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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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NERC: Over 1m Electricity Consumers Have Received Prepaid Meters

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Labour Warns FG Against Electricity Tariff Hike 

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The Nigeria Labour Congress faulted plans to allegedly sell the Transmission Company of Nigeria, saying it will lead to an increase in electricity tariff.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, said this in a statement titled, “This Kite will not Fly’’ on Friday.

Wabba explained that instead of allegedly planning to sell the transmission company, FG should focus on improving the electricity supply.

He described the attempt to hand over the TCN to a few ‘privileged’ Nigerians as self-serving, obtuse, odious, morally reprehensible and criminal.

The NLC president said, “The TCN is a strategic economic asset of immense national security implications. This is because the TCN traverses all nooks and crannies of Nigeria.

“It will be wrong that our country will be deliberately exposed to an avoidable vulnerability and thus, provide an opportunity to others to restrain the Nigerian state.

“We apprehend that the planned sale of the TCN is only an attempt to further confound the people and concurrently raise electricity tariff. Unfortunately, this time around, Nigerians have had enough.

“The government cannot promise improved power supply to consumers by the planned sale of TCN. The under-the-table scheming as transparent privatisation cannot pass muster.

“It is an unsavoury narrative for our country, that even the privatised assets, which have survived the rapacity of the new owners, have been turned into unrealisable collaterals for unpayable loans.

“This constitutes a bone stuck in the throat of financial institutions and sundry creditors.”

Wabba explained that the plan would “fundamentally weaken the security of the nation and above all, deprive the people of their age-old investments in the commanding heights of the Nigerian economy”.

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FG To Consider Death Penalty For Rail Vandals – Amaechi

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The federal government says it may consider a death penalty for vandals of critical railway equipment in the country.

Rotimi Ameachi, minister of transportation, stated this on Monday, during a town hall meeting on “protecting public infrastructure” in Abuja.

On May 8, the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) announced the arrest of two persons suspected of vandalising rail tracks along the Kaduna-Zaria rail line.

Few days later, suspected vandals were arrested for destroying and carting away tracks and rail rods laid on a section of the Warri-Itakpe rail line.

On May 16, the Kaduna state police command said it arrested five suspected rail-trail vandals at Dalle Village of Jema’a LGA and recovered two trucks loaded with locomotive railway sleepers.

After the Warri-Itakpe incident, the senate asked the federal government and security agencies to ensure that those caught vandalising rail lines across Nigeria are given maximum punishment without a fine.

”I am not quantifying the material cost; what I am quantifying is the lives that will be lost,” Ameachi said at the town hall meeting.

“Imagine that a driver of a rail track is driving and suddenly bumps into a track that has been severed, what happens? It will derail.

“If it derails, can you quantify how many passengers that would have died in the course of one man thinking he is making money?

”Some people have recommended that since these people are killing people, if an accident happens people will die, so we should go back to the National Assembly and pass a law that does not only criminalise the action but consequences should be death.”

The minister also said track vandalism is carried out in collaboration with foreign partners.

”In Jos, they arrested a Chinese company that bought those tracks from them, went to court and found them guilty and fined them N200, 000. So there must be consequences as N200,000 is not enough,” he added.

“Lagos and the Western District recorded one, North Western 31, Northern District 10, North Eastern 43, Eastern 36 and North Central 50 incidents of vandalism. Abuja-Kaduna has 13, Warri-Itakpe 2 and Lagos -Ibadan nill.”

Amaechi, who frowned at traders selling items on railway tracks, especially in Port Harcourt and Lagos, advised individuals engaging in the practice to desist or face the penalties.

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