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CBN Introduces N5 Rebate On Every $1 Remittance, Today



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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FG, Experts Urge Action On Maternal, Child Deaths



The Ministry of Health alondside experts in the health sector have sued for collective action to address the high maternal, neonatal and child health challenges in the country.
They spoke at the Health Summit organised by the African Centre of Excellence for Population Health and Policy (ACEPHAP), Bayero University Kano (BUK), and the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) in collaboration with Rand Corporation USA, with support from Marks Family Foundation.
Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, insisted on Partnership to bringing to minimal the rate of the menace in the country.
Represented by the Director, Child Health, Family Health Department, Stella Nwosu, Ehanire said, “all hands must be on deck towards improving Nigeria’s maternal newborn and child health indices as government could not do it alone”.
A professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the College of Health Sciences, BUK, Hadiza Galadanci, revealed that Nigeria had the highest number of maternal deaths accounting for over one-quarter (28.5%) of all estimated global maternal deaths in 2020.
Also speaking, the Director, CIDR, BUK, Prof. Isa Sadeeq, stated that the summit was inspired by the need to proffer solutions to the insecurity and humanitarian crisis facing women and children in Nigeria, especially in the North East and North West.

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PCN Orientates Newly Licensed Medicine Vendors In Kwara



The Pharmacy Council of Nigeria (PCN) has organised an orientation and Continuous Education Programme (CEP) for newly licensed patent and proprietary medicine dealers in Kwara.
Speaking at the programme in Ilorin, Mr Babashehu Ahmed, the Registrar of the council, explained that the training is part of the requirements for the issuance of Patent and Proprietary Medicines Vendors Licence (PPMVL).
According to him, the holder shall be required to attend an orientation programme (CEP), at least once, every two years.
Ahmed, represented by Mr Bayode Emmanuel, the Deputy Director, Northcentral Zonal Office, Minna, said it was the responsibility of every newly licensed private propriety Medicine Vendor (PPMV) to participate in the orientation programme.
“The orientation is adult learning programmes in which participants are encouraged to be involved in the learning process”, he said.
He tasked the medicine vendors to operate within the provisions of the guidelines as well as the PCN’s approved patent medicine lists.
Ahmed observed that National Surveys in Nigeria showed that Community Pharmacies and PPMVs were usually the first port of call for health seeking individuals in the rural, underserved and hard to reach communities.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Health in a bid to ensure equitable distribution of quality healthcare had targeted the medicine vendors in order to expand their roles in primary health care.
The Permanent Secretary, Kwara State Ministry of Health, Dr Abubakar Ayinla, said the programme was to ensure that all patent medicine vendors had met all requirements of getting licence to practice that aspect of the profession.
He described patent medicine vendors as group of people that were readily available and close to the communities, whom people utilise by buying medical consumables that were permitted to sell.
Ayinla emphasised the importance of compliance, rules and regulations, standard practice and ethics for vendors to uphold.
“We encourage them to learn, so that they will be able to apply their own learning to the evolving changes that we are seeing in the society”, he said.
The State Director, Pharmaceutical Services, Mrs Barakat Olarewaju, advised the medicine vendors to uphold the laws as approved by PCN.
According to her, vendors must sell only drugs on PCN approved patent and proprietary medicine list.
The pharmacist warned the vendors against prescribing or dispensing medicines, adding that all medicines to be stocked by the vendors must be purchased from premises registered by PCN.
President of Nigerian Association of Patent and Proprietary Medicine Dealer (NAPPMED), Kwara Chapter, Alhaji Abdulraheem Lawal, assured that the association would ensure compliance with laid down rules guiding their profession.

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CBN Educates Young Students On Savings Culture



As part of activities to mark the 2023 Global Money Week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has educated students on the rudiments and significance of future savings.
CBN said the money savings teaching session for young students across the country was aimed at encouraging students to save for the future even in times of little incomes.
The Head, Consumer Education Division of the Consumer Protection Department In CBN, Chinyere Jane Nwubilo, while addressing attendees at the event that was held on financial inclusion by the apex bank, noted that without financial literacy children of young age would not be able to imbibe financial discipline.
Nwubilo said the essence of the financial education session for the students was to educate them on financial discipline to enable them acquire financial capability that would help them to have financial wellbeing.
“We are trying to catch the children young to be able to save, to earn to invest at a very young age. We are celebrating with the rest of the world and CBN is the coordinator of all stakeholders in this celebration.
“The essence is just to inculcate in them the act of saving. They can save from whatever little they have”, she stated.
Nwubilo urged Nigerians to plan their money through savings, budgeting and investment.
She said the event was also organised to teach children on needs and wants to have a secured and stable financial future.
“You will have to separate your needs from your wants so that you don’t spend all your money on wants and not have savings to invest”, Nwubilo said.
On responsiveness of financial institutions in encouraging people into the financial system, Nwubilo said the apex bank has encouraged the financial institutions across the nation to as much as possible, drive down financial literacy with a focus on achieving financial inclusion.
The aim is to get them to understand how to develop saving culture and products that fit their category.
Nwubilo further stated that the department would push for the additionsion of in school curriculum.
“Yes, that is in the pipeline because there is need for us to ensure continuity. So, we are going to have financial education in school curriculum very soon”, she said.
The significance of Global Money Week is an annual event celebrated all over the world and the theme for this year is “Plan Your Money And Plant Your Future”.

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