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CBN Launches National Domestic Card Scheme

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian national domestic card scheme.

An initiative to boost the country’s payments landscape, the scheme was launched at a virtual event on Thursday by Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor.

Explaining the benefits of the scheme, he said it would provide opportunities to integrate the informal segment of the economy, reduce shadow banking, and bring more Nigerians into the formal financial services system.

Emefiele pointed out that while the penetration of card payments in Nigeria had grown tremendously over the years, many Nigerians were still excluded, and listed the challenges of financial inclusion in the country to include the high cost of card services as a result of foreign exchange requirements of international card schemes, as well as the inability of existing card products to address local peculiarities of the Nigerian market.

He further noted that given the limited usage of cards by Nigerians and in a bid to deepen penetration, the banks actively promoted the national domestic card scheme which would be accessible to all Nigerians and also cater to local peculiarities.

The apex bank governor added that transaction charges on all cards would, henceforth, be paid in naira, except for international transactions.

“The national domestic card avails us the sovereignty of our data. Secondly, it comes at lower costs, and thirdly, the issue of foreign exchange. Ladies and gentlemen, at this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important that I say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all online transactions will now effective immediately begin to go on the Nigerian national domestic card system,” Emefiele said.

“At some point in the next few weeks, I am sure that the CBN will come up with the cut-off. All domestic transactions that are going to be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian domestic cards.”

Emefiele clarified that Nigerians could continue to use the existing payment cards in the country for transactions.

“Your existing cards are fine. You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards,” Emefiele explained.

“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, the CBN, and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions to ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.

“I thought it important for me to say so not because there’s any preference for the domestic card but what is most important is that we do not have foreign exchange and we will bar payment of charges for domestic transactions from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future.”

Managing director of NIBSS, Premier Oiwoh in a remark, said the scheme was developed to promote a robust in-country domestic card payment scheme tailored to address the specific requirements of Nigeria’s payment industry.

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Flight Fares Rose By 66.36% In One Year- NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics has stated that domestic air transport fares rose by 66.36 per cent in one year.

In its latest report titled, ‘Transport Fare Watch (February 2023)’, the Bureau noted that in air travel, the average fare paid by air passengers for specified routes single journey decreased by 0.18% on a month-on-month basis from N74,702.70 in January 2023 to N74,571.62 in February 2023.

“On a year-on-year basis, the fare rose by 66.36% from N44,825.04 in February 2022,” the report said.

The report also said the average fare paid by commuters for bus journeys within the city per drop decreased by 0.47% in February 2023 to N647.66 from N650.70 in January 2023, on a year-on-year basis, the average fare paid rose by 26.07% from N513.72 in February 2022.

In another category, the average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity per drop declined to N3,990.70 in February 2023, indicating a growth rate of -0.19% on a month-on-month basis compared to the N3,998.42 in January 2023. On a year-on-year basis, this rose by 4.02% from N3,836.45 in February 2022.

“The average fare paid on Okada transportation was N461.28 in February 2023, which was 1.07% lower than the rate recorded in January 2023 (N466.25).

“On a year-on-year basis, the fare rose by 21.67% when compared with February 2022 (N379.12). In addition, the average fare paid for water transport (waterway passenger transportation) in February 2023 stood at N1,029.47, showing an increase of 12.74% on a year-on-year basis from N913.13 in February 2022. On a month-on-month basis, it declined by 0.33% from N1,032.84 in January 2023,” it added.

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Gombe, Jigawa, Sokoto Top Ease Of Doing Business Ranking

The Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) has ranked Gombe as the state which provides the friendliest environment for business in Nigeria.

This is contained in the council’s 2023 Subnational Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) report.

This is the second time Gombe will clinch the top spot.

The state had emerged the overall best when PEBEC released its inaugural EoDB report in March 2021.

According to the latest PEBEC report, Gombe scored 7.15 to emerge as the number one state in Nigeria where it is mostly easy to do business while Jigawa state got a weighted score of 6.88 to come second; and Sokoto state with a 6.79 score came third.

PEBEC, in a statement, said the report featured six indicators – infrastructure; secure and stable environment; transparency and accessibility of information; regulatory environment; skills and labour and economic opportunity.

The council said each state was rated on a 10-point scale across the indicators, providing the basis for calculating the 2023 weighted EoDB score for each state.

A breakdown of the report by geopolitical zones showed that Plateau state with a score of 5.8 topped the states in the north-central; with Gombe state (7.15) topping the states in the north- east; Jigawa state (6.88) topping the north-west; Anambra state (6.19) first among the states in the south-east; Rivers state (5.76) on top of the south-south; and Ekiti state (5.79) leading the states in the south-west.

PEBEC said the report is designed to provide empirical information on the attractiveness of states’ business climates and to serve as a credible reference resource for businesses and investors.

The council said the 2023 EoDB report builds on the inaugural subnational EoDB baseline report released in March 2021 and improved it in several areas including deepening of the methodology and enhancing the statistical significance of the survey.

PEBEC added that the latest report provided more nuanced information on the business climate across the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT).

(The Cable )

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Group Urges Seplat CEO To Step Down For “Exceeding Tenure”

Make a Difference Initiative (MADI), a civil society and good governance advocacy group, says the refusal by Basil Omiyi to step down as the board chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, is the root cause of the crises rocking the company.

Lemmy Ughegbe, executive director of the organization in a statement on Sunday  also asked the federal government to investigate claims made by aggrieved Nigerian employees that Roger Brown, the former chief executive officer, and some interests in the company were plotting to acquire Seplat through the capital market, using some South African fronts.

Brown had stepped down from his position following an order from a federal high court in Lagos.

The court order followed a suit by aggrieved stakeholders of the company over allegations of “racism, favouring of expatriate workers, discrimination against Nigerians, and breach of good governance”.

Reacting to the matter, MADI said the crises rocking Seplat were due to the alleged refusal of Omiyi to honour the provisions of the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018  (NCCG 2018) on the tenure of directors.

It said section 12 (10) of the code states that “the tenure for independent non-executive directors should not exceed three terms of three years each”

MADI also raised concerns about alleged efforts by Seplat leadership to coerce its Nigerian employees into passing a vote of confidence in Brown and Omiyi.

“Omiyi and another board member, Charles Okeahalam, have refused to resign despite overstaying their maximum of nine years allowed by the said code,” the group said.

“Grapevine has it that in a letter dated 30th January 2023, institutional shareholders of Seplat pointed out that Omiyi and Okeahalam had exceeded their tenure and called for their resignation.

“We also have it on good authority that while some major stakeholders kicked against Mr Omiyi’s choice as the company’s secretary, having done his maximum of nine years, it was later agreed that he serves for one year to enable the company to conclude the search for the replacement of Dr ABC Orjiako, who stepped down.

“Today, he is in his tenth year and still wants to carry on even when Section 12.10 of the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance specifically prescribes that the tenure for independent non-executive directors (INEDs) should not exceed three terms of three years each.

“We call on the Nigerian government to revisit the allegation by Nigerian workers that Mr Brown and Omiyi are bent on acquiring the Nigerian company through the capital market using some South African fronts. And that is what all this sit-tight syndrome and condonement of the CEO’s excesses is all about.”

The organisation noted that Seplat is a strategic national asset that should under no circumstance be allowed to slip out of the hands of Nigeria into the hands of foreigners.

“If the founders of Seplat had to vacate their positions when far minor issues arose around them, then MADI does not understand why employees of Seplat, Mr Brown and Mr Omiyi, should not bow out honourably or be sacked.”


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