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Cashless Policy: CBN Promises To Tackle Electronic Fraud

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has assured Nigerians that it would tackle head-on the challenges of electronic fraud in its current cashless policy.
The CBN Deputy Governor in charge of Operations, Mr Tunde Lemo, gave the assurance when he led a team of the bank’s officials on a courtesy visit to Gov. Peter Obi in Awka.
Lemo, who explained that the exercise was part of the policies of the bank to stabilise the country’s GDP, said that the institution was aware of electronic fraud in the system.
According to him, there are various gains of the policy apart from checking corruption, the cashless policy is to meet the vision 2020:20, to modernise payment system, to also help improve the effectiveness of monetary policy.
He said that the policy would reduce robbery, kidnapping, election rigging and even leakage in government revenue “because nobody will be cheated by the electronic machine”.
“We are going to deal with fraud head-on. One of the fears of people is that this channel lends itself to fraud. We are quite aware of it and we have learnt the ropes in Lagos by ensuring that we deal with fraud.
“We had a committee of the bankers’ committee called Electronic Bankers Forum, they meet regularly to deal with fraud and issues around fraud are dealt with.
“Of course, with the anti-fraud system that the Central Bank is going to acquire, it will also help us to reign in fraud.
“We are also going to deal with consumer protection because there could be disputes when transactions are conducted. We have already arranged with banks that within two-three days, one week maximum, such disputes should be settled.’’
Lemo said that the apex bank had lisenced about 20,000 mobile operators and currently doing a monthly volume of about 1.4 million in transaction totaling close to N10 billion.
He said that the choice of Anambra in the second phase of the cash-less exercise was because of its commercial value represented by Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
“Anambra is included in the second phase because of its commercial value, particularly the Onitsha and Nnewi axis where a lot of commercial activities are taking place in addition to the capital, of course, which is the seat of government.
”We chose Ogun State because it is already part of the greater Lagos metropolis.
“After here, we are going to Abia because of Aba and then Port-Harcourt, given the importance of Port-Harcourt within the Niger Delta in the energy sector and finally Kano where we also see a cluster of commercial activities.
“We believe that with these six locations if we add to Lagos, we would have covered over 90 per cent of places where cash is located then the rest can key-in. ’’
Lemo said that under the cash-less policy, individuals would only be allowed to make a maximum daily cash withdrawal of N500,000 from their accounts, while corporate bodies would be entitled to make a daily maximum cash withdrawal of N3 million only.
He identified the challenges which the policy might face in Anambra to include resistance due to prevailing cash culture, lack of POS at priority locations, distrust in the banking system, techno-fobia and infrastructure lag, among others.
Responding, Gov. Obi thanked the CBN team for recognising the strategic role the state was playing in sustenance of Nigeria’s economy, adding that the policy would help stabilise the country’s growth.
The governor, who promised to lead the drive, pleaded with CBN to make out time to return and educate the traders in Onitsha, Nnewi and Awka.
Obi said he would need extra time to educate the people, adding that many Anambra businessmen had lost their money in failed banks, adding that 90 per cent of Onitsha traders still transact business in cash.
”I think we should embrace cashless policy but I still want to plead that we in Anambra should join in August instead of July 1, because the traders need more education and sensitisation.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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