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Two million jobs coming as CBN plans N100bn textile funding

About two million jobs are to be created in the textile industry with the expected injection of massive cash to revive the comatose sector

Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, said that the apex bank is looking at injecting N100 billion as its intervention in the Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) value chain.

The bankers’ bank has already disbursed about N50 billion to the cotton and ginning components.

Also on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari said he had directed the CBN to pump money into the sector for the local production of textiles and garments

The President said the cotton, textile and garment sector had the capacity to transform Nigeria’s economy and refine the sector to bring about an industry capable of creating more than two million jobs.

While the President delivered his message at the 31st National Education Conference of the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) in Abuja, Emefiele spoke after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the National Cotton Association of Nigeria (NACOTAN), Ginning Companies and Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association and Armed Forces of Nigeria, Nigeria Police, Paramilitary Institutions & National Youth Service Corps also in Abuja.

The CBN governor said the bank’s intention was to ensure that local players took control of the cotton, textile and garment industry and get it revived to facilitate its job creation capacity.

Emefiele said already, “approval to a tune of N19.18billion has been granted to finance nine ginneries with a view to retooling their processing plants, while providing them with improved access to finance at single digit interest rate.”

The same support he said will be extended to the textile and garment firms, adding that the apex bank had invested heavily in local textile and garment factories “to retool and produce assorted uniforms for our uniformed services that meet international standards.”

According to him, “the CBN is improving the linkage between cotton farmers and ginneries, by ensuring that ginneries are able to off-take the high-quality cotton produced by cotton farmers.”

Emefiele also promised to work with the security agencies, to ensure that the finished uniformed for service personnel and the wastes generated “are treated as currency,” adding that the “highest level of security until they are delivered to the right clients or disposed accordingly.”

Emefiele noted that “production of uniform wears especially for the armed forces calls for high level security concerns in handling, transportation and storage.”

This he added “is to help sustain their operations and improve their production capacity.”

The CBN governor lamented that “smuggling of textiles goods alone is estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over $4billion annually on textiles and apparel leading to a situation where most of the textile factories, all stopped operations and the workforce in Nigeria’s textile industry stands at less than 20,000 people today from about 2 million in the boom years.”

He was concerned that a large proportion of our clothing materials are imported from Asia and countries in Europe. But going forward, he said “there will be dedicated and carefully planned actions that are holistic and will encompass every node of the CTG value chain.”

The governor explained that the CBN  had constituted a Textile Revival Implementation Committee (TRIC) whose members include the CBN, Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development; Water Resources; Industry, Trade and Investment; and the Governments of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Gombe and Zamfara States.

“This Committee is driving the initiative to achieve self-sufficiency in cotton production and textile materials within a span of three years.”

President Buhari, who was represented by the Registrar, Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof. Josiah Ajiboye, called on the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to facilitate training of textile workers to sustain current efforts at improving local garments production in the country.He noted that the administration was committed to improving the industries in the country with the signing of the Executive Order 003.

The president noted that the order mandates all “’procuring authorities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007.”

He explained that the CBN had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Nigerian military and paramilitary outfits, as part of efforts to revive the Cotton, Textiles and Garment (CTG) sector in Nigeria.

Buhari said: “In recent time, the CBN has taken a number of commendable efforts to encourage patronage of local fabrics towards driving economic policy.

“I am glad to report to you that this is already yielding positive fruits. The existing 40,000 garments and textile workers must be trained and retrained, I will use this opportunity to call on the CBN to collaborate with your union and the ITF to come in and encourage the union to provide funds towards this end.”

General-Secretary of NUTGTWN, Issa Aremu, commended the federal government for closing Nigeria’s borders to end smuggling of goods into the country.

Aremu said the move was imperative as it was aiding production and consumption of local goods in the country.

National President of the union, John Adaji, noted that the Administration had shown commitment to revamping the textile industry with the introduction of a comprehensive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) Policy.

Adaji said that the policy, if implemented, would help to meet federal government’s target of creating 100 million jobs in ten years, adding that the union had the capacity to create no fewer than 2.5 million jobs.

Emefiele meets Buhari, says borders remain closed

The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, on Monday said that the nation’s land borders would remain closed until neighbouring countries agree to implement mutual anti-smuggling policies.

Emefiele said this after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in Aso Rock.

Nigeria had closed its land borders since August, in order to curb smuggling of goods into the country.

Emefiele told State House correspondents after the closed-door meeting that Nigerian rice and poultry farmers have particularly benefitted from the border closure.

He said they (farmers) have been able to sell off accumulated produce, hitherto hindered by illegal importation and smuggling of the items into the country.

The CBN governor said “In November 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN and some state governors went to Kebbi State to launch the Wet Season Rice Farming. Since then, we have seen an astronomical growth in the number of farmers who have been going into rice farming and our paddy production has gone up also quite exponentially.

“Between 2015 and also now, we have also seen an astronomical rise in the number of companies, corporate and individuals that are setting up mills, integrated mills and even small mills in various areas.

“We have been embarking on a programme where we are saying if you are involved in the business of smuggling or dumping of rice in the country, we close your account in the banking industry. And that is very effective.

“Recently, and this is the absolute truth, about two weeks before the border closure, the chairman of the Rice Processors Association – incidentally, he owns Umza Rice in Kano – called me and said that all the rice millers and processors are carrying in their warehouses nothing less than 25,000 metric tons of milled rice.

“This rice has been unsold because of the smuggling and dumping of rice through Republic of Benin and other border posts that we have in the country and that he would want us to do something about it.

“Secondly, we also have members of the Poultry Association of Nigeria who complained that they have thousands of crates of eggs that they could not sell; even some of the processed chickens that they could not sell, also arising from smuggling and dumping of poultry products into Nigeria.

“A week after the borders were closed, the same rice millers association called to tell us that all the rice that they had in their warehouses have all been sold.”

 

CBN opposes MTN’s planned charges for USSD transactions

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has opposed plans by MTN to charge their subscribers for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) access to banking services from October 21.

The Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the bank’s position at a news briefing by the Nigerian delegation to the just-concluded World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings, in Washington on Sunday.

MTN, in an SMS message to its subscribers, had said the decision was on the request of the banks and would take effect from October 21.

“Yello, as requested by your bank, from October 21, we will start charging you directly for USSD access to banking services. Please contact your bank for more info(rmation),’’ the message said.
Responding to a question seeking his reaction to the announcement, the CBN governor said the bank would not allow that to happen.

“About five, four months ago, I held a meeting with some telecom companies as well as the leading banks in Nigeria at Central Bank, Lagos.

“At that time, we came to a conclusion that the use of USSD is a sunk cost. What we mean by a sunk cost is that it is not an additional cost on the infrastructure of the telecom company.

“But the telecom companies disagreed with us, they said it is an additional investment on infrastructure and for that reason, they needed to impose it.
“I have told the banks that we will not allow this to happen. The banks are the people who give this business to the telecom companies and I leave the banks and the telecom companies to engage.

“I have told the banks that they have to move their business, move their traffic to a telecom company that is ready to provide it at the lowest possible, if not zero cost.

“And that is where we stand, and we must achieve it,’’ he said.
The transactions to be affected by the charges include intra- and inter-bank money transfers, through USSD, among others.

CBN to continue to apply monetary policy tools to control Inflation

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will continue to apply monetary policy tools to control the rising inflation.

The CBN made the promise in its 2018 financial stability report signed by its Governor, Godwin Emefiele which was released on Thursday.

Inflation increased to 11.24 per cent in September 2019, according to the latest inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the NBS  report , inflation rose by 0.22 per cent points, higher than the 11.02 per cent recorded in August and 11.08 per cent for July 2019.

The bank explained that its commitment was necessary following anticipation of increase in inflation in the coming months.

The report indicated that the apex bank would continue to intensify efforts at strengthening the existing synergy between the fiscal and monetary authorities.

According to the report, this will help to ensure policies are complementary in engendering growth and development.

The bank said the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate sustained its upward trend, largely driven by strong performance in the non oil sector.

The bank also attributed the GDP’s growth to government’s efforts at diversifying the economy and boosting alternative revenue sources.

“The CBN will continue to implement programmes towards supporting the real sector to ensure that the economy remains on a steady trajectory of recovery towards the achievement of its growth projections.

“The report recalls that the bank maintained its non-expansionary monetary policy stance in the second half of 2018 to rein in inflationary pressure,” the report said.

Meanwhile, the bank noted that the potential risks to the stability of the banking system was as a result of high exposure to the oil and gas sector.

The CBN added that though cyber-crime and trade tensions remained.

The report stated that the apex bank had implemented appropriate policies and regulatory measures to significantly minimise the impact of such risks on the Nigerian financial system.

Seven banks fail CBN’s stress test

The funding positions of seven commercial banks are inadequate, the result of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) stress test released on Thursday, has shown.

The financial stability report signed by CBN Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kelvin Amugo, showed that in the less than 30-day period analysis, seven banks were not adequately funded, while in the 31 to 90-day period, nine banks had funding gaps.

The report, however, said the cumulative position for the industry showed an excess of N4.8 trillion assets over liabilities.

The seven banks were, however, not named by the apex bank. Nigeria has 24 banks.

The report, which covered the period ended December 2018, showed that six banks accounted for 82 per cent (N252.00 billion) of total placements and 86 per cent (N 266 billion) of total takings, of which 71 per cent (N190 billion) was provided by the top four placers of funds.

The stress test result revealed that, after a one-day run scenario, the liquidity ratio for the industry declined to 34.69 per cent from the 51.87 per cent pre-shock position and to 17.55 and 13.48 per cent after a five-day and cumulative 30-day scenarios.

The result also revealed that, under five-day and cumulative 30-day run scenarios on the banking industry, liquidity shortfalls declined to N1.58 trillion and N1.98 trillion.

The results of the stress test of default in exposure to the oil and gas sector showed that the banking industry could withstand up to 50.00 per cent default as the post-shock Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) remained at 10.24 per cent.

The results of the stress tests on the net position of interest sensitive instruments showed that the banking industry would maintain a stable solvency position to interest rate shock of up to 1000 basis points downward shift in yield curve as the post-shock CAR declined marginally from 15.26 to 13.41 per cent.

The industry pre-shock assets and liabilities maturity profile at end-December 2018 revealed that the shorter end of the market less than 90 day buckets were adequately funded.

Contagion risk from the unsecured transactions in the interbank market was moderate at end- December 2018. The results of simulated conditional counter-party default from unsecured interbank loans indicated low risk as the banks, except two, maintained post-shock CAR above 10 per cent.

The Implied Cash Flow Analysis (ICFA) assessed the ability of the banking system to withstand unanticipated substantial withdrawals of deposits, short-term wholesale and long-term funding over five days and cumulative 30 days, with specific assumptions on fire sale of assets.

The test assumed gradual average outflows of 3.8, 5.0 and 1.5 per cent of total deposits, short-term funding and long-term funding respectively, over a 5-day period and a cumulative average outflow of 22.0, 11.0 and 1.5 per cent of total deposits, short-term funding and long-term funding respectively, on a 30-day balance. It also assumed that the assets in Table 3.10 would remain unencumbered after a fire sale.

Also, reported cases of fraud and forgeries by banks increased to 25,029 at end-December 2018 from 20, 774 at end-June 2018. However, the total amount involved decreased to N18.94 billion at end- December 2018 from N19.77 billion at end-June 2018.

Similarly, actual losses declined to N2.21 billion at end-December 2018 from N12.10 billion in the first half of 2018.The total number of reported fraud cases in OFIs stood at 754 at end-December 2018, while the actual loss of N120.98 million was recorded during the same period.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) and mobile channels recorded the highest incidence of fraud. To tackle this trend, bank customers were continually sensitised on safe banking practices while banks were encouraged to implement strong authentication controls and carry out comprehensive infrastructure risk assessments.

A total of 1,612 complaints from consumers of financial services were received in the period under review, indicating an increase of 173 complaints or 12.02 per cent over the 1,439 received in the first half of 2018. Of this number, 1,602 complaints or 99.38 per cent were against banks, while 10 complaints or 0.62 per cent were against OFIs. The complaints were in various categories, such as Excess/Unauthorised charges, Frauds, Guarantees, Dispense errors, Funds Transfers.

A total of 1,496 complaints were successfully resolved or closed in the period under review, compared with 4,723 in the first half of 2018, indicating a decrease of 3,227 or 215.71 per cent. Total claims made by complainants during the period amounted to N7.995 billion and US$1.767 million, while the sums of N3.093 billion and US$1.724 million were refunded to customers.

Amugo said the banking industry’s outlook is positive, given the expected enhanced capital base for most banks arising from the capitalisation of year 2018 profits in the first half of 2019.

However, banks’ exposure to the oil and gas sector as well as the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standard 9 (IFRS 9) remains a threat to overall profitability.

“The CBN will continue to collaborate with the fiscal authority and other financial services regulators to address the observed challenges towards ensuring that the gains made are sustained to reinforce financial system stability,” he said.

During the review period, seven banks were categorised as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). The banks were selected based on the D-SIB supervisory framework, given their size, interconnectedness, substitutability and complexity. The D-SIBs accounted for 63.80 per cent of the industry total assets of N35.10 trillion and 65.23 per cent of the industry total deposit of N21.73 trillion as well as 66.00 per cent of the industry total loans of N15.34 trillion.

The examination revealed that the D-SIBs were largely in compliance with the regulatory requirements, including capital adequacy and liquidity ratios. The average CAR for the D-SIBs stood at 19.82 per cent, while liquidity ratio stood at 46.29 per cent. There was an improvement in non-performing loans ratio from 11.31 per cent at end-June 2018 to 9.82 per cent at end- December 2018.

N500, N1000 denominations most commonly counterfeited banknotes – CBN report

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday, said that a total of 119,663 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N98.82 million was recorded in 2018.

The bank said this in the Currency Operations 2018 Annual Report, posted on its website.

The CBN said the figure indicated a decline of 1.30 percent in volume terms and an increase of 5.77 Per cent in value terms, when compared with 118,126 pieces with a nominal value of N93.43 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

The regulator said that the ratio of counterfeit notes to volume of banknotes in circulation was 18 pieces per million, compared to 16 pieces per million banknotes discovered in 2017.

It said that the N500 and N1000 denominations remained the most commonly counterfeited banknotes, which accounted for 65.29 percent and 34.49 per cent respectively of the total counterfeit notes discovered.

The bank said that to preserve the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, it partnered with Bankers Warehouse PLC and security agencies, to intensify efforts at mitigating the incidences of counterfeiting during the period under review.

The apex bank also said that the Currency- in-Circulation (CIC), grew by 0.8 percent to N2, 329.7 billion as at December 2018 ending.

The report noted that the growth in CIC reflected the high dominance of cash in the economy and increase in economic activities.

“A breakdown of the CIC indicated that in terms of volume and value, the proportion of higher denomination banknotes (N100, N200, N500 and N1000) in total, rose from 41.9 to 44.3 percent and 96.9 to 97.6 percent, respectively.

“The lower denomination currency notes continued to be preponderant in terms of volume, constituting 55.7 percent of the total.

“In value terms, it constituted 2.4 percent of the total banknotes. The ratio of CIC to nominal GDP, which measures the moneyness of the economy, fell slightly by 0.1 percentage point, to 1.8 percent in 2018.”

It said that the decline in the CIC/GDP ratio reflected increased usage of e-payment products such as electronic payments card.

12 banks fined N499bn for inability to meet loan/deposit ratio requirements

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says 12 banks have been debited N499 billion for failing to give out 60% of their deposits as loans.

The cash reserve of the banks held by the CBN has been debited.

The CRR is a portion of the banks’ deposits kept with the CBN for regulatory reasons.

In July, the CBN had increased the loan to deposit ratio to 60% saying: “Failure to meet the above minimum LDR by the specified date shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50% of the lending shortfall of the target LDR”.

The affected banks are:

  • Citibank – N100,743,055,321
  • First Bank of Nigeria – N74,668,880,480
  • FBNQuest Merchant Bank – N2,697,456,144
  • First City Monument Bank (FCMB) – N14,371,064,742
  • Guaranty Trust Bank – N25,147,933, 628
  • Jaiz Bank – N7,525,165,552
  • Keystone Bank – N4,162,938, 879
  • Rand Merchant Bank – N2,823,177,399
  • Standard Chartered Bank – N30,027,137,984
  • SunTrust Bank – N1,703,205,427
  • United Bank for Africa – N99,676,181,916
  • Zenith Bank – N135,629,337,625

On Tuesday, the CBN again raised the LDR to 65% and set a December deadline for banks.

The CBN said the newly revised LDR is informed by the noticeable growth in the level of the industry gross credit.

According to data provided by the CBN, the credit provided to businesses increased by N829.40 billion between the end of May and September 26.

The LDR policy is expected to encourage lending to small businesses and reduce banks’ appetite for investing in government securities like treasury bills.

 

CBN clarifies cashless policy transaction charges

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the transaction charges on deposit and withdrawal in furtherance of implementation of its cashless policy is on the amount in excess of the set limits.

The Director, Corporate Communication Department, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made the clarification in Abuja on Monday.

CBN, on September 17, issued a circular to deposit banks to commence the implementation of the cashless policy in six pilot states across the country.

The CBN explained that transactions would attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawal and two per cent processing fees for lodgement of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

Similarly, corporate accounts would attract five per cent processing fees for withdrawal and three per cent processing fees for lodgement of amounts above N3 million

The apex bank directed that implementation should commence from September 18 in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It, however, stated that the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy would take effect from March 31, 2020.

Okorafor explained that contrary to the misconception on the implementation of the policy, the charges would only be on the excess of N500,000 deposited or withdrawn for individual and N3 million for corporate body

According to him, if an individual deposited N510,000 the two per cent charge would be on the N10,000 excess which is N200 only.

He said the same applied to a withdrawal of same amount, adding that the three per cent charge would be on excess of the set limits.

He said that the same thing also applies to the corporate body also which five per cent on withdrawal and three per cent on lodgement of amounts above N3 million.

Many Nigerians welcome the development, noting that it would enhance transparency in financial dealings and reduce crimes such as ransom payment and extortion among others.

Others, however, described it as additional burden on banks’ customers who were already laden with other charges by the banks.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had also said, after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Friday in Abuja, that the policy was inaugurated in the country in 2012 and implementation began in 2014.

“The policy says if you deposit money in the bank above a particular threshold which for individual is N500,000 and N3 million for corporate bodies, then you will be charged, same for withdrawal.

He stated that the policy was not designed to de-franchise hard working Nigerians as perceived by some categories of people.

According to him, a data conducted revealed that close to 95 per cent of cash deposited and withdrawn fall below this threshold.

Emefiele said Nigerians had already embraced electronic channels and online transaction in market places.

He added that Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises now had various options and channels available to collect a legitimate payment for goods and services, like POS, banks transfer using ATM, USD code among others.

He said that the cashless policy increases transparency in financial dealings and reduce crimes such as ransom payment and extortion among others.

The governor said the bank had the mandate under the CBN Act 2007 as amended to promote a sound and stable financial system through credible efficient payment system.

CBN imposes fees on deposits, withdrawals

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on Tuesday said that the nationwide implementation of the cashless policy will begin by March 2020.

The apex bank in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks in the country, said that implementation of the policy would signal the imposition of charges on deposits in addition to already existing charges on withdrawals.

According to the circular, the charges, which take effect from Wednesday, September 18, 2019, will attract three per cent processing fees for withdrawals and two per cent processing fees for lodgments of amounts above N500,000 for individual accounts.

For corporate accounts, the apex bank in the circular said that DMBs would charge five per cent processing fees for withdrawals and three processing fee for lodgments of amounts above N3,000,000.

The statement, however, disclosed that the charge on deposits would apply in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Abia, Anambra, and Rivers States as well as the Federal Capital Territory.

It added that the implementation of the cash-less policy would take effect from March 31, 2020

Henceforth, loan defaults will be settled with deposits from other banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks in the country have agreed that loan defaults will be settled using deposits made in other banks.

Addressing journalists after the Bankers Committee meeting on Monday, Aishah Ahmad, CBN’s deputy governor, financial services system, said the directive is to encourage banks to increase lending.

More to follow…

Military invasion: Court orders CBN to pay N8bn to Benue communities

The Federal High Court, on Monday, ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately pay the sum of N8 billion to Tiv communities in Benue invaded by soldiers sometime in year 2001.

The money was awarded in favour of the communities in Logo, Ukum, Kwande and Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas of the state for the loss of lives and property they suffered during the invasion by soldiers of the Nigerian Army in 2001.

Justice Nyang Ekwo gave the order following the garnishee application by the communities for the enforcement of the consent judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal in Enugu on Feb. 2, 2015.

The judge, who had earlier granted the preliminary “garnishee nisi”, made the garnishee order “absolute” on Monday by ordering the CBN to pay the sum of N8 billion into an interest yielding account to be domiciled with First Bank of Nigeria Plc administered by the Chief Registrar of the court.

The judge added that he would subsequently make an order for the disbursement of the money after the CBN complies with the order for the payment.

‎He said the terms of disbursement would have to be signed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala Local Government Areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.

He ruled: “The garnishee (CBN) is hereby ordered to pay the garnishee sum into an interest yielding account to be opened and maintained by the Chief Registrar of this court in First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

“The order authorising the disbursement of the money, shall be made upon being satisfied with the terms of disbursement including the legal fees jointly signed by Ocha Ulegede Esq, and J.K Gadzama, SAN, for the ganishors and endorsed by first class chiefs of Jukun, Logo, Kwande, Katsina-Ala local government areas on behalf of the Tiv Traditional Council.”

The plaintiffs in the suit are 14 persons from the Benue communities, who were victims of the military invasion which occurred about 18 years ago.

Those who instituted the suit were late Dr. Alexander Gaadi, Peter Orngu, Terfa Akaagba, Anongo Unishigh, Ngunengen Adula, Demelu Adula, Zaki Mazan, Mbakesen Ayatse, Mbayemen Maswuan, Anande Agashia, Azenda Igo, Elizabeth Aoughakaa, and Andrew Juntu.

They instituted two separate suits which were later consolidated against the then Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, President Olusegun Obasanjo, the then Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In their consolidated suits, which were filed at the Federal High Court in Markurdi but later transferred to Enugu Division of the court, the 14 plaintiffs alleged that the Army was used against the Tiv communities under the pretext of settling communal conflicts.

They, therefore, urged the court to declare the deployment of the army as genocidal, and the continued occupation of the communities by soldiers as undemocratic and unconstitutional.

In one of the two suits, marked FHC/MKD/CS/6/2002, they sought N60 billion as damages against the respondents for “brutally and untimely terminating the lives” of the plaintiffs’ parents, daughters and brothers” as well as for “permanently depriving” some of the plaintiffs their body parts such as manhood and hands of some of them thereby subjecting them “to mental and psychological pains and anguish”.

The plaintiffs sought about N32 billion as damages in the suit FHC/MKD/CS/41/2001.

They also sought a public apology, among other prayers.

Delivering judgment on the consolidated suits on July 5, 2007, the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court presided over by then Justice A.L Allagoa, awarded N10 billion in favour of the plaintiffs and against the respondents.

None of the defendants had filed any papers to defend the suit at the trial court but they appealed against the judgment.

At the Court of Appeal in Enugu, the parties agreed on N8 billion damages which the court awarded in favour of the the Benue communities in a consent judgment delivered on Feb. 2, 2015.

Ruling on the plaintiffs’ garnishee application on Monday, Justice Ekwo held that there was nothing standing as impediment to the payment of the N8 billion since the respondents had consented to it at the Court of Appeal.

He held: “It is my opinion that the judgment debtors/appellants entered into terms entered by the Court of Appeal in appeal number CA/E/410/2008 as judgment of Feb. 2, 2015 was a clear and unambiguous expression and readiness of the judgment debtors to pay the sum agreed therein to the ganishors.

“Upon studying the averments in the six-paragraph affidavit to show cause deposed to on March 28, 2017, by one Huseini Sani Kagai, and three-paragraph further affidavit showing cause deposed to on May 8, 2017, by the same Huseini Sani Kagai, I am unable to see any contrary issue or impediment established by the garnishee that would constitute a cause shown by the garnishee why the order nisi proceedings ought not to be made absolute and I so hold.”

You are completely out of touch — Ezekwesili hits Buhari over directive to CBN

Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, has described President Muhammadu Buhari as a “completely out-of-touch leader” over his directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing foreign exchange for food importation.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, the president said he had asked the CBN to stop issuing foreign exchange for food importation so as to stimulate the growth of agriculture and to ensure food security.

Some Nigerians have criticised the president’s directive. Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of CBN, said such an economic policy should not be imposed on the CBN by a political authority, and that the bank has lost its independence.

“Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our central bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process the economy has fared poorly and the Bank has lost its independence. This is sad,” he said.

Ezekwesili also lashed out on the president on Twitter, saying he is living in a bubble.

”A completely out-of-touch ‘leader’. He is cocooned away in the grandeur of@AsoRock where they serve him delicatessen and praise-sing to him: ‘ranka dede sir’, your agriculture policy is working wonderfully. All farmers in Nigeria are now billionaires & exporting to the US,” she said.

The CBN said it will proceed with the president’s directive and that the implementation of the forex ban on food import would be in phases.

 

We all know that @NGRPresident@MBuhari has absolute contempt for Data but we shall go ahead and put out here some of the Knowledge he should have had before making this latest blunder of ‘Directing’ what should be an independent @cenbank to “not give a cent for food import”.

— Oby Ezekwesili (@obyezeks) August 14, 2019

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

I will share the latest information on Nigeria from FEWS NET, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, which provides information and analysis on food insecurity around the world.
That our @NGRPresident thinks we have achieved Food Security says a lot about his Policy-Making.

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

FEWS Net is Famine Early Warning Systems Network. It “uses an integrated approach that considers climate, agriculture production, prices, trade, nutrition, and other factors, together with an understanding of local livelihoods.”

Knowledge that helps Evidence-Based Policies.

32 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

In the next few tweets, I’ll share highlights of FEWS Net June 2018 to January 2019 Report on Food Insecurity in Nigeria for many reasons that any reasonable person will easily understand.

27 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Humanitarian actors have provided sustained food assistance delivery in 2018, reaching 2.5 million people in April 2018 across the 3 northeast states. In May, food assistance deliveries reached 15 percent fewer households, meeting targets closer to what was seen in March 2017”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“With the continuing military offensive, new arrivals continue to be identified in the northeast. As of May, IOM identified 1.8 million people displaced by conflict in northeast Nigeria. Between late Nov2017 &April 2018 an estimated 100,000 new arrivals across Borno & Adamawa…”

27 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Outside northeast, the main agric season is progressing favorably in much of the rest of the country, &harvests are expected to be average to above-average. Most households will have seasonally typical access to food,income& remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Various stages of cultivation activities continue throughout the country. In south &some central areas, they have begun harvesting early green maize&tubers. In other areas of central Nigeria, planting, weeding, &fertilizer application for maize, sorghum &legumes is underway.”

24 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Planting of staples such as millet, sorghum, and maize, as well as groundnut, cowpea, and sesame cash crops, is progressing in most northern areas. Government support through the Anchor Borrowers’ Program continues to contribute to farmers’ access to improved inputs.”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“However, areas worst-affected by farmer/pastoralist conflict are facing greater difficulty accessing basic needs and will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).”

17 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

”In displaced settlement areas and larger cities, affected populations have restricted access to land for cultivation. Additionally, ongoing insecurity is again in 2018 keeping many from engaging or participating fully in cultivation.”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Heavy conflict between pastoral and farming communities in central and northern areas of the country also continue. These conflicts have left hundreds dead and lead to the destruction of property.”

21 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

”These conflicts are also leading to the displacement of households and keeping many from their livelihoods. Both cultivation activities and pastoralists’ herd movements are affected.”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

“Main agricultural season: The agricultural season is expected to progress normally. The main season harvests will start normally in September/October across the country. Harvests are expected to be average to above average in most areas.”

17 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

”As with most years, it is also likely that there will be some crop loss due to excessive flooding along major floodplains.”

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

I have put out highlights of FEWS Net Report on Nigeria up to January 2019.
As obvious from the Report, there are positives on Agriculture which for example include improved farmers’ access to input from the Anchor Borrowers Scheme.
But, nothing of Food Security yet exists.

19 people are talking about this

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

What is Food Security, @NGRPresident ?
I will offer the universal meaning provided by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security because that should help a Policy Maker know easily whether such is the case in Nigeria before taking a major Policy stance in Agriculture.

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

Food security, as defined by the United Nations’ Committee on World Food Security, means that all people, at all times, have physical, social&economic access to sufficient, safe, & nutritious food that meets their food preferences and dietary needs for an active and healthy life.

Moghalu to Buhari: Leave CBN alone

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to allow the apex bank discharge its mandate independently.

Moghalu, who was the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) in the last presidential election, said this in a series of tweets on his Twitter handle yesterday.

“@NGRPresident should leave @cenbank alone to discharge its mandate independently within the ambit of the CBN Act, and stop “directing” it. @cenbank should on its part assertive its independence (assuming it actually believes it should be independent, but the Act says so, clearly!”, Moghalu said in one of the tweets.

Buhari to CBN: No more forex for food import

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in Daura, Katsina State, disclosed that he had instructed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to henceforth, stop the provision of foreign exchange for food importation.

The president who made the disclosure while hosting the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors to an Eid-el-Kabir lunch at his Daura country home, said the decision was informed by the steady improvement in agricultural production, and eventual attainment of food security.

He said the nation’s foreign reserve would be conserved and strictly utilized for diversification of the economy, and not for encouraging more dependence on foreign food import bills.

“Don’t give a cent to anybody to import food into the country,’’ he said.

According to Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, Buhari noted that states such as Kebbi, Ogun, Lagos, Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kano had already taken advantage of the federal government’s policy on agriculture with huge returns in rice farming, and urged more states to also explore what he viewed as the ongoing revolution to feed the nation.

“We have achieved food security, and for physical security, we are not doing badly,’’ Shehu quoted the president.

The statement also said Buhari expressed happiness over the decision of young Nigerians, including graduates, to explore agric-business and entrepreneurship, with many posting testimonies of good returns on their investments.

It also said the president pledged that the incoming ministers would be “taught’’ and thoroughly guided to ensure they meet the targets of the APC-led federal government for Nigerians by regularly monitoring their performances and scaling up targets by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF).

“The President assured that he will attend the Presidential Policy Retreat organised for the ministers by the OSFG, and insisted on compliance with laid down targets on key sectors of the economy that will directly impact on the livelihood of Nigerians.

“In his remarks, the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, said the President’s sense of justice, fairness and forthrightness had turned a major inspiration to governors on the way forward for the country.

“He said the challenges faced by states ‘were enormous,’ but the governors had remained undaunted, assuring the president of strong support and ‘the very best effort’’ to overcome all the obstacles.

“The Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Atiku Bagudu, appreciated the President for the unique leadership style of maintaining a healthy relationship with governors on individual and collective basis, pointing out that they had been ‘energised,’ to do more in their states,” the statement added.

Furthermore, Shehu said Bagudu commended the president for making bold and courageous efforts to reposition the economy in the interest of majority of Nigerians through inclusive policies, observing that “the country is more secure than in 2015, and the country is more prosperous than in 2015 because you are working for the majority of the people.”

He also said the governor pointed out that the party had been repositioned, after the 2019 elections, to work for the benefits of the majority of Nigerians, noting that “there will be two elections this year and we need to work towards winning the two states.’’

Forex restriction for milk importation not political — CBN insists

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its decision to restrict forex for the importation of milk has no political undertone.

In a statement released in Abuja on Friday, the apex bank said it offered milk importers low-interest loans to begin local production since 2016 but the offer was treated with “imperial contempt”.

In a statement signed by Isaac Okorafor, its director of corporate communications, CBN said it is possible to produce milk locally in Nigeria adding that the loans are still available to interested manufacturers.

In a tweet on Friday, Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education, inferred that the policy is “punishment” for rejecting RUGA.

The federal government had proposed and subsequently suspended a policy that would allow pastoral farmers to have settlements in states across the country to raise cattle.

Oby Ezekwesili

@obyezeks

Nothing more perverse of Political Leaders and Policy Makers as Policies borne out of Vindictiveness.
It appears from what the @cenbank said on the that it is a case of: “You folks rejected RUGA, here is your punishment.”
What a BIG SHAME that would be.
STOP IT!

425 people are talking about this

In response, the CBN said: “Nigeria and the welfare of all Nigerians come first in all our policy considerations.

“Our focus remains ensuring forex savings, job creation and investments in the local production of milk.

“Milk importation is not banned. Indeed, the CBN has no such power. All we will do is to restrict the sale of forex for the importation of milk from the Nigerian foreign exchange market.

“About three years ago, we began a policy to encourage backward integration to conserve foreign exchange and create jobs for our people. Included in this policy package was the introduction of the highly successful policy which restricted the sale of forex from the Nigerian foreign exchange market for the importation of some 43 items goods that could be produced in Nigeria.

“Arising from the success of the restriction policy, we approached some milk importers, like we did for rice, tomato and starch and asked them to take advantage of CBN’s low-interest loans to begin local milk production instead of relying endlessly on milk imports.

“Today, although there have been some successful attempts at producing milk locally, the vast majority of the importers still treat this national aspiration with imperial contempt.”

Acknowledging that the policy could hurt some business interests, the CBN urged Nigerians to resist the blackmail tactics of individuals who have vested interests in milk importation.

CBN licenses three new banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued licences to three new banks.

According to an updated list made available on the apex bank’s website, the number of banks has increased to 24 from 21.

The CBN also issued a licence to a non-interest bank, increasing the number to two.

The new deposit money banks are Titan Trust Bank Limited and Globus Bank Limited.

TAJ Bank Limited also joins Jaiz Bank as a non-interest bank.

In June, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, had announced that the bank is considering a recapitalisation exercise for deposit money banks in the country.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalising the Nigerian banking industry so as to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world,” he said.

Bank recapitalization is the act of changing the capital structure of a bank to provide more equity funds to meet the bank’s long-term financing needs to ensure the security of shareholders fund.

In July 2004, the CBN announced the recapitalization of the banking sector from N2 billion to N25 billion with effect from December 31, 2005.

This led to the reduction in the number of banks to 24 from 89.

A number of mergers saw that figure drop to 21.

Bank mergers likely as CBN hints at new capitalisation requirements

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele says there are plans to carry out a recapitalisation exercise for deposit money banks in the country.

Emefiele made this known on Monday while unveiling the five-year plan of the bank.

Bank recapitalization is the act of changing the capital structure of a bank to provide more equity funds to meet the bank’s long-term financing needs to ensure the security of shareholders fund.

In July 2004, the CBN announced the recapitalization of the banking sector from N2 billion to N25 billion with effect from December 31, 2005.

This led to the reduction in the number of banks to 24 from 89.

“We will continue to improve our on-site and off-site supervision of all financial institutions while leveraging on data analytics and our in-house experts across different sectors to improve our ability to identify potential risks to the financial system as well as risks to individual banks,” he said.

“In the next five years, we intend to pursue a programme of recapitalising the Nigerian banking industry so as to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world.

“Banks will, therefore, be required to maintain a high level of capital as well as liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis on the financial system. With a rise in digital payment and cybersecurity threats.”

According to Emefiele, the apex bank will continue to defend the naira within the next five years as there are no plans to float the naira.

He said this would “reduce the impact that exchange rate volatility could have on our economy”.

On the country’s external reserves, Emefiele said the balance now stands at $45bn as of June 2019.

He said the bank put all necessary measure to ensure the steady growth of the country’s external reserves after the recession.

“I am delighted to note that our external reserves have risen from 23 billion dollars in October 2016 to over 45 billion dollars by June.

“Inflation has also dropped from 18.72 per cent in January 2017 to 11.40 per cent in May.

“Our CBN purchasing manufacturers index has risen for 26 consecutive months since March 2017, indicating continuous growth in the manufacturing sector.

“As a result of measures implemented by the CBN which improved access to raw materials and finance for manufacturing firms GDP growth has risen for seven consecutive quarters following the recession.

“And, our exchange rate has appreciated from over N525/$1 in February 2017 at the Bureau De Change window to N360/$1.

“With the improved inflow of foreign exchange, the exchange rate has remained stable around N360/$1 for the past 27 months,” he said.

According to him, with concerted efforts by the monetary and fiscal authorities the bank implemented a series of measures which led to the recovery of the economy from the recession by the 1st Quarter of 2017.

Speaking on recovery efforts, Emefiele said part of the measures deployed to support the recovery included tightening of the monetary policy rate in order to rein in inflation.

 

CBN MPC holds interest rate at 13.5% to understand growth trend

The monetary policy committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  says it has agreed to keep the Monetary Policy Rate, which is the benchmark interest rate at 13.5%.

Addressing the press in Abuja on Tuesday after the meeting of the committee, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the apex bank, said nine members voted to hold rates.

The asymmetric corridor was retained at +200/-500 basis points around the MPR, cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 22.5% and liquidity ratio at 30%.

According to the governor, a hold will help the committee better understand the momentum of growth.

He said the committee is of the opinion that increasing the cost of credit will further diminish investment flow and have a negative impact on output growth

“Given that there was a marginal increase in headline inflation, there is a need to restrain from loosening in order not to worsen inflationary pressures,” he explained adding that holding will help the committee evaluate the impact of interventions to support lending to the priority sectors of the economy.

Speaking on the growth outlook for the economy, Emefiele said there might be some fragility in the second quarter.

“Data on the domestic economy suggests some fragility in output growth during the second quarter of 2019 with improved output for the rest of the year,” he said.

“Committee enjoined the federal government to build fiscal buffers through a more realistic benchmark of oil price for the federal budget

“Output growth remains well below the economy’s potential indicating the existence of spare capacity for non-inflationary growth, an opportunity which should be explored through increased credit delivery to the private sector.”

According to Emefiele, the committee feels that growth is hinged on the effective implementation of the economic recovery and growth plan (ERGP), a supportive monetary policy, enhanced flow of credit to the real sector, sustained stability of the exchange rate and improved fiscal buffers amongst others.

 

UNN confers honorary degree on Emefiele

The Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has been conferred with a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

Emefiele was honoured on Friday in Nsukka at the Special Convocation of the institution, where 50 people were also conferred with doctoral degrees in different fields of studies.

On the occasion, Emefiele gave a lecture entitled “From Recession to Growth: The Story of Nigeria’s Recovery from the 2016 Economic Recession.”

He spoke on the actions the CBN took to address recession, which included a combination of monetary and foreign exchange policies, as well as development finance interventions and bailout programmes to states.

The apex bank governor said that due to its policies, the country’s GDP had been steadily growing, inflation going down, the nation’s foreign reserves growing and the foreign exchange market stable at N360 to a dollar.

Emefiele said that since the Anchor Borrowers Programme, the country had been able to save over $800 million, due to decline in the importation of rice.

“So far, the programme has supported more than 1,059,604 small holder farmers across all the 36 states of Nigeria in cultivating 16 different commodities over 1.114 million hectares of farmland.

“It has also supported the creation of over 2.5 million jobs across the agricultural value chain.

“A key emphasis was placed on improving rice production, given the considerable weight importation of rice had on Nigeria’s import bill,” he said.

Emefiele said that because the GDP growth remained slow, the CBN would give support to domestic production of goods in the country which, according to him, was the way to improve economic growth.

“Addressing the constraints of farmers, SMEs and manufacturers will be critical, to drive sustainable growth of the Nigerian economy and reduce our reliance on proceeds from the sale of crude oil.

“In addition, there is need to forge partnerships between universities, research institutions, the private sector and public sector institutions.

“This will aid in developing and implementing solutions that will support productivity in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors to build a sustainable productive base for the nation,” he said.

Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of UNN, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, called on philanthropists and alumni of the university to join hands with the Federal Government in funding the school.

Ozumba said that UNN had a couple of innovative ideas which, if developed, would create jobs and add to the country’s economic development.

“As a vice-chancellor, I have a first-hand experience of the consequences of the poor funding being experienced by universities in the country.

“Universities all over the world receive huge periodic support from donors, philanthropists and alumni to fund their research and implement the development agenda of such universities.

“I urge us all to remain committed to the task of preserving the traditions and standards, for which our university is known for,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Deputy Governors of CBN, Mr Joseph Nnanna and Mrs Aisha Ahmad, CBN board members and members of the Monetary Policy Committee were present at the occasion. (NAN)

CBN threatens legal action over ‘stolen’ N500bn allegation, says money was given to states

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says N150 billion which was reported as stolen from its coffers was part of a N650 billion loan to states.

The audiotape of a conversation between Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor; Adamu Lamatek, the deputy governor of the bank, and other top officials of the bank was leaked on Sunday.

The men could be heard having a conversation about how to reconcile the apex bank’s balance sheet.

In a statement released by the bank on Sunday, the CBN said: “As publicly known the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.

“In order to ensure that ordinary Nigerians workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities and that the economy continued to recover from
the recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation. These monies were distributed to the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.

In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund.”

The apex bank said it resolved the matter by approaching the ministry of finance.

“Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.

“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid.

“On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs.”

The apex bank said it would ensure that the perpetrators to justice.