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Sanusi Says $20Bn Leakages in NNPC May Ground Economy

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Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has stated that his decision to take part in the joint press briefing called by  Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance, last December was in order to avert a crisis and calm nerves in the polity, according to a report by Leadership Newspaper.

Sanusi also insisted that the persistent leakages in the amount of oil revenue remitted to the federation account if not stopped on time would ultimately bring the entire economy to its knees.

In an executive summary of his presentation to the Senate Committee on Finance, according to Leadership,, the apex bank governor regretted that his letter to the president which was leaked last year was published in a highly politically-charged atmosphere leading to the Central Bank being practically accused of involvement in politics.

“In December it was clear to me that no tempered and positive discussion would take place. In order to calm nerves and avert a major crisis, I agreed to the joint press conference with the Finance Ministry, the Petroleum Ministry, and also to present a common front at the National Assembly.”

At the said press conference which held on December 18, 2013, jointly addressed by Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi, and minister of petroleum Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Sanusi had said he was wrong in his earlier allegation that $49.8 billion was missing and that the actual unremitted amount was $12 billion. Okonjo-Iweala said her record indicated that only $10.8 billion could not be accounted for.

The CBN governor stressed that Nigeria cannot sustain the current trend in oil revenue leakages, adding that if not stopped it is capable of bringing the entire nation to its knees.

“The amount in 19 months may be $10.8 billion or $12 billion or $19 billion or $21 billion; we do not know at this point. But if we extend the period the amount will increase anyway, since this has been going on for a long time. The first priority is to stop it. It is unsustainable, and it will ultimately, if not stopped, bring the entire economy to its knees.”

Sanusi who appealed to Nigerians not to disregard the alarm he raised as spurious or baseless also noted: “Since December, however, there has been an orchestrated campaign aimed at undermining our credibility and misleading Nigerians into believing that all monies due to the federation account have been either remitted or adequately accounted for.”

He said that the decision on what to do with the situation at hand rests entirely with the government.

“My task is limited to raising an alarm over what I think is a development that is harmful to the economy, and establishing that the alarm was neither spurious nor baseless. I still insist that an investigation is needed to establish the extent of the losses and nature of offences committed.”

In related development, Sanusi  also spoke at an investors’ dinner in Lagos on Tuesday night, saying the revelation of the missing and unaccounted monies would help in ensuring good governance and accountability in the governing of the country.

Sanusi, who had made fresh allegations at a public hearing organised by the Senate, said that the NNPC was yet to account for $20 billion oil proceeds, an amount higher than the initial $10.8 billion that was in contention.

He stated that “a lot of the noise that is happening in the country today around me and the oil sector is good for the country because, at the end of the day, if it leads to improved governance over oil revenue, if it leads to increased transparency or people having to be called to explain what they have done with the money, that is good for the system. People must not see controversy and noise as necessarily bad. I love controversy”.

“If you think there has to be change and if you think a system needs to be improved and if you get too comfortable in a system, you should ask yourself what has happened to you. You need to step on a few toes, annoy a few people, have your own toes stepped on; you will be annoyed once in a while. Of course, they will slap you once in a while,” he stated.

Stressing that the current market price of oil is in favour of the country, the CBN governor noted that revenue shortfalls arising from oil theft and illegal bunkering are the major challenge for the country, noting that if the problem of oil theft and illegal bunkering was solved, issues around reserves, currency stability and fiscal deficit would be a thing of the past.

“We have tried to build a stable environment, and, for us at the Central Bank, we have been very lucky to have had a very good partner in finance. If you look at government spending in 2013, it really wasn’t much higher than in 2012 and fiscal policy is not in itself loose on the basis of government spending. The real challenge is that there are things that we can do to block some of the revenue shortfalls that are causing the problem – oil theft and bunkering — because we’ve good oil price, we’ve got the output and if you fix that, the issues around reserves, around currency stability, around fiscal deficit would simply disappear.”

He also blamed lack of fiscal discipline on the part of the government, saying “government spending itself has not been the problem. It is largely because of the fiscal discipline in the last few years that our tight monetary policy has been able to work. We have been able to bring down inflation to single digit and it has been below 10 per cent since January 2012. It would remain 10 per cent throughout 2014.

“I know there is speculation about how much money will come into the economy during elections, but how much money is there anyway? It’s $2.5 billion in the Excess Crude Account. So even if people want to spend money, the money won’t be available. So the risk from that end is not as high as people might think. The greater risk is if we continue to have deterioration in the revenue profile, and that can be addressed because it is really in our control.”

 


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E-Financial

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

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Amidst sustained pressures on Nigeria’s official foreign exchange resources, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has opened investigations into foreign exchange transactions of 55 companies and individuals.

The apex bank linked them to foreign exchange deals outside the official Investors & Exporters (I&E) window.

CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions

Mr. Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor

The I&E window was created by the CBN as the legitimate platform for buying and selling of foreign currencies.

Some of the major corporate organisations in the list include Stallion Nigeria Limited, a conglomerate involved in several sectors of the Nigerian economy.

The list also includes Nigeria’s leading electronic payment company, Interswitch Nigeria Limited, as well as a leading global shipping line, CMA CGM Nigeria Shipping Limited.

Other big names in the list include Petro-Afrique Energy Services Limited, Steel Force Far East Limited, Auto Petroleum Company Limited, Cavendish Mechanicals Limited, Aquashield Oil & Marine Limited, Haitch & Elf Integrated Services Limited, Fenog Nigeria Limited, and Promasidor Nigeria Limited.


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FG Makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

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Federal government on Friday apologised for asking all account holders in financial institutions in the country to re-register their personal details.

FG makes u-Turn on Bank Account Re-Registration

Recall that the federal government had on Thursday ‎ordered that all persons holding accounts across financial institutions and insurance firms should complete and submit self-certification forms to their respective financial institutions.

The notice issued by the government to that effect read, ‎“This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc.) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of the institutions. The forms are required by the relevant financial institutions to carry out due diligence procedures, in line with the Income Tax Regulations 2019.‎”

The directive raised eyebrows, as account holders already possessed Bank Verification Numbers.

Following widespread condemnation that trailed the directive, the Federal Government backtracked on Friday, saying the fresh guidelin‎e was not for all Nigerians.

The government attributed the development to misinformation.

The clarification issued by the government on Friday read, ‎“We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the notice does not apply to everybody. ‎FIRS will clarify Nigerians on the objectives of the directive.”

Also on Friday, FIRS, in a statement posted on Twitter, explained that the guidelines were only for non-residents, as well as people paying tax in more than one country.

Parts of the FIRS statement read, “The Self Certification Form is basically to be administered on Reportable Persons, holding accounts in Financial institutions, that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents and other persons, who have residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or country.”

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during account opening processes, for the KYC and AML purpose.”


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Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

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Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has disowned Tope Olajide, 22-year-old fraudster arraigned for theft of customers deposits.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Disowns Lagos ATM Fraudster

The Bank said this in a statement on Wednesday.

The statement said: “The attention of the management of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC has been drawn to news currently circulating in the media, about the alleged arraignment of staff of the Bank on charges bordering on the theft of customers deposits.

“The Bank would like to clarify that the defendant, a 22-year-old Tope Olajide, IS NOT, and was at no point in time an employee of Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

“The alleged culprit was apprehended around 7:30 am, on Thursday, 27 August 2020, by security operatives after he was exposed by CCTV footage using ATM cards he had allegedly stolen and converted, to make withdrawals from the accounts tied to the stolen ATMs.

“The CCTV footage also showed the alleged culprit pretending to assist customers at ATMs whilst also attempting to fraudulently dispossess the customers of their ATMs.

“He was subsequently arraigned before an Ikeja Magistrate Court on Monday, 14 September, for stealing the debit cards of two customers and using them to unlawfully withdraw the sum of N427,000.

“The Bank would also like to implore members of the public to be security conscious when conducting transactions at ATMs. Customers are advised to report any suspicious actions around them to security operatives who are usually stationed around the Bank’s ATMs, when carrying out transactions at any of our ATM locations.

“As an organisation, we hold dear the values of integrity, and we will continue to prioritise the safety of our customers effectively.”


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