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CBN Clears OPay, Kuda, Others To Resume New Customer Onboarding This Week



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has lifted its ban on OPay, Moniepoint, Kuda, Palmpay, and Paga, clearing the way for the fintechs to resume onboarding new customers.

This comes about five weeks after the apex bank stopped the fintechs from onboarding new customers over concerns that their accounts were being used for accounts being used for illicit foreign exchange transactions.

While the CBN has not issued any official statement regarding that, two of the affected fintechs, OPay and Kuda confirmed the development in separate messages to their customers on Monday.

Announcing the development via a post on its X handle, OPay said:

“We are thrilled to announce that the Central Bank of Nigeria has given OPay the thumbs up to resume onboarding new users. This milestone highlights our dedication to following the rules, keeping your information safe and secure, and preventing any shady activities.”

Against the backdrop of the concerns expressed by the apex bank leading to the ban, OPay reiterated that it strictly adheres to the approved KYC verification processes and urged its customers to ensure that the due verification process is followed for all accounts and all requirements are completely fulfilled.

Kuda also took to the social media platform to share the news with its customers and followers. The fintech wrote,

“As you probably already know, we’ve been working with the CBN to meet recent regulatory requirements by putting more account controls in place.

“Based on the work we’ve done, we’ll resume signing up new customers this week. Please, note that you’ll need your BVN, NIN, and your proof of address (followed by address verification) to open a Tier 3 account.”

The CBN on April 29 directed the five fintech companies to stop onboarding new customers. This came days after 1,146 accounts were blocked for peer-to-peer crypto trading.

However, the fintechs argued that the directive might be misdirected, as the majority of the implicated accounts belong to commercial banks, not fintech platforms.

The country’s National Security Adviser (NSA) also categorised crypto as a security concern and was keen to have the fintechs ramp up Know Your Customer (KYC) and fraud measures to prevent crypto transactions going through the fintechs.

On May 20, 2024, the fintechs were given several conditions for the onboarding freeze to be lifted including asking them to block P2P crypto transfers and mandating physical address verification for all tiers of accounts. The fintechs were also asked to update their facial verification for customers.


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CBN Revokes Heritage Bank’s Licence



The Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the banking licence of Heritage Bank Plc, effective immediately.

This decision was made due to the bank’s failure to improve its financial performance, posing a threat to financial stability.

The apex bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communication Department, Sidi Ali, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.

According to the CBN, the bank’s management has been unable to stem the decline despite various supervisory steps taken by the regulator. With no reasonable prospects of recovery, the CBN has taken this action to protect the financial system and maintain public confidence.

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“The Nigerian financial system remains on a solid footing.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety and soundness of our financial system, and this action reflects that commitment,” the statement added.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation has been appointed as the liquidator of Heritage Bank, following the Banks and Other Financial Act 2020.

This move is seen as a significant step by the CBN to maintain the stability of the financial system and protect depositors’ funds. The public has been assured that the revocation of Heritage Bank’s license will not impact the overall health of the financial system.

The statement read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), following its mandate to promote a sound financial system in Nigeria and exercise of its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Act (BOFIA) 2020, hereby revokes the licence of Heritage Bank Plc with immediate effect.

“This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The Board and Management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial

“This follows a period during which the CBN engaged with the bank and prescribed various supervisory steps intended to stem the decline. Regrettably, the bank has continued to suffer and has no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.

“Consequently, the CBN has taken this action to strengthen public confidence in the banking system and ensure that the soundness of our financial system is not impaired.

“The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) is hereby appointed as the liquidator of the bank under Section 12 (2) of BOFIA, 2020.

“We wish to assure the public that the Nigerian financial system remains on a solid footing. The action we are taking today reflects our continued commitment to take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and soundness of our financial system.”


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CBN Withdraws Cybersecurity Levy Circular After FG Suspension



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has withdrawn its earlier circular directing banks to implement a controversial 0.5% cybersecurity levy on electronic transactions.

The decision of the apex bank to withdraw the circular followed the public outrage that trailed the announcement of the policy two weeks ago and the suspension of the levy by the Federal Government last week.

In its initial circular dated May 6, 2024 addressed to all deposit money banks, mobile money operators and payment service providers, the apex bank directed the deduction of the levy to be remitted to the National Cybersecurity Fund (NCF), administered by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The development sparked wild outcries with labour unions threatening actions and pressure groups faulting the timing of the implementation of the levy amidst the cost of living crisis exacerbated by rising inflation.

The Federal Government would susbsequently suspend the controversial cybersecurity levy, as announced by Information Minister Mohammed Idris on May 14, 2024.

The CBN, in its latest circular dated May 17, 2024, referred to the earlier May 6, 2024 circular and advised financial institutions that the initial circular on the implementation of the cybersecurity levy “is hereby withdrawn”.

The CBN’s latest circular on the matter was co-signed by its Director of Payments System Management Department, Chibuzo Efobi; and his counterpart at the Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Haruna Mustafa.


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Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Rises To 33.69% In April Amid Worsening Hardship



Nigeria’s inflation surged to 33.69 per cent in April from 33.20 per cent in March, amid worsening economic hardship in the country.

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, disclosed this in its latest consumer price index and inflation report released on Wednesday.

The figure showed that Nigeria’s inflation continued to jump since the commencement of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration in May last year.

The country’s inflation rose in April to 33.69 per cent from 22.41 per cent in May last year.

In January 2024, headline inflation was 29.9 per cent, 31.70 per cent in February, and 33.20 per cent in March.

On a month-on-month basis the country’s inflation rose to by 0.49 per cent.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Olayemi Cardoso, recently said the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee would do everything to bring down the country’s rising inflation rate.

Cardoso stressed that the MPC will continue to raise interest rates, which stood at 24.75 per cent in March, to bring down inflation.

Meanwhile, the MPC meeting will be held next week, May 20 and 21, 2024.


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