• In an effort to leverage on mobile and digital channels to enhance financial inclusion and stimulate economic activities at the grassroots through the provision of financial services, the CBN has issued a regulation to provide for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks in the country with minimum capital requirement fixed at ₦5 billion. Kevin Amugo, Director, Financial Policy and Regulation Department, signed a later which listed other financial requirements to include application fees of ₦500,000; licensing fees of ₦2,000,000; and change of name costs of ₦1,000,000. PSBs would be permitted to accept deposits from individuals and small businesses, invest in FGN and CBN securities, and carry out such other activities as may be prescribed by the CBN from time to time.
  • The CBN confirmed on Friday that two foreign banks, HSBC and UBS, have closed their offices in Nigeria. The regulator, however, did not give reasons for the shut down of operations of the two foreign banks in its report. HSBC had had a recent run-in with the FG. In July, a research note by the the bank said a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari “raises the risk of limited economic progress and further fiscal deterioration, prolonging the stagnation of his first term, particularly if there is no move towards completing reform of the exchange rate system or fiscal adjustments that diversify government revenues away from oil.” The government in its reaction had contested and dismissed the bank’s claims.
  • Labour unions in Nigeria are insisting that despite a court order, they will commence a nationwide, indefinite strike from tomorrow if the government refuses to meet their demands on a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers. Justice Sanusi Kado of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria had on Friday given an order restraining the NLC and TUC from proceeding on the strike action scheduled to commence November 6. The judge granted the application pending the determination of the substantive suit filed by the FG and the AGF against both unions. However, Joe Ajaero, the national president of United Labour Congress, said the unions are not aware that the issue had been taken to the industrial court, and insisted that the only meeting the unions can honour is where the “agreement for the minimum wage will be signed and forwarded to National Assembly for enactment”. He was supported by the General Secretary of the NLC, Peter Ozo Eson, who said the nationwide strike can only be called off “if the condition to prevent the strike are met before November 6″.
  • The CBN has said that foreign investment had fallen sharply from a year ago as FDI slumped to ₦379.84 billion ($1.2 billion) in the first half of the year from ₦532.63 billion ($1.7 billion) a year earlier. However, the CBN said that the outlook for the Nigerian economy in the second half was “optimistic” given increase in global oil prices and production, but added that rising foreign debt and uncertainty surrounding the 2019 presidential election was a drawback. Investor confidence in Africa’s biggest economy has been shaken since the CBN got entangled in an alleged illegal repatriation of funds battle with telecom giant, MTN Nigeria. The CBN had in August ordered MTN to bring back $8.1 billion to the country, part of profits which the South African telecoms firm sent abroad. The FG also slammed the company an additional tax levy. Both parties are now seeking a mutually beneficial resolution.