Confusion As CBN Says We Didn’t Direct Banks To Disburse Old Notes
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday said it has not issued a fresh directive to commercial banks on last Friday’s judgement of the Supreme Court ordering the circulation of the old naira notes alongside the new ones until December 31.
A seven-member panel of justices presided over by Justice Inyang Okoro had described as unconstitutional, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the CBN for the redesigning and withdrawal of old notes of N200, N500 and N1,000, without consultation with the states, Federal Executive Council, the National Council of States, and other stakeholders.
Crednews Nigeria reports that there was confusion among commercial banks and business operators following the non-issuance of a directive by the CBN on receiving the old N500 and N1000 notes. The CBN spokesman, Isa Abdulmumin, who spoke to our reporter, said the CBN has not issued an official statement.
However, a senior management source who spoke to Daily Trust said: “Both the old and new notes are legal tender, and banks are currently issuing them to customers. Nigerians should not reject any note, whether old or new.”
More banks dispense old notes
More commercial banks across the country have commenced dispensing the old N500 and N1000 notes to their customers.
This is coming 24 hours after Daily Trust reported that Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) began dispensing the old notes across its branches nationwide on Monday.
Checks by our reporter in Lagos indicated that banks have started issuing the old naira notes to customers at their various Automated Teller Machine (ATM) terminals and over the counter.
Zenith Bank branch in Festac Town paid the old notes to customers over the counter. The ATMs at the branches of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) close to Agege-Pen Cinema Bridge, and GTB in the Ikeja area of Lagos, were also dispensing the old notes.
Findings also revealed that WEMA Bank has instructed its branches to start dispensing the old N500 and N1000 notes nationwide.
Also, an official of Zenith Bank who preferred anonymity said the branch had “received orders to begin dispensing old notes to our customers.” A Zenith Bank customer, Barrister Dike Amadi said, “I was paid the old N500 notes this afternoon at a Zenith Bank branch in Port Harcourt.”
Another customer, Aina Dipo, said, “Old naira notes of N500 and N1000 are now being dispensed in Osogbo, Osun State.”
First Bank, Polaris and Unity undecided
A check at First Bank, Polaris and Unity bank branches, showed that they were only dispensing the old N200 as directed by the CBN.
A First Bank branch manager in Kano said: “We have not received any circular from the CBN to accept the old notes, and that is why that is not happening as we speak.”
Business outlets reject notes
However, there has been a new twist to the crisis as supermarkets, fuel stations and commercial bus drivers in some parts of Lagos are rejecting the old notes.
Olaiya Simileoluwa, a resident of Lagos said, “What is this confusion. Supreme Court says old naira remains valid till December, banks start dispensing old notes but buses, supermarkets, fuel stations, and so on are not collecting the old notes. It’s like this country is on autopilot.”
Similarly, Kate Hensley Haziel who also resides in Lagos said, “I think after the Supreme Court judgment that the old 500 and 1000 naira will remain legal tender until December 2023. The CBN at least still needs to address Nigerians. Many people are still confused about whether or not to accept the old notes.”
Direct CBN to obey S/Court order, Buhari urged
A financial expert, Gbolade Idakolo, said President Muhammadu Buhari should immediately direct the CBN governor to revert to the status quo ante. “The naira redesign policy has shrunk the economy by over a trillion in business losses. Many SMEs have closed shops due to their direct dealings with cash.
“The policy increased hardship for the already stressed population, and the Supreme Court judgement is a great relief,” he said.
“Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies” Bill Passes Second Reading
A bill for an Act to establish the Nigeria College of Taxation and Fiscal Studies passed its Second Reading last week at the Senate.
The presentation of the Bill was made by Senator Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi CON on the floor of the Senate Tuesday last week, where he noted that the institution, if established would provide professional and academic training as well as certification for tax administrators, tax practitioners and tax professionals across the country.
In his presentation, Senator Sabi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District of Niger State stated that the College had become necessary given the important role that taxation is playing in the nation’s economy, and that this institution would help formulate and draft tax policy for the country while addressing human capital gaps in the country’s tax industry.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that diversifying the sources of government revenue to focus on sustainable sources is inevitable. This diversification puts taxation at the centre of the revenue mobilization discussion; the attainment of this laudable objective would require tax experts who have been properly and adequately schooled to formulate tax policy, draft and interpret tax legislation, carry on private tax practice, and administer taxation in the modern era.
“In view of the constant shift in the social, technological and business environment, with direct impact on the tax system, it is is important to have skills, competence, and adaptable personnel to man the tax system. There must be a conscious development of the field of taxation and fiscal policies in Nigeria to awake the society on the importance of taxation as a sine qua non to our development.
“Nigeria must go beyond the mere inclusion of taxation in the curriculum of educational institutions; instead the country must establish a modern system that facilitates the study of taxation via a well laid out academic curriculum, guided and focused by practical realities of Nigerian taxation and the revenue ecosystem,” he noted.
Senator Sabi further emphasised that the College would help in tackling the issue of lack of sufficient capacity of tax officers, which he noted has led to “the delegation of powers of revenue authorities to third parties, creating complications, multiplicity and uncertainty in the tax system,” and that it would correct “aggressive and orthodox methods for tax collection” while also carrying out a “regular review of obsolete tax laws that do not reflect modern realities.”
He noted that all these would help the country address its fiscal and revenue challenges and achieve the objectives of the National Tax Policy.
In his presentation, the distinguished Senator representing Niger North also cited that countries such as Kenya, Japan, India, Australia, Austria, Singapore, and Malaysia have established similar institutions for developing capacity in taxation, excise duty and customs and fiscal matters, and that this has impacted positively on their economy through significantly high tax-to-GDP ratios.
This College is expected to provide training for tax officials, including officers of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Nigeria Customs, sub-national revenue authorities, and even the general public. It is to consist of a main campus and 12 regional centres.
The Bill proposes that the College would be funded chiefly by the extant yearly subvention of the FIRS for training thus requiring no direct impact on government spending.
Senator Adamu Aliero representing Kebbi Central District, Kebbi State, commenting on the Bill noted that the only sustainable source of revenue for the Federation was taxation, and that the proposed College would train tax officials who would be instrumental to widening the country’s tax net.
He also added that there is currently no institution in Nigeria that offers specialised training in taxation.
NLC, CBN meet in Abuja over Cash scarcity
In less than 24 hours after the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, directed all its branches and affiliate unions to mobilize members for a shut down of all the branches of the Central Bank of Nigerian, CBN, across the country, over cash scarcity, the apex bank on Thursday evening met with the NLC at the Labour House Abuja.
Recall that the Comrade Joe Ajaero-led NLC, had on Wednesday while addressing journalists said that activities in all branches of the CBN nationwide and the Abuja headquarters will be shut down on Wednesday next due to the cash crunch in the country.
Comrade Ajaero had advised workers to stockpile food items as the industrial dispute with the CBN will be total.
He said Nigerians have been subjected to untold hardship occasioned by the scarcity of naira notes to attend to medical needs and other areas of need.
Vanguard gathered that the NLC threat to paralyze activities at the CBN necessitated the impromptu meeting which started at about 5 pm on Thursday.
The two man delegation made up of the CBN Deputy Gpvrrnor in charge of operations and the Deputy Governor in charge of Economic Pokicy, told the NLC President that about two billion naira was pushed out on Thursdsy in a bid to address the hardship.
A source privy to the meeting told Vanguard that the CBN promised to ensure that the scarcity of naira notes will come to an end as quickly as possible.
“They said the money they pushed out today is equivalent to the whole money pushed out within the week. They also promised to work day and night starting from this night to ensure that there is enough money in the banks,” the source said.
He further said that the CBN denied the allegation that it was printing money out of the country and that the Governor, Godwin Emefiele has directed that the old naira notes should be made available to customers.
Besides, the source denied the allegation that the old naira notes have been burnt, assuring that there will be remarkable improvement in few days to come.
It was gathered that the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero told the CBN delegation that he was not interested in how much that was pushed out, but only interested in seeing that workers and other Nigerians collect their money in banks without stress..
“The President told them that it does not bother us how much they pushed out, our concern is to see that this hardship comes to a stop.
“He also told them that they should work day and night to solve the problem and will depend on the feedback from the average Nigerians who go to the banks to make withdrawals whether there is improvement before Wednesday next week NLC planned to picket the apex bank ,” the source said.
When contacted, the NLC President, Comrade Ajaero, confirmed the meeting and said that the interest of the leadership is to see that Nigerians are able to withdraw their money devoid of the hardship they are passing through.
“We will only know that they are serious when we see improvement,” he added.
EFCC Arraigns FCMB Manager Over N55Million Overdraft Fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a bank manager and two others for alleged fraud.
Gomwalk of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited were arraigned on Tuesday before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos.
The accused persons were arraigned on five counts bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretence money to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (fifty-five million naira).
Gomwalk, while serving as the manager of the bank’s branch at Murtala Mohammed Way in Jos, the Plateau State capital, was alleged to have forged COCIN Gratuity Certificate of Pledge/Letter of Set-Off dated December 30, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors.
It was allegedly used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55 million with COCIN Gratuity account number 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc.
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