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Reps task CBN on access to N250bn gas expansion fund

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House of Reps

The House of Representatives has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove bottlenecks preventing Nigerians from accessing the N250 billion gas expansion facility at the bank.

Rep. Benson Babajimi, the Chairman of the ad hoc committee on petrol price hike said this on Wednesday, when CBN officials appeared before the committee.

Babajimi said that the removal of the bottlenecks would cushion the effect of the removal of petrol subsidy on Nigerians.

“My point is that you oversight the commercial banks, you have the right and powers to remove bottlenecks.

“The information we are giving to you is that you go back and see how you can make the process seamless,” he said.

Responding, the Programmes Manager, CBN, Mr Clement Osawi, acknowledged that the bank had an intervention fund called Oil and Gas Stabilisation Fund.

He said that as a matter of procedure, most CBN interventions went through commercial banks to qualified beneficiaries.

Osawi said that the commercial banks had the responsibility to do the due diligence and feasibility studies on beneficiaries.

“From what you are saying, it is like a new venture where it is very difficult to assess the capacity of the person requesting for the funds.

“So the likelihood of them having access to large sums is very difficult; it is easier to give CBN funds to establishments with clear track records otherwise, CBN will be accused of just giving someone who is not doing anything with funds.

“For IPMAN to have mentioned it, they were informed that the facility exists; CBN can announce that there is a facility and ask commercial banks to send those qualified beneficiaries.

“You can stay for two years, they won’t send one; this is because having drafted the criteria, the commercial bank will tell you, we have checked this customer, we have checked the other customer, it is not okay,” he said.

Osawi, however, said that he would carry the message of the committee to the management of the apex bank for further actions.

Osawi blamed the current hike in petrol price on exchange rate and other factors playing out in the global oil market.

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Hardship: Protesters Defy Police Warning, Hit Lagos Streets

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Residents have hit the streets of Lagos State to protest against the increasing spike in the price of food and the high cost of living in the country.

The protest was facilitated by a human rights group identified as the “Take It Back Movement.”

This comes against the warning issued by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, on Sunday.

The protesters were seen carrying placards of various inscriptions at Ojuelegba Under Bridge area of the state to express their grievances.

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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