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Nigerians groan as Naira scarcity persists nationwide

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A few days into the Christmas and New Year festivities, Nigerians are once again grappling with a shortage of Naira notes. Despite assurances from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) regarding the availability of currency notes, the resurgence of Naira scarcity, akin to the cash crunch experienced in December last year and the first quarter of 2023 due to the failed Naira redesign policy, is beginning to impact Nigerians significantly.

As of Monday, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in various parts of the country are either not dispensing cash or are witnessing long queues. DMBs have imposed maximum withdrawal limits ranging from N20,000 to N50,000, and transaction fees through Point-of-Sale operators (PoS) have doubled due to the scarcity.

Despite the CBN attributing the Naira scarcity to panic withdrawals by Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) from various CBN branches, it insists there is no actual scarcity and that the economy has an adequate supply of currency. However, the prevailing situation contradicts the CBN’s assertion.

Dr. Uju Ogunbunka, the President of the Bank Customers’ Association of Nigeria, dismissed the CBN’s explanation as meaningless and emphasized the real scarcity of Naira in the country. He urged the CBN to fulfill its mandate by printing more currency to facilitate transactions.

Elegede Segun, the secretary-elect of the Mobile Money and Agent Banking industry in Nigeria, highlighted that PoS operators were severely affected by the Naira scarcity, resulting in increased charges to avoid losses. Banks’ cash withdrawal limits and scarcity-induced self-help measures among the public have contributed to the challenges faced by PoS vendors.

Renowned economist Prof Segun Ajibola criticized the CBN’s reason for the Naira scarcity, urging the regulator to diagnose and address the problem swiftly to prevent counterfeiters from taking advantage.

Mr. Idakolo Gbolade, CEO of SD & D Capital Management, attributed the Naira scarcity to communication issues between the CBN, DMBs, and the public. He emphasized the need for improved communication from the CBN to assure Nigerians that there is no reason to hoard Naira notes.

The Naira redesign policy implemented from December 2022 to February 2023 led to a cash crunch until the Supreme Court extended the deadline to December 31, 2023, and later vacated the extension following a federal government request.

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BVN, NIN requirement: CBN keeps mum as deadline expires

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept mum as the deadline for banks to restrict customers’ accounts without a Bank Verification Number or National Identity Number has expired.

DAILY POST recalls that CBN, in a notice on December 1 last year, signed by the Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi and Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustapha, asked banks to restrict tier-1 accounts or wallets without NIN or BVN.

“For all existing Tier-1 accounts/wallets without BVN or NIN: Effective immediately, any unfunded account/wallet shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’ until the new process is satisfied.

“Effective March 1, 2024, all funded accounts or wallets shall be placed on ‘Post No Debit or Credit’, and no further transactions will be permitted. The BVN or NIN attached to and/or associated with all accounts/wallets must be electronically revalidated by January 31, 2024”, the statement partly reads.

However, CBN acting spokesperson, Hakama Sidi has yet to respond to calls from DAILY POST on Friday over the fate of banks’ customers without NIN or BVN.

Meanwhile, in a telephone interview with DAILY POST, the President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogubunka, appealed to CBN for a deadline extension.

According to him, though many accounts have NIN or BVN, there are still many without the requirement.

“At this point, the best thing for CBN to do is extend the deadline for bank customers to have their NIN or BVN”, he told DAILY POST.

A source who preferred anonymity in a tier-1 bank told DAILY POST that no customer account had been restricted owing to the NIN or BVN requirement.

“At the moment, no customers’ accounts have been restricted. Customers in the last three days have trooped in to update their account”, he said.

DAILY POST reported that bank customers were in a last-minute rush to meet the NIN and BVN requirement deadlines as they besieged their respective banks.

CREDIT: DAILY POST

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Gov Mbah signs New Enugu City, ENSIEC bills into law

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On Friday, Governor Peter Mbah of Enugu State officially approved the New Enugu City Development Agency Bill, the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Bill, and the Enugu State Independent Electoral Commission (ENSIC) Amendment Bill, turning them into law. The signing ceremony, witnessed by Enugu State House of Assembly Speaker Uchenna Ugwu at the Government House in Enugu, marked significant steps in the state’s governance.

Governor Mbah clarified the purposes of these laws during the signing event. He highlighted that the New Enugu City Development Agency Law grants administrative authority to oversee the development of a new city master plan, aimed at accommodating both present and future generations. The Enugu State Geographical Information System Service Law, on the other hand, focuses on automating and digitizing processes for service delivery, beginning with land-related matters.

Regarding the ENSIEC Amendment Law, Governor Mbah noted its alignment with constitutional amendments concerning electoral bodies, ensuring compliance with the evolving legal framework.

Explaining the rationale behind the New Enugu City Development Agency, Mbah emphasized the government’s forward-thinking approach to governance, addressing the need for urban expansion to accommodate the growing population. He underscored the significance of having a master plan for future generations to prevent urban congestion.

Furthermore, Mbah elaborated on the Enugu State Geographical Information System Service, emphasizing its role in fulfilling the administration’s promise to streamline land administration processes and provide efficient services. He highlighted the agency’s mandate to manage property information systems and facilitate digital platforms for accessing services and making payments.

Governor Mbah expressed gratitude to the State House of Assembly for their support and swift passage of these executive bills, acknowledging the importance of collaboration in driving the state’s development agenda forward. He emphasized that progress and success hinge on the collective efforts of all stakeholders, including the legislature.

In conclusion, Governor Mbah affirmed his administration’s commitment to fulfilling its promises and leveraging legislative support to enhance governance and service delivery in Enugu State.

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Tinubu’s presidency not by chance – Shettima

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Vice President Kashim Shettima asserts that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s rise to the presidency is not coincidental but a divine blessing due to the sincerity of his character. Shettima made these remarks during a courtesy visit by the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission (NCPC) delegation at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Friday.

“The path leading to Tinubu’s presidency wasn’t accidental. He is known for his consistent sacrifices for the nation’s welfare. His success is viewed as a divine reward for his genuine intentions,” Shettima stated.

He stressed the importance of leaders fostering unity, highlighting Tinubu’s significant role in offering an alternative political platform within Nigeria’s system.

“Tinubu has made sacrifices and facilitated unity. He provided a haven for those facing political persecution and offered an alternative platform when others struggled for recognition,” Shettima elaborated.

Shettima urged Nigerians to be patient with Tinubu’s leadership, emphasizing that his presidency is not a coincidence but a deliberate journey towards national success.

He also charged the newly appointed NCPC Board to demonstrate unwavering commitment to their duties and reminded them of the importance of religious dedication in addressing national challenges.

“All of you were selected based on your religious commitment. We cannot overlook the issues within our system. It’s essential for all of us to strive for positive change to achieve the Nigeria we envision,” he concluded.

Previously, Bishop Stephen Adegbite, the Executive Secretary of NCPC, expressed gratitude to President Tinubu for the opportunity to serve on the board and praised Vice President Shettima’s outstanding leadership, citing his support for the Church and peace efforts in Borno State.

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