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OPay, Moniepoint, others to resume onboarding new customers soon- CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that mobile money operators, including fintech firms like OPay, Palmpay, Kuda Bank, and Moniepoint, will resume the enrolment of new customers in a few months.

This update was provided by CBN Governor Olayemi Cardoso during the 295th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the apex bank in Abuja, when the MPC jacked up the interest rate from 24.75 per cent to 26. 25 per cent.

Governor Cardoso explained that the CBN has been engaging with these operators to enhance their operational frameworks.

The goal is to mitigate risks related to money laundering and illicit financial flows.

As part of these efforts, the CBN has introduced remedial measures aimed at tightening the onboarding processes and managing the existing customer base more effectively.

“I am confident that as time goes on, and hopefully in another couple of months, all these will be something of the past, and then you will see that sector going back into what they’ve been known to do before, but certainly with a very stronger regulatory framework,” he said.

In April, the apex bank prohibited fintech companies from onboarding new customers, in what has been interpreted as a crackdown on the financial sub-sector by the Cardoso-led CBN.

When asked why the apex bank made the decision, the CBN chief said,

“The fintechs have not been singled out for any exceptional kind of treatment, adding that the CBN remained proud of the exploits of fintech firms in the last number of years and the apex bank would continue to support and strengthen them.

“However, regulation is very critical in a sector that seems to have grown so incredibly rapidly,” Cardoso said, citing illicit flows within the sub-sector.

“More recently, we had course to take a deep dive look at the whole issue of illicit flows and money laundering, particularly within the non-heavy regulated banking system, and we all know some of the issues that came out with cryptos and some of the messages we put out after that, which, of course, gave us some course to know that there is the need for heightened surveillance.”

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Equity market opens with N167bn profit gain

The Nigerian equity market opened the week on a positive note, extending gains from the previous session with a N167 billion profit for investors.

Specifically, the market capitalisation, which opened at N56.441 trillion, gained N167 billion or 0.30 per cent to close at N56.608 trillion.

The All-Share Index also advanced by 0.30 per cent or 295 points to close at 99,966.28, compared to 99,671.28 recorded on Friday.

As a result, the Year-To-Date (YTD) return rose to 33.69 per cent.

The market’s performance was primarily driven by gains in MTN Nigeria, alongside Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), Zenith Bank, and other advanced stocks.

Market breadth closed positive with 29 gainers and 16 losers on the floor of the Exchange.

Cutix Plc led the gainers chart by 9.96 per cent to close at N5.08, followed by Ikeja Hotel, which gained 9.45 per cent to close at N6.95 per share.

Royalex gained 8.96 per cent to close at 73k, Sunu Assurances rose by 8.40 per cent to close at N1.29, and Red Star went up by 8.15 per cent to close at N4.38 per share.

On the other side, Chellaram Plc led the losers’ chart by 9.76 per cent to close at N3.70, while Abbey Mortgage Bank trailed by 7.04 per cent to close at N2.51 per share.

Jaiz Bank lost 5.78 per cent to close at N2.12, Ellah Lakes dropped 5.36 per cent to close at N3, and International Breweries shed 4.20 per cent to close at N3.88 per share.

An analysis of the market activities showed trade turnover settled higher relative to the previous session, with the value of transactions up 8.02 per cent.

A total of 362.43 million shares valued at N7.37 billion were exchanged in 8,405 deals, compared to 420.90 million shares valued at N6.82 billion exchanged in 7,617 deals posted in the previous session.

GTCO led the activity chart in volume and value with 66.90 million shares worth N3.06 billion, followed by Access Corporation with 44.95 million shares valued at N854.42 million.

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) sold 26.74 million shares valued at N203.08 million, Japaul Gold traded 21.45 million shares worth N41.68 million, and UACN transacted 20.34 million shares worth N287.79 million.

In its weekly forecast, analysts at Cowry Asset Management predicted that market momentum is expected to continue with ongoing bargain hunting and portfolio adjustments.

They suggested that this is in anticipation of the June Consumer Price Index and half-year corporate earnings reports.

According to the analysts, these upcoming economic indicators are likely to influence investors’ decisions and market trends in the face of weak sentiments.

“As the changing market structure and fundamentals persist, investors are advised to position themselves in stocks with sound fundamentals,” they said.

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Naira depreciates against dollar at official market

The Naira on Monday depreciated at the official market, trading at N1,577.29 to the dollar.

Data from the official trading platform of the FMDQ Exchange, a platform that oversees the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), showed that the Naira lost N13.49.

This represents 0.86 per cent loss when compared to the previous trading date on Friday, July 12 when it exchanged at N1,563.80 to a dollar.

However, the total daily turnover increased to 153.53 million dollars on Monday, up from 126.50 million dollars recorded on Friday.

Meanwhile, at the Investor’s and Exporter’s (I&;E) window, the Naira traded between N1,590 and N1,470 against the dollar.


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Nigeria’s Forex Reserves Exceed $35bn — CBN

According to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria’s external reserves have reached $35.05bn as of July 8, 2024.

This is the first time it has crossed the $35bn ceiling under the administration of President Bola Tinubu.

According to CBN’s data on external reserves, as of May 30 2023, the reserves were $35.09bn, about 14 days before the introduction of the foreign exchange (FX) unification policy in June 2023.

However, when the CBN announced the FX unification policy, the external reserves dropped to $34.66bn.

From July to December 2023, the reserves fluctuated within the $33bn range.

This year, the reserves plunged to a low of $32.11bn on April 19, 2024, according to the data.

While addressing the reason behind the drop, the central bank Governor blamed the decreasing reserves primarily due to debt repayments and other standard financial obligations, rather than efforts to defend the naira.

Analysed CBN’s data, revealed a surge in exchange rate in the last few weeks ending the month of June above $34bn for the first time since April. The reserves have continued to grow in July, reaching the highest reserve in the last one year.

Since the lowest level of $32.11bn under Tinubu in April, the external reserves have surged by $2.94bn in less than three months, according to the CBN data.

The CBN had said it plans to double the diasporas’ remittance inflow this year through a steady flow of foreign exchange into the country.

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