Naira Dollar Forex

CBN To Sanction Dealers Who Reject Old, Lower Dollar Notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said it will sanction foreign exchange dealers that reject old and lower denominations of the dollar notes.

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It gave the warning on Tuesday in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks, Bureau De Change Operators and the general public signed by the Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, Ahmed Umar, titled ‘The rejection of old, lower denomination of United States dollar by DMBs/ forex dealers’.

The circular read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria has in recent times been inundated with complaints from members of the public on the rejection of old/lower denominations of the US dollar bills by Deposit Money Banks and other authorized forex deals.

“All DMBs/authorized Forex dealers should henceforth accept both old series and lower denominations of the United States dollars that are legal tender for deposit from their customers.

“The CBN will not hesitate to sanction any DMB or other authorised forex dealers who refuse to accept old/ lower denominations of US dollar bills form their customers.

“In addition, all authorised forex dealers are advised to desist from defacing/stamping US dollar banknotes as such notes always fail authentication test during processing/sorting.”



Mastercard To Buy Digital ID Firm Ekata For $850m

Mastercard Inc said on Monday it had agreed to buy digital identity verification company Ekata in a deal valued at $850 million, as the global payments processor bets on a boom in demand for companies in the digital security space.

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Ekata works with merchants, financial institutions, travel companies, marketplaces and digital currency platforms, helping them to identify bad actors in real-time during online account opening, payments and other digital interactions.

Mastercard says the addition of Ekata’s technology and engineering teams will help bolster the support it can provide as a one-stop partner for any consumer, bank, merchant, fintech or government’s data, payment and open banking needs.

Ekata’s products allow businesses to separate fraudsters from legitimate customers during digital interactions like opening an online account or making digital payments. It operates in three industries: e-commerce, payments and financial services, according to its website.

Its products, which include Ekata Identity Graph and Ekata Identity Network, allow companies to combat online fraud, it said.

The payments giant also stresses the combined capabilities across digital-first, instalment and crypto payment services, with the potential to expand further to real-time payments and cross-border activities.

Ajay Bhalla, president, cyber and intelligence solutions, Mastercard, says: “With the addition of Ekata, we will advance our identity capabilities and create a safer, seamless way for consumers to prove who they say they are in the new digital economy.”

The payments processor said the deal is expected to close in the next six months, adding that it does not expect the deal to be a drag on its business for more than two years.

“The acceleration of online transactions has thrust global digital identity verification to the forefront as one of the biggest opportunities to build digital trust and combat global fraud,” said Rob Eleveld, chief executive officer of Ekata, in a statement.


Digital Webinar SMEs

BusinessDay with NetPlusDotCom Set to Host March Edition of Monthly Digital Webinar Series for SMEs

In honor of the International women’s month, all the speakers are leading women in their various industries – Akinola Ibukun, Head-Customer Finance, PiggyVest; Ommo Clark, CEO, iBez; Simi Afolabi-Jombo Product Specialist, PayStack and Temitope Williams, Founder, CEO Martwayne will be speaking at the March edition of BusinessDay and NetPlus’s free monthly SME Digital Transformation Webinar Series.

READ ALSO: ‘Batch C’ on an 8 months Auto-Revamp Training Program

Themed “Partnering with Technology to Supercharge Your Business,” this month’s digital webinar edition will hold on Thursday March 25, 2021 from 10:00am – 11:30am.

“The importance of technology can be seen in the drastic difference it has made in many lives around the world especially since the pandemic hit, Adopting tech in business in no longer a question of when in the future but a necessity for right now, today.

This month, we have a lineup of experts in tech who will give insight on how entrepreneurs can boost their businesses using technology,” says Wole Faroun, founder of NetPlusDotCom.

This monthly series is organized by BusinessDay Media, West Africa’s leading provider of business intelligence and information and NetPlusDotCom, a leading technology and digital payment company in Nigeria.

The aim is to create an avenue for SME’s in search for expert information on navigating the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic to learn the modalities of the new age of doing business. It also offers a connecting platform for participants to meet with organizations that can facilitate access to market, finance and digital skills.

To register for this event, please visit:


Auto Revamp Training Program

‘Batch C’ on an 8 months Auto-Revamp Training Program

REGISTER NOW to join ‘Batch C’ on an 8 months Auto-Revamp Training Program under the ZERO interest Human Capital Development Loan (HCDL)…

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READ ALSO: ESME Money BootCamp

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Please, read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and self guaranteeing process on the ZERO interest Human Capital Development Loan option here: before you register.

And ensure you provide the necessary requirements during your application. Put your best foot forward during the course of training, so that you will be offered a job by Autoease and its partners.

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DMO lists N162.5bn 7-year Sovereign Sukuk on Nigerian Exchange Limited

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has listed the N162.557billion, 7-year, FGN Ijarah Sukuk with a rental rate of 11.20percent on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited.

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With this listing on Thursday, 18 March 2021, members of the general public who invested in the 2020 Sukuk bonds can now sell their investments and those who wish to invest in Sukuk can now do so.

The third Sovereign Sukuk was issued on June 16, 2020, and will finance the rehabilitation and construction of key economic road projects across the six geopolitical zones in the country.

Speaking about the listing of the third Sovereign Sukuk, the Director-General, DMO, Patience Oniha stated, “We are excited that the trading of this Sukuk is now permissible having fulfilled the condition for listing stipulated by the Financial Regulatory Advisory Council of Experts (FRACE) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The FGN Sukuk may only be listed for trading on relevant exchanges after the commencement of works on the Road project for the construction of the Sukuk assets.

This is in order to create a pool of assets consisting of non-financial and financial assets that could be freely traded while avoiding the prohibition of dealing in interest-based transactions arising out of sale of debt and exchange of currency not at par.”

NGX Limited welcomes the listing of the third Sovereign Sukuk on the bourse which will provide exit opportunity for existing investors and further deepen the Nigerian capital market, particularly, the relatively nascent Sukuk market.

The issuance and subsequent listing of the Sovereign Sukuk on the NGX underscore the Federal Government’s drive for the development of critical infrastructure needed to unlock economic growth, by leveraging innovative and cost-effective financing structures.


MSME Capital

MSMEs: Deepening access to capital…

Deepening access to capital for Nigerian MSMEs during a pandemic

While Nigeria has, so far, seemingly been spared the public health onslaught created by COVID-19, the country has not escaped the urgent economic crisis created by the pandemic.

READ ALSO: First trade deficit in 4yrs as COVID hurts exports

Worse, hardest hit have been the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), whose operations are largely traditional and dependent on physical contact with their consumers and partners.

Over 40 million MSMEs exist in Nigeria, employing over 80 percent of the country’s population and contributing about 50 percent of the country’s GDP. Now, the biggest threat to the survival of these businesses central to the economy lies in their physical approach to interacting and transacting, which has left them unprepared to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization as well as vulnerable to the lockdowns and distancing measures intended to stave off the health crisis.

Financial exclusion—especially among micro-entrepreneurs in the informal sector— was a national concern even before COVID-19 made in-person interactions hazardous. To address this issue, prior to the pandemic (as far back as 2017, in fact), large-scale microcredit interventions such as the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program—in which the Bank of Industry (BOI) participates—have been targeting four economic segments—market traders, artisans, youth, and farmers—for increased financial inclusion. Technology has been key: By leveraging the power of data, biometrics, and mobile wallet systems, and with an extensive network of over 17,000 agents, BOI has been able to identify, target, and deliver micro-credit to over 2.4 million MSMEs across Nigeria. Remarkably, over 52 percent of the beneficiaries are female. In the process, the bank has onboarded an additional 500,000 beneficiaries onto the formal financial system—essentially using technology to break the barrier of access to finance and financial services for underserved demographics.

At the onset of the pandemic, our bank’s immediate objective was to ensure business continuity by deepening our MSME activities through the provision of innovative lending solutions to new customers. Through our microcredit platform, BOI’s agent network—spread across the country—operate as proxies enabling beneficiaries to efficiently interact with technology and have their businesses captured and digitized in records. These agents, equipped with smartphones loaded with the bank’s data-driven applications, engage informal entrepreneurs by capturing their Know-Your-Customer details, profiling their business, tracking transaction histories, and monitoring income and spending patterns—thus providing financial solutions tailor-made to boost financial literacy, improve credit worthiness, and support their micro-businesses with funds, especially during these difficult times.



Farmers benefit from CBN AB program

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says 3.8 million farmers have so far benefited from its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

Mr Yila Yusuf, Director, Development Finance Department of the apex bank, made this known in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

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Yusuf said N554.61 billion had been disbursed through the programme since inception in 2015.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the initiative to start the programme.

He said the programme had done a lot to help farmers improve their yields and generate employment.

“We have to commend President Buhari for putting the ABP in place. Over 3.8 million farmers have so far benefited from the programme.

“The multiplier effect on the economy is huge.

“The ABP has helped farmers improve their yields. For maize we now do five metric tonnes per hectare and for rice we’re improving from four metric tonnes to 10 metric tonnes per hectare.

“We will be trying out some Brazilian seeds that we will give to the anchors and their association,” he said.

He said the CBN was making efforts to keep prices stable and to ensure food security.

He said the programme had contributed to food sufficiency during the global lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.

“Apart from jobs that have been created, there is also productivity, which is important to CBN.

“We also look at how we can keep prices stable because food security is very important.

“A lot of countries went into protectionist mood due to COVID-19, if we did not have this programme we would be in serious trouble,” he said.

The director said the CBN was taking steps to make staple foods like rice affordable to the masses.

“We are guaranteeing a minimum support price for the farmers. We allocate rice to the mills and we follow up; the price is already reacting.

“You can get it for around N19,000 now, and you can be sure that the rice is fresh and it is healthy,” he said.

He said the programme was also going into a Strategic Maize Programme to stabilise the price of maize.

“We realised that the prices of maize are continuously increasing.

“What we have done is to guarantee all the output from the anchor and put it into the strategic programme and release to the millers.


Diaspora Investment

What Nigeria must do for more diaspora investment

More than two years after Somadina Iruegbu, a Nigerian UK-based businessman in diaspora, acquired a large plot of land in one of the most sort-after axis of Lekki, Lagos State, intending to develop it for commercial purposes, he has been unsuccessful in getting a land title.

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Even after asking his lawyer to take over the land registration from his brother who was stuck in the process, a year into it, Iruegbu said he was tired of the different payments his lawyer was requesting to ‘settle’ some officials at the land registration office, to help fasten the process.

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“I am regretting the investment, if I had invested that money in the UK or even any other country, it would have at least yielded some kind of return by now,” Iruegbu lamented in a WhatsApp call with BusinessDay.

Like Iruegbu, a lot of diaspora Nigerians have had a fair share of the harsh business environment. Possibly, Iruegbu’s experience might even discourage others.

The bottlenecks associated with getting a land title is not peculiar to Nigerians in the diaspora or those with plans to develop lands for commercial use, it also affect a lot of the country’s residents who either do not know people in high offices or lack the funds to ‘settle’ their way out of the normal but long registration process.

Data by PwC show that about 97 percent of lands in Lagos are unregistered. This, according to analysts, makes it difficult for banks to validate claims to land or for land occupants to use their land to create wealth or to start a business.

While Nigerian’s in diaspora moved 15 places to 131 in World Bank Doing Business ranking for 2020, it ranked 149 on the ease of obtaining Construction Permit and requires 17 procedures, 118 days, and 27.5 percent of property value, a factor PwC says would encourage more informal construction of properties and increase risks in the real estate sector.

“Whatever has been done has still not solved the problem of titling, forget the e-certificate. The people that will provide the e-certificate can be bottlenecks in the process,” Jide Ogunleye, CEO of Denaro Properties Limited, says, adding that officials won’t move land document file except they are paid.

The bureaucratic corruption, bribery, embezzlement and extortion in the different levels of government is not peculiar to the land titling office, it is the same for many government establishments.