Press focuses on implementation of new cash withdrawal limit policy, others

The report that over 20 Deposit Money Banks on Monday began the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria's new…

The report that over 20 Deposit Money Banks on Monday began the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new cash withdrawal limit policy across the country with bank customers expressing anger over the new rule dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Punch reports that over 20 Deposit Money Banks on Monday began the implementation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s new cash withdrawal limit policy across the country with bank customers expressing anger over the new rule.

The Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, had on December 21, 2022, bowed to pressure and revised the bank’s earlier cash withdrawal limits.

The CBN reviewed upwards the maximum weekly limit for cash withdrawal across all channels by individuals and corporate organisations to N500,000 and N5m respectively.

The CBN attributed the development to the feedback it got from stakeholders.

For transactions above the withdrawal limits, financial institutions are required to get details of the customers and upload the same on the CBN portal created for the purpose.

In the earlier circular it issued on December 6, 2022, the CBN had said that with effect from January 9, 2023, the maximum over-the-counter cash withdrawal limit by individuals and corporate organisations per week, would be N100,000 and N500,000 respectively, adding that withdrawals above these limits would attract processing fees of five per cent and 10 per cent respectively.

It further stated that the maximum cash withdrawal per week via Automated Teller Machines from January 9, would be N100,000 subject to a maximum of N20,000 cash withdrawal per day.

The apex bank also directed banks to load only N200 and lower denominations into their ATMs.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited is selling Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, at a loss because of its mandate from the Federal Government as regards PMS subsidy, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said on Monday.

Sylva’s remarks came as oil marketers stated that the supply hitches in the downstream oil sector that often leads to fuel scarcity, might persist till June, based on the government’s plan to end petrol subsidy in that month.

The petroleum minister spoke in Abuja at the resumption of the scorecard series (2015-2023) of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Last week, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said the Federal Government had budgeted about N3.6tn for fuel subsidy till June 2023.

Sylva, while speaking in Abuja on Monday, insisted that subsidy had been a burden, but stressed that it was a mandate on NNPC which had made the oil firm to continue selling PMS at a loss.

He said, “The management of the supply situation under this subsidy regime is not easy. We must all agree that so much money is being burnt in our cars, but somehow we have to put funds to continue to keep the country wet.

“Sometimes if you really think deeply you begin to wonder what magic we are doing to be able to keep this country wet consistently. Considering that you buy something, let’s say for N10, and you are to sell it at a loss.

“And then you are expected to go back to buy the same thing, and come back again to sell it at a loss. So at every point in time you are looking for more money to continue to buy it, because you’re mandated to sell it at a loss.”

Sylva added, “So if you are a businessman, look at it from this perspective, that you are now in the business where you are mandated to sell at a loss to the public. That is not an easy job, I must tell you.”

The Guardian reports that there is anxiety in the private sector as Federal Government seeks to heap more taxes on businesses through its controversial Finance Bill 2022.

The National Assembly hastily passed the bill, alongside the 2023 Appropriation Bill, without subjecting it to a public hearing, an aspect now contested by the organised private sector (OPS).

According to the 2023 Appropriation Act, the total revenue available to fund the budget is estimated at N10.49 trillion. And this includes gross revenues of 63 government-owned enterprises totaling N3.87 trillion.

Of this, the Federal Government’s oil revenue share is projected to be N2.29 trillion; non-oil taxes, N2.43 trillion; and Federal Government’s independent revenues, N2.6 trillion.

While the Senate gave a 24-hour public hearing notice, which some OPS advocacy groups described as unrealistic, the House of Representatives passed the piece of legislation before the advertised public hearing notice was due.

Independent sources that spoke with The Guardian said the OPS, which is seeking a thorough review of the document, would reject it, if passed as treated by the lawmakers.

Members of the private sector are worried that additional tax burden would only push operators to the edge.

According to Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, the document, undergoing a review, would bring to force broad reforms in the tax system and complement ease of doing business.

But industry players argued that some of the provisions would weaken businesses, increase the burden of multiple taxation and make the operating environment more hostile to private investment.

The finance bill seeks the imposition of 0.5 per cent tax on all eligible imports from non-African countries to fund Nigeria’s obligations to international organisations and an increase of Tertiary Education Tax from 2.5 per cent to three per cent of companies’ profits.

The Guardian reports that despite the dismal performance of the nation’s petroleum sector amidst crude oil theft, subsidy payment and rising insecurity that has worsened operations for players in the industry, the Federal Government yesterday in Abuja insisted that the performance of the oil and gas sector was above par in the past seven years of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

Nigeria’s crude oil production has in the last seven years remained low amidst rising theft and vandalism leading to shut-in of oil wells and loss of investment to other African countries.

The state of the refineries, the monopoly in the sale of premium motor spirit, import of dirty fuel, subsidy payment and alleged corruption in the sector have reportedly brought the oil sector to its knees.

But Buhari’s ministers in-charge of Petroleum and Communication speaking at a press conference on the scorecard of Buhari said promises have been kept going by initial projects as efforts are being made to complete other projects that the Buhari administration initiated in the sector.

A section of the Port-Harcourt Refinery will resume this first quarter, especially the 60, 000 barrel capacity of the of the plant as numbers of modular refineries are already producing across the country, the ministers boasted, adding that the sector has played critical roles on increasing fertiliser production in Nigeria, boosting domestic gas utilisation, ending smuggling of premium motor spirits and signing the Petroleum Industry Act.

While a target of 3 million daily crude oil production was set, Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva said efforts are being made in deep water drilling, 2D seismic data, acquisition in Bida basin, repair and protection of the pipeline network amidst others.

 “The Ministry has succeeded in passing landmark statutes such as the Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Acts, as well as the marquee Petroleum Industry Act. It has also secured funding for the rehabilitation of the three existing refineries to enhance the nation’s
domestic refining capacity.

“The Gas Flare commercialisation is at the final stage of award of the flare points to potential winners. The Ministry has encouraged more indigenous participation by facilitating crude access and ease of license approval.

“The five per cent reduction in the cost of crude extraction was also achieved and surpassed. With all these achievements and the drive of the National Gas Expansion Program, the Ministry is actualizing Mr. President’s aspirations as captured in the 9-point agenda,” the minister said.

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