Instant fund transfer leads e-payment channels with N89.8trn

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Stories by Omodele Adigun

Instant electronic fund transfer, also known as NIBSS Instant Payments (NIPs), has come tops among the payment channels in the country as over N89.8trillion passed through the platform in five years.

This was contained in the Whitepaper on e-payment Statistics from 2012 to 2016, released last Tuesday by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The report, dated February 9,2017, which shows both volume and value of transactions across seven channels during the period, reveals that NIP and Automated Teller Machine (ATM) were the favourites of Nigerians when it came to alternative cash settlement. ATM led in the volume of transactions with about 1.98 trillion to beat instant fund transfer to the second place with about 244.77 million.But in terms of amount recorded, NIP came first with over N89.815trillion, while its twin-platform, National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), was second with over N68.015trillion.

As for paper instrument, Cheque settlement emerged third as it was used to settle about 64.89million transactions totaling N33.43 trillion, although the report indicates that it may soon be out of vogue as its inflence is already waning. However, bank customers transacted over N16.39 trillion through ATM.Other payment channels such as Mobile Money, Point of Sales (PoS) and Web recorded N1.55 trillion, N1.54 trillion and over N345.76 billion in that order through 127.25 million,114.29 million and 29.23million deals.

On year-by-year analysis, over N13.75trillion was transfered in 2012 through NEFT as against the over N3.89trillion  transactions done via NIP. Cheque came next as it was used to settle close to N7.49trillion deals, while about N1. 99trillion cash was withdrawn through ATM.

The duo of NEFT and NIP recorded about N14.37 trillion and N10.49 trillion respectively in 2013; but in 2014, NIP took the lead by over N5trillion with  more than N19.92 trillion to NEFT’s N14.56trillion. In 2015, NEFT dropped to N13.09 trillion, while NIP transactions galloped to N25.54 trillion. The following year, NEFT tumbled again, this time, to N12.24trillion as NIP continued to enjoy wide patronage with more than N29.61 trillion.

However, Cheque usage peaked in 2013 with N7.71trillion,  but dropped to N7.27trillion the next year .And since then, this instrument of payment continued to lose steam as it plunged to N6.2 trillion and N4.77 trillion in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

ATM, on the other hand, rose above N2.83trillion in 2013 . And it has continued to grow in leaps and bounds ever since. For instance, in 2014, transactions through ATM was put at  N3.682 trillion and the following year, it jumped above N3.97trillion before wrapping up 2016 at  over N3.92 trillion.

The other channels, PoS and Mobile Money, recorded N48.5billion and N31.51 billion worth of transactions respectively in 2012.They jumped  above  N161.2 billion and N144 billion, in that order, the following year. And in 2014, mobile money overtook Pos by more than N27million with N339.24 billion to just over N312.07 billion.

The table turned the following year with Pos recording over N448.5 billion to Mobile money’s N442.35billion. However,in 2016, this was reversed with Mobile money taking the lead with over N589.3billion to PoS transactions’ over N570.2billion.

Nigerians to pay 20% more for medical forex, others

Nigeria effectively devalued the naira for private individuals on Monday, paving the way for a possible broader move despite stiff resistance from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Central Bank said Nigerians wanting dollars for travel or to pay foreign school fees could buy dollars at nearly 20 per cent above the official rate.

Some Nigerians saw the announcement as a step towards implementing a more flexible currency regime and narrowing a yawning gap between the official and black market rates. However, that did not necessarily mean the authorities were yet ready to allow a free-float for the naira currency as Nigeria struggles with its first recession in a generation.

Monday’s announcement covers about 20 per cent of total foreign exchange demand and allows those wealthy families who send their children to schools and universities abroad to buy foreign currency at a rate of around N366 to the dollar.

This is less favourable than the official rate of N305 which commercial importers typically use, but vastly more advantageous than on the black market where most individual Nigerians have to buy dollars due to hard currency shortages in the banking system.

Dealers said the naira hit a record low of N520 on the black market after the central bank’s announcement. Nigeria has tried to make the exchange rate more flexible before, leading to a 30 per cent devaluation last year, only to reimpose a quasi currency peg.

Analysts say the central bank, which has been under pressure from Buhari to maintain a strong exchange rate even at the cost of economic growth and investment, was testing the waters for a possible broader devaluation in the near future.

“I think this is the beginning of a process to a more flexible forex system,” said Bismarck Rewane, a leading economist and CEO of Lagos consultancy Financial Derivatives. “There is panic. The system has collapsed. Dollars have disappeared at exchange bureaus at airports,” he said.

Opponents of a more flexible naira say a heavy devaluation would push up the price of imported goods on which Nigerians depend, and endanger fuel subsidies.

Already, the government wants to finalise a reform plan this month, needed to get a loan from the World Bank that would help to fund a record budget aimed at stimulating its economy.

Such a loan would come at a price. “The World Bank is going to insist on a more flexible forex policy,” said Charles Robertson, global chief economist at Renaissance Capital.

The African Development Bank is also applying pressure and has criticised hard currency curbs imposed by the central bank. The lender has held back a second tranche of a loan worth $400 million to demand a reform plan.

Robertson said a devaluation would make sense after Nigeria’s sale of $1 billion in Eurobonds – this would boost naira revenues and lower the need to issue domestic bonds to fund the budget.

The central bank could not be reached for comment.

Fidelity Bank rewards GAIM winners

…As children get training on etiquette

The winners of the Get Alert In Millions (GAIM) promo of the Fidelity Bank Plc from the Lagos zone have been presented with their prizes just as the bank is collaborating with JSK Etiquette Consortium to teach contemporary manners and social skills to children in the country.

At the presentation of the prizes at the bank’s headoffice in Lagos, Ifeanyichukwu Okenwa was presented with his N1million cheque, while Okoli Chukwu and  Charles Kelechi went home with their respective prizes of  generating set and refridgerator.

Commenting on the event, the Managing Director of the bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, who was represented by Mrs Ugochukwu Chijioke, said that other winners outside Lagos were being presented with their prizes at the same time.

The Social Etiquette nitiative, which is part of the bank’s mentorship program for the younger generation, also seeks to enlighten and equip children with the right values at an early age. Children between the ages of nine to 15 years were also trained on other soft skills such as communication and collaboration, to prepare them for future endeavours.

In his welcome address at the one day Youth Etiquette Class in Lagos, Okonkwo said: “At a time when inappropriate behaviour and manners are threatening to push our core values as a nation to the background, we need to rekindle hope for tomorrow by teaching children basic etiquette, while reinforcing what parents may have taught them.” Okonkwo stated that it was against this background that Fidelity Private Banking came up with the mentorship programme, as the role of children in national development cannot be over-emphasised.

Mrs. Janet Adetu, the training facilitator, noted that the workshop would not only provide children with requisite social skills to manage difficult situations, but also boost their self-confidence. “We want to build their self-confidence and make sure that our children are prepared to take up leadership opportunities in the near future. Adetu, who is the Chief Executive Officer of JSK Etiquette, a leading etiquette and protocol company in Nigeria, said the essence of the workshop was to teach these children soft skills to enable them thrive in this difficult times.

Interactive teaching techniques that include demonstrations, role plays and questions and answers sessions were used to enhance the learning process during the training session; thus dispelling passivity, stimulating response and animated discussions during the training session. Since inception in 1996, Fidelity Private Banking, according to the bank, manages wealth for select clients by providing them with innovative financial solutions that will enable them build a strong and enduring foundation for future generations.

FCMB Group announces leadership changes   

FCMB Group Plc has announced a leadership change at the group level, as well as its flagship company, First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited.

The change is coming as Ladi Balogun, Managing Director/Chief Executive, exits from the bank with effect from March 20, 2017, having served as Group Managing Director of the commercial banking arm, FCMB Limited, for 10 years. He will assume the role of Group Chief Executive of the holding company, FCMB Group Plc. comprising FCMB Limited, FCMB Capital Markets, CSL Stockbrokers and CSL Trustees.

Under Balogun’s leadership, FCMB Limited has undergone a successful transformation from a merchant bank to a top 10 commercial bank in the country. During this period, the bank emerged as a leader in consumer finance, agricultural financing and electronic banking. The bank’s franchise has grown to four million customers, 220 branches and a successful banking subsidiary in the United Kingdom.

Balogun will be succeeded as Managing Director of FCMB Limited by Adam Nuru, who is currently the Executive Director in charge of Business Development of the bank. He previously served as Regional Director in charge of Abuja and Northern Nigeria, where he was responsible for growing the Northern franchise to become the largest and most profitable region of the bank. Nuru has 28 years of banking experience, with seven years spent with FCMB. He is a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he studied Business Administration, and has attended management programmes at leading international educational institutions across the world.

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