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CBN Bars Interest Payments on Bank Deposits Above N2bn

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CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele
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* Afreximbank targets $40bn in Trade Deals

From Udo Onyeka, Lagos & Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said Deposit Money Banks   will no longer receive interest payments on deposits exceeding N2 billion.

The apex bank in a post on its website said: “Any deposit by a bank in excess of N2 billion shall not be remunerated.

The CBN will pay interest to lenders on qualified deposits at a rate determined by the monetary policy committee.

It would be recalled that the CBN few days ago ordered banks to increase their loan-to-deposit ratio to at least 60 per cent by September or face penalty as it seeks to boost loans to the real sector and bolster growth.

CBN, had in a letter to the banks, said that any bank who fails to act according to the directive would be punished by having their cash ratio increased.

The cash reserve ratio is the share of customers’ deposit that is kept with the apex bank. In the case of default, CBN will be taking more of the bank’s customers deposit as a means of punishing the financial institution.

The letter signed by the director of banking supervision, Ahmad Abdullahi, aims at improving the economy by encouraging more investments in the real sector. The real sector covers areas such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing, building, services and commerce.

The letter said: “To encourage lending to small businesses and consumers and more mortgages, these sectors shall be assigned a weight of 150 per cent in computing the LDR.

 “Failure to meet the above minimum LDR by the specified date shall result in a levy of additional Cash Reserve Requirement equal to 50 per cent of the lending shortfall of the target LDR.

In a related development, President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Oramah has said that the Second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) is expected to surpass the achievements of the inaugural trade fair held in Cairo in 2018 by attracting 10,000 participants and generating intra-African trade and investment deals worth more than $40 billion.

Afreximbank’s global director of Communications and Branding, Obi Emekekwue on Wednesday stated that Oramah disclosed this at the formal launch of IATF2020 during the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Business Forum 2019 held on the sidelines of the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU) Heads of State in Niamey. 

He told guests that the trade fair, scheduled for Kigali from 1 to 7 September 2020, would attract more than 1,100 exhibitors from over 55 countries.

“Working with our esteemed partners, we will exceed the achievements of 2018,” he said, describing IATF2018 as a resounding success, not in the colourful displays exhibited, but in the showcasing of diversity of tradable goods by about 1,100 exhibitors from 45 countries and in the execution of deals worth about $32 billion.

That trade fair resulted in a Nigerian technology company winning a $100-million contract to provide technology-based solutions to the South Sudanese government; an Egyptian company winning contracts in many African countries to supply and install energy generation and distribution equipment worth close to $1 billion; Egyptian and Tunisian companies signing a $50-million partnership deal to create a joint venture for assembling home appliances; and the signing of a $3-billion energy generation project between an Egyptian company and an African government, the largest-ever intra-African project executed exclusively by African entities, including financial institutions, he noted.

“The momentum created by the maiden IATF and the historic launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will sustain the growth of cross-border trade and investments,” he affirmed.

Also speaking, Amb. Albert Muchanga, the AU Commissioner for Trade and Industry, said that the IATF was one of a set of activities planned by the African Union Commission to support implementation of the AfCFTA. The others included the African Trade Observatory, a portal for real-time information on business opportunities.

Soraya Hakuziyaremye, Minister of Trade and Industry of Rwanda, said that it was important for the African private sector to take advantage of IATF2020 to present and exchange their products and for entrepreneurs to use it to boost their visibility.

The Second Intra-Africa Trade Fair (IATF2020), which will take place in Kigali from 1-7 September 2020, is expected to attract more than 1,100 exhibitors from 55 countries and to provide a platform for sharing trade, investment and market information. It will enable buyers and sellers, investors and countries to meet, discuss and conclude business deals as well as provide an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase their goods and services and to engage in business-to-business exchanges.

The key features include an IATF2020 Conference, a Creative Africa initiative, which will showcase Africa’s creative economy, Country Days dedicated to specific African countries, and an interactive online Virtual Trade Fair.

IATF2020 is being organized by Afreximbank, in collaboration with the African Union, and is hosted by the Government of Rwanda. The event partners are the African Development Bank, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa represented by the Africa Trade Policy Centre; Afrochampions Initiative; Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry; World Trade Centre Miami; Export Development Authority of Egypt; and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.

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Airports: Tinubu Seeks N24.6bn to Reimburse Nasarawa, Kebbi 

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By Lubem Myaornyi, Abuja

President Bola Tinubu has written to the House of Representatives seeking the preparations and approval of a N24.6 billion Promissory Notes to reimburse Nasarawa and Kebbi States on the costs of their Airports taken over by the Federal Government.

Nasarawa is to be reimbursed N9.5 billion while Kebbi is to be reimbursed to the tune of N15.

1 billion.

In the letter read by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, who presided over the Plenary on Thursday, the President said, the takeover of the airports was in line with Item 3 of the Second Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which placed the ownership of Airports and other Aviation related infrastructure in the exclusive list.

Similarly, the President in a separate letter presented an Executive Bill, the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the House consideration.

The President said the bill seeks the creation of an agency for Nigeria to achieve world standards and codes on Doping by signatories to the international regulations.

He urged the House to give the Bill a speedy consideration before the commencement of the Olympic Games coming up later in July.

In another letter, the President sought the approval of a supplementary budget for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) for the 2023 fiscal year.

Tinubu Transmits Bill on Sports Performance Enhancement Drug to Senate

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has forwarded a bill to the Senate seeking to prohibit Nigerian athletes from consuming substances that enhance performance during or after competitions.

The president’s request was contained in a letter read by the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the plenary on Thursday.

The bill titled “National Anti-Doping Bill 2024”, if passed, will regulate substances that can be consumed by athletes during sporting events.

In the letter, Tinubu said the bill would provide a legal framework for the establishment of the National Anti-Doping Organisation to regulate sporting competitions.

He explained that the establishment of the agency was a requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code.

The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonises anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sports organisations and among public authorities around the world.

Tinubu noted that the law will help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences and the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events.

“In accordance with the provisions of section 58 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, I forward herewith the National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 for the kind consideration of the Senate.

“The National Anti-Doping Bill 2024 seeks to create an administratively independent National Anti-Doping organisation, which is a cardinal requirement for Nigeria to achieve compliance with the World Anti-Doping Code and the international standard for code compliance by signatures.

The enactment of this vital legislation will also help Nigeria avoid the imposition of signatory consequences, the inclusion of laws of hosting and participating rights at regional, continental and world championships or major athletic events”, Mr Tinubu added.

The president, however, urged the lawmakers to consider the bill before the Olympic Games seminar scheduled to be held in Paris in July for Nigerians to be part of the competition.

 “It is my hope that this submission will receive the humankind expeditious consideration of the distinguished members of the Senate of the Federal Nigeria for passage of the same to law before the Olympic Games seminar in Paris in July 2024.

“Please accept, distinguished president, the assurances of our highest consideration. Regards.”

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Medical Tourism: Senate Mulls Health Infrastructure Development Agency

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The Senate at the plenary on Thursday passed through second reading, a Bill seeking for an Act to establish the Health Infrastructure Development Agency to provide a comprehensive framework to guide the planning, financing, construction, maintenance, and regulation of healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria.


The proposed legislation titled; “Bill for an Act to establish Health Infrastructure Development Agency,” was sponsored by the Minority Whip, Senator Osita Ngwu.

Leading the debate on its general principles, Ngwu who represents Enugu West senatorial district explained that the bill seeks to promote development and improvement of healthcare infrastructure so as to enhance healthcare access, quality, and delivery across the country.

He further explained that it seeks to strengthen the healthcare system by focusing on the modernization of healthcare facilities by leveraging public-private partnerships for sustainable infrastructure development.
The lawmaker lamented that the Nigerian healthcare industry faces challenges associated with outbound medical tourism, inadequate medical personnel and deteriorating medical infrastructure.
Making reference to a report by the International Trade Administration, which stated that Nigeria is still underdeveloped, lacks modern medical facilities and its healthcare indicators were some of the worst in Africa, Ngwu recalled that to reverse the trend, the government approved the second National Strategic Health Development Plan (2018-2020).
He pointed out that part of the objective of the plan was to improve availability and functionality of health infrastructure required to optimize service delivery at all levels, saying that it’s against this background that this Bill is proposed.
The lawmaker added that the Bill was a bold attempt at not only reversing the medical tourism of Nigerians to other countries, but also seeks to make Nigeria a medical destination hub within the shortest possible time.
“Healthcare infrastructure constitutes a major component of the structural quality of a health system. It is a key pillar that supports the aim of promoting improved standard of medical care and wellbeing. The Bill outlines the responsibilities and powers of a Board, emphasizes collaboration and coordination among stakeholders, and provides for the issuance of regulations and guidelines to support effective implementation of its objectives.
“The Bill proposes the establishment of an Agency to administer the framework for policy direction, standards, guidelines, efficient construction processes, and quality control measures. The Agency would also ensure that healthcare facilities are designed, constructed, and maintained to meet the highest standards and support the delivery of quality healthcare services.
“The Bill emphasizes the importance of rural healthcare access and outlines strategies for addressing healthcare disparities in rural areas. By implementing these strategies, Nigeria can enhance healthcare access and delivery in rural communities, improving health outcomes and reducing disparities. Provision is also made to accommodate the importance of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and the types of PPP models that can be employed. By implementing these guidelines, Nigeria can effectively leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector to improve healthcare access, affordability, and quality,” Ngwu said.
Thereafter the Bill was put to a voice vote by the President of the Senate; Godswill Akpabio who presided over the session and it was passed and referred to the Committee on Health Institutions.
Senate Passes North West Development Commission Establishment Bill
Similarly, the Senate on Thursday passed the North West Development Commission (NWDC) establishment bill, to address challenges facing the seven states in the zone.
This followed the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, on the NWDC (Establishment) at Thursday’s plenary.
Presenting the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Shehu Kaka from Borno State said the purpose of the bill was well structured and strategically streamlined, for the socio-economic development of the North West zone of the country.
He added that the commission’s establishment would bring the federal government closer to the north western states, and meet the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
Kaka, therefore, urged the Senate to pass the bill.
The lawmakers unanimously passed the bill when it was put to a voice vote by the deputy senate president, Barau Jibrin who presided over the plenary.
In his remarks, Barau commended his colleagues for supporting the bill’s passage.
He said the commission would address the challenges, facing the zone and, by extension, the country.
Describing the North West as the food basket of the country, he said the commission would also work toward the restoration of infrastructure, destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents and bandits in the zone.
“So if we are serious about ensuring we have food, and for food security to be attained in this country, we must provide the necessary infrastructure for all our key sectors to thrive well.
“This commission is needed. I commend you all for supporting this; no one said no. Everybody supported this idea. So, now we are pushing the Bill to the House of Representatives for their approval and then, to Mr President for assent,” he said.

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Herdsmen Kill Pregnant Woman, 10 Others in Benue

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Suspected armed herdsmen again reportedly killed a pregnant woman, 10 other persons during attack on Akilo community in Usha council ward in Agatu West of Agatu Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

It was gathered that the victims were killed in their homes by the marauders who invaded  the community at about 3:30pm on Sunday.

The caretaker chairman of Agatu LGA, Mr.

Yakubu Ochepo, who confirmed the killings, said that “11 people  were killed.

Ochepo said of the number of  deaths recorded, seven corpses have been recovered.

According to him, A pregnant woman corpse, an elderly man and that of five youths have been recovered, adding  that the community members were able to achieve this through the  aid of soldiers and Air force personnel deployed to the area.

“Soldiers and Air Force went there yesterday (Sunday), to recover the corpses. There were gunshots and they were running away only to regroup again.

“I’m in Makurdi now to report to Operations Whirl Stroke. We need more hands. We hear they captured some alive and threw some into the river but we are still waiting for more reports from the area.

“We have not been able to recover the remaining four corpses yet,” he explained.

Ochepo appealed to both the state and Federal Governments to take drastic action towards ending the carnage by deploying more security personnel to Agatu to check the activities of the killer herdsmen in the LGA.

When contacted, the Benue State Command Police Public Relations Officer, Catherine Anene said she was yet to get information about the fresh attack in Agatu.

It would be recalled that three farmers were reportedly killed by gunmen suspected to be herdsmen at Ogbaulu community in Agatu LGA.

 The victims were working on their farms when the herders came to slaughter them.

Similarly, on April  9, 15 persons were killed after suspected herders attacked same Ogbaulu community.

It was gathered that the attackers conducted relentless attacks on the area for two weeks, invading  all the villages the area.

The Chairman of Agatu listed some of the communities currently  under siege by armed herders in Agatu LGA as: Olegomakwu, Onahe, Ocholonya, Okokolo, Ugboju, Olegobidu, Odugbeho, Odejo, Ogbaulu, Imwenyi, Adana, Ologba-Gishu, Iwarri, Ejima-gope, Ejima-gochi, Ikpele and Okpokpolo.

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