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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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Borno NARD President, Residents Hail Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough

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The  Borno State branch President of Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Abubakar Kaka-Sanda, has lauded the announcement of malaria vaccine by World Health Organisation (WHO), which he described as a welcome development.
Kaka-Sanda told The Tide source in Maiduguri yesterday that “a vaccine against malaria known as a killer disease with high mortality, particularly among children in Africa is something worth celebrating.”
He, therefore, urged states and the Federal Government to start early mobilisation of the public on the vaccine to address the issue of vaccine phobia.
He said “government needs to start early public enlightenment on the vaccine so that whenever it is available, there will be no issue of phobia.”
He also reacted to the just suspended NARD strike, saying “doctors are all back and attending to patients in hospitals.
“Our members are at their respective duty posts offering the best we can.”
Maryam Audu, a woman living in Maiduguri, seen at the Borno Specialists Hospital whose two children were diagnosed of malaria, described
the development as a welcome one.
She said “if we have vaccine for malaria, I can assure you that more children will survive till adulthood.
“Most cases affecting children is malaria and that’s why some mothers in Borno have problem with polio vaccination officials .
“We use to tell immunisation officials that the problem of our children is malaria and they should not be bothering us with polio immunisation.
“We are really  looking foward to the malaria vaccine.”
Tijjani Mohammed and Asmau Isa and Janet Ezekiel, all living in Maiduguri, also said they heard the news and hope it would be a dream come true.
Ezekiel said “70 per cent of illness affecting my family members has to do with malaria.  If malaria can be contained in Nigeria, I can say
that we have solved a major problem.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa
and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “this is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science.”
child health and malaria control.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing  tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
He added that malaria remained a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that more than 260,000 African children
under the age of five die from malaria annually.

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Court Remands Labourer For Allegedly Robbing Woman At Hotel

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Justice Oyindamola Ogala of an Ikeja High Court yesterday remanded a 22-year-old labourer, Olanrewaju Opeyemi, for allegedly robbing a woman of N2,000 at a Lagos hotel.
The Tide source reports that Ogala ordered  that Opeyemi, who has  no fixed address, should be kept at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre after he pleaded not guilty  to a three-count charge which was interpreted to him from English Language to Yoruba Language.
The defendant was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery and causing grievous harm.
According to prosecution led by Mrs A.O. Oluwasanmi, the defendant committed the alleged offences at 2.00 a.m. on April 14, 2020, at Intendo Hotel, Agboju, Lagos.
“Opeyemi alongside others who are at large, conspired to commit robbery, and while armed with a knife, he robbed one Ms Blessing Okoro of N2,000.
“He also grievously harmed Okoro by cutting her with a knife and inflicting serious injuries on her.
“The offences violate Sections 245, 297 and 299 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015,” the she  said.
The judge adjourned the case until November 25 for trial.

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Borno NARD President, Residents Hail Malaria Vaccine Breakthrough

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on

The  Borno State branch President of Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Abubakar Kaka-Sanda, has lauded the announcement of malaria vaccine by World Health Organisation (WHO), which he described as a welcome development.
Kaka-Sanda told The Tide source in Maiduguri yesterday that “a vaccine against malaria known as a killer disease with high mortality, particularly among children in Africa is something worth celebrating.”
He, therefore, urged states and the Federal Government to start early mobilisation of the public on the vaccine to address the issue of vaccine phobia.
He said “government needs to start early public enlightenment on the vaccine so that whenever it is available, there will be no issue of phobia.”
He also reacted to the just suspended NARD strike, saying “doctors are all back and attending to patients in hospitals.
“Our members are at their respective duty posts offering the best we can.”
Maryam Audu, a woman living in Maiduguri, seen at the Borno Specialists Hospital whose two children were diagnosed of malaria, described
the development as a welcome one.
She said “if we have vaccine for malaria, I can assure you that more children will survive till adulthood.
“Most cases affecting children is malaria and that’s why some mothers in Borno have problem with polio vaccination officials .
“We use to tell immunisation officials that the problem of our children is malaria and they should not be bothering us with polio immunisation.
“We are really  looking foward to the malaria vaccine.”
Tijjani Mohammed and Asmau Isa and Janet Ezekiel, all living in Maiduguri, also said they heard the news and hope it would be a dream come true.
Ezekiel said “70 per cent of illness affecting my family members has to do with malaria.  If malaria can be contained in Nigeria, I can say
that we have solved a major problem.”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended widespread use of the RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) malaria vaccine among children in sub-Saharan Africa
and in other regions with moderate to high P. falciparum malaria transmission.The recommendation is based on results from an ongoing pilot programme in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi that has reached more than 800,000 children since 2019.
The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, said “this is a historic moment. The long-awaited malaria vaccine for children is a breakthrough for science.”
child health and malaria control.
“Using this vaccine on top of existing  tools to prevent malaria could save tens of thousands of young lives each year.”
He added that malaria remained a primary cause of childhood illness and death in sub-Saharan Africa, noting that more than 260,000 African children
under the age of five die from malaria annually.

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