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‘We won’t be rigid’ on cash withdrawal- Emefiele



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it will not be rigid on cash withdrawal limits.

The Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele made the pledge in a chat with newsmen in Daura, Katsina State, after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the status of the economy and the performance of the bank.

Mr Emefiele said the policy on cash withdrawal limit was “not meant to hurt anybody”, but to “strengthen the nation’s economy”.

The CBN governor, who said President Buhari was “delighted” with the proposed enforcement of the cashless policy, appealed to Nigerians to embrace the policy as presented.

He attempted to allay fears being expressed in some quarters about difficulties that could face people in rural areas as a result of the policy, saying their situation has already been taken into cognisance, as 1.4 million super agents have been deployed across the country to “deepen the payment system infrastructure”.

“I have told my colleagues, some of their names are already on the CBN website and we will publish all the names of all the super agents,” he promised.

“Having a super agent, which is different from the banks which is different from microfinance banks, which is different from other financial institutions; having 1.4 million of them is as good as having 1.4 million banking points where people can conduct services,” he stated.

“We think, Nigeria as a big country, the biggest economy in Africa, that we need to leapfrog into the cashless economy,” the CBN governor continued. “We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85% of the cash that is in circulation is outside the bank. More and more countries that are embracing digitisation have gone into cashless.

“I said it at different fora, that this is not targeted at anybody; it’s just meant for the good and development of the Nigerian economy, and we can only continue to appeal to Nigerians to please see this policy the way we have presented it.

“We will be reviewing from time to time how this is working because I cannot say that we are going to be rigid. But it is not to say that we will reverse; it is not to say that we will change the timing, but whether it is about tricking some amount to be a little bit higher or a little bit lower, and all the rest of them. We will do so because we are humans, we want to make sure that we make life good for our people.

“We do not want to make life difficult for them. So there is no need for anybody to worry: the central bank is monitoring what is happening and I can assure everyone that we are up and alive to our responsibilities, and we will do what is right for Nigeria and Nigerians.”

Appealing for “calm”, Mr Emefiele assured Nigerians that “it will go round”.

“The old currency continues to be legal tender till January 31, 2023,” he stressed.

Attempting to “crack a joke”, the CBN governor added: “Both the painted (new notes) and unpainted (old notes) will operate concurrently as a legal tender. But by January 31, the unpainted one will not be useful to you again; so please take it to your bank as quickly as possible.”

On the amount of the old notes the Central Bank has been able to get back to the vaults, he said the Bank has so far taken in more than “half a trillion Naira”.

“But what we have done in the Central Bank is to move more people from different departments into currency processing so that they can process this cash as quickly as possible, and from there, banks can now move what they have with them,” he explained.

He harped on some of the issues “bothering the currency”, assuring Nigerians, at the same time, that “only yesterday, the new currency reached the (commercial)banks”, who are expected to begin distributing “these currencies” to members of the public who are their customers.

This, Mr Emefiele said, would assure President Buhari that things were “going on well” with the currency, as well as issues bothering the cashless policy.

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NiMet forecasts 3-day sunshine, haziness from Sunday



The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has forecasted a period of sunshine and haziness from Sunday to Tuesday across the country. According to the weather outlook released on Sunday in Abuja, NiMet predicts sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere over the northern region during this forecast period. The North Central region is also expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere.

In the Inland states of the South, NiMet anticipates cloudy skies with spells of sunshine. Coastal cities are expected to have cloudy skies with the possibility of thunderstorms over parts of Edo, Ondo, Imo, Ebonyi, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, and Cross River states during the afternoon and evening hours.

Dust haze is foreseen over the northern region on Monday, while the North Central region is expected to experience sunny skies in a hazy atmosphere. The Inland states of the South and coastal cities are predicted to have cloudy skies with spells of sunshine, along with the likelihood of morning mist over Delta, Bayelsa, Lagos, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom. Thunderstorms are expected later in the day over parts of Rivers, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom states.

On Tuesday, NiMet forecasts dust haze with a visibility range of 2km to 5 km over the northern region. The North Central region is expected to experience dust haze as well. In the Inland states of the South and coastal cities, cloudy skies with spells of sunshine are anticipated.

NiMet issues a cautionary note about dust particles in suspension and advises the public, especially individuals with respiratory issues, to take necessary precautions. The agency also warns of the potential for moderate to heavy rainfall leading to flash floods and advises the public to exercise caution. Strong winds are likely to precede and accompany thunderstorms, and disaster risk managers, agencies, and individuals are advised to be proactive during the rainy season.

Finally, NiMet advises airline operators to obtain updated weather reports from its office for effective planning in their operations.

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Kaduna bombing: Senators donate December salaries to victims



Each of the 109 senators in the Federal Republic of Nigeria has contributed their December salaries to assist the victims of the recent bombing incident in Kaduna that occurred last Sunday. The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau I. Jibrin, made this announcement on Sunday during a visit to the Kaduna State Government House, leading a prominent delegation of Senate members. The delegation was welcomed at the Government House by Governor Uba Sani. Further information will be provided soon.

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ECOWAS meeting holds in Abuja



The 64th Ordinary Session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government is currently taking place in Abuja, Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria is set to chair the session, which is being attended by leaders from the 15-member block.

According to reports from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), countries such as Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have already gathered at the venue, the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja. Other member states present include Benin, Gambia, Togo, Cape Verde, and Senegal.

In addition to the Heads of State and Government, the meeting is being attended by the ECOWAS Commission and other stakeholders, including former President Goodluck Jonathan, the U.S. Lead diplomat for Africa, Molly Phee, the African Union (AU), and the UN Secretary-General Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Simao.

The agenda for the end-of-year meeting includes a comprehensive review of decisions and agreements previously made by the body. This encompasses topics such as the adoption of the ECO as a common currency for the region. The regional body will also deliberate on issues such as the recent coup d’etats in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Guinea.

Furthermore, the meeting will address concerns related to climate change, democracy, bilateral relations, and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

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