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Citibank Grants N500m Loans to Accion MFB

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Citibank has granted N500m loan to Accion Microfinance Bank as part of efforts to promote the development of the microfinance sector in Nigeria.

Lola Oyeka, bank’s Country Public Affairs Officer for Nigeria and Ghana, made the announcement in a statement she issued in Lagos.

According to her, the grant will fund Accion’s loan portfolio and support the development of approximately 5,000 micro and small enterprises in the country.

She also said the loan agreement would support the Central Bank of Nigeria’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy.

According to her, it will also reduce the number of excluded population by bringing them into the formal banking fold.

She further stated that the loan was part of a long-term business partnership between the Citi Inclusive Finance, Citi’s specialised unit for microfinance and inclusive finance transactions.

The bank’s Country Public Affairs Officer also named the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the U.S. government’s development finance institution as part of the partnership.

The partnership intends to provide financing in local currencies to leading microfinance institutions operating in frontier and emerging markets around the world, according to her.

The bank cited a survey by the Enhancing Financing Innovation and Access, stating that as at 2012, about 39.7 percent or 34.9 million adult Nigerians were excluded from financial services.

CBN’s NFIS focuses on working with financial institutions to increase access to the unbanked population to banking products under affordable terms and conditions.

This is with the overall objective to empower people, promote savings culture, increase productivity and reduce poverty.

Akin Dawodu, Citibank, Nigeria CEO, reinstated the bank’s commitment to working with Microfinance partners in support of the national financial inclusion strategy.

“This, we intend to do by availing credit to micro and small enterprises in Nigeria.

“We are delighted to partner with microfinance enablers such as OPIC and Accion MFB for the benefit of SMEs and micro-entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to the economic development of the country,’’ Dawodu said.

Mrs Bunmi Lawson, MD/CEO Accion MFB, said funding from Citibank would enable the MFB to expand its financial services to a larger number of micro-entrepreneurs across the country.

“This will lead to economic empowerment and job creation for more Nigerians.

“We hope that other financial institutions will emulate Citibank by providing loans to the Microfinance banks which will, in turn, ensure that we truly meet the credit needs of the average Nigerian entrepreneur.

“Accion MfB core values, business philosophy and methodology have continued to distinguish it as the leading Microfinance Bank in Nigeria,’’ Lawson said.

Accion Microfinance Bank is listed on the London Stock Exchange as one of the companies to inspire Africa in 2017.

It has won the Lagos State Enterprise award for Best Microfinance Bank in Lagos State multiple times.

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E-Financial

Five ‘Must’ Know Before Putting Your Money in Bitcoin

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Bitcoin is a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. Bitcoin is now worth $4,317.

Due to this, many are encouraging others to invest in the cryptocurrency. Nigerians are slowly embracing Bitcoin.

In line with this, Jumia Travel, the leading online travel agency share things Nigerians must know before joining the Bitcoin train.

More People Are Using Bitcoin
Despite the fact that some Nigerians are struggling to accept Bitcoin, more people are embracing it after years of gradual growth.
Hence, whether we like it or not, Bitcoin is the future and we have no choice than to use it.

Retailers And Vendors Are Accepting Bitcoin
You can now pay for whatever you purchase online with Bitcoin as some retailers have made it possible to settle transactions with it. Some notable companies that accept Bitcoin include Expedia, Microsoft, Subway, Newegg, TigerDirect, Tesla and PayPal. So, do not be surprised when some Nigerian companies start to accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Transfers Are Fast And flexible
While many financial institutions charge you or take days to process transactions, Bitcoin allows transfers from one account to another almost for free. Of course, you must already have your money in Bitcoin form. There is no need for any middlemen. As a result, the transfer is seamless.

Extremely Volatile
Bitcoin is still growing like earlier mentioned and there are a number of market factors that influence it. It very dependent on the rules of demand and supply.
The more people are willing to buy Bitcoins, the more the Bitcoin value will increase. Conversely, if more people sell, the prices will decline.

Treat It As Speculating, Not An Investment
Cryptocurrencies have a bright future as a new way to conduct commerce and business. That is not the same thing as saying that their value right now is sustainable. It’s early days yet, and, while the number of businesses accepting cryptocurrencies are growing, it’s not big enough for most of the demand to be built on legitimate trade.
This means that buying cryptocurrencies is speculation, not investment. Hence, you should be willing to lose the money you invest in buying Bitcoin!

 

 

 

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MasterCard to Roll out Mobile Emergency Cash Service at ATMs

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MasterCard has announced plans to roll out a mobile service that turns the ATM into an emergency cash hub, and that makes cash available for pickup even when the recipient has no bank account or debit card.

According to a press release, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up allows a bank to help an individual or company send money to anyone with a valid mobile phone number.

A text message with an order number, four-digit PIN and directions to the nearest branded ATM is sent to the recipient’s mobile device. This individual simply enters the numbers into an ATM to receive cash instantly.

The MasterCard vision for Cash Pick-Up includes:
–  Replacement of lost or stolen wallets with instant cash.
 –  Provision of 24/7 emergency relief to those in need.
 –  Remittance of funds or payments to the un- or underbanked.
  –  Delivery of faster payments on rebates and rewards.

The service is set to pilot this year in the U.S. with support from organizations such as Payment Alliance International, the nation’s largest privately held provider of ATMs, the release said.

MasterCard said it is also working to make Cash Pick-Up available at additional retail ATMs across the country beginning in 2018. The service is initially certified to run on ATMs made by Hyosung and Genmega.

To help manage deployment, Mastercard teamed with Pin4, which has operated a similar cardless disbursement system in Spain and Poland under the HalCash brand.

“Mobile devices are commonplace and ATMs are everywhere so it made sense to leverage these technologies to create a truly open, cash network. Now, with Mastercard’s Cash Pick-Up taking that concept to their vast network, we will see a new era emerge where cash is available to everyone via their mobile devices,” Richard Witkowski, Pin4 CEO said in the release.

The service employs a patented process that uses virtual card numbers to securely execute cardless transactions. It also leverages Safety Net, a tool that reduces the impact of cyberhacking of banks and processors, the release said.

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SBH Raises Alarm over Non-Remittance N20trillion Deducted as Stamp Duty

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Stamp Duty charges on bank transactions believed to have yielded N20trillion have developed wings and School of Banking Honours (SBH) has raised alarm, according to Nation.

Federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on January 19 directed that N50 stamp duty be made on all transactions including bank electronic transactions above N1000.

The policy is aimed at boosting the country’s revenue base through non-oil sectors such as taxes and rates.

But the fortune raked in, has pitched the Nigerian Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) against the School of Banking Honours, an institution registered by the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC).

The SBH is spearheading the recovery and remittance of the funds into the Federation Account for sharing by the Federal Government and the 36 states.

Tola Adekoya, SBH’s Project Consultant/Acting Rector, said based on findings from the research arm of SBH, he raised a Demand Notice dated 10th March, 2015, entitled, “Stamp Duty On Electronic Transfer Receipts (2013-2014)” on NIBSS for N7.719trillion as accruing and unremitted revenue to the Federal Government and the states.

He was invited by NIBSS for a discussion, but Adekoya is yet to honour the invitation.

“That invitation is traceable to the Demand Notice of 10th March 2015 that SBH raised on NIBSS as Stamp Duty of N7.7 Trillion due to 36 states and the Federal Government on electronic cash-less transfers which turned over an aggregate N160 Billion daily in just five states of the federation in early 2013, as reported by Central Bank Nigeria (CBN),” Adekoya said.

He told The Nation that from all indications, that figure may have risen close to N20trillion.

He said: ”Further reports revealed that the Stamp Duty revenue has now increased to N20trillion (in local banks), or $53.3 billion (in foreign banks) in four years to 31st March, 2017, and out of which less than one per cent was later swept into a dedicated account with Central Bank of Nigeria, in 2016.”

To him, the matter of diverted public fund should be of serious concern to the public in view of the amount that is in contention and the involvement of agencies and persons allegedly denying governments of such huge revenue collected from the unsuspecting banking public and for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken.

By its Memorandum of Association, the SBH is approved to research into banking operations, and collaborate with banks and government on banking matters. It is empowered to represent government in the suit under its Copyright Certificate No. LW1023 dated 27th September 2012, and titled, “50-Naira Stamp Duty for Government on Electronic Cashless Transfers and Manual Bank Teller Deposits”.

Adekoya said the alleged diversion of public funds should be of serious concern to the public in view of the amounts involved, and the culpability of agencies and persons that have been denying government of such huge revenue collected from unsuspecting banking public, for appropriate disciplinary action.

He said the SBH had approached the CBN in 2012 to partner on the research outcomes that would absorb retrenched and ex-bankers to lead its young emerging bankers on practical part-time banking jobs at a lower career level that is branded as “Shadow-Banking”.

“SBH clarified that Shadow-Banking products would birth other Shadow Industries to absorb the youth in high volume, until vacancies exist in their target career sectors, and for which they could be employed,” Adekoya said, adding that the SBH offer was turned down by the CBN, hence the body later aligned its job creation activities with CBN’s Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020, but the CBN did not complement this, either, he stated.

Undeterred, Adekoya said, “the Institute then proceeded with a proposal to Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST) on 20th April 2012 to increase its internal revenue by exploring a narrow window provided for affixing adhesive stamp on banking receipts in Stamp Duties Act 2004, and a Master Services Agreement was signed by both parties on 14th September 2012”.

“The institute then reverted to CBN on its first research work by a letter dated 27th September 2012, titled, “Revenue Collection for Government through Banks”, requesting for approval to engage banks and other financial institutions as collecting agents on the stamping and remittance of Stamp Duty on manual and electronic transfer receipts from N1,000 ( inclusive of all those from below N500,000 that CBN had earlier set as limit for banks) into government coffers,” the report said.

The SBH got approval letters from the CBN. Its two defined roles were firstly to affix N50 stamp as evidence of Stamp Duty Paid on bank receipts, as covered by the Master Services Agreement with NIPOST, and secondly to sweep Stamp Duty Revenue to government, as duly covered by the Copyright Certificate No. LW1023.

Based on the CBN approvals, the institute secured written commitments from three banks to lead other banks on manual stamp duty collection for government.

Adekoya said  since “NIBSS needed no such circular on electronic stamp duty collection for the government, because it runs a central operation, it joined the institute at a press conference on 4th January 2013 to support the government’s revenue project, and was engaged as the ‘official sweeping agent’ for government on 7th January 2013.”

He said the government directed that the only thing we should not charge stamp duty on is naira currency. “We went to Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), which is the firm maintaining the portal for cash-less policy for all the banks. By January 2013, we were ready to run it. Since 1993, NIBSS has not remitted any stamp duty to the government,” Adekoya, said.

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