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ENaira Records 200,000 users, N4bn Transactions Value – Emefiele

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), digital currency, eNaira has recorded 200,000 volumes and four billion Naira value of transactions since its inauguration in 2021.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor said this on Thursday in Abuja at the grand finale of the “eNaira Hackathon”.

Newsmen report that the hackathon is a CBN’s collaborative initiative with the African Fintec Foundry (AFF).

it is aimed at bringing together teams of talented entrepreneurs, developers, designers, solution developers, problem-solvers and ‘code magicians’ from Africa to develop innovative solutions for improved adoption of the eNaira.

The competition was part of efforts by the CBN to drive financial inclusion, facilitate macroeconomic growth and integrate the Nigerian economy into the world-leading economies through innovation and cutting-edge emerging technologies.

The eNaira was inaugurated on Oct. 25, 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari, making Nigeria the first African country to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).

Emefiele said since its inauguration, eNaira had reached 840,000 downloads, with about 270,000 active wallets comprising more than 252,000 consumer wallets and 17,000 merchant wallets.

According to him, the digital currency will enhance financial inclusion, support poverty reduction, enable direct welfare disbursement to citizens, support a resilient payments ecosystem and improve availability and usability of central bank money.

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“The eNaira will also facilitate diaspora remittances, reduce the cost of processing cash, and also reduce cost and improve efficiency of cross-border payment,” he said.

The apex bank governor, however, said that the eNaira was the same Naira with far more possibilities.

“The eNaira will make a significant positive difference to Nigeria and Nigerians. It was also developed to provide Nigerians with a cheap, safe and trusted means of payment.

“It is unlike the offline payments channels like agent networks, USSD, wearables, cards and near field communication technology.

“The eNaira would give access to financial services to underserved and unbanked segments of the population,” he said.

He said that innovative products and services built on the eNaira would enhance Nigerians’ participation in the digital economy and promote further development of a burgeoning Fintech ecosystem.

“To achieve these set out objectives, the project adopted a phased- approach with the first phase focusing on banked users, while the policy objective of the second phase borders around financial inclusion.

“In addition, the eNaira platform possesses an innovation layer for products and services to be built with the aim of enhancing Nigerians’ participation in the digital economy,” he said.

According to Emefiele, the second phase of the project has begun and is intended to drive financial inclusion by onboarding unbanked and underserved users leveraging offline channels.

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He said that the CBN was now ready to accommodate unbanked Nigerians in the eNaira platform

“Greater success is envisioned for the project with phase two expected to deliver more gains with a target of about eight million active users based on estimations using the diffusion of innovation model.

“When we launched the eNaira, we promised to increase the level of financial inclusion in the Country because just like the Naira, the eNaira is expected to be accessible to all Nigerians .

“It will provide more possibilities to bring in the unbanked into the digital economy.

” I am pleased to inform you that by next week, Nigerians, both banked and unbanked, will be able to open an eNaira wallet and conduct transactions by simply dialling *997 from their phones,” he said.

According to Mr kingsley Obiora, CBN’s Deputy Governor, Economic Policy, the use of physical cash is gradually getting out of fashion across the globe due to the growth of digital currencies.

“In south Korea, 77 per cent no longer use cash to do payment, while in the Philippines it is 30 per cent.

“In Nigeria, we are also seeing the same decline in the use of cash, the minting of currencies in the CBN has been reducing in the last couple of years.

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“So alongside this reduction in the use of cash has also been an explosion in e-business and we have seen the value of e-business grow from 393 billion dollars in 2014 to about 2.4 trillion dollars now.

“If you look at this movement, you will realise that the central banks in the world are responding to yearnings of citizens.

“That is why 96 per cent of central banks in the world are either working on digital currencies or they have done so already,” he said.

Daniel Awe, the Group head, AFF, said that the CBN had transformed from traditional regulator to a smart regulator.

Awe said that the Hackathon was a platform that brings entrepreneurs, coders and product managers together to solve problems and build new business model.

“All over the world, there has been disagreement between innovators and regulators.

“This is because regulators usually look at impact on financial stability, impact of those innovators on consumers as well as the risk, while the innovators look at the opportunity in their ideas.

“However, this CBN is different as it has over the years partnered with innovators that will create jobs and bring value,” he said. (NAN)

Economy

CBN Moves to Save Naira, Raises Interest Rate to 15.5%

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), also known as interest rate, from 13.5% to 15.5% as a way of tackling inflation.

 CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele made the annoucement at a media briefing after that Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja. 

This is the highest rates adopted by the CBN after it held the Minimum Rediscounted Rate (MRR) at 15 per cent on August 17, 2003.

The MRR was the rate adopted by the CBN until it introduced a new Monetary policy framework in 2006 which replaced MRR with Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).

The CBN governor, who spoke after the 287th MPC meeting, said its decision was a move to save the naira and curb inflation, adding that the members voted unanimously to raise the rates.

Benchmark lending rate was as low as six per cent thirteen years ago in 2009.

When Covid-19 struck in 2020, the MPC reduced the MPR by 100 basis points from 12.5 to 11.5 per cent.

But this was increased to 13.0 per cent and by another 100 basis points to 14 per cent in May and July 2022 respectively.

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Currently, Nigeria’s inflation is at 20.52 per cent according to the National Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index for in August 2022.

During the meeting, the apex bank governor said high energy cost and electricity tariff pushed the inflation upwards.

According to him, the increase in US rates has also pressured the naira and making investors exit the Nigerian market.

Emefiele said broad outlook remains clouded due to headwinds of the Ukraine war and residual impacts of Covid-19.

He said the Nigerian economy will grow but at a “much subdued rate” due to the increased demand for money driven by the 2023 general election.

According to him, the rise in inflation over the past four months has been worrisome  stressing that loosening inflation would worsen Nigeria’s economic condition as well as naira depreciation.

He said a tight policy stand would help appreciate the naira.

According to analysts, the hike in interest rate for three consecutive times is a way of luring foreign inflows into the country and easing the pressure on the naira.

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Economy

FG to Deploy PPP Solution to Boost Excise, Tax Revenue

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The Federal Government says it is set to deploy an Integrated Secure Track and Trace Solution to boost revenue earnings through excise and tax collection.

The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Michael Ohiani, said this while presenting the Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificate to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

A statement issued by Ms Manji Yarling, the Acting Head Media and Publicity, ICRC in Abuja on Tuesday, said the project was aimed at mitigating the country’s dwindling revenue and foster more non-oil revenue streams.

“The PPP solution will adopt the Build, Operate, and Transfer option.

“It will allow the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, to establish an effective and non-intrusive control on a broad range of goods and services subject to excise duty, safety, and standards,” Yarlling said.

While receiving the OBC certificate, the minister said the proposed solution was important at this time, as the government was currently constrained in terms of revenue and required an urgent boost.

According to Ahmed, the purpose of the project is to enable the ministry to have visibility over some key products that are made in Nigeria, in terms of the quantity and companies that produce them.

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“It is also to differentiate between the same products produced in Nigeria and the ones that are imported, the bottom line is for us to be able to maximise our revenue potential.

“Having had several meetings with the proposing company, we thought that the best way to do this is through a PPP model and I am glad that the OBC Compliance Certificate has been issued,” the minister said.

Ahmed said that as the fiscal authority of the government, the ministry of Finance had the responsibility to ensure that duties and taxes were paid.

She said the ministry’s responsibility was also to assist relevant agencies to make their work more seamless, hence the need to deploy the solution.

The minister promised that the solution was not going to put more burden on companies, as the duties to be collected were not going to disrupt manufacturing in any way.

“I am assuring that the manufacturing companies’ businesses will not be disrupted, they are not going to incur any additional cost, the excise duty that will be charged will be a pass-through cost.

‘We are convinced that this is the right thing to do,” she said.

Ahmed expressed confidence in the solution citing that the same infrastructure had been deployed by the same company in South Africa and Morocco to boost their revenue accruals.

Ohiani while presenting the OBC, said that the solution would bring about many benefits to Nigeria including stemming illicit trade and revenue leakages; and improving revenue generation for government.

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Other benefits he said include ensuring the circulation of high-quality goods and services; achieving economies of scale and synergies among ministry’s agencies; enhancing technology and knowledge transfer and generating employment opportunities.

“The proposed solution when implemented will allow the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish effective and non-intrusive controls on a broad range of markets.

“Markets such as goods and services subject to excise duty, and goods subject to conformity with health, safety, and quality standards.

“Additionally, the solution aims to reduce the levels of counterfeiting, sub-standard quality, tax evasion, and under-declaration in these markets,” Ohiani said.

He pointed out that the ICRC and the ministry would now proceed to the procurement stage.

“A Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificate would be issued for onward submission to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for project approval,) (NAN)

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Economy

World Maritime Day: Nigeria Committed to Greener Shipping – Sambo

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The Minister of Transportation Mu’ azu Sambo says Nigeria is committed to achieving greener shipping to attain sustainable development in the maritime industry.

Sambo said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

The statement was signed by Mr Osagie Edward, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

He added that Nigeria would join the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to commemorate the 2022 World Maritime Day.

Sambo noted that Nigeria would not be left behind in the global move toward greener shipping.

“There is a need for stakeholders in the maritime sector to begin exploring ways to transition into a greener and more sustainable future,” he said.

On his part, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the theme for this year’s world Maritime Day celebration was in line with the Agency’s mission of achieving cleaner oceans in developing shipping in Nigeria.

Jamoh said that NIMASA was already working in line with the call by the IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, for developing countries to adopt green technology.

Jamoh quoted the IMO Secretary General as saying, “The theme for 2022 World Maritime Day: New technologies for Greener Shipping,” reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future, while leaving no one behind.

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“The theme provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world.

“Nigeria, represented by NIMASA, as an active member state of the IMO is involved in the processes of creating new international agreements and protocols to address environmental issues such as marine pollution, oil spills and emissions from the shipping industry,” he said.

This year’s World Maritime Day theme is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 13 and 14 on climate action and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.(NAN)

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