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Rich Nigerians Besiege Banks With Bales Of Cash 

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Just days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced the redesign of the N1,000, N500 and N200 notes, with a directive that the current notes be remitted to the commercial banks, wealthy individuals and organisations with huge cash stashed away have begun depositing them.
Reports from the operations department of many commercial banks have it that though there is yet to be any rush by customers, there was a gradual increase in the volume of cash and amounts being remitted by customers.
The Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, while announcing the issuance of the new naira notes on October 26, said bank customers should start paying their current notes to enable them to withdraw the new bank notes once circulation begins on December 15, 2022.
Emefiele said the apex bank had become concerned over some daunting challenges in the management of the existing bank notes in circulation, especially those outside the banking system, noting that such portend some consequences for the integrity of the CBN and the country.
Among the challenges that informed the decision, he lamented, was the “significant hoarding” of the banknotes in which case N2.73tn out of the N3.23tn currency in circulation as of September 2022 was outside the vaults of the commercial banks across the country.
He also cited the worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes; increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports and compliance with global standard to circulate new legal tender every five to eight years.
He noted further that the naira redesign would help to rein in the currency outside the banking system and make its monetary policies more efficacious, deepen its cashless economy drive and minimise incidents of terrorism and kidnapping as the access to large sums used for ransom payment.

“On the basis of these trends, problems, and facts set out above, and in line with provisions of Sections 2(b), section 18(a) , and section 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, the Management of the CBN has sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 levels.

“In line with this approval, we have finalised arrangements for the new currency to begin circulation from December 15, 2022 after its launch by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The new and existing currencies shall remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023 when the existing currencies shall cease to be legal tender”, he noted.

Meanwhile, interactions with many bank staff have indicated that individuals have begun depositing huge cash sums stashed away with the commercial banks.

A top banker with one of the first generation banks, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there was a gradual increase in the sums of money being deposited by some customers.

“We have seen an increase in the amount being brought to some of our branches by some customers”, the source said.

On the highest amount an individual had remitted so far, the source, who heads a branch of the bank in Oshodi, Lagos, said, “The amounts vary, but we have seen people bring between N5m and N20m cash. It’s only rich customers that can have huge sums stashed away. The poor live on daily income and can hardly have enough to save”.

He said it was easy to identify the money stashed away for a long time because of the smell, the dates on them and other elements he refused to disclose.

“There are ways to identify them, but I don’t want to go into that because the focus of the CBN policy is to rein in the volume of cash in circulation. The regulators would deal with the rest”, he stated.

The branch manager of another first generation bank in Ikoyi area of Lagos confirmed to newsmen that there was already a rise in the amount of cash being deposited by some customers.

She said, “The normal deposit by average income earners and businesses continues, but some customers have been coming with huge sums to deposit. We have seen some persons bring N2m cash and there have been higher and lesser amounts respectively from some other branches”.

Meanwhile, a senior staff at the headquarters of another first generation bank noted that feedback from some of their branches showed that some customers brought in billions, some in millions and some in hundreds of thousands.

The source said, “When the redesign of the naira was announced, the CBN asked all the banks to report the amount in their vault per day so they could monitor the remittances across board.

“The way it works is that branches route that information through their respective zones and the zones supply the information to the headquarters.

“We have to protect the customers, even if you suspect the possible source of such funds. The information from some of our branches indicate that in the last few days, specifically since October 26 when the CBN made the announcement, there have been individuals who brought in billions while some came to deposit millions.

“From what the CBN Governor said in his briefing, he said about 85 per cent of the cash in circulation was outside the bank vaults”.

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Army Chief Lauds NIMASA Boss Over Performance

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The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt Gen Faruq Yahaya, has commended the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, over his efforts in transforming and promoting the transportation sector as president of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration of Nigeria (CIoTA).
He gave the commendation recently, during the 4th National Transport Summit of the Institute in Abuja.
Yahaya, who was represented by Maj. Gen. E. Akerejola, commended the President and members of CIoTA for the many economic sectors it touched: from facilitating international trade, through supporting food security, to enabling industrial and infrastructural development.
In the same vein, the Nigerian Army and other security agencies pledged their support to the growth and improvement of the country’s transportation sector to international standards, expressing their willingness to collaborate with CIoTA to achieve this feat.
The COAS stated that the theme of the summit, “Transport Safety and Security Administration in Nigeria”, was also timely, saying it is “an important aspect of the Transportation sector which has often been overlooked by many, including the transport professionals and academia.
“Over the years, the transportation sector has witnessed series of issues and challenges ranging from poor infrastructure, poor regulations, limited specialised professional training institutions, lack of effective and efficient transport policies, intra industry squabbles among transport professionals, to unethical behaviours, poor working condition amongst others,” he said.
He reassured the Institute of the Nigerian Army’s resolve to support the transportation sector wherever necessary.
On his part, President CIoTA and DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, whose speech was read by Prof Samuel Odewumi, noted that the theme for this year’s summit is focused on safety and security of the transportation sector in Nigeria.
In his words: “We were able to achieve the Chartering of the Institute, Renewed Advocacy, Vigorous Membership Drive and Certification. This year’s summit focuses on Safety & Security on all modes of transportation, hence we must all work together as stakeholders and custodians of the transportation sector of Nigeria.
“Safety and security are paramount to achieving a robust and intermodal transport regime in Nigeria.
“CIoTA as the only statutory professional association in charge of the Transportation Industry in Nigeria, therefore, deserves to be accorded its place in nomination of members into relevant agencies and in consultations for policy formulation and implementation strategies. It is the right thing to do.
“As a Chartered Institute, our role is very huge; with great opportunities and challenges. Let’s focus on the job at hand”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Revenue Challenges: DMO Sues For Efficient Tax Administration

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As part of efforts to tackle revenue change in the country, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has called for the operation of an efficient and effective tax administration in Nigeria
Director-General of the agency, Ms Patience Oniha, who made the call in a statement made available to journalists, stressed on the need for Nigeria to operate such efficient tax administration system, that will tackle loopholes in revenue generation of the country.
According to her, a lot of loopholes are noticeable in the current tax system, which has given room for evasions and all sorts of sharp practices, causing hiccups in the public revenue management system.
She said revenue challenge remains one of the most critical policy issues of the Federal Government which is currently threatening the nation’s debt sustainability.
“The country needs to operate an efficient tax administration that would ensure greater compliance to remittances devoid of all forms of evasions in the system,” she said.
Recall that the current revenue problem is compounded by leakages such as an increase in oil theft and petrol subsidy, both of which have significantly reduced the revenue from oil sales that used to account for the bulk of government revenue.
Oniha noted that the outlook of both the local and international markets was becoming tighter with rising interest rate.
The DMO boss, therefore, stressed the need for the country to urgently moderate its new borrowings and ensure that public debt is sustained by accelerating its revenue base to shore up non-oil revenue and rationalising expenditure of the nation.

By: Corlins Walter

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214m Persons Subscribe To Telecoms In Nigeria

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Active telecommunication subscribers in Nigeria have now increased to 214.35 million as at October this year, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The latest NCC statistical records so far obtained shows that this is the highest number of recorded telecoms subscribers in the nation since the total number of subscribers peaked at 207.58 million in October 2020, some months before the SIM-NIN linkage.
The record has revealed that more subscribers were getting new SIMs in a bid to circumvent restrictions on SIMs that had not been linked with their National Identification Numbers, which was the major reason for the growth in 2022.
One of the major service providers in Nigeria, MTN, in its  third quarter release through the Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said the average daily gross connection was 48.1 per cent above the pre-directive level, partly driven by the cohort of subscribers who were initially restricted and opted to register new SIMs.
“Combined with increased usage from the existing base, these have supported an acceleration in the service revenue growth recovery and mitigated the impact of churn on the base”, he said.
Also looking at the predictions in the industry among the global industry’s stakeholders, Nigeria has a sizeable number of its population under the age of 18, which is indicating that its subscriber growth would remain strong for the foreseeable future as more young consumers crossed into adulthood and subscribed to mobile services.
Given the growing population, it is expected that 18 million new Nigerians will become unique telecoms subscribers even by 2025, and as Mobile connectivity is at the core of connectivity in Nigeria, with the majority of online services accessed through mobile channels in the nation.
Records have shown that mobile ecosystem also supported more than 3.2 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $16bn raised through taxes on the sector, and this will grow in coming years.
However, inspire of this growth, many will not have access to telecom service, just as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had said that about 31.6 million Nigerians live in areas without telecoms coverage.
The absence of such coverage, according to the ministry, had enabled criminal activities and insecurity in these unserved areas to thrive.

By: Corlins Walter

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