JUST IN: CBN launches Nigerian Domestic Card, AfriGo, bans dollar charges on domestic transactions
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has launched the Nigerian National Domestic Card Scheme, AfriGo, aimed at creating a more robust payment system that would drive financial inclusion in the country.
Launching the card virtually, this morning, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said that transaction charges on all cards would henceforth be paid in Naira, except for international transactions.
According to him, AfriGo would be cheaper and would be a matter of national pride, with potential to boost financial inclusion.
Emefiele said, “The National Domestic Card avails us the sovereignty of our data. Secondly, it comes at lower costs and thirdly, the issue of foreign exchange.
“At this time when foreign exchange challenges persist globally, it is important for me to say that we have come up with this card to ensure that all card online transactions will now effective immediately, begin to go on the Nigerian National Domestic System.
“At some point in the next few weeks, I am sure that the CBN will come up with the cut-off. All domestic card transactions that will be conducted in Nigeria will have to be through the Nigerian Domestic Cards.
“Your existing cards are fine. You can continue using them but given that charges by foreign cards are in dollars, we will no longer pay dollars for the charges on those cards.
“We will only pay dollars for charges on transactions that are done outside Nigeria. NIBSS, the CBN and Nigerian banks will work together to see how to segregate those transactions. To ensure that we pay fees or charges for international transactions that are conducted on both domestic cards, Visa or Master Cards, as they are known today.”
“We will bar domestic charges from the Nigerian foreign exchange market at some point in the very near future.”
The governor said that the introduction of AfriGo was not an attempt to discourage international investors’ operations in the Nigerian payments space but that it had become necessary owing to its obvious advantages.
He said, “This effort is not an attempt to prevent international service providers from continuing to provide services in Nigeria. Rather, it aimed at providing more options for domestic consumers, while also promoting the delivery of services in a more cost-effective and competitive manner.
“The CBN is committed to a robust and safe payment system and welcomes innovations from domestic and foreign investors.
“The Nigerian market is vast and the current participants have done so in the last 12 years to transform the ecosystem. Yet there is much ground to cover as millions of Nigerians are still without cards to consummate transactions.
“I am convinced that the National Domestic Card scheme will make this a reality in the coming months. We can no longer neglect the vast majority of Nigerians.
’24-hour electricity’ — Anambra state government signs MoU on power supply with EEDC
The Anambra government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Enugu State Electricity Company (EEDC) to guarantee steady power supply in the state.
The agreement was signed by Chukwuma Soludo, governor of Anambra, and Julius Emeka, commissioner for public utilities, while Emeka Offor, chief executive officer of EEDC, signed on behalf of his organisation.
Christian Aburime, chief press secretary to the governor, said the signing ceremony took place at the Anambra government house on Friday.
“Today, I signed a memorandum of understanding with Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to ensure that power supply in the state is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Soludo said at the event.
“The signing of the MoU took place today at the Anambra State Executive Council Chambers, Government House, Awka. Today is a historic day for the people and the state.
“I acknowledge that this signing will completely translate into positive changes, which is critical for the journey towards a liveable and prosperous homeland that cannot be achieved without a continuous supply of power.
“Long before I was sworn in as Governor of Anambra, I recognized the importance of power and deeply considered how it could be achieved in the shortest period for at least three to four major cities in the state What we did today was to consummate that marriage.
“The courtship began over a year ago, and I am overjoyed that the marriage has finally been consummated today. We must all work together to ensure that we have a stable and continuous power supply in Anambra State.
“Anambra is a state of which more than 60 percent of its non-land assets are domiciled outside of the state. If at least 25 percent of the proceeds are returned to Anambra, the state can become what we envision it to be.
“My message to the rest of Anambra’s billionaires and millionaires is that wealth and net worth alone are insufficient. The question is, how much of your wealth and assets are domiciled in the state for Anambra to be the choice of destination to live, work, invest, relax and enjoy.”
On his part, Offor said he is happy to contribute his quota towards 24/7 power supply in Anambra.
He added that more support is still needed, particularly from the legislative arm, on laws that would empower EEDC to achieve its goals.
Cash withdrawals: Banks comply with CBN’s directive to operate on weekends
In compliance with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) latest directive, commercial banks have announced that their various branches will be open on weekends for customers to deposit and withdraw cash.
Earlier today, the CBN said that it evacuated banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.
This came after the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) threatened to embark on a strike from Wednesday next week, over the protracted cash shortage in the country.
The apex bank, in efforts to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations, also instructed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
Hours after the CBN directive was announced on Friday, major banks sent out emails, asking their customers to visit their branches at specific times on Saturday and Sunday for cash withdrawals.
In emails seen by newsmen, financial institutions such as Guaranty Trust Bank and Union Bank in Lagos said customers can visit their branches across the state between 9am and 4pm.
“All our branches will open on Saturday 25th, and Sunday, March 26th, 2023 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm for cash deposits and withdrawals,” Union Bank said.
On the other hand, Standard Chartered Bank said customers can access its facilities from 10am to 3pm.
“To ease the challenges faced in relation to access to naira cash, we are pleased to inform you that our branches… will open over the weekend for withdrawals and deposits of naira notes, Saturday, March 25, 2023, from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm and Sunday, March 26, 2023, from 10.00 am to 3.00 pm,” the email reads.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time the CBN would instruct banks to operate on weekends.
We’ve distributed substantial naira notes to banks, says CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has evacuated banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.
The apex bank said the measure is part of a coordinated effort to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
The CBN has also directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
In a statement on Friday, Isa Abdulmumin, CBN spokesperson, said that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
He said the CBN had directed all banks to load their automated teller machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” the statement reads.
Abdulmumin said Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient as the current cash shortage would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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