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Economy

CBN releases guidelines, framework for Mobile Money Services

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The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has released Regulatory Guidelines and Framework for Mobile Money Services in the country.

According to CBN, the introduction of mobile telephony in Nigeria and its rapid growth and adoption among other factors have underscored its decision to issue the framework as it will create an enabling environment for the orderly introduction and management of mobile money services in Nigeria.

It said: “The Framework defines the regulatory environment as a policy path towards achieving availability, acceptance and usage of mobile payment services.”

The apex bank also said that the objectives of the guidelines are to ensure a structured and orderly development of mobile money services in Nigeria, with a clear definition of various participants and their expected roles and responsibilities; Specification of the minimum technical and business requirements for the various participants recognized for the mobile money services industry in Nigeria; and promote safety and effectiveness of mobile money services and thereby enhance user confidence in the services.

The Guidelines on Mobile Money Services stated that the  Mobile Money Operators (MMOs)shall not carry out the following activities: Grant any form of loans, advances and guarantees (directly or indirectly); Accept foreign currency deposits; Deal in the foreign exchange market except as prescribed in Section 4.1 (ii & iii) of the extant Guidelines for Licensing and Regulation of Payment Service Banks in Nigeria; Insurance underwriting;  Accept any closed scheme electronic value (e.g. airtime) as a form of deposit or payment; Establish any subsidiary; Undertake any other transaction which is not prescribed by these Guidelines; And any other activities that may be prohibited by the CBN.

On interest distribution on savings wallet, Section 10.1.3  stated: “Fees and charges for the management of the investment shall not be more than 10 per cent of interest income on savings wallet funds investment; Where an MMO operates a savings wallet, i.e., a wallet earning interest, it shall expressly inform subscribers of the following:

“The minimum balance on the savings wallet that qualifies to earn interest; The allowable number of withdrawals to be entitled to earn interest; The minimum savings period to earn interest; The applicable balance that would earn interest;

The procedure for determining interest amount distributable to subscribers should stipulate the minimum percentage of interest income to be distributed to subscribers and the proportion to be retained by the MMO, if applicable; The applications of section 10.1.3 (b) (i) to (v) in distributing interest shall be automated.

“The section further stated: “On no account whatsoever, shall a Mobile Money savings wallet account holder suffer diminution in the principal sum on his/her wallet as a result of fees or charges; Deposit Money Banks serving as settlement banks are prohibited from off-setting

any other transactions of the MMO, including the transaction wallet pool accounts, against the savings wallet principal pool accounts and savings wallets interest pool account; and MMOs shall comply with the minimum disclosure requirements on the financial statements as stipulated by the Bank”

Section 10.1.2 of the guidelines stated:

” Funds on saving wallets shall be invested in only the Nigerian Treasury Bills (NTB); MMOs shall be treated as mandate customers of CBN for NTB subscription  through the CBN NTB window, and MMOs shall have a process to determine appropriate cash balance on its Savings Wallet Principal Pool Account that will meet its savings wallets customers’ withdrawal requirements at every point in time.”

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Economy

CBN Uncovers $2.4b Invalid FOREX Claims

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CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Yemi Cardoso said the apex bank has discovered $2.4 billion invalid forex outstanding claims pressuring the naira and causing anxiety in the currency market.

Cardoso disclosed this in an interview with Arise Television on Monday.

According to Cardoso, this was uncovered during an audit by the consultant the CBN hired, which exposed a number of dubious transactions.

The CBN Governor stated that the apex bank commissioned Deloitte to look into the FX allegations to provide a true picture of the situation.

Cardoso said, according to the Deloitte assessment, up to $2.4 billion of the backlog consists of fictitious claims, with claimants in certain cases being unable to provide import documentation.

“We had had reasons to believe we needed to take a harder look at these obligations. So we contracted Deloitte management consultants to do a forensics of all these obligations and to actually tell us what was valid and what was not,” Mr Cardoso said.

“The result that came out of this was startling in a great respect. It was startling. We discovered that of the roughly $7 billion, about $2.4 billion had issues, which we believe had no business being there and the infractions on that ranged from so many things, for example not having valid import documents and in some cases entities that do not exist,” he said.

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Economy

We are Determined to Stabilise Forex and Boost Economic Growth. -FG

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By Christopher Sunday

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said the Tinubu administration is committed to implementing macroeconomic reforms.
aimed at curbing inflation, easing the cost of living, and stabilising the foreign exchange as part of the broader objective of boosting economic growth.

The Minister stated this on Saturday in Minna, Niger State, at the 2024 Press Week of the Niger State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Represented by the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace, the Minister said the year 2024 holds a lot of prospects for Nigerians as some of the promising initiatives of the administration begin to bear fruit.

“Permit me, distinguished invited guests, as chief spokesperson of the Federal
Government of Nigeria, to use this hallowed platform to tell Nigerians, at this early and auspicious time of the year, that 2024 would be a great year for Nigeria as thepolicies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu under the Renewed Hope Agenda takefirmer roots for the growth of our nation’s economic development, our invaluablehuman assets, and national security.

“The Tinubu administration will continue to implement macroeconomic reforms.
to achieve broad economic objectives of sustained economic growth aimed at
bringing down inflation, easing the cost of living, and stabilising foreign exchange
and job creation, among others,” he said.

Idris said, against the backdrop of the withdrawal of fuel subsidies, liberalising the foreign exchange regime, and the fight against corruption, the Tinubu government is showing fidelity to the rule of law and the independence of institutions, as demonstrated in the recent judgements of the courts.

The Minister explained that the recent Federal Government decision to relocate certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Lagos is part of a broader strategy to enhance operational efficiency, streamline processes, ensure a responsive financial system for Nigeria, and cut operations costs. He emphasised that the government’s directive aligns with global best practices and has no political motivation, however wrongly propagated.

The minister assured that no policy of the present administration would put any part of the country in a disadvantageous position. “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to fairness and equitable development, as outlined in his oath of office, ensures that no policy under his administration will disadvantage any region. His dedication to fostering national unity and inclusivity is reflected in policies guided by principles of fairness and equality,” he said.

The Minister, who also used the occasion to enlist the support of the media in the fight against fake news, said the hydra-headed menace of fake news is ravaging the media space. “My dear colleagues, we need to rise against the elements of fake news that are deliberately designed to misinform Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also announced to the gathering that the Federal Government would soon unveil comprehensive details of the National Values Charter, which are aimed at inculcating values in the citizenry.

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Economy

No Plans to Convert Domiciliary Accounts to Naira – FG

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* Finance Minister Describes Report as Handiwork of Economic Saboteurs

By James Aduku

The Federal government has debunked a media report that it plans to convert foreign exchange in depositors’ domiciliary accounts to naira, describing it as tantamount to economic sabotage.

There had been a viral media report on Saturday to the effect that the Federal Government has perfected plans to convert foreign exchange in domiciliary accounts.

However, the Coordinating Minister of Economy, Wale Edun, in a statement on Saturday, said such reports were false and misleading.

According to Edun: “There is no iota of truth in the claims of Punch Newspaper that the Federal Government plans to convert foreign exchange in depositors’ domiciliary accounts to naira.

“The publication of such falsehood at a time when the government is working to restore economic stability and confidence in the national currency is tantamount to economic sabotage.

“This report in the Punch Newspaper violates the standards of responsible journalism.

“For the avoidance of doubt, I emphasise that depositors’ foreign currency in their domiciliary accounts will not be converted to naira.”

Punch had reported that there were strong indications that the Federal Government was mulling a policy that will result in the conversion of foreign currencies in domiciliary accounts of citizens to naira to stabilise the national currency, which earlier this week recorded its worst performance in history.

It had said that if the Nigerian government goes ahead with the plan, the government will order the conversion of foreign currencies sitting idly in individuals’ and corporate organisations’ domiciliary accounts to naira at a rate to be determined by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to top Presidency sources, the move is meant to stabilise the naira, which recorded its biggest fall in the official Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market on Monday, depreciating by 24 per cent to close at N1,348 per dollar.

One of the Presidency sources said that the problem of forex scarcity and the naira fall was an elite issue, adding that the Federal Government would not fold its arms and continue to watch some individuals hoarding foreign currencies at the expense of the naira.

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