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BVN: Only 7% bank customers registered two months to deadline

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Indications have emerged that banks have recorded low registration as active accounts linked with Bank Verification Number BVN are only 7per cent, even after a year the project which was jointly embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS) had commenced. The registration is billed to close at the end of June 2015.

The Bankers Committee, comprising the CBN and Chief Executives Officers of commercial banks in the country have expressed concern over the reluctance of bank customers towards applying for BVN.

A NIBSS’ document on industry analysis of BVNs linked to bank accounts, which was exclusively obtained by the Newwatch Times, listed 23 banks with 48, 389, 614 active accounts and, only 3,340,962 accounts were linked with BVN; representing only 7 per cent registered in the industry so far.

The only bank that recorded zero (0) percent of customers’ accounts linked with BVN was Aso Savings with an active account of 33, 951, Unity Bank Plc had 0.58 per cent showing that 4,709 of 866,647 active accounts enrolled.

Further breakdown shows that Guaranty Trust Bank recorded that highest number of customers enrolled on the scheme as 993, 053 out of 5,851,934 active accounts have registered, representing 17 per cent of the total number. First Bank with 448, 913 enrolled out of 8,242,335, translates to five per cent of its active customers; Stanbic IBTC has 312,402 out of 839, 347 active accounts, representing 37 per cent; Access Bank recorded 231, 034 of 3, 445, 218, representing seven per cent compliance. Fidelity Bank has 185, 052 out of 1,982,287 active accounts, representing nine per cent; FCMB has 153,101 out of 1,329,432, representing 12 per cent of active accounts registered.

United Bank for Africa (UBA) has 38, 672 accounts verified out of 4,027,151; Ecobank, 89, 385 of 6, 668, 070 and Keystone Bank 10, 935 of 824, 531 as the three banks recorded only 1per cent respectively. Citi Bank with 1, 610 active accounts has 1, 101 (68 per cent) accounts linked with BVN, recording the highest percentage. Standard Chartered Bank has 23, 566 out of 109,830, representing 21 per cent compliance; Wema Bank has 108, 662 out of 582, 367, representing 19 per cent; Heritage Bank- 2, 485 of out 20, 486 (12 per cent). MainStreet Bank- 29, 083 account holders enrolled out of 351, 056, Sterling Bank- 84, 041 of 1,068,425 and Zenith Bank 199, 179 of 2, 597, 362 active accounts, as the trio recorded 8 per cent.

The duo of Union Bank and Skye Bank recorded six per cent, as the data from NIBSS shows that the former had 129, 053 of 2, 062, 356 and the later recorded 94, 179 accounts linked with BVN out of 1, 618, 144 active accounts. Diamond Bank and Jaiz Bank recorded four per cent respectively, with Diamond Bank having 171, 822 accounts linked with BVN out of 4, 348, 730 and Jaiz- 3, 980 of 93, 223 active accounts and Enterprsie Bank- 30, 264 of 1, 486, 029, representing two per cent of accounts linked with BVN.

Meanwhile, the Bank Verification Number is another important step the CBN is using to strengthen the security of banking transactions and to ensure that fraudulent transactions are minimized, if not totally eliminated.

Rising from its 321st Bankers Committee Meeting last week, the committee agreed that it is critical that clients and account holders continue to proactively get their BVN from the banks.

Omar Hafeez, Managing Director/Chief Executive, Citibank, noted that the challenges associated with the enrolment of the Bank Verification Number was being tackled by the apex bank, while enjoining customers to key into the scheme as the benefits are enormous.

His words:”The BVN was discussed. It is critical that clients and account holders continue to proactively get their BVN from the banks because it will be difficult for them to access credits if they don’t do that.

“We advise all account holders to focus on coming to the banks and register. Banks would do enlightenment campaigns on BVN because we are very keen that every bank customer has a BVN.”

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WAIVER CESSATION: Igbokwe urges NIMASA to evolve stronger collaboration with Ships owners

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…Stresses the need for timely disbursement of N44.6billion CVFF***

Highly revered Nigerian Maritime Lawyer, and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Igbokwe has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and safety Agency (NIMASA) to partner with ship owners and relevant association in the industry to evolving a more vibrant merchant shipping and cabotage trade regime.

Igbokwe gave the counsel during his paper presentation at the just concluded two-day stakeholders’ meeting on Cabotage waiver restrictions, organized by NIMASA.

“NIMASA and shipowners should develop merchant shipping including cabotage trade. A good start is to partner with the relevant associations in this field, such as the Nigeria Indigenous Shipowners Association (NISA), Shipowners Association of Nigeria (SOAN), Oil Trade Group & Maritime Trade Group of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).

“A cursory look at their vision, mission and objectives, show that they are willing to improve the maritime sector, not just for their members but for stakeholders in the maritime economy and the country”.

Adding that it is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a through briefing and regular consultation with ships owners, in other to have insight on the challenges facing the ship owners.

“It is of utmost importance for NIMASA to have a thorough briefing and regular consultations with shipowners, to receive insight on the challenges they face, and how the Agency can assist in solving them and encouraging them to invest and participate in the maritime sector, for its development. 

“NIMASA should see them as partners in progress because, if they do not invest in buying ships and registering them in Nigeria, there would be no Nigerian-owned ships in its Register and NIMASA would be unable to discharge its main objective.

The Maritime lawyer also urged NIMASA  to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF)that currently stands at about N44.6 billion.

“Lest it be forgotten, what is on the lips of almost every shipowner, is the need to disburse the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (the CVFF’), which was established by the Coastal and Inland Shipping Act, 2003. It was established to promote the development of indigenous ship acquisition capacity, by providing financial assistance to Nigerian citizens and shipping companies wholly owned by Nigerian operating in the domestic coastal shipping, to purchase and maintain vessels and build shipping capacity. 

“Research shows that this fund has grown to about N44.6billion; and that due to its non-disbursement, financial institutions have repossessed some vessels, resulting in a 43% reduction of the number of operational indigenous shipping companies in Nigeria, in the past few years. 

“Without beating around the bush, to promote indigenous maritime development, prompt action must be taken by NIMASA to commence the disbursement of this Fund to qualified shipowners pursuant to the extant Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (“CVFF”) Regulations.

Mike Igbokwe (SAN)

“Indeed, as part of its statutory functions, NIMASA is to enforce and administer the provisions of the Cabotage Act 2003 and develop and implement policies and programmes which will facilitate the growth of local capacity in ownership, manning and construction of ships and other maritime infrastructure. Disbursing the CVFF is one of the ways NIMASA can fulfill this mandate.

“To assist in this task, there must be collaboration between NIMASA, financial institutions, the Minister of Transportation, as contained in the CVFF Regulations that are yet to be implemented”, the legal guru highlighted further. 

He urged the agency to create the right environment for its stakeholders to build on and engender the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders.

“Lastly, which is the main reason why we are all here, cessation of ministerial waivers on some cabotage requirements, which I believe is worth applause in favour of NIMASA. 

“This is because it appears that the readiness to obtain/grant waivers had made some of the vessels and their owners engaged in cabotage trade, to become complacent and indifferent in quickly ensuring that they updated their capacities, so as not to require the waivers. 

“The cessation of waivers is a way of forcing the relevant stakeholders of the maritime sector, to find workable solutions within, for maritime development and fill the gaps in the local capacities in 100% Nigerian crewing, ship ownership, and ship building, that had necessitated the existence of the waivers since about 15 years ago, when the Cabotage Act came into being. 

“However, NIMASA must ensure that the right environment is provided for its stakeholders to build and possess the needed capacities to fill the gaps; and ensure that steps are being taken to solve the challenges being faced by stakeholders. Or better still, that they are solved within the next 5 years of its intention to stop granting waivers”, he further explained. 

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Breaking News: The Funeral Rites of Matriarch C. Ogbeifun is Live

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The Burial Ceremony of Engr. Greg Ogbeifun’s mother is live. Watch on the website: www.maritimefirstnewspaper.com and on Youtube: Maritimefirst Newspaper.

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Wind Farm Vessel Collision Leaves 15 Injured

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…As Valles Steamship Orders 112,000 dwt Tanker from South Korea***

A wind farm supply vessel and a cargo ship collided in the Baltic Sea on Tuesday leaving 15 injured.

The Cyprus-flagged 80-meter general cargo ship Raba collided with Denmark-flagged 31-meter wind farm supply vessel World Bora near Rügen Island, about three nautical miles off the coast of Hamburg. 

Many of those injured were service engineers on the wind farm vessel, and 10 were seriously hurt. 

They were headed to Iberdrola’s 350MW Wikinger wind farm. Nine of the people on board the World Bora were employees of Siemens Gamesa, two were employees of Iberdrola and four were crew.

The cause of the incident is not yet known, and no pollution has been reported.

After the collision, the two ships were able to proceed to Rügen under their own power, and the injured were then taken to hospital. 

Lifeboat crews from the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service tended to them prior to their transport to hospital via ambulance and helicopter.

“Iberdrola wishes to thank the rescue services for their diligence and professionalism,” the company said in a statement.

In the meantime, the Hong Kong-based shipowner Valles Steamship has ordered a new 112,000 dwt crude oil tanker from South Korea’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries Marine & Engineering.

Sumitomo is to deliver the Aframax to Valles Steamship by the end of 2020, according to data provided by Asiasis.

The newbuild Aframax will join seven other Aframaxes in Valles Steamship’s fleet. Other ships operated by the company include Panamax bulkers and medium and long range product tankers.

The company’s most-recently delivered unit is the 114,426 dwt Aframax tanker Seagalaxy. The naming and delivery of the tanker took place in February 2019, at Namura Shipbuilding’s yard in Japan.

Maritime Executive with additional report from World Maritime News

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