitators.
The CBN’s suspension of further disbursement of loans under the programme  was contained in a correspondence of March 10th, 2021, which  refers to a meeting on February 4th,2021, where the decision was taken for an immediate suspension of all loans.

The memo said the decision would only be rescinded after all outstanding loans disbursed under the programme have been fully accounted for.

The CBN has therefore asked the facilitators of the loans, Nigeria Incentives-Based Risk Sharing System (NIRSAL)  to submit monthly reports on its activities to the apex bank, a decision that indicated CBN’s  loss of confidence  in the credit risk managers.
“We know it is bad for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, but at least we know that there will be no money to steal further. The CBN’s action is a welcome development because NIRSAL has been exposed to a lot of bad debts due to its focus on corruption rather than productivity and development of the agric. value chain,”
a source declared.
Mr Yila Yusuf,  the CBN Director for Development Finance, said that the apex  bank has so far  disbursed N554.61 billion  to the beneficiaries through the programme since its inception in 2015 while 3.8 million farmers have so far benefited from the intervention funds.
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Economy

Buhari shuts Zanaib Ahmed, Finance Minister, up on naira redesigning policy

Emefiele-Buhari-and-Zainab-
– backs CBN Governor 

The Eyewitness reporter
President Mohammed Buhari has come out to publicly endorse the Naira redesigning policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), thus putting paid to the controversy generated by the decision.
In a radio programme on the Hausa service, President Buhari, on Sunday, said that the decision of the  CBN to launch new designs and replace high-value Naira notes had his support and is convinced that the nation will gain a lot by doing so.
The presidential endorsement of the policy has therefore put paid to the criticism of the policy by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
Mrs Ahmed had openly distanced herself and her Ministry, as the management authority of fiscal policy in the country, from the CBN Naira redesigning policy, saying she was not consulted and warning of the consequences of the decision if implemented.
However, President Buhari expressed support for the policy, saying he was convinced by the reasons given to him by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele that the economy stands to benefit from a reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting and the excess cash in circulation.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President, (Media & Publicity), Garba Shehu, quoted Buhari in a statement as saying he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short.

”People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all.”

The president’s support for the policy has however vindicated the stance of the CBN Governor who had insisted that he needs not to consult the Finance minister, having sought and obtained the approval of the President on the matter.

Mr Emefiele had on  Saturday insisted the CBN will carry on with the redesign of some denominations of the Naira notes, saying it followed due process in its decision.

The apex bank made this known via its verified Twitter account, saying that the exercise was 12 years overdue.

The CBN urged Nigerians to support the measure, stressing that it was in the country’s overall interest.

The CBN said the measure was in line with provisions of sections 2 and 19 of the CBN Act.

“The management of the CBN had duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.

“The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project, which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country.

“The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country,” it said.

According to the CBN, it had tarried for too long considering it had to wait 20 years to redesign.

“The standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years,” Emefiele claimed.

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Economy

News Alert!  Naira redesigning policy: We don’t need to consult anyone- Emefiele slams Minister of Finance 

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
 The Eyewitness reporter
Barely a few hours after her criticism of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) policy of Naira redesigning, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of the Central Bank, has slammed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, saying the apex bank does not need to consult anyone over its decision to redesign the nation’s currency notes.
Mrs. Ahmed had discredited the policy, which is meant to redesign some of the Naira currencies from N100 to N 1000, saying her Ministry as the fiscal authority, was not consulted by the CBN before the decision was made.
While speaking at the National Assembly Friday during the defence of the 2023 budget, Mrs. Ahmed had warned of the dire consequences of the policy on the economy when implemented.
In a swift reaction, Emefiele said that having sought and obtained the approval of President Mohammed Buhari in writing and also backed by the CBN Act, the Apex bank does not need the approval of anyone else.
” In line with Sections 19, subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, the Management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N100, N200, N500, and N1,000 levels.
”That is the position of the law. With this, we don’t need to consult anyone else” Emefiele fired back.
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Economy

Finance Minister discredits CBN’s Naira redesigning policy

Zainab Ahmed and Godwin Emefiele

 

— warns of its dire consequences on economy
as naira continues its fall 
The Eyewitness reporter
There seems to be a great disconnect between the fiscal policy managers and the monetary policy managers of the Nigerian economy over the recent decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the national currencies.
Less than 48 hours after the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, announced the decision of the apex bank to redesign the major Nigeria’s currencies, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, who is the head of fiscal policy management team of the economy, has sharply disagreed with Mr. Emefiele, the CBN Governor, the head of the monetary policy managers of the nation’s economy.
Mrs. Ahmed, who was at the  2023 budget defence with the National Assembly Friday, feigned ignorance of the CBN Naira redesigning policy, saying she only got the information from the media like every other Nigerian.
She however warned of the dire consequences of the policy on the economy if implemented.
” Distinguished senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned Naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise.

“However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies.

“I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”

Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, during the 2023 budget defence session, warned CBN of consequences that may arise from the policy.

He had told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by CBN, the repercussion of it on the value of the Naira to the US dollar was being felt.

” Just two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of the Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to the rush in exchange of starched Naira Notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar.

“To me, the policy may be a well-conceived one, but the timing going by realities on the ground, is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023, fixed for full implementation of the policy.”

It would be recalled that CBN Governor, Mr. Emefiele had on Wednesday said that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from 200 Naira denomination to N1,000 notes.

Emefiele said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.

According to him, the planned policy was in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

 The policy is expected to fully take off from February 2023.
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