BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Five things to know to start your Wednesday

CBN engages Sokoto traders, banks on old naira notes deposits

On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) engaged members of the traders’ unions, commercial banks, money agents, and the general public in Sokoto on ensuring easy deposits of old naira notes across the state.

The public engagement was a result of addressing the long lines experienced by customers for deposits and withdrawals at the banks.

Other reasons were the rejection of old naira notes by traders and widespread public complaints about the non-accessibility of new naira notes as the dateline of January 31 draws nearer.

Dahiru Usman, the CBN Branch Controller in Sokoto State, tried to calm the traders, business communities, rural dwellers, and others worried about losing their money by failing to deposit it at the designated banks.

Usman assured that measures to increase tellers at the commercial banks for ease of collection of the old notes as well as accessing the new naira notes had been ensured.

He said CBN had introduced different programmes in the rural and underserved areas of the country to boost the collection of the redesigned naira notes.

Usman added that the launch was informed by the need to fully utilise the channels through which the underserved and rural communities could exchange their naira notes. This is according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

Read also: Old Naira notes: CBN on sensitisation drive in Cross River, insists on January 31st deadline

Cabotage fund: NIMASA tasks banks on guidelines

Bashir Jamoh, the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), on behalf of the agency, issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs) to release modalities for the disbursement of $350 million from the Cabotage Vessels Finance Fund (CVFF).

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Jamoh said that the PLIs approved for the disbursement of the fund are: Zenith, Polaris, the United Bank of Africa (UBA), Jaiz, and Union Bank.

He said that after meeting with the banks, the modalities to be released would include interest rate, tenure, collateral, and requirements needed to access the fund.

He pointed out that the interest rate must be in accordance with international best practises because the money to be given is in foreign currencies.

The director general promised to ensure adequate stakeholder engagement before starting the disbursement of the CVFF.

Kwara Assembly passes 2023 budget of N188.8bn

The Kwara State House of Assembly on Tuesday approved the sum of N188.8 billion as the 2023 appropriation law for the state.

A closer examination of the approved sum showed that capital expenditures took up N113.1 billion from the N112.5 billion earlier presented by the executive, an increase of N909 million.

While the recurrent expenditure as a result now stands at N77.6 billion as against N76.4 billion earlier proposed, representing an increase of N1.6 billion,

Yakubu Salihu, the speaker of the state assembly, said that capital expenditures account for 50.2 percent of the total budget, while recurrent expenditures stand at 48.3 percent.

Appraising the state legislators, Salihu said that the successful passage of the 2023 appropriation law was in line with global best practises for budgeting, pointing out that the 9th Legislature has successfully carried out one of its mandates.

Amazon deepens healthcare push with $5 monthly subscription

Amazon.com Inc. announced on Tuesday the launch of a new programme called RxPass, which will assist the e-commerce company in its efforts to increase its participation in the healthcare industry in the United States.

The programme offers a $5 monthly subscription plan for U.S. Prime members that will cover a range of generic drugs and their doorstep delivery, Reuters reported.

Vin Gupta, Amazon Pharmacy’s chief medical officer, said that the program includes more than 50 medications addressing over 80 chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, and male pattern baldness.

John Love, vice president of Amazon Pharmacy, also said that members would save about $100 per year with RxPass. Sign-ups kicked off on Tuesday.

The flat $5 charge would be without insurance and on top of the Prime membership fee, which costs $139 per year in the United States.

Binance moved $346m for seized crypto exchange Bitzlato

An investigation carried out by the U.S. Justice Department revealed that Binance, one of the biggest crypto exchange platforms in the world, processed almost $346 million in bitcoin for the Bitzlato digital currency exchange, whose founder was arrested by U.S. authorities last week for allegedly running a “money laundering engine,” according to blockchain data.

Reuters reported that the Justice Department said on January 18 that it charged Anatoly Legkodymov, co-founder of Bitzlato, a Russian national living in China, with facilitating a high-tech cryptocrime by processing $700 million in illicit funds used to operate an unlicensed money exchange business.

The Justice Department said that Bitzlato failed to carry out any background checks on clients, adding that when the exchange did ask users for ID information, “it repeatedly allowed them to provide information belonging to “straw man” registrants.”