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New Notes: CBN Establishes LGA Cash Swap Centres

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The Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) has established Cash Swap Centres across the 774 Local Government Ares of the federation.

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This was contained in a circular issued by the apex bank at the weekend.

Signed by Haruna Mustafa an Musa Jimoh, Directors of Banking Supervision and Payments Systems , respectively and dated January 20, 2023, the circular indicated that the Cash Centres would commence operations tomorrow..

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Addressed to Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Mobile Money Operators , Super Agents and Agents, the circular said that the exercise would enable rural dwellers to seamlessly change their old Naira Notes for the redesigned ones.

It reads in part::

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“In furtherance of its Naira Redesign policy, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sustained its nationwide awareness/sensitization programmes, enforced speedy collection of the new notes at CBN branches by the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and mandated issuance of the new notes through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to ensure distribution is fair, transparent and evenly spread across the country.

“In addition to these measures and in recognition of the need to maximise the channels through which underserved and rural communities can exchange their Naira, the Bank is launching a cash swap programme in partnership with Super Agents & DMBs.
The programme enables citizens in rural areas or those with limited access to formal financial services to exchange old Naira notes for redesigned notes.

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“The initiative takes effect from Monday, January 23, 2023 as follows:

*The old N1000, N500, N200 notes can be exchanged for the newly redesigned notes and/or the existing lower denominations (N100, N50 and N20, etc) which remain legal tender.

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*The agent shall exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person. Amounts above N10,000 may be treated as cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy. BVN, NIN, or Voter’s card details of the customers should be captured as much as possible.

*To promote financial inclusion, this service is also available to anybody without a bank account. Agents may, on request instantly open a wallet or account, leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework.

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This will ensure that this category of the populace are able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost.

*Agents shall sensitize customers on opening wallets/ bank accounts and the various channels for conducting electronic transactions.

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*Designated agents are eligible to collect the redesigned notes from DMBs in line with the Revised Cash Withdrawal Limit policy.

Agents are also permitted to charge cash- out fees for the cash swap transactions but prohibited from charging any further commissions to customers for this service.

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*Agents shall render weekly returns to their designated banks regarding the cash swap transactions. DMBs shall in turn render same to the CBN on a weekly basis.

*Principals (Super Agents, MMOs, DMBs) shall be held accountable for their agents’ adherence to the above guidelines.

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*Cash Swap agents will be readily identifiable in all local governments, particularly those in the rural areas.

*The CBN will continue to monitor implementation of the programme and provide further guidance as may be necessary.”

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NNPC Takes Over Addax Petroleum Assets

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has taken over the assets of Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited.

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This is coming three months after the execution of the Addax Transfer, Settlement, and Exit Agreement (ATSEA) for the PSC Oil blocks, OMLs 123/124 & 126/137, operated by the company.

NNPC Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Garba Deen Muhammad, in a statement on Tuesday, all closing obligations have been concluded and the Assets have been transferred to the Concessionaire, NNPC Limited.

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“Consequently, NNPC has taken necessary steps to take over the assets and oversee a clean, amicable, and speedy exit for Addax Petroleum Ltd., operate the asset on interim basis as a first step and subsequently appoint a competent replacement PSC contractor while NNPC Limited continues to remain the Concessionaire of the assets in line with extant laws and regulations,” the statement partly read.

“Exit negotiations and formalities have been concluded and NNPC Ltd. in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, NUPRC, NMDPRA, FIRS, EFCC, and the FCCPC have agreed on the clean and amicable exit for Addax by resolving all the PSC contractual issues, including litigations that culminated in the execution of a Transfer, Settlement, and Exit Agreement (TSEA) on the 1st of November 2022.”

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NNPC Ltd also announced the appointment of the Transition Team lead, Sagiru Jajere. NNPC Ltd said the much-needed investments will be deployed to the Assets while prudently conducting petroleum activities and creating value.

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N650 petrol: PENGASSAN plans clampdown on marketers

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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, on Monday, raised the alarm that their findings showed that the price of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, had risen to as high as N650/litre in some locations.

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It said this was due to the prolonged scarcity of the commodity, which grew worse in Abuja and many parts of the country on Monday, as it called on the Federal Government to start revoking the licenses of oil marketers involved in the hoarding of PMS.

This came as our correspondent gathered that the 14-man steering committee on petroleum products supply and distribution management that was recently approved and constituted by the Federal Government to halt the prolonged scarcity of petrol, had not been inaugurated.

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The committee, which has its Chairman as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), was announced last week Tuesday by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva.

“The committee has not been inaugurated and it cannot start its work without proper inauguration. This is because its chairman has been travelling around lately,” an impeccable source at the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.

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On the scarcity of petrol nationwide, PENGASSAN stated that it had been following up with it members at the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited who were responsible for assigning the products to marketers.

It said it was also following up with its members from the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority in various depots and terminals, responsible for issuing cargo clearance, monitoring compliance, routing inspection, metering calibration/maintenance, accurate delivery to trucks, record keeping, etc, on the need to carry out their functions expeditiously.

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“While we understand that the parameters imputed into the old PPPRA and now NMDPRA template has since changed because of some economic vagaries such as exchange rate fluctuation, vessel hiring cost and cost of diesel, among others, there is no sufficient justification for petrol to be selling for such highly inflated price, thereby subjecting the masses to further difficulties,” the association stated in a statement jointly signed by its President, Festus Osifo, and Secretary, Lumumba Okugbawa.

It added, “Even though we have some good marketers who tend to play by the rules, others who are overbearing have deployed methods of creating artificial scarcities in other to hike the price of the product uncontrollably, as the prices of the product now sells between N185 to N650 depending on your location and outlet.”

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The union stated that from data available to PENGASSAN from its members, there was over 30 days PMS sufficiency across the country, hence there was no basis for the current scarcity and hardship that Nigerians were being subjected to.

“We hereby call on the management of NMDPRA to compel all marketers and retailers to make the products available at approved price.

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“They should immediately mobilise all their staff in various locations across the country to monitor compliance and anyone found wanting, should have their licence revoked to serve as deterrent,” the association stated.

It continued, “Should this collusion go on unchecked, we will not hesitate to partner with other stakeholders in ensuring that Nigerians are not further exploited. A stitch in time saves nine.”

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Meanwhile, PENGASAN empathised with Nigerians on the hardship currently faced with the scarcity and drastic hike in the price of PMS.

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New notes: Emefiele is angry, says notes must be cashed via ATM

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…Says EFCC, ICPC officials will accompany CBN examiners to inspect bank branches to assess compliance

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The Governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele has instructed that no banks should henceforth pay out OLD NOTES again through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) or in bank branches over the country, just as he has requested officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission to accompany the Apex bank examiners to inspect bank branches nationwide to ensure compliance.

He gave the instructions during the Bankers Committee meeting on Monday in Abuja.

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The CBN Governor warned: “No payment of new notes over the counter. Banks are only allowed to release new notes via ATMs

Corporates that require cash should only be given the old N100 notes and below. Corporates must not be given the new notes”.

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According to him, “EFCC/ICPC officials will accompany CBN examiners to inspect bank branches over the next two weeks to assess full compliance with CBN guidelines above.

“Officials of branches that fail to comply or that release cash to Corporates and Politicians will face termination of their contracts and the respective banks will be sanctioned

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“No branch should allow an individual with multiple Debit cards to do multiple transactions on ATMs.

“All new notes have tracking numbers to trace them back to State, Bank and Bank branches. So notes confiscated at parties and other locations can be traced back to the Bank and applicable branch

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Please note that no new notes for anyone over the counter in branches.”

The CBN had on October 26, 2022 announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes – N200, N500 and N1000.

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President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently unveiled the redesigned notes on November 23, 2022 while the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

Following pressure for extension of the deadline, the CBN on Saturday announced the extension of the deadline for the validity of the old notes by 10 days.

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Even with the extension of the deadline by 10 days, Nigerians have been experiencing tough times in making withdrawal through the ATMs and the few that are dispensing are paying in old notes.

The unavailability and scarcity of the new Naira notes have however paved the way for the Point of sale (POS) operators in hiking their service charge.

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The POS operators now charge N500 for the withdrawal of N5000 as against N100 hitherto charged for the withdrawal of same amount.

An operator at Ajesa Street, (Close to Banex Plaza), Wuse II, who would not disclose his name, said the sudden increase in the service charge followed the scarcity of the new Naira notes.

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“It was difficult to access the new redesigned Naira notes”, he simply said.

The scarcity of the new designed naira notes is causing huge problems as many shop owners in Abuja only accept new notes even as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in a fresh statement on Saturday extending the January 31 deadline for old Naira notes by 10 days.

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Many Nigerians have been gnashing their teeth over the unavailability and scarcity of the new designed naira notes as the ATM regarded as their last hope of getting the new notes still despense old notes.

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