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Banks Fret as Clampdown on Accounts without BVN Draws Near

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Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) operating in the country have started reaching out to their customers, asking them to come and complete the biometric registration process, as the deadline of the Federal High Court’s interim order obtained by the Federal Government to freeze all accounts – corporate and individual – without Bank Verification Numbers (BVN) approaches, according to Daily Times.

 

The development came as the Federal Government said that funds in 46 million bank accounts that have yet to be linked to BVN will likely be temporarily forfeited, just as no fewer than 15 million Nigerians living in the Diaspora with about N3 trillion have kicked against the action.

 

But banks have started sending text messages and electronic mails to customers without BVN as majority of customers affected by the development were mostly those with names mismatch, findings by our correspondent has revealed.

 

Also, customers, who have different names order across banks, were mostly affected, while the number of customers who had no BVN was very small compared to those who had complied with the directive.

 

But contrary to indications that was credited to a Chief Executive Officer of a commercial bank that he and his colleagues will be unable to obey the directive of the Federal Government to forfeit customers funds in accounts without the BVNs have been reaching out to their depositors reminding them of the need to enroll for the BVN exercise.

 

For instance, some banks SMS to their customers without BVN reads: “Dear Customers, Your Acct is *********.Kindly visits any of our branches to enroll for BVN or link your existing BVN via ATMs, website or the through the bank USSD code.”

 

But before now, indications have emerged that a CEO of one of the banks reportedly stated that the directive by the CBN is not feasible.

 

The CEO, who spoke under anonymity, said there are huge holes in the legitimacy of the order given by federal authorities.

 

According to the CEO, “What of a situation where somebody has died and the matter is in administration, what do you want the bank to do? To give government the money and face litigation? “What of Nigerians who are abroad and are still struggling to get their BVNs? What if we send the monies to government and we are sued by the customer(s)? “And the 14-day time frame is very short. Why the rush? Why not give a time frame, maybe till 2018 for people to get their BVNs?

 

Meanwhile, a source from another commercial bank, who was authorized to speak for the bank said: “Prior to this directive, we have been freezing the bank accounts of customers to enable them comply. The customers who are yet to do that are mostly those who have names mismatch problems. This will be resolved soon.”

 

Another tier 1 bank noted that its bank would comply with the CBN directive to freeze accounts and publish names if there was no contrary order within the stipulated period.

 

“We are already taking steps to communicate with customers who had yet to do so”, the source explained.

 

The Federal High court had ordered the banks to disclose the details of all such accounts, their owners and their proceeds in their affidavit of compliance deposed to by their chief compliance officers.

 

It also made an interim order directing the banks to freeze all the said accounts by stopping “ all outward payments, operations or transactions ”pending the hearing of the substantive application seeking the forfeiture of the balances in the accounts to the Federal Government.

 

The banks were also directed to disclose “any investments made with funds from these accounts without BVN in any products. ”

 

Such investments to be disclosed by the banks as directed by the court include “fixed/ term deposits and their liquidation and interest incurred, bank acceptances, commercial papers and any other relevant information related to the transaction made on the accounts”.

 

The court also directed the CBN and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement Systems “to validate the information contained in the affidavit of compliance/disclosure filed by the respective 19 banks” within seven days from the date of service of the orders on them.

 

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E-Financial

AfDB Expects Nigeria’s Economy to Grow at 2.1% in 2018

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has predicted a positive outlook for Nigeria’s economic in 2018.

The bank in its 2018 African Economic Outlook projected that Nigeria’s economy would grow at 2.1 per cent in 2018 and 2.5 per cent in 2019.

According to AfDB, this outlook is anchored on higher oil prices and production, as well as stronger agricultural performance.

Notwithstanding this positive outlook for the country, the AfDB said Nigeria still faces significant challenges, including foreign exchange shortages, disruptions in fuel supply, power shortages, and insecurity in some parts of the country.

“In addition, revenue mobilization efforts are insufficient; at 5 per cent, value added tax rates are among the lowest in the world, and revenue administration is inefficient. Poverty is unacceptably high; nearly 80 per cent of Nigeria’s 190 million people live on less than $2 a day,” the bank said in its report.

Looking into the future, the AfDB economic prediction on Nigeria noted that “oil prices rebounded to an average of $52 per barrel (Brent crude) in 2017 and are projected to reach $54 in 2018, up from $43 per barrel in 2016.”

“Oil production also increased from 1.45 million barrels per day in the first quarter of 2017 to 2.03 million in the third quarter of 2017 following de-escalation of hostilities in the Niger Delta region and is expected to remain at the same level in 2018 and 2019, in tandem with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production restrictions,” AfDB added.

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Bitcoin Deeps Less Than $10,000 For The First Time Since December

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Bitcoin, the dominant digital currency, witnessed a slump on Wednesday following a recent surge to trade below $10,000 for the first time since the start of December.

 

Market analysis suggests that the price could shift in either direction and recent regulatory developments – out of South Korea and China in particular – could roil markets further, according to some observers.

 

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst Oanda trading group, said of bitcoin’s drop below $10,000 “There was clearly a significant speculative component to the rally late last year and the drop will be very discouraging to those that previously thought there was easy money to be made”.

 

Bitcoin is down from record highs approaching $20,000 in the week before Christmas, having rocketed 25-fold last year, before being hit by concerns about a bubble and worries about crackdowns on trading it.

 

David Cheetham, chief market analyst XTB noted that, “The panic-selling seen across all the major cryptocurrencies could be attributed to a possible regulatory clampdown in South Korea with authorities threatening to place an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading,”

 

“Having said that, this narrative has been around for many weeks now and isn’t really new but it has once more raised the spectre of tighter regulation on this market.”

 

 

 

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E-Financial

NSE Awaits Signing of Bill to be Publicly Listed

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Oscar Onyema, chief executive officer, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) expects a bill that will allow the exchange to be publicly listed signed into law this year.

The second-biggest exchange in sub-Saharan Africa after Johannesburg and a main entry point for investors in Africa, the Nigerian bourse last year got a green light from its members, mostly stockbrokers and some institutional investors, to become a publicly listed company.

Oscar Onyema, NSE, CEO, said yesterday, he expects the public listing, a process known as demutualisation, to generate profits that will boost its business and product development capacity.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the continent’s most developed stock market, has been a listed company since 2006.

“In 2017, we amplified our efforts to establish West Africa’s first derivatives market,” Onyema told analysts discussing the outlook for 2018.

“We also worked to create and enhance legal and regulatory frameworks which support derivative instruments, and have made significant progress towards securing approvals to operationalize these frameworks.”

The equities market in Nigeria was the third best-performing market in the world in 2017 after the central bank liberalised the naira for foreign investors, a move which lured back funds that been pulled out at the peak of a currency crisis.

Onyema attributed last year’s performance partly to central bank policies that helped increased currency market liquidity.

He added that he expected corporate earnings to lift equities this year, despite currency and political risks, after stocks crossed 44,000 points to hit a nine-year high on Tuesday.

Stocks gained 42 percent last year and have continued to rally this year, rising 13 percent in the first 11 days of trading.

Onyema said the market for initial public offerings remained inactive, noting that there are plans to revive new issues.

Nigeria’s bourse has around 200 listed companies and plans to launch exchange-traded derivatives securities this year.

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