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Bank customers pay N75.5bn account maintenance fee in six months

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Bank customers in Nigeria paid N75.5bn as account maintenance charges between January and June of this year, which is an increase of 43 per cent over what was paid in the first half of last year, a study has revealed.

A report from the Vanguard also indicated that there was a sharp rise in the income the banks generated from electronic banking (e-banking) services rendered to the customers during the same period.

The e-banking income was said to have risen by 51 per cent to N113.84 billion from N75.26 billion in the first half of last year.

It stated, “The bank’s half year financial statements showed that account maintenance fees paid by bank customers rose sharply by 43 percent to N75.5 billion in H1’21 from N52.94 billion in H1’20.

Sterling Bank had the highest growth rate in account maintenance fee, up by 75 per cent to N1.4 billion in H1’21 from N800 million in H1’20.

“This was followed by UBA with 50 per cent rise to N5.4 billion from N3.6 billion in H1’20.

“The bank with the least growth in account maintenance fee was FCMB recording N2.2 billion in H1’21, up 29 per cent from N1.7 billion in H1’20.”

For the e-banking income, Zenith Bank was found to have recorded the highest growth rate with N17 billion, 91 per cent rise from N8.9 billion in H1’20.

Union Bank recorded a 3.3 per cent decline to N3.54 billion from N3.66 billion in H1’21.

The report quited President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, as attributing the growth in account maintenance fees and e-banking income to increased transactions by bank customers despite low income and slow business activities in H1’21.

He stated, “Several factors can make account maintenance fees grow. Like I said, it is a function of transaction. If transactions are increasing then, the banks will have a reason to charge that fee. Remember what the name is account maintenance and there is a rate stipulated by the regulatory authorities that should be charged.

“So, those rates once they are maintained and they are growing it means that the customers are transacting more than whatever one would have thought of.

“The only problem that you may have is that if it can be proved that the basis on which these fees are collected by the banks is not in line with the principles and regulatory requirements that guide the collection of the account maintenance fee.

“I think it will be for the regulators to find out why the cost or the fees are increasing even when suspiciously business is not moving, people are not transacting as much as they would have loved to in their banking activities. These are all in the minds. Nobody knows what is happening in reality and that is why the authorities should be able to now take a look at that.”

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World Bank blacklists 17 Nigerians, firms over corrupt practices

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The World Bank has disqualified nine Nigerian individuals and firms from executing any contract with it for engaging in corrupt, fraudulent and collusive practices.

Eight Nigerian companies debarred by the African Development Bank (AfDB) were also recognised by World Bank under the cross-debarment policy.

Cross-debarment is the recognition of debarment decisions by signatories to the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions on the same terms as the initial decision.

This is contained in its recent report titled ‘Sanctions System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2021’.

This report covers the Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) — from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021 — and was prepared by the offices of the World Bank Group’s (WBG) sanctions system.

The report stated, “In the fiscal year 2021, the World Bank Group sanctioned 57 firms and individuals, of which 54 were debarred with conditional release, making them ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank Group. In addition, three firms were sanctioned with conditional non-debarment, leaving them eligible to participate in World Bank Group-financed operations after meeting certain agreed-upon conditions.

“The institution also recognised 92 cross-debarments from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), while 45 World Bank Group debarments were eligible for recognition by other MDB.”

They are Sangtech International Services Limited, Sangar & Associates (Nigeria) Limited, Mashad Integrated And Investment Co Limited, and Medniza Global Merchants Limited — all banned for two years.

Others are ALG Global Concept Nigeria Limited, Abuharaira Labaran Gero, Qualitrends Global Solutions Nigeria Limited, and Maxicare Company Nigeria Limited. These firms are ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by institutions of the World Bank for three years.

Commenting on the report, World Bank President, David Malpass, said; “The World Bank Group is firmly committed to placing governance, anti-corruption and transparency front and centre in our work. A stable, respected rule of law is essential to good development outcomes. An important piece of our anti-corruption efforts is the World Bank Group’s sanctions system.”

He said that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank Group had deployed more than $157 billion in critical assistance to developing countries.

“Yet, for these resources to have the needed development impact on the hundreds of millions of people who live in extreme poverty, we must ensure that resources are used efficiently, effectively and for their intended purposes,” he said.

“And that means remaining vigilant to the scourge of corruption and ensuring that we promote the highest integrity and transparency standards in public finance.”

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eNaira: FG targets $29bn from blockchain, digital currency

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Digital currency and its underlying technology, blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product by $29 billion in the next 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari has said.

He stated this in Abuja on Monday at the unveiling of eNaira, stressing that Nigeria’s digital currency would help move people and businesses from the informal into the formal sector and increase the tax base of the country.

He said eNaira would cater for businesses and households seeking faster and cheaper means of payment instead of “private currencies” that have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including Nigeria.

The President said, “In recent times, Your Excellencies, the use of physical cash in conducting business and making payments has been on the decline. This trend has been exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resurgence of a new Digital Economy.

“Alongside these developments, businesses, households, and other economic agents have sought new means of making payments in the new circumstances.

“The absence of a swift and effective solution to these requirements, as well as fears that Central Banks’ actions sometimes lead to hyperinflation created the space for non-government entities to establish new forms of ‘private currencies’ that seemed to have gained popularity and acceptance across the world, including here in Nigeria.

“In response to these developments, an overwhelming majority of Central Banks across the world have started to consider issuing digital currencies in order to cater for businesses and households seeking faster, safer, easier and cheaper means of payments.”

Buhari added that the benefits of digital currencies cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

He said, “Let me note that aside from the global trend to create Digital Currencies, we believe that there are Nigeria-specific benefits that cut across different sectors of and concerns of the economy.

“Alongside digital innovations, Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) can foster economic growth through better economic activities. Indeed, some estimates indicate that the adoption of CBDC and its underlying technology, called blockchain, can increase Nigeria’s GDP by US$29 billion over the next 10 years.

“CBDCs can also help increase remittances, foster cross border trade, improve financial inclusion, make Monetary Policy more effective, and enable the government to send direct payments to citizens eligible for specific welfare programmes.

“It is on this basis that I am delighted to officially launch the Central Bank of Nigeria Digital Currency, called the eNaira, and in so doing, we have become the first country in Africa and one of the first in the world to introduce a Digital Currency to her citizens.”

governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said the eNaira would make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians.

The apex bank rolled out two applications for the digital currency on Monday — eNaira speed wallet and eNaira merchant wallet.

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As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira.
While launching the digital currency, at the State House,Abuja, this afternoon, the president commended the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts towards ensuring a more efficient payment system in the country.
In his address, Emefiele announced a new financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity,” to reduce the nation’s overdependence on imports.
According to the governor, the instrument, “will be anchored in our Development Finance Department under my direct supervision.
“Under this policy the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021, and rolling over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies, whose names will be published in National Dailies for Nigerians to verify and confirm.

“The purpose of this instrument is to take further steps to reverse our over reliance on imports.”

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