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CBN Directs Payment Processors, Switches To Stop Local Currency Transfer 

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed payment switching and processing companies to stop local currency transfer of diaspora remittances received through International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs).

The directives were contained in a circular to International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs) and Payment Service Providers (PSPs), titled, “Receipt of Diaspora Remittances: Additional Operational Guidelines” signed by the Director of Trade and Exchange Department and the Director of Payments System Management Department.

The apex bank also directed Mobile Money Operators (MMO) to disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.
The directives according to the CBN were to ensure compliance with its recent policy which allows beneficiaries of diaspora remittances to receive the proceeds in foreign currency.
The circular states: “Following the recent policy pronouncements on amendments to procedures for receipt of diaspora remittances, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) notes material compliance by the majority of market participants as beneficiaries of remittances through lMTOs now receive foreign currency through their designated banks.
“However and regrettably a few operators continue to pay remittances in local currency contrary to the regulatory directive. The CBN frowns at this practice.
“In the light of this. the CBN hereby provides the following additional operational guidelines:
“Switches and Processors should immediately cease all local currency transfers in respect of foreign remittances through |MTOs.
“All MMOs are required to immediately disable wallets from receipt of funds from IMTOs.
“Payment service providers are directed to cease integrating their systems with IMTOs going forward and must prevent comingling of remittances with other legitimate transactions.
“All lMTOs are required to immediately disclose to beneficiaries that they exercise discretion to receive the transfer in foreign currency cash or directly into their domiciliary accounts.
“A central reporting portal for all foreign remittances to be managed by the Nigerian interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) is currently under development to improve visibility of foreign remittance flows.
“All licensed institutions are required to comply with the foregoing guidelines as contraventions will attract stiff regulatory sanction including revocation of license.
“The CBN remains committed to promoting transparency in the administration of diaspora remittances into Nigeria and will continue to enforce policies that will stabilize and deepen the Nigeria foreign exchange market.”

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Control Risks Lists Top 5 Risks For Business In 2021

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The COVID-19 pandemic, emerging digital threats, climate change and the US China relationship are among the Top 5 Risks for business in 2021, published today by Control Risks, the specialist global risk consultancy.

Underpinning these risks, the danger of missing the rebound in a year of multi-speed recovery is a top risk for business in the coming year.

“There’s no doubt that businesses will continue to face considerable disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, but we believe that the opportunities are real and exciting for many companies in 2021,” comments Control Risks CEO, Nick Allan.

All top 5 global risks are present in Africa but play out in unique ways. In some areas the continent presents a positive break from the more negative global trends, such as in the regional cooperation shown by the continent in its response COVID-19 and the planned launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

Overall, however, 2021 will be a tough year for a continent that will struggle to recover from COVID-19 as fast as much of the rest of the world. Despite many significant opportunities for investors, the markets they are investing in will be ones characterised by significant operational and political uncertainty.

The investors that will achieve success in 2021 are those that understand that Africa’s post-pandemic landscape will be tangibly changed from what came before, presenting different challenges and new opportunities.

The global Top 5 Risks for Business in 2021 

The Top 5 risks are released as part of Control Risks’ annual RiskMap report, a global risk forecast for business leaders and policy makers across the world, published today.

1. A world with long COVID

2021 will be a year of uneven recovery as vaccine rollouts create a world ofhaves and have-nots, with pockets of forever COVID at the bottom of the pecking order. Much of Africa, unfortunately, will be in the have-notcategory and companies will face prolonged operational uncertainty as localised restrictions are sporadically imposed in response to virus spikes. Africa’s economic recovery will also be more gradual, as governments with limited fiscal headroom cannot engage in sustained stimulus spending and must instead rely on under-developed private sectors to drive their recoveries.

2. US-China: stabilisation without normalisation

While 2021 should see superficial stabilisation in the US-China relationship, the straining of the international rules-based system seen over the past few years will not go into full reverse. Competition rather than cooperation will remain the norm in international relations. In this regard at least Africa represents a welcome break from global trends, as 1 January will see the launch of ACFTA, and although full implementation of a continental free trade area will be slow the fact that Africa is moving in that direction when much of the world is not should be attractive to potential investors.

3. Go green or go bust

An inflection point is coming for the relationship between businesses and climate change in 2021. No organisation can now afford not to take a stance. The environment is a critical aspect in a broader area of the ESG agenda. Although no African country bar South Africa has made a net zero pledge to date – without special funding, governments do not view it as a priority – the continent nonetheless has huge renewable energy potential. Renewable energy projects connected to microgrids make sense in a continent of small population centres spread over huge areas, and the recent liberalisation of energy markets in many countries has opened up multiple opportunities for private-sector investors. Without government backing, however, investor may ignore these opportunities for the subsidies and support on offer elsewhere.

4. Digital acceleration hits emerging threats

The remarkable increase in connectivity across Africa – in mobile phone penetration, internet penetration, social media use and data traffic flows – has opened up a vast array of new opportunities. This is evidenced by the rapid growth in the African tech sector over the past few years. But this connectivity also brings risks. Cyber crime has boomed across Africa, from simple scams to sophisticated attacks on critical infrastructure. Criminal and state actors have also engaged in influence operations, spreading misinformation and inflammatory content that poses reputational risks to companies as well as political players. Companies in Africa, just like the rest of the world, will have to balance the drive for technological innovation with security, integrity and resilience challenges.

5. Missing the Rebound

The coming year will see strong GDP growth in multiple markets, the roll-out of vaccines and a world hungry to start living again. While progress will be faltering, an uplift is coming – do not miss the rebound. If 2020 was about survival for many companies, 2021 is the time to focus on opportunity. Under the duress of COVID-19 many companies have flexed, not broken. Through innovation, rapid technology adoption and streamlining, they have emerged stronger, while weaker competitors have fallen. Those companies that turn the efficiency gains of 2020 into productivity gains, continue to accurately assess trends and show flexibility in adapting their operations will benefit from the coming surge in demand.

“Governance, policy consistency and rule of law are critical for investors in Africa and deep-rooted challenges remain across the continent in this realm, however we do see positive change across the region. Recovery will be an opportunity for governments to address structural constraints and promote new approaches & technologies – the region remains front and centre for many of our clients. For Control Risks, Africa sits at the heart of our past, present, and future – we continue to invest and see growth across the region” explains Tom Griffin, Partner – Africa and Middle East, Control Risks.

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Allianz Begins Olympic, Paralympic Partnership 

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Allianz officially began its eight-year worldwide partnership with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements on January 1, the company’s management has said.
“Allianz is proud to be the „Worldwide Insurance Partner” of the Olympic & Paralympic Movements,” said Oliver Bäte, Chief Executive Officer of Allianz SE. “As a supporter of the sports ecosystem and through shared core values of excellence, friendship, inclusion and respect, Allianz and our 148,000employees and 100,000 agents are excited to care and deliver for athletes, their families and their ambitions.”

Since announcing the partnership in September 2018, the insurer has engaged fans, athletes, teams and employees through health across four pilot markets – Australia, China, France and Spain. Allianz presented the Australian Olympic Committee’s Wellbeing Week to showcase ways to improve mental health. Allianz also worked with the Organising Committee Olympic Games Paris 2024 to encourage people to walk and run for “Club Paris 2024”, an initiative to move and be part of the Games.

Allianz will expand local initiatives to connect with athletes and fans across the world. To name a few, the global insurer will offer consumers and employees the chance to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay at Beijing 2022 and will engage youth with the spirit & values of the Movements at its Allianz Sports Camps through trying sports, building friendships and learning from athletes. Furthermore, it will support the Movements with tailored insurance solutions and services.

“Having announced this new agreement in 2018, our teams have already been working together in key pilot markets to support athletes and the Olympic Movement,” said IOC President Thomas Bach. “As we start this new Olympic year, we are excited to begin in earnest our global collaboration with Allianz.” 

“Allianz brings global visibility to the athletes and values of the Paralympic Movement and we look forward to our next phase working together,” added IPC President Andrew Parsons. 

The partnership runs from 2021-2028.

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Adamawa Begins Payment Of Outstanding Gratuity To Retirees

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Medugu who made the disclosure to journalists in Yola, said that the State and Local Government Councils jointly contribute N14 million monthly for the payments.

He explained that the amount being contributed monthly for settlement of the retirees’ gratuity would also help to cushion the hardship occasioned by COVID-19.”

So far, Government has settled the gratuity of about 6,300 local government retirees.

“And on monthly basis, State and Local Government’s Councils are contributing about N14 million for the payment of the gratuity.”

“According to our records, 989 local government Pensioners are not receiving their monthly pension, this is as a result of recent verification exercise,” he said.

Medugu urged the affected pensioners to be patient as the board was working to ensure that those mistakenly omitted  in the payment were integrated into the system.

Similarly, Chairman of Adamama State Pension Board, Mr Thomas Mahdi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that Gov. Ahmadu Fintiri, had approved N1.5 billion for payment of gratuities.

Mahdi said that the payment of the arrears of gratuity to State Government retirees affected those who retired between 2009 and 2012.

“The payments are categorised based on Senior Ma

 

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