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WTO DG: I am honoured, says Okonjo-Iweala, on selection

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  • Buhari, Atiku, others congratulate Okonjo-Iweala

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first female director-general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), says she is honoured to have been selected as the one to lead the WTO.

“I am honoured to have been selected by WTO members as WTO Director-General,” Okonjo-Iweala said on Monday afternoon.

“A strong WTO is vital if we are to recover fully and rapidly from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to working with members to shape and implement the policy responses we need to get the global economy going again.

“Our organization faces a great many challenges but working together we can collectively make the WTO stronger, more agile and better adapted to the realities of today.”

Okonjo-Iweala was appointed the DG on Monday after months of uncertainty at the trade body.

The WTO thanked the former minister for her graciousness and patience through the selection process.

“This is a very significant moment for the WTO. On behalf of the General Council, I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her appointment as the WTO’s next Director-General and formally welcome her to this General Council meeting,” said David Walker, the General Council chair, said.

“Dr Ngozi, on behalf of all members I wish to sincerely thank you for your graciousness in these exceptional months, and for your patience.

“We look forward to collaborating closely with you, Dr Ngozi, and I am certain that all members will work with you constructively during your tenure as Director-General to shape the future of this organization,” he added.

Walker, who is from New Zealand worked together with co-facilitators Dacio Castillo (Honduras) and Harald Aspelund (Iceland) through the nine-month DG selection process.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with Okonjo-Iweala, on her selection as WTO DG, bringing joy and more honour to the country.

The President says her track record of integrity, diligence and passion for development will continue to yield positive results and rewards to mankind.

Buhari affirmed that Okonjo-Iweala, who over the years set major records of economic reforms in Nigeria as Minister of Finance, and later Minister of Foreign Affairs, would excel in her new position and validate the global mandate of repositioning and strengthening the multilateral institution for the greater good of all.

The President joined family, friends and colleagues in wishing Dr Okonjo-Iweala well in her new endeavour.

 

Atiku Abubakar

Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a woman I know very well, because we worked at close quarters between 2003 and 2007, when she served in our administration in various capacities, most notably as finance minister.

It is not hyperbole when I say that no one could be more qualified for the job of Director General of the World Trade Organisation than her, and I congratulate her for her success at being the first female and African DG of the WTO.

She is an apostle of free trade and an astute manager of people and resources, and the world will be a much more prosperous place by her elevation to this enviable height.

As the world prepares to emerge from the global pandemic of COVID19, the planet needs a steady hand at the wheel, to drive global trade, and rebuild from the devastation wrought by the virus. We would not need someone who thinks they can pull this off. We would need someone who has actually and serially pulled it off before. And that person has emerged.

Ngozi, Africa and Nigeria are proud of you and my family and I are full of joy at your victory. Go to Geneva and make us proud, as we know you will.

Congratulations once again and may God bless your tenure.

 

President, European Central Bank – Christine Lagarde

Congratulations to my friend Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on becoming the first female Director-General of the @wto.

I’ve known Ngozi for many years. Her strong will and determination will drive her to tirelessly promote free trade to the benefit of people worldwide.

 

 

As she prepares to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), I congratulate Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her emergence as the next Director General.

I wish @NOIweala all the best in this new assignment, and hope that her tenure at the helm of the WTO helps to address some of the barriers that limit trade in Africa and other developing countries.

Bukola Saraki

I heartily rejoice with Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on her emergence as the first African and first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

I also congratulate Nigeria on the latest feat of its great daughter on the international stage and applaud President Muhammadu Buhari, whose unwavering commitment contributed to the acknowledgement of the sterling credentials of her and her ultimate triumph for the position.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan

With her latest feat, the former Nigerian Minister of Finance and Managing Director of the World Bank has again brought honour to Nigeria, Africa and women everywhere.

I pray for Almighty God to imbue her with good health and wisdom to succeed in the task just as I urge her to deploy her famed intellect, experience, energy and integrity in leading the WTO to promote global prosperity through fair trade.

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa

On behalf of all Deltans, I join all Nigerians in congratulating one of our most renowned citizens, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, on her emergence as the next Director-General of the World Trade Organisation.

Over the years, we have all followed your growth and celebrated your noteworthy achievements. This is why, as you begin your new role at the helm of the WTO, I want you to know that you have the unwavering support of both your home state and your country!

Peter Obi

Dr (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala @NOIweala has always been a shinning star, not just in our country Nigeria, but across the world where her leadership impact has been felt.

Her appointment for this lofty position as DG @WTO has not come as a surprise to those of us who know her well. I am definitely sure she will perform creditably in her new assignment.

PDP

The party describes her emergence as victory for competence, global due process and consensus needed to pilot the activities of the world trade body, especially at this critical period in the history of the world’s economy.

The @OfficialPDPNig notes that the development has again brought honour to our nation adding that it is proud of Okonjo-Iweala as a product of the PDP administration, whose excellence as Nigeria’s minister of finance, under whom Nigeria achieved our debt relief and revamped to become one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

 

The party also recalled Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s success as the Managing Director of the World Bank, where she also displayed her capacity to effectively handle global economy’s issues.

The @OfficialPDPNig commends international stakeholders, including President @JoeBiden-led United States Government for the strong support given to Okonjo-Iweala, which points to the commitment of all stakeholders towards global consensus and economic recovery.

The @OfficialPDPNig restates its charge to the new @wto Director General to redouble her effort in bringing to bear her wealth of experience and competence to the world body.

Reps Minority Caucus: Appointment reinforces global confidence in her

Minority Caucus of the House of Representatives has congratulated former Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, over her final confirmation as the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The caucus in a statement by the Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, on Monday, observed that the emergence of Okonjo-Iweala as DG of the world trade body in spite of all the opposing huddles, “has reinforced global confidence in her competence and proficiency to head the world body”.

He said, “Indeed, the election of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala to head the WTO is well-deserving, given her huge experience, competence, commitment and track record of performance in global finance and economy as evinced in her successes as Nigeria’s minister of finance, Managing Director of the World Bank and various other international development bodies.

“We commend the global community for having confidence in Dr. Okonjo Iweala and particularly, the United States President, His Excellency Joe Biden, for the unwavering support given to her by his administration, which is clearly in recognition of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s competence.

“In the same vein our caucus commends the understanding and spirit of sportsmanship exhibited by the South Korean trade minister, Yoo Myung-hee in withdrawing from the race; another loud testament to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s suitability for the task ahead.”

The lawmakers charged Dr. Okonjo Iweala to, as usual, hit the ground running and bring to bear her skills, connections and wealth of experience in the onerous task of leading the WTO at this trying period in the history of global economy.

The caucus however urged the new WTO DG to have a special focus on Africa and the developing world, particularly at this time of economic recession, which has been worsened by the adverse effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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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.

Daily Trust

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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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