Nigerians will not be able to use their Naira debit cards for international transactions as scarcity of foreign exchange (forex)worsens in Africa’s largest economy and biggest oil exporter, Daily Trust learnt.
Some banks have already alerted their customers on the latest development while it was gathered that others are keenly watching activities before implementing the policy owing to the scarcity of forex.
This development is coming a few months after banks in the country reduced the monthly international spending limit on Naira cards to as low as $20. The daily international withdrawal limit has been around $100 for most banks until March when banks cut international spending.
Banks had in 2020 stopped the use of naira cards for ATM foreign currency withdrawals while reviewing monthly international spending using naira cards from $500 to $300 and ultimately to $100.
According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s external reserves depreciated by $1.37 billion (3.37%) in the first six months of 2022 to $39.16bn as of June 30 from $40.52bn it closed in 2021. This is despite the recent surge in global energy prices
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A further scrutiny of the data also revealed that the external reserves fell to $38.882bn on August 11 from $39.219bn at the end of July 2022.
External reserves are assets held on reserve by CBN in foreign currencies and these reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy.
In the latest development however, First Bank announced that international transactions will be stopped on all Naira cards from September 30.
“Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022.
Standard Chartered Bank had earlier announced the suspension of international transactions on Naira visa debit cards from August 1.
“Kindly be informed that effective August 1, 2022, International spend on our Naira Visa Debit Card will be suspended. Also, the International spend limit on our Standard Chartered Bank Credit Card however remains at $1,000 monthly and Foreign Currency Debit Card limits remain unchanged,” it had notified its customers in July.
A reliable source in one of the banks that have not implemented the latest policy said ‘it is a matter of time as we are also observing the situation’
Experts expressed worries that banks are reacting to the realities of the market, noting that the CBN has explanations to make on forex scarcity despite its many policies to encourage foreign exchange earnings.
“Are we not exporting at all? Are exporters not repatriating their funds to Nigeria despite CBN policies? Why are we having serious scarcity? The fault is not with the banks, CBN should be able to explain why we are having these challenges,” noted an analyst who does not want his name in print.
Lamborghini pushes out final Aventador, Ultimae, ends V12 supercar
Supercar manufacturer, Lamborghini, has announced the production of the last Aventador. You can call it Avantador’s last dance. The final Lamborghini Aventador Ultimae was rolled off the production line in Sant’Agata, Italy, and kissing goodbye to V12-powered supercar that shaped an era. The Lamborghini V12 will be hybridised going forward.
This Ultimae Roadster marks the 11,465th Aventador to reach customers worldwide. First launched in 2011, the Aventador is not exactly modern, but when it debuted, it was described by CEO Stephan Winkelmann as “a jump of two generations in terms of design and technology,” with “performance that is simply overwhelming.”
A plug-in hybrid replacement is expected to be revealed later this year, having been spied testing.
Lamborghini made sure the final model was the most powerful, with the 6.5-litre unit producing 10bhp more than in the previous range-topping Aventador, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, sending 769bhp (780PS, hence the name) to both axles. The Aventador-based Essenza SCV12 produces 819bhp but is limited to track use.
The Ultimae’s 531lb ft torque peak matches the SVJ’s, with which it shares its power- to-weight ratio. But with a 0-62mph time of just 2.8sec and a top speed of 221mph, the Ultimae is the fastest road-going Aventador.
The 350 coupés and 250 roadsters – each sold with a numbered plaque – were offered in a range of unique colour schemes, including a new grey-on-grey option with contrasting red trim elements, while the roadster could be specified with an exposed carbonfibre roof panel. It was also subtly marked out from other Aventadors by way of a unique styling package that “took the best components” of the S and SVJ.
The Aventador’s plug-in hybrid replacement will serve as a bridge to pure-electric Lamborghini models in the future.
This electrified future will see the Hurácan and Lamborghini Urus also go down the same route, and an all-electric 2+2 introduced in the second half of the decade.
Importantly, however, while its replacement will use an electrified drivetrain, it will take the bulk of its power from a large-capacity V12, in line with company boss Stephan Winkelmann’s commitment to the emotional value of its supercars.
He told Autocar last year that there is “a lot of emotion attached” to the 12-cylinder engine, which he is particularly aware of, having been involved in the launch of the Aventador in his first stint as the boss of Lamborghini in 2011.
How to use your pensions for mortgage
The National Pension Commission recently approved the guidelines to access Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
The approval was in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage.
PenCom however specified conditions to access the funds. A major condition is that the applicant must be in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It stated that application for equity contribution for residential mortgage must be in person and not by proxy.
NNPC denies operating secret account, says fuel subsidy gulps N2.6tn
The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has not remitted any amount to the federation account since the beginning of this year as the company’s deduction for petrol subsidy rose to N2.565 trillion at the end of August 2022.
A new report by the NNPC revealed this even as the company denied any involvement in the operation of any secret bank account, stating that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) was aware of its financial transactions.
An analysis of NNPC’s monthly presentation to the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the weekend, further showed that the NNPCL has so far spent N2.565 trillion on the controversial subsidy this year.
Information from the FAAC meeting had earlier revealed that the money available for distribution among the three tiers of government for the month slumped by N280.948 billion to N673.137 billion when put aside the N954.085 shared in July.
Of the amount, the Federal Government received N259.641 billion; the states received N222.949 billion, while the local governments got N164.247 billion.
“The sum of N525,714,373,874.60 being federation account share was used to defray value shortfall/subsidy for the month,” the NNPCL stated in a document quoted by TheCable.
According to the national oil firm, in January, February, March, and April 2022, the petrol subsidy gulped N210.38 billion, N219.78 billion, N245.77 billion and N271.13 billion respectively.
Furthermore, in May, June, and July, the country spent N327.07 billion, N319.18 billion and N448.78 billion respectively before the hugest deduction of N525.71 billion in the latest instance.
The NNPCL also on Saturday said it was not involved in the operation of any secret bank account.
It said that the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) was aware of its financial transactions.
In a thread on its verified Twitter handle last night, signed by the spokesman for the national oil company, Mr Garba Muhammad, the company explained that it was unaware of the existence of any such account.
The House of Representatives a few days ago said it was probing the structure and accountability of the joint venture businesses and Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) of the NNPCL in the last 32 years.
The lawmakers had alleged that they had uncovered a secret account owned by the NNPCL allegedly in breach of due process.
The report stated that an official of the OAGF, Mr Chize Peters, disclosed to the Abubakar Fulata-led Adhoc committee probing the matter.
The committee was said to have directed the Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, to appear before it to offer explanations on the issue.
But in a series of tweets, the spokesman of NNPCL said, “The NNPCL, directly or through its upstream arm, the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), does not operate secret accounts at all.
“The joint venture cash call accounts denominated in US Dollars and Nigerian Naira are all domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria in line with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
“The Joint Venture Cash Call (JVCC) NGN and USD accounts were created to cater for the funding of cash calls for the various Joint Ventures managed by NNPCL on behalf of the Federal Government,” the company said.
The statement added that the ‘Joint Venture Proceeds Accounts’ were opened for the individual JVs to implement the self-funding strategy which aims at making them be self-reliant.
“The Office of the Accountant-Gen. of the Federation (OAGF) is fully aware of the JVCC accounts as the OAGF regularly sanctions & approves the updates/change of signatories to the accounts.
The NNPCL has documents where these correspondences with the OAGF were acknowledged.
“The NNPC/NAPIMS books of accounts in respect of the federations upstream petroleum activities are audited annually by independent external auditors,” the national oil company said.
According to the NNPCL, a critical part of the independent statutory audit is sending ‘circularisation’ to banks to confirm balances and bank accounts belonging to NNPC/NAPIMS.
It stressed that Audited Financial Statements (AFS) are submitted to all stakeholders including the National Assembly.
In addition, the company stated that the OAGF conducts periodic (yearly) checks on the activities of NNPC/NAPIMS, maintaining that the activities of the NNPCL and NAPIMS are audited yearly by the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI).
“NNPCL has documented evidence of the correspondences between the company and the OAGF before the accounts were opened with the @cenbank, in line with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.
“We also have evidence of reconciliations carried out with the @cenbank for the year ended 31-12-2021 in respect to the JV Cash Call Accounts.
“Thus, with such multiple layers of checks and balances, it is impossible for @nnpclimited to operate secret accounts until the ad hoc Committee, with due respect to its competencies, discovers it.
“If such ‘secret account’ does exist, then @nnpclimited certainly is not aware of, and has absolutely nothing to do with it,” the statement concluded.
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