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Fidelity Partners SMEDAN to Empower SMEs

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In what has been termed a major move to bridge the gap in helping small businesses access much needed funding and capacity development initiatives, leading financial institution -Fidelity Bank Plc – has announced a strategic partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN).

At a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony held in Lagos recently, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said the partnership reinforces the fact that the bank is a leading supporter of SMEs in Nigeria.

“For us at Fidelity Bank, supporting SMEs is in our DNA and for more than two decades we have been creating multiple platforms to help them thrive. These include the numerous products we have pioneered for the sector, our collaboration with the Lagos Business School to host the Export Management Programme, the Fidelity SME Academy and our weekly SME Forum radio programme where we have had successful business owners and even SMEDAN share tips on running thriving ventures with listeners.”

“This partnership is therefore another step in our journey of helping entrepreneurs grow and compete favorably in any market they operate and we are very happy to have SMEDAN join us”, commented Onyeali-Ikpe who was represented by the Executive Director, Lagos and South-West, Fidelity Bank, Dr Ken Opara.

On his part, Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya thanked Fidelity Bank for facilitating the partnership emphasizing that the MOU was particularly significant not just to the Agency but to the MSMEs ecosystem.

“Fidelity Bank is one of the few commercial banks in Nigeria that have shown immense interest in providing support to the large MSME community.

I am very aware of some of your products purposely designed to serve the MSMEs. This explains why the Agency is very excited entering into this relationship that we believe will help change the narratives of the sub-sector”, commented Fasanya.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 7 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels.

The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Reps summon Emefiele, demand suspension of new cash withdrawal limit

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The house of representatives has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the limits on weekly cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities.

The lawmakers also summoned Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, over the new policy scheduled to take effect on January 9, 2023.

The resolution was passed during a plenary session on Thursday following the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Aliyu Magaji, a lawmaker from Jigawa.

In a memo issued on Tuesday, signed by the Director of Banking Supervision, Haruna Mustafa, the apex bank directed all banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.

It also directed that only N200 and lower denominations should be loaded into banks’ ATMs.

At the plenary, the lawmakers resolved that CBN should halt the implementation pending conclusion of probe.

Emefiele is expected to appear next Thursday.

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Business

Diesel cost: NRC hikes fares on Lagos-Ibadan train service

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The Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) has announced new fares for Lagos-Ibadan and Lagos-Abeokuta train services.

In August, NRC reduced the number of trips on the Lagos-Ibadan route due to a hike in the price of diesel.

In a memo seen by newsmen, the train services for the Lagos-Ibadan route were given new fares.

“The new fare on Lagos – Ibadan Train Service (LITS),” the memo reads.

“Lagos – Ibadan, and Ibadan – Lagos; First class (9,000), Business, (6500), Standard, adult (3600), minor (3000).

“Lagos – Abeokuta, and Abeokuta – Lagos; First class (6,000); Business (4,500), Standard, adult (3,000), minor (2,000).

“Abeokuta – Ibadan, and Ibadan – Abeokuta; First class (3,000), Business (2,000), Standard, adult (1,000), Standard, minor (600).”

Meanwhile, last week, the NRC hinted on the increased cost of diesel and other logistics which can be a significant determinant in the new price of train services.

Fidet Okhiria, NRC managing director, had said the increase in price would be done while considering the interests of Nigerians.

Okhiria also called on passengers to make some sacrifices and collaborate with the corporation to ensure the continued provision of the service.

“It is better to have it operating than not operating. It is the service we are providing but in order to provide it, everybody has to make some sacrifices,” Okhiria had said.

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Business

CBN reduces over-the-counter withdrawals to N100k, N500k per week for individuals and companies

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced a new policy that mandates deposit money banks and other financial institutions to ensure that over-the-counter cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100, 000 and N500, 000, respectively, per week.

The revised cash withdrawal limits, contained in a circular issued today by the apex bank and seen by newsmen, will take effect nationwide on January 9, 2023.

After the policy takes effect, all cash withdrawals above the stated limits will attract processing fees of 5% and 10%, respectively.

The new policy is coming barely weeks after President Muhammadu Buhari launched the newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.

In line with the new cash withdrawal limits, any third-party cheques above N50, 000 will not be processed over the counter by any bank. The CBN said the “extant limits of N10, 000, 000 on clearing cheques still subsist”.

Weekly withdrawals through automated teller machines (ATMs) will be reduced to N100, 000 per individual. Withdrawals through this will be subject to an N20, 000 daily withdrawal limit.
In the same vein, the daily withdrawal limit through a point of sale (POS) terminals is N20, 000.


Note that the new N500 and N1000 banknotes will not be withdrawn through ATMs, as only N200 and below will be made available through the channel.

The CBN said there is a provision for individuals and corporates to withdraw N5 million and N10 million, respectively, once a month.

However, this is only for rare occasions and all parties intending to take advantage of this provision must provide compelling evidence of legitimate business purposes.

“In compelling circumstances, not exceeding once a month, where cash withdrawal above the prescribed limits is required for legitimate purposes, such cash withdrawals shall not exceed N5, 000,000 and N10, 000, 000 for individuals and corporate organisations, respectively, and shall be subject to the referenced processing fees in (1) above, in addition to the enhanced due diligence and further information requirements.”


To qualify for this exception, individuals and corporate organisations must provide the following information:

Valid means of identification.
Bank verification number (BVN)
Notarised declaration by the customer stating the reason for the excess cash withdrawal.


Written approval by the Managing Directors for drawees withdrawing on behalf of companies.
The CEOs of banks must authorise such withdrawals in writing.

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