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Reps Accuse Banks of Hiding $996m in Secret TSA Accounts

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The House of Representatives this week alleged that the sum of $995.71 million was yet to be remitted to the treasury single account (TSA) by deposit money banks (DMBs) in defiance of the Federal Government’s directive.

 

Adopting report of the Danburam Nuhu Abubakar-led ad hoc committee probing the implementation of the policy, the chamber, presided over by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, said the sum included the principal deposits and their accrued interests.

 

Besides, it claimed that N1.207 billion and € 23,704.01 were still to be credited the TSA by the financial institutions.

 

The lower chamber of the National Assembly also accused the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) of engaging in extra budgetary expenses on the funding of the Brass LNG project to the tune of $331.72 million between 2012 and 2017.

 

The lawmakers bemoaned that whereas the gas project got an appropriation of $511.60 million, $461.54 million was actually released during the period under review.

 

“This shows the NNPC has received funds for above what was appropriated by the National Assembly for the Brass LNG project. This is justified by the fact that the outstanding amount not released ($708.29 million) held in the DMBs in Brass LNG investment account is higher than the total appropriation ($511.60 million) made so far for the Brass LNG project during the year under review,” they noted.

 

The House further indicted the corporation and the Federal Ministry of Environment of “hiding under the cover of presidential waivers to operate illegal accounts comprising joint venture (JV), escrow accounts, securitised and guarantee funds, NNPV operation accounts and NNPC pension funds with DMBs.”

 

The chamber claimed that NNPC’s operations account of $188,900,383.49 were currently domiciled in various banks.

 

It further alleged TSA infractions in three accounts held by the NNPC in a savings and loans firm and a new generation bank, adding that they comprise two accounts called NNPC PFL placement deposit with the third called NNPC pension fund account totalling N1,079,444,746.49.

 

The House also “discovered how the Federal Ministry of Environment, Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Programme ((HYPREP) breached the TSA policy by operating an account called FMR HYPREP Account amounting to N1.1 billion and $4.9 million” in another new generation financial institution.

 

It, however, recommended the payment of N10 billion to Systemspecs – the payment software to many corporate organisations and the TSA.

 

The legislators submitted that based on interaction with the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), the Director of TSA acknowledged the total receipts of TSA as at April 2018 stood to include N9,782,682,923,739.17 and a consolidated balance of N547,493,970.50 while ministries, departments and agencies’ (MDAs) enrolment was 1,678.

 

The plenary therefore advised the Ministry of Finance and the OAGF as well as the CBN to intensify efforts at full implementation of the TSA, just as it called for the sanctioning of erring MDAs and strengthening of the initiative among others.

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E-Financial

Access Bank Partners Fintech to Modernise Banking Processes

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Mr. Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, has said that Access Bank has continued to innovate through the creation and adoption of modern banking tools and by leveraging on partnerships with FinTechs such as AFF to reinvent and modernise its banking processes,

He stated this at  the third edition of Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF) Disrupt Conference at the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island.

Themed ‘Digital Goldrush: Building a Sustainable Tech Economy’, the conference showcased the growing value of data as the future currency of the new tech economy through loads of interactive, fun and engaging sessions, world-class speakers and a phenomenal array of exhibitors who are industry and thought leaders in the technology space.

Wigwe recognised the improvement in global financial processes by advancements in technology and assured that the Bank is keeping up with the trends. “There was a time when payments could only be made through cheques, but with technology, transactions worth billions can be made in seconds. That is how much the world has changed.

A highlight of the conference was the demo pitch session which saw various innovators showcase their applications and new technology, explaining the solutions created to teeming participants. At the end of an intense session, Gricd, whose product, GRICD Frij is an affordable and portable cold chain device for efficient storage of vaccines, blood and other health/agricultural products won, earning a grant of $10,000.

In his keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer of Moven, United Kingdom, Brett King emphasized the importance of technology adoption to banking processes and also addressed the growing fear of robots replacing humans in the banking halls. He said that banking no longer depended on physical spaces, which has reduced the friction in banking processes and massively increased delivery.

“Technology is moving faster than ever before and in an environment with such rapid change, you either disrupt or get disrupted. Hence, if you are resistant to change as a banker in an evolving ecosystem like Nigeria’s, we need to start helping you look for a job outside banking,” he said. At the conference, speakers and panelists identified women as key proponents to ensure the growth and success of financial technology in Nigeria, urging them to be more collaborative and assertive in seeking to disrupt the Nigerian digital space.

Emphasising the point, the Chairman, Zinox Group Nigeria, Leo Stan Ekeh, during an interactive session with Access Bank’s Deputy Group Managing Director, Roosevelt Ogbonna said, “Women are the smartest money makers and disruptors. Investors are looking to invest in female entrepreneurs and techpreneurs working together. So it has become more imperative that women begin to take advantage of these opportunities and the collective power that they have”.

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Banks’ Customers Petition CIBN, Demand N334Bn, $420m from Banks

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Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has said that about 2,122 bank customers lodged complaints against their banks with the Sub–Committee on Ethics and Professionalism of the institute between 2001 and 2018.

 

The CIBN disclosed this in its 2018 annual report and accounts which it released on Saturday.

 

The committee was responsible for resolution of disputes relating to unethical practices between or among banks as well as between banks and their customers.

 

In the report, the customers demanded claims totalling N344.01bn and $420.06m in the period under review.

 

The institute said it resolved 1,993 cases and awarded N30.26bn and $18.41m to the petitioners in 2017.

 

In the report, it stated that 140 cases were outstanding as of the end of 2018.

 

Part of the CIBN report read, “Since inception in 2001, the sub-committee has received a total number of 2,122 petitions/cases with total claims of N344.01bn and $420.06m in local and foreign currencies respectively.

 

“1,993 cases were resolved which resulted to N30.26bn and N18.41m awarded/ refunded to petitioners/ customers by banks.”

 

The institute also said that as of the end of April 2019, it had received 129 new cases with claims amounting to N11.89bn.

 

It also said that in 2019, it had so far awarded N1.83bn in 138 pending cases.

 

The President, CIBN, Dr Uche Olowu, said the Nigerian banking industry witnessed several notable developments in the year under review.

 

“Most importantly was in the area of enhancement and advancement in fintech and digitisation,” he said.

 

He assured that the institute would continue to guard its financial resources while at the same time, ensuring that the implementation of its vision and goals for the institute were not hampered by financial constraints.

 

Seye Awojobi, registrar/chief executive, CIBN, said, the operations of the institute had been in consonance with responsible accounting and consequence management to ensure effectiveness and efficiency of its mandates.

 

He said that in the year under review, the thorough process had propelled the staff members to be more resourceful and focus- driven to achieve their set targets.

 

“Furthermore, it is noteworthy to inform you that the current Strategy Plan (approved in 2016) of the institute would run its full course by September 2019 and adequate process has been put in place by the Research, Strategy & Advocacy Committee towards the development of a new and robust strategy plan that would incorporate the expected actions and deliverables in tandem with dynamics of the business climate.”

 

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Nigeria’s Economic Growth Cools in Q1, Pound Rattled by Political Risk

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By Lukman Otunuga, FXTM Research Analyst,

Growth in the largest economy in Africa slowed to 2.01% during the first quarter of 2019, thanks to external risks and contraction in the Oil sector.

Although the non-Oil sector grew by 2.47%, the Oil sector, which remains the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner, shrank by 2.40%. While Nigeria remains on a quest to break away from the chains of Oil reliance, the nation remains exposed to external shocks and this was reflected in the latest GDP figures. Will the deceleration in growth momentum pressure the Central Bank of Nigeria to cut interest rates in an effort to jumpstart the economy? This is a question on the minds of many investors.

Sterling struggles to nurse wounds as political risk continues to bite

The return of domestic political turmoil in the United Kingdom has led to a flurry of selling momentum for the British Pound, which fell over 300 pips during the previous trading week.

The selling momentum  returned once again in the early hours of Monday morning and the news flow circulating around UK Prime Minister Theresa May needing to state her leaving date, coupled with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stating that Brexit discussions have broken down makes it doubtful for buyers to be tempted back into the GBPUSD.

Taking a look at the technical picture, the GBPUSD remains firmly bearish on both the daily and weekly charts. There have been consistently lower lows and lower highs while the MACD has crossed to the downside. The solid weekly close below 1.2820 has opened the doors towards 1.2700 and 1.2620 in the near term.

 

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Commodity spotlight – Gold

The past few days have certainly not been kind to Gold and this continues to be reflected in the bearish price action.

Signals over the direction of US-China trade talks have caused risk sentiment to swing back and forth, ultimately impacting the appetite for Gold. While Gold bulls are clearly losing the battle as prices trade towards $1274, the war still rages on.

The sentiment pendulum could easily swing in favour of bulls this week, if trade tensions intensify and concerns over slowing global growth accelerate the flight to safety. With Gold still supported by core themes in the form of a cautious Federal Reserve and speculation over a potential US rate cut in 2019, the precious metal remains shielded by downside shocks.

Looking at the technical picture, sustained weakness below $1280 is seen opening a path towards $1268 in the short-to-medium term.

 

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