Banks Reap N16.5bn From COT
Stark realities have indicated that Nigerian banks reap an average of N16.5 billion from Commission on Turnover (COT) annually through hidden charges which most of their customers are unaware of, The Tide source disclosed.
Further findings indicate that there is hardly any transaction that customers undertake without the banks making some profit, a situation which is heightened by the fact that over 60 per cent of the banking public do not request for a statement of their account.
For instance, one of the old generation banks which scaled the CBN audit exercise disclosed in its annual report for 2009 that income from commission and charges amounted to N28.13 billion, while gross earnings stood at nearly N190 billion. This means that income from commissions and charges accounted for over 15 per cent of its income for that year.
Similarly, another new generation bank which also passed the apex bank’s audit raked in a total of N4.81 billion as income from commission and charges, while a total of N104.5 billion was gross revenue in the 2009 financial year. The average earnings from COT for banks in Nigeria, based on the income from small banks and big banks is thus in the neighbourhood of N16.5 billion.
But what is even more alarming about the COT issue is that most banks hardly bother to include that part in their annual report, but simply refer to such incomes as ‘other incomes’.
Meanwhile, The Tide investigations also revealed that the situation is steadily getting worse this year, as more and more banks are beginning to add further charges to their transactions with customers. The trend, however, is not tied to those banks under the CBN-appointed management alone, but also includes almost every other bank looking for extra means of raising income.
A particular bank, rated among the top five in the country, in the midst of all this, has come up with charges which were not demanded last year. Okoli Dan, a customer, for instance, withdrew N20,000 from his account, but was surprised to receive an e-mail alert indicating he had been charged N147 as withholding tax.
It was a similar experience for Umukoro Blessing, another customer, who was equally dismayed after withdrawing same amount from the bank, and received two text messages from the bank’s alert services instead of one. According to him, the first one read: “Transaction notification: N20,000 debit, cash on self withdrawal,” while the second stated thus: “Transaction withdrawal notification: N100 debit as cash withdrawal commission.”
Their complaint was that the banks should have had the courtesy of apprising them of any impending charges, instead of simply going ahead to impose these charges arbitrarily.
In the estimation of Sonnie Okoro, yet another customer, the banks, particularly those that scaled the CBN audit exercise, may have become arrogant, feeling that there are little or no options for customers with eight of the hammered.
Infrastructure Deficit, Insecurity, Limit Maritime Contribution To GDP – Expert
A Maritime stake holder, and Chairman of Sifax Group, Taiwo Afolabi, has attributed maritime industry’s minimal contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to infrastructure deficit, insecurity on the nation’s waterways, low level of technology adoption, and deployment in the sector.
Afolabi made this known at the 5th Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime (TAAM) conference organised by the Maritime Forum of the faculty of law, University of Lagos.
Afolabi noted that other hindrances are foreign exchange bottleneck and inconsistent policies.
“These have limited the ability of the sector to contribute significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product GDP.
“If well harnessed, the maritime industry has the potential to become a major revenue earner for the country, particularly with the declining oil revenue.
“The lessons of the last few years as a nation should not be lost on us. The non-oil sector is increasingly becoming the mainstay of the country’s economy. We have funded our national budget in the last few years majorly without proceeds from oil but from other sectors.
“The days of our over reliance on oil is behind us now and it’s about time we focused on transitioning from an oil-dependent economy to non-oil reliance.
“The maritime sector, I can say without any fear of contradiction, will play a crucial role in this economic transitioning if more attention is committed to the industry.
“Judging by the potentials of the industry, we are of the opinion and belief that Nigeria’s maritime industry can rank among the best in the world.
“It will only take careful planning, progressive policies, generous funding, enabling environment, friendly economic policies, manpower development and massive infrastructural development”, he noted.
Loans Repayment Default: DMO Exonerates Nigeria
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has refuted the claim by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Nigeria has defaulted in repaying its Chinese loans.
SERAP had in an earlier statement hailed the judgement that ordered the present regime led by President Muhammadu Buhari to account for how it spent $460 million obtained from China to fund the Abuja Closed-Circuit Television project which later was not implemented.
The NGO also quoted a report in its statement saying “Nigeria has failed to repay loans for which penalties stand at N41.31bn”.
But DMO in its refuttal said the statement is ‘false’ as Nigeria has not defaulted in its loan repayment.
It said, “Nigeria is fully committed to housing its debt obligations and has not defaulted on any of its debt service obligations”, DMO said on Monday.
SERAP had sued the Federal Government following a 2019 disclosure by the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed that “Nigeria was servicing the loan”, adding that she had “no explanations on the status of the project”.
She reportedly said, “We are servicing the loan. I have no information on the status of the CCTV project”.
Giving his judgement, Justice Nwite agreed with SERAP that “there is a reasonable cause of action against the government. Accounting for the spending of the $460 million Chinese loan is in the interest of the public. It will be inimical for the court to refuse SERAP’s application for judicial review of the government’s action”.
The presiding justice also said the Minister of Finance is in charge of the finance of the country and “cannot by any stretch of imagination be oblivious of the amount of money paid to the contractors for the Abuja CCTV contract and the money meant for the construction of the headquarters of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB)”, SERAP said.
CBN Names Four Firms To Print Cheques
Nigeria’s apex banking institution, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has named four local firms for the printing of cheques, excluding the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NPSMC) PLC.
The list of the approved firms for the printing of cheques was contained in a circular issued by CBN.
The circular, which was signed by the Director of Banking Services, Sam Okojere, said the approved firms include Superflux International Limited, Tripple Gee and Company, Yaliam Press Limited, and Marvelous Mike Press.
“The re-accreditation of Cheques Printers and Cheque Personalisers is in line with the relevant qualification criteria”, CBN stated.
The circular also revealed that seven banks were approved as personalisers of cheques: they are Zenith Bank Plc, Ecobank Plc, First Bank Ltd, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Wema Bank Plc.
It further disclosed that all accredited printers and personalisers had been duly notified and certificates issued.
The Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc is the sole printer of N200, N500, and N1000 new notes.
Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company Plc and Euphoria Group Limited were accredited and approved on Thursday, 04 December 2014, in a letter REF: BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/033.
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