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CBN issues new rule for e-payment channels, threatens to sanction non-compliance

The CBN has continued to give directives that deepen its cashless policy with its new rule for the use of Point of Sale (PoS) machine.

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has continued to give directives that deepen its cashless policy with its new rule for e-payment channels, especially the Point of Sale (PoS) machine. This new directive is coming barely a month after the CBN ordered that customers should no longer be charged N50 for transactions on the PoS.

The apex bank said it had upgraded the use of the PoS by merchants or other users. The new rule is particular to messages displayed by the PoS during transactions. Now, CBN said merchants are required to obtain Acquirer Device Validation certification or the applicable testing completion notification from its licensed card schemes.

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Why it matters: The apex banker had identified the predominant use of a single messaging format for POS transactions as an obstacle to the use of pre-authorisation as a mode of payment in Nigeria.

In a statement signed by Director, Payment System Management Department, CBN,  Musa Jimoh, “By this directive, all PoS terminal must have the capability for transaction pre-authorisation and sales completion. All card issuers are required to build the capability and enable the processes for pre-authorisation and sales-completion of transactions. Card schemes are also required to provide online simulators for acquirers and issuers to test their systems, when necessary.”

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The deadline to meet the directive is set for July 31, 2020, but the directive takes immediate effect. Those who fail to meet the deadline will be sanctioned for non-compliance.

[READ MORE: Nigeria’s retail outlets risk CBN sanction, debit N50 PoS fee from customers)

POS has been a driver of cashless policy: The use of PoS in the country has risen within the last three years, according to Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS). It was disclosed that over 146.3 million transactions were made in 2017; this stands for N1.4 trillion. In 2018, the worth of POS transaction rose to N2.3 trillion after a total of 285.9 million transactions was recorded.

Meanwhile, in half-year 2019, 187.7 million transactions were recorded, representing N1.4 trillion. So POS has become a crucial driver of the cashless policy and deepening of financial inclusion in both urban and rural areas.

[READ MORE: Nigeria’s retail outlets risk CBN sanction, debit N50 PoS fee from customers)

CBN has been busy dishing orders: Several directives have been coming from the CBN relating to electronic transactions, including the use of PoS. The CBN had directed that the N50 POS Stamp Duty charge should be collected from businesses and not customers.

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Also, the CBN slashed withdrawal fees usually charged after the third withdrawal from Automated Teller Machines within the same month. CBN stated that the withdrawal fee charged for the use of other banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) has been reduced to N35, from N65 earlier charged. While the card maintenance fee has been reviewed to N50 every three months (quarterly), from the initial monthly period.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Update: FG extends second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks

This is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown is being extended.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another 4 weeks.

According to a monitored media report, this is the third time the second phase of the eased lockdown which is currently observed across the country is being extended

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The disclosure was made by Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, during the Task Force briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

The Federal Government had on July 27 extended the current lockdown by an additional one week due to the Sallah celebration on July 29.

Mustapha disclosed that the extension followed the briefing and recommendation to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday on the progress made so far by Presidential Task Force in containing the spread of Covid-19 and keeping citizens safe from contracting the virus.

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The PTF Chairman noted that they made a couple of recommendations to the president and the extension of the current phase of ease of lockdown was one of the ones approved.

He revealed that in the recommendation that was made to the president about retaining the current phase of the lockdown, the PTF made some minor changes to address the economic, socio-political concerns of Nigerians.

Under the current extended second phase, the current curfew of 10 pm to 4 am is still in force, civil servants on grade level 12 and above are now to resume work fully and close by 4 pm and no longer 2 pm that currently operates. He, however, said that virtual meetings by government officials and parastatals will be maintained.

He also said that while the restrictions on recreational parks have been lifted for non-contact physical activities, the ban on entertainment centres will be sustained.

Mustapha explained that despite the accomplishments and challenges, some challenges continue to pose a considerable concern. Some of them include increased non-compliance with non-pharmaceutical prevention measures, lack of enforcement of necessary guidelines issued to preserve lives, insufficient engagement by some states with the national response, and lingering concern about the gap between identified cases and the actual burden of disease.

He also talked about apathy, fatigue and disbelief combining to challenge public enlightenment, compliance and behaviour change.

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The SGF said that to address these challenges, the PTF decided that it was important to ensure that restrictions were not completely relaxed in order to control transmission.

He noted that it was also important that at this Community Transmission Phase of the pandemic, sub-national governments should step up to take more responsibilities by owning the response.

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The various state authorities and the Federal Capital Territory were mandated to enforce non=pharmaceutical guidelines, the use of face masks in public appearances and places.

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Corporate deals

Just In: Access Bank acquires Zambian Cavmont Bank Ltd

The statement from Access Bank says that the deal is a highly complementary transaction.

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Access Bank Zambia, a subsidiary of Nigeria’s Access Bank Plc, has reached a ‘definitive agreement’ with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) to acquire Cavmont Bank Ltd.

The tier-1 bank announced this latest development regarding the merger talk which has been ongoing for a while, in a statement that was signed by its Company Secretary (Sunday Ekwochi) and issued to the Nigerian Stock Exchange earlier today.

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According to the statement by Access Bank, the deal is a highly complementary transaction that is expected to combine Access Bank Zambia’s wholesale and trade finance capabilities with Cavmont Bank’s retail and commercial banking operations.

The proposed transaction which, in the meantime is still subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, is also expected to better position Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in the Southern African country.

Customers from the enlarged bank will benefit from greater security offered by what will be one of the most capitalized banks in Zambia with a more diversified product and service offering and a broader geographical footprint and infrastructure.

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Access Bank on its notification stated, ‘’Subsequent to our announcement on July 8, 2020, the Board of Access Bank Plc announces today that its subsidiary, Access Bank (Zambia) Limited, has entered into a definitive agreement with Cavmont Capital Holdings Zambia Plc (CCHZ) regarding proposed acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited, a subsidiary of CCHZ and subsequent merger of Cavmont Bank’s operations into Access Bank Zambia. The proposed transaction, which remains subject to relevant shareholder and regulatory approvals, will position the enlarged Access Bank Zambia as one of the top 10 banks in Zambia and create the momentum to advance its strategic objectives.’’

‘’Under the terms of the agreement, Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued ordinary share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmont Bank while Capricom Group Limited, the ultimate majority shareholder of CCHZ will invest at least ZMW300 million ($16.5 million) of preference shares into Access Bank Zambia. Capricorn will hold preference shares in the enlarged Access Bank Zambia for a period of five years, after which the preference shares will be acquired by Access Bank Plc.’’

The statement also notes that the enlarged bank will be well placed to participate in the long-term economic growth of Zambia and will be predicated on the country’s vast reserves of natural resources and fast growing young population.

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The transaction is expected to be completed during the fourth quarter of 2020.

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Appointments

Nnaemeka Ewelukwa assumes office as new MD/CEO of NBET

Dr, Eweluka replaced the sacked Dr. Amobi as NBET Chief before full assumption in August 2020.

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Dr Nnaemeka Ewelukwa has assumed office as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc. This was announced earlier today by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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The Backstory: In December 2019, the former CEO of NBET, Dr Marilyn Amobi, was suspended by Nigeria’s Minister of Power. This followed a series of complaints made against Dr Amobi who was appointed to the position in 2016. Following her sack, the Minister of Power also noted that he was seeking to bring sanity back to the system. A committee was also set up to investigate the many complaints against the former NBET CEO.

“In view of this, the minister has also directed the Constitution of a 5-man investigative committee to look into the myriads of complaints against the MD/CEO (of NBET) with the view of restoring sanity in the management of the company. Consequently, she is to handover to the most senior director in the organisation,” a statement issued by Aaron Artimas, the spokesman of the Minister of Power had read.

Interestingly, President Muhammadu Buhari reinstated Dr Amobi in January this year, but then finally sacked her later in June. Now, Dr, Eweluka, who was earlier announced as Amobi’s replacement, has now taken over.

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Before now, Eweluka was appointed the General Counsel and Company Secretary of NBET in march 2012. He has also served as a Technical Adviser with the Presidential Task Force on Power (PTFP) where he was a member of the Regulatory and Transactions Monitoring Unit.

He graduated with an LLB from the  University of Nigeria Nsukka, an LLM in International Business Law from the London School of Economics and a PhD from Queen Mary, University of London.

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