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CBN Introduces N5 Rebate On Every $1 Remittance, Today

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has introduced a rebate of N5 for every $1 of fund remitted to Nigeria, through International Money Transfer Organisations in its new forex policy.

The Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this, last Saturday, during a virtual event organised by Fidelity Bank at its inaugural webinar on the impact of the new forex policy on Diaspora investments.

Emefiele said that this new policy takes effect, today.

He said, “Furthermore, in an effort to reduce the cost burden of remitting funds to Nigeria by working Nigerians in the Diaspora, the Central Bank of Nigeria has introduced a rebate of N5 for every $1 of fund remitted to Nigeria, through IMTOs licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“This rebate will be provided to the bank accounts of beneficiaries, following receipt of remittance inflows.

“We believe this new measure will help to make the process of sending remittance through formal bank channels cheaper and more convenient for Nigerians in the Diaspora. This new policy is expected to take effect on the 8th of March, 2021.”

According to him, efforts at driving remittance inflows into Nigeria would yield positive results as it continued to ensure formal banking channels offer cheaper, faster, and more convenient ways for remitters to send funds to beneficiaries.

The CBN governor said that reducing the cost of sending remittances was a significant way to boost remittance inflows to Nigeria.

In general, he said, the new policy was expected to enlarge the scope and scale of foreign exchange inflows into the country with a view to stabilising the exchange rate and supporting accretion to external reserves.

More importantly, it would provide an opportunity for Nigerians living abroad to make investments in their home country, he noted.

Emefiele said, “Yet, the introduction of the new policy presented new challenges as operators and remittance service providers were initially unable to integrate with the commercial banks.

“The CBN continues to work assiduously to resolve the few intermittent interface challenges that are remaining.”

He said that it was brokering meetings between the IMTOs and banks in order to ensure that they have a smooth transition and the Diaspora community has a more convenient way to remit funds to Nigeria.

According to him, efforts at driving remittance inflows into Nigeria would yield positive results as it continued to ensure formal banking channels offer cheaper, faster and more convenient ways for remitters to send funds to beneficiaries.

He added, “Today, the World Bank data shows that Nigeria, with a total flow of $21billion, was the seventh largest recipient of remittances in 2019.

“This is behind India, China, and even Egypt. Though official remittance flows declined in 2020 due largely to the undermining impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, it maintained its dominance over FDI inflows.”

Emefiele had earlier disclosed that remittances improved from a weekly average of about $5million to over $30million per week through its forex initiatives.

The CBN governor said reducing the cost of sending remittances was a significant way to boost remittance inflows to Nigeria.

More importantly, it would provide an opportunity for Nigerians living abroad to make investments in their home country, he noted.

However, it has been argued that the ‘Naira-for-Dollar’ policy may increase the country’s foreign remittances to $34.89billion by 2023.

Forecast by PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the big four accounting firms, had suggested that Nigeria’s remittance flows could reach $34.89billion by 2023 if the policies were right.

PwC, in the forecast, noted that the growth in remittances was subject to global economic forces, which could spur or hinder growth of remittance flows, growth in emigration, economic conditions of residing countries and poor economic fundamentals in the Nigerian economy.

The forecast revealed that as of 2017, the highest remittance came from the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Cameroon, Italy, Ghana, Spain, Germany, Benin Republic, Ireland and Canada.

It added, “Several countries across the globe, including Nigeria, have developed plans towards attracting investment from their Diaspora community for national development. Essentially, the extent to which the Diaspora contributes to the developmental affairs of a country will be determined largely by trust.

“In summary, what is required is a coherent policy framework to harness remittances into generating capital for productive investments for the growth and development of small and micro-enterprises, which will in turn, create employment. In addition, remittances can be deployed toward philanthropic activities, which can serve as solutions for specific deficiencies in the local infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and roads.”

Nigeria’s Diaspora remittance in 2019 was put at $21billion by the World Bank.

Even though the forecast showed that the remittance would have risen to $27.66billion in 2020, experts believe the projection couldn’t have been met due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reacting, a former President, Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Dr Sam Nzekwe, said this latest move would encourage people to patronise government licensed money transfer operators as opposed to the agents that could not be easily monitored.

It would also ensure that more forex was remitted into the country, he noted.

A Professor of Economics at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Sheriffdeen Tella, said, “It won’t have any major impact on Diaspora remittances.

“The first thing is that the amount (N5) is too small to attract those living abroad to start sending money home. Don’t forget that these people also have their plans.

“Secondly, it may not be able to save the naira from the current slide. The reason is that production is picking up now and most of production needs foreign inputs. So, people will spend dollars to do more imports. Also, we have not been able tackle illicit financial flows.”

Similarly, the Chairman of Foundation for Economic Research and Training, Prof Akpan Ekpo, said the new scheme introduced by the CBN was aimed at tackling dollar scarcity in the country by encouraging the inflow of the greenback.

Ekpo, a former director-general of the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management, said, “I think it is just to encourage the inflow of dollars so that they can reduce the amount of naira needed to buy the dollar. Now, the naira has depreciated officially to 410/$1; it is about 480/$1 in the black market. That gap is still wide; so, the CBN is trying to narrow the gap.

“The only way we can boost forex supply is to diversify the economy – build a complex industrial economy where we earn forex outside of oil. That is the only way we can boost forex supply, not the way we are going.”

But he said while the impact of the CBN policy on the Nigerian economy would be marginal, it would not save the naira from sliding down further.

Ekpo explained, “That is the idea – to see whether they can stop the depreciation. Whether that will happen, I don’t think that will happen in the short term. The impact on the economy will be very marginal. The idea is that they want to bring in more dollars because if you stabilise the exchange rate, you will restore confidence in the economy and hopefully, if you restore confidence, you might encourage an inflow of foreign direct investment. That’s the whole idea.”

He said, “We don’t know (whether the new policy will increase Diaspora remittance); let’s see what happens before six months because the only way you can increase dollar supply is for the country to produce and export non-oil (commodities), not just crude oil only. If it’s crude oil alone, we are earning a lot of revenue from oil, but still we have a problem with the dollar.

“So, the only way is to be an economy that produces and exports non-oil to earn foreign currency, meaning that the economy has to be diversified to do that.”

An economist and Senior Lecturer, Lagos Business School, Dr Bongo Adi, applauded the policy, noting that it could leapfrog the economy.

He said this was part of the innovations and proactive incentives that was expected from the bank and cited India as an example of a country that leveraged Diaspora remittances to transform her economy and escape the poverty trap.

The Director-General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Muda Yusuf, said the ‘CBN Naira 4 Dollar Scheme’ would increase the annual Diaspora remittance and save the naira from its current slide.

He, however, added that the apex bank should allow exporters free access to their export proceeds.

Also, a businessman, Mr Jimoh Ibrahim, described the policy as one that had the capacity to boost the value of naira against the dollar, given that there would be an increase in remittances from the Diaspora.

He however pointed out that there should be other ways of encouraging Nigerians abroad to remit forex, noting that the N5 incentive could only be significant when the volume is high.

Also, the Director-General, the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Ambassador Ayo Olukanni, said the CBN must have taken the decision to harness the huge potential of foreign remittances.

He said if well implemented, the policy might boost foreign exchange and reduce the pressure on naira.

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Customs Generates N466.1bn Revenue In First Quarter

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The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has generated N466.1 billion revenue in the first quarter of 2021.
The statistics obtained by The Tide source from the office of the Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr Joseph Attah yesterday, showed that the revenue was generated from January to March.
The data indicated that the NCS realised the highest revenue in March with N169.4 billion followed by January with N157.6 billion while the sum of N138.9 billion was generated in February.
The document showed that customs realised the highest revenue of N216.9 billion within the period under review from import duty.
According to the statistics, the import duty is followed by customs VAT which is N105.2 billion and non-federation accounts levies of about N55.5 billion.
The document showed that N50.8 billion was generated from federation account levies while N34.5 billion was gotten from excise duty as well as N2.8 billion from fees.
Similarly, the statistics revealed that within the period under review, the service made a seizure of different contraband goods valued at N1,996,145,258.
The document indicated that the customs confiscated 37,206 bags of imported rice from January to March.

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Senate Receives Buhari’s Request To Confirm Garba As FCT CJ

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Senate, yesterday at plenary received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari, to confirm the appointment of Acting Chief Judge of the FCT High Court, Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi, as substantive Chief Judge.
Buhari’s request is contained in a letter read by President of Senate , Ahmad Lawan.
Buhari, in the letter said his request was made pursuant to Section 256 subsection 1 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The letter reads in part: “Request for the confirmation of the appointment of Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi as the Chief Judge for the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.
“Pursuant to Section 256(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“I hereby request for the Senate’s confirmation of the appointment of Hon. Justice Salisu Garba Abdullahi, the acting Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, as substantive Chief Judge of the Court.
“I trust that the Senate will favorably confirm Hon. Justice Salisu Abdullahi as substantive Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, in the usual expeditious manner.”
The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Tanko Muhammad, inaugurated Garba as the acting Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Garba hails from Malumfashi Local Government Area of Katsina State.
He was called to the bar in 1984, and he completed his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme in 1985.
Garba was appointed as a magistrate of the FCT High Court in 1989.
In 1997, he became the chief registrar of the FCT High Court, and was appointed a judge of the FCT High Court in 1998.

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…To Investigate CCT Chairman For Alleged Assault On Security Guard

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The Senate yesterday mandated its standing Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the alleged assault on a security guard, Clement Sargwak.
The assault was allegedly committed by the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, at Banex Plaza, Wuse II, Abuja.
Sagwak, had petitioned  the Senate through his Sen. Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North).
President of the Senate Ahmed Lawan asked the Committee on Ethics and privileges headed by Sen. Ayo Akinyelure to investigate the matter and report back in four weeks.
The Senate investigation was premised on the fact that the petitioner was yet to seek   redress in Court.
Earlier presenting the petition at plenary, Gyang said the petitioner was seeking for justice, given the assault on him by the Tribunal Judge, while carrying out his duty.
Gyang said the petitioner alleged Umar assaulted him, asked him to kneel down and also slapped him.
In another development, the Senate has mandated its Committee on Special Duties to liaise with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to supply relief materials to Olamaboro communities in Kogi, which were affected by rainstorm.
The resolution was sequel to a Point of Order raised by Sen. Isah Jibrin (APC-Kogi) during Tuesday’s plenary.
The motion was titled: “Urgent need for rehabilitation of communities affected by rainstorm in Olamaboro Local Government Area (LGA) of Kogi”.
Speaking on the motion, Jibrin said over 200 residential buildings were destroyed across the communities in the LGA by rainstorm on April 9.
“Apart from destruction of residential buildings, the devastating rainstorm also ravaged crops, farmlands, schools, worship houses, clinics and businesses in several communities in the LGA,” he said.
Contributing, Sen. Yakubu Oseni (APC-Kogi) urged the Federal Government to provide succor to the affected communities through relief materials.
The Senate thereafter, mandated its Committee on Poverty Alleviation and Social Investment Programme (SIP), to liaise with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to provide minimal seed capitals for the victims in the affected communities.

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