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CBN’s Digital Currency Will Deepen Financial Inclusion—FDC

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Summon CBN Governor

By Adedapo Adesanya

Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) Limited has lauded the proposed plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce a digital currency, saying it will deepen financial inclusion in the country.

In a new report, FDC explained that most central banks had indicated keen interests in developing their digital currencies in response to the threats and limitations of cryptocurrency, including poor regulation, price volatility and facilitating illicit financial transactions.

The report said, “Nigeria is set to follow the global trend as it plans to launch its digital currency by year-end. Unlike crypto, digital currencies are regulated by central banks, thus giving them some level of control over the financial system.

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“On a positive note, virtual currencies would facilitate smooth financial transactions and eliminate bottlenecks associated with the use of cash (mutilated notes, forgery, cash handling charges, shortages). It will also deepen financial inclusion and increase the velocity of circulation.”

The analysis highlighted the rising concerns of distrust in the government and its policies, cybersecurity and inadequate digital infrastructure.

“All these could limit the launch and widespread use of the digital currency in the country,” it said.

According to the report, the drop in inflation rate in May for the second straight month contradicts market reality following the report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which disclosed that the country’s inflation rate fell to 17.93 per cent in May from 18.12 per cent in April.

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FDC said contrary to analyst expectations, the decline in consumer price inflation seemed to be more of a trend than a blip.

It said the headline inflation fell again in May primarily due to a fall in the food sub-index to 22.28 per cent from 22.72 per cent in April.

This is coming as the CBN last year issued a circular asking commercial banks and other financial institutions to close accounts transacting in, or operating on, cryptocurrency exchanges.

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All deals involving cryptocurrency are now prohibited with severe regulatory sanctions awaiting erring outfits.

The apex bank also asked commercial banks to identify persons and or entities transacting in or operating cryptocurrency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.

But since the apex bank announced its intention to introduce a digital currency for the country, it has been applauded.

Apart from the FDC, other analysts have submitted that the proposed CBN’s digital currency would benefit the nation, especially as the digital asset is becoming widely accepted across the globe.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Banking

FSDH Merchant Bank Sells N23.6bn Commercial Paper

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FSDH Merchant Bank

By Dipo Olowookere

Commercial paper worth N23.6 billion is to be raised by FSDH Merchant Bank Limited for its short-term working capital requirements and other general corporate purposes.

The note is being floated by the financial institution under its N40.0 billion commercial paper programme, Business Post gathered.

The sale of the N23.6 billion is being offered by FSDH in three series, series 3, 4 and 5, according to details of the issuance seen by this newspaper.

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Subscriptions for the commercial paper commenced on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, and is expected to wrap up on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, but this is expected to be extended because of the two-day public holiday declared by the federal government on Tuesday and Wednesday for Eid-el-Kabir.

The series 3 CP is with a maturity of 116 days, with a coupon rate of 8.74 per cent, the series 4 note comes with a 188-day tenor with a coupon rate of 11.10 per cent, while the series 5 paper comes with a 270-day maturity and a coupon rate of 11.65 per cent.

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A commercial paper is an unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued for the financing of accounts payable and inventories and meeting short-term liabilities.

Maturities on commercial paper rarely range longer than 270 days and are usually issued at a discount from face value and reflects prevailing market interest rates.

FSDH, a subsidiary of FSDH Holding Company, which started as the first discount house in Nigeria in 1993, transformed into a merchant bank in 2012 after it received approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

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The firm offers services such as cash management, wealth management, risk management, financing and advisory.

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Banking

Ecobank Begins Zero Transaction Fee on Rapidtransfer

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Rapidtransfer App

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The management of Ecobank Nigeria led by Mr Patrick Akinwuntan has said transactions carried out on its money transfer app, Rapidtransfer, would be free of charge for four months.

A statement issued by the lender disclosed that this zero transaction fee on Rapidtransfer is to celebrate this year’s National Diaspora Day fixed for July 25. The day is set aside by the federal government to celebrate Nigerians in the diaspora in recognition of their contributions towards the development of their homeland.

Mr Akinwuntan said Nigerians in the diaspora contribute significantly to the socio-economic development of the country, lauding the decision of the government to celebrate them, noting that the recent launch of the National Diaspora Policy (NDP) by the government would further promote and harness the resources and capacity of Nigerians in the diaspora towards national development.

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“As a pan-African institution positioned to foster the economic growth and integration of our continent, we are particularly pleased to work closely with NiDCOM, ably led by the Chairman/CEO, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa towards the engagement of Nigerians in the diaspora on policies, projects and other initiatives geared at developing the nation.

“From our constant engagement with Nigerians in the Diaspora, we understand their peculiar needs and have created tailor-made solutions to serve them effectively,” the banker said.

He noted further that Ecobank has partnered NiDCOM on webinars, diaspora quarterly lecture series and will continue to seek other collaboration opportunities to deepen engagement with the diaspora community.

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Also speaking, the Head of Consumer Banking at Ecobank Nigeria, Mrs Korede Demola-Adeniyi, said Ecobank will apply zero fees to all Rapidtransfer transactions from July 1 to October 31, 2021, thereby enabling Nigerians living abroad to send money to their loved ones affordably.

According to her, the decision to waive charges underscores the bank’s commitment to helping Nigerians abroad remit money home without placing an additional burden of charges on them, especially at this period of global economic downturn.

Rapidtransfer is Ecobank’s proprietary money transfer service which enables users send funds across borders, affordably and instantly.

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The banking app is available for use by Ecobank and non-Ecobank customers. Remittances can be received directly into the recipient’s account or as cash at any Ecobank branch.

Beneficiaries who wish to receive funds into an account but do not have domiciliary accounts have the opportunity to open in Euro, GBP or USD instantly and enjoy all the benefits that come with Ecobank foreign currency accounts.

In addition, N5 is paid on every one dollar received as cash or direct to account in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s ongoing Naira for Dollar initiative.

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Banking

Fidelity Bank, Linda Ikeji Plan Platform to Empower Women

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Linda Ikeji Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe empower women

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Efforts are being made by Fidelity Bank Plc and Linda Ikeji Blog (LIB) TV to create a long-term platform aimed to educate, support and empower women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

Last week, the CEO of LIB TV, Ms Linda Ikeji, was at the head office of Fidelity Bank in Lagos on a courtesy call to the CEO of the financial institution, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe.

During the visit, the duo not only explored business opportunities but discussed ways to lend their voice to the ongoing conversation about women empowerment.

The two beautiful amazons and consummate professionals in their respective fields of endeavour (banking and media) agreed that one of the best ways to develop the nation was to provide an avenue for women to thrive.

“Through strategic collaborations, we can set up a forum for young aspiring entrepreneurs to have a one-on-one interaction with successful career women in Fidelity Bank. This will provide them with the opportunity to ask questions and share their experiences,” Ms Ikeji said.

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The media guru, while speaking on the importance of innovation in entrepreneurship, encouraged budding female entrepreneurs to stay ahead of their time by conducting research and identifying the needs of consumers.

She praised Fidelity Bank for organising women empowerment programmes, explaining that more Nigerian women need such platforms for motivation whilst believing that there is no limit to what they can achieve.

Ms Ikeji also used the occasion to express her confidence in management’s capacity to impact positively on the growth and development of women-owned businesses in Nigeria.

In her remarks, Mrs Onyeali-Ikpe, who was surrounded by top female management staff, applauded her guest’s efforts to empower young women, alluding to her 2017 initiative, which saw her tour secondary schools across the country teaching young girls about entrepreneurship. She expressed the willingness of the bank to collaborate with LIB TV for the betterment of female entrepreneurs.

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The bank chief also used the opportunity to provide a detailed insight into her seven-point agenda, which is part of plans to ensure the bank achieves Tier-One status in Nigeria by 2025.

Speaking about the bank’s efforts to positively influence women in business, the Fidelity Bank boss stated that the company’s long-standing support for the growth of women-owned businesses in Nigeria stems from its recognition of women’s ability to effectively control the hem of affairs in business.

Whilst reiterating the bank’s passion for women empowerment, she said the lender has put in place necessary measures to improve gender equality and assist women in the bank’s workforce thrive effortlessly on the job.

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One of these, she said, is the creation of a conducive workspace for all women by building a crèche for Fidelity women to enable them to take care of their children.

“Fidelity Bank is very concerned about the convenience of women in the workforce and I encourage that every work environment with mothers should have a crèche. We have just built a child-friendly environment and it would be unveiled very soon,” she said.

On a final note, Mrs Onyeali-Ikpe noted that female business owners and professionals must make it a point of duty to be consistent and tenacious to succeed in business.

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