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CACOVID unfolds N150bn youth devt project, four million jobs

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  • Okays N100bn to equip police, destroyed stations

The Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) says it has set aside N150 billion for a youth development programme to support the Federal Government’s job creation initiative.

The private sector-led coalition also said it planned to spend N100 billion in the next two years to renovate and buy rifles as well as other security gadgets for the Nigeria Police Force, with special focus on the 44 police stations destroyed by hoodlums in the wake of the #EndSARS protest against police brutality.

Co-Chair, CACOVID and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, gave the detailed projects at a media briefing in Lagos on Wedneday.

He spoke in the company with the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; Chairman, United Bank for Africa Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu; and Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank Plc, Chief Herbert Wigwe.

Emefiele said, “As a result, CACOVID has committed to creating a high impact youth development programme that will provide technical and vocational education to over four million Nigerian youths over the next five years.

“Students will be trained on craftwork, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, and other artisanal related skills for which sufficient demand exist in Nigeria.”

According to him, selected students on the conclusion of the programme will be certified by the appropriate standards board and will be eligible to receive loans to support their entrepreneurial pursuits.

“So far, over N25 billion will be domiciled in a fund to support these entrepreneurial pursuits, which would also include acquisition of related equipment to conduct business activities.

“The ultimate objective is to provide young Nigerians with employable skill sets that will enable them to live a gainful life. We believe this initiative can lead to the creation of over four million jobs over the next five years,” he added.

For the out-of-school graduates that possess certain entrepreneurial skills, Emefiele also said CACOVID would be working with the Bankers’ Committee to complete the creative centre at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos in four select areas namely: ICT and software design / development, fashion, music, and movies.

The project is expected to cost the Bankers’ Committee over N40 billion, he said.

“Given the impact, the unrest had on the conduct of business activities, members of CACOVID has committed to developing a business continuity plan that will enable businesses and firms to share timely information and resources to forestall physical or cyber-attacks, which could derail the smooth functioning of business activities in the country,” he stated.

However, Emefiele while rendering account of the activities of the private sector-led initiative, said the group received a total of N39.64 billion as donations from members of the private sector and spent N43.272 billion on various interventions, including N28.7 billion on food relief, as palliatives to 1.7 million households translating to eight million Nigerians.

He explained that the ultimate objective of CACOVID is to work with the government in providing support in areas that would result in improved health and societal outcomes.

He said the group sought to aid the government in improving testing capability, and management of positive cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria.

In addition, CACOVID was expected to provide palliatives to vulnerable members of the society, particularly those who earn daily incomes, and had been severely affected by the lockdown.

He thanked Nigerians and businesses that supported CACOVID in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria, as well as in catering for vulnerable Nigerians.

He said banks and financial institutions would extend reliefs through concessionary loans to affected businesses and firms, to enable them to rebuild and restock their stores and continue to conduct their business activities.

 

Emefiele said to further strengthen the security apparatus in the country, CACOVID has committed to providing over N100 billion to procure equipment and gadgets for the Nigerian Police Force over the next two years as its contribution to fully modernise the Nigerian police.

“Providing adequate security is not only the task before the government but also that of the private sector,” he said.

The CBN governor said owners of business premises desire a secure environment to conduct their legitimate businesses.

“We, therefore, seize this opportunity to once again, appeal to members of the private sector, who we will be calling on again, to rally round CACOVID to secure not only our businesses but also our country,” he said.

Speaking at the briefing, Dangote explained that training the youths on technical and vocational jobs would also enable the federal government to draw a database on various skills for vocational jobs.

He said: “We would have a database so that you don’t just call an armed robber to your house. You can go into that data and call someone. We all have repairs, and with that data, you can know who to call for repairs.

“What we are doing is that we are providing them with money to buy tools. So as soon as they get the training which is free, which we are paying for, then they have the guarantee that they would get jobs.

“We have about 30,000 workers at our (Dangote) site, which we are planning to get to 50,000. Only 25 to 28 per cent of that would be foreign workers and the rest will be Nigerians who would be trained.”

Elumelu assured Nigerians that CACOVID will support the federal government.

He said: “The CBN governor has done extremely well. We used to be in banking together, but I didn’t realise his level of passion for the country until we started CACOVID.

“With the level of passion, every day since March this year, we spent several hours discussing how to intervene in the economy through CACOVID.

“So, at times when you hear things outside, you begin to shake your head and say if only people knew the efforts being made by the CACOVID leadership. We had people stay awake throughout the night.”

He noted that it was not easy to reopen the economy, adding that to get the airlines to start flying they had to assure the government that things would happen in certain ways and that they provided money for certain things.

“All I will say is that let’s have a bit of patience. The private sector in Nigeria is committed to poverty alleviation because poverty anywhere affects any of us. So, let’s work together to create more jobs,” he said.

Wigwe said: “Every transformation comes with its own pain and hitches. CACOVID right from inception came to help with the issue that came with COVID-19 and also to protect the livelihoods of people.

“Obviously in that process, there would be hitches from time to time. As we share more information, people will have a clear picture of what we are trying to do. The most important thing has to do with issues of employment.”

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I have sacks of new naira notes, says bandit, displays some in viral video

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As many Nigerians groan over inability to access funds from banks, a bandit kingpin terrorising communities in Kaduna has released a video clip showing off the redesigned naira notes.

In the video, Kachalla Baleri could be seen alongside some armed men displaying N1000 and N200 notes.

This is coming just as videos of some party goers spraying new naira notes are still trending.

The bandit kingpin who claimed to have used some of the new notes to buy ammunition said only God knows the amount of the new naira notes he has stored in sacks.

“We want to send a message to Nigerians, their leaders, and the masses, to be fair and just because of God and his holy prophet,” Baleri said.

“All the tribalism that is happening in the country will not solve anything unless things are done because of God.

“They (government) redesigned the naira, poor people who are innocent don’t even know about it. Some don’t even own up to N10,000. He has to wake up early in the morning to go and hustle.

“What of those who have millions in the cities? You see, it is between them. The money they are saying people are changing, we that are in the bush are changing it, some people who are in the cities haven’t even received it.

“But you see, the people they are referring to as terrorists have hold of the money. This is the new N1000 note, this is the new N200 note.

“We are just showing them a little out of what we have. We have plenty sacks of the new money and Only God knows the amount of the new notes that we have.”

A voice could be in the background of the video saying “I have N10 million at home”.

“We have bought ammunition that we will fight them (government), and we are waiting for what they will say next on the new naira notes,” Baleri added.

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BREAKING: CBN Issues fresh directive to banks on new naira notes

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.

The directive is coming on the heels of business grinding to a halt over the scarcity of the redesigned notes, having deposited old notes with the commercial banks.

The CBN reiterated its commitment to Nigerians to ensure the effective distribution of the newly introduced naira banknotes, urging them to exercise patience as the CBN is working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at ATMs.

The statement which was signed by the Director Corporate Communication, Osita Nwanisobi, said the CBN observed with grave concern, the activities of persons who sell the newly redesigned banknotes and those who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions.

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Nwanisobi said: “We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them.

“Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.

“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever. “

The statement quited Section 21(4) which states that “It shall also be an offence punishable under
Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in
the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.”

Nwanisobi said the CBN is collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to address the unpatriotic practice.

He warned Nigerians, particularly those at social functions such as birthdays, weddings and funerals, to desist from disrespecting the naira or risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies.

He also admonish members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.

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CBN governor, bank chiefs on a collision course over amount of new notes

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The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they had not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

The cash crunch that hit most banks in the country since Monday, January 30, 2023 continued yesterday as banks said they have not been getting enough cash from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to disburse to their customers.

Consequently, the Association Senior Staff of Banks Insurance and Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI) has challenged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make public how much new Naira notes it had pushed into circulation, even as it expressed worry over the scarcity of new and old Naira notes in the country.

The president of ASSBIFI, Comrade Olusoji Oluwole, lamented that Nigerians are going through excruciating difficulties in order to feed and do business transactions because of the cash crunch brought by the policy. He called for a review of the policy in order to save Nigerians from further hardship.

Oluwole urged the CBN to publicly declare how much of the new Naira notes has been printed and distributed so far to banks for disbursement compared with what has been withdrawn from the public.

The ASSBIFI helmsman disclosed that its independent study showed that the volume of the new notes in circulation is highly insufficient and most of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) have no new notes to dispense, while some of those dispensing are still paying out old notes.

“Nigerians have been reduced to moving from one ATM point to another in search of new Naira notes that should have been abundantly supplied. Pressure has been on bank workers who interface with the angry public in the process of depositing old or withdrawing the new notes, and we request urgent actions by the CBN to avoid attacks and other unruly actions against these bank workers as their safety and health are of great concern to the union to us in ASSBIFI,” Oluwole said.

A banker who craved anonymity said addressing the scarcity of cash is something that only the CBN can do, even as he said there ought to be discussions between the CBN and the committee of bank chief executives on how to address the ongoing scenario.

“The CBN should know what our requirements are, they should know what we require and how much will serve our customers. A bank that has over 300 branches and the CBN is giving them only N350 million; that means N1 million per branch. How do we deal with this?

“We can’t even pay with the old note and we don’t have the new notes. The new trend is that, because banks don’t want to get in trouble, they are paying customers in N100 and N20 notes. And that is because they don’t want more problems. Customers are protesting that they want their money and since the lower denominations are still legal tender, banks are paying with them.

“There is a shortage of cash everywhere. We did not envisage what is happening now. The only place where a solution can come is from CBN. The CBN should release more cash, and at the CEO level, there should be engagements with CBN on this,” the banker stated.

The president, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has attributed the current scarcity of old/new Naira notes coupled with fuel scarcity and hike in pump prices to systemic failure and corruption.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos yesterday, Wabba said: “Millions of man-hours are lost with many people now rendered unproductive by scarcity of old, new Naira notes while people now spend hours on queue for fuel in a society blessed with abundant human and natural resources.

“The unbanked people living in rural areas and marketers are feeling the pain more as they don’t have any other means of survival. There are no old and new maira notes for people to transact business. Why the haste in implementation of Naira redesign which could have been allowed to flow side by side for months before old notes are eventually mopped up.”

Nationwide, bank tellers have been turning customers away as they say there is no cash to pay them, and queues at the few Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) that are paying cash are growing longer.

Ngozi, a trader who sells electrical materials alongside her husband in Lagos said she is already running low on cash and does not know if she will be able to open her shop by the end of the week if the cash crunch continues.

“All the people that have been patronising my shop have been doing transfers which even misbehaves. I went to the bank to collect cash so that we can have money to run around and I was told that I can only get N2000. I have money in the bank and I can’t take it. It is very frustrating,” she said.

A roadside fruit seller said all her regular customers have been paying her with transfers and the few who are paying cash have paid with the new notes.

“All the transfers that my customers did yesterday, I am yet to get the alert but since they are my regulars, I am not so worried. This scarcity of cash has to end soon”, she said.

A business woman in Lagos, Mrs Kome Enobong, told LEADERSHIP that she left her home as early as 7am to her bank to withdraw some of the funds in her account, only to be told that there is no money to give to her.

“I have visited three Union Bank branches, but I couldn’t withdraw my money. I was told that there is no money in the bank to give to me. This is my money that I have worked for. The ATMs are not dispensing cash either. How am I going to feed my children, because right now, I don’t even have money on me?,” Mrs Enobong lamented.

A teacher, Mr James Niyi who also shared his ordeal with LEADERSHIP, said, “I cannot withdraw my own hard earned money from my bank. I had to use POS, where I spent N1,000 to get N10,000. This is really pathetic,” Niyi said, calling on CBN to intervene.

A POS operator, Mr Okanlawon noted that, they have not been able to do business as usual as there is no cash to give to customers who continue to throng his shop in search of cash. “My customers have been begging me for cash but what can I do if I don’t have the cash to give them? If this continues, I hope that people don’t take to the streets to riot over scarcity of cash.”

As of yesterday, some POS operators were charging N1,500 for N10,000 withdrawals while some were charging N1,000.

Mrs Akin, a civil servant, said after lots of begging and shouting in the bank, she was able to get N5,000, paid in N5 notes.

LEADERSHIP had, on Tuesday, reported that business activities were paralysed in Lagos State as bank customers queued for long hours at Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals across Lagos State to withdraw cash.

Similarly, electronic banking transfer through the mobile app, or USSD code, as well as Point of Sales (POS) machines network were extremely poor as people could not pay for services rendered through the electronic banking system.

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