Stories by Godfrey AKON
Commercial banks in the country have commenced the enforcement of a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to publish names of forex defaulters as part of the clampdown on unethical customers trying to get around the bank’s new forex policy.
CBN had, in a circular addressed to all banks on August 30, ordered them to publish on their websites, the names and Bank Verification Numbers, BVN, of customers who participate in fraudulent and unscrupulous tactics to obtain foreign exchange from banks.
The circular, signed by the apex bank’s director, Banking Supervision Department, Haruna Mustafa, noted that some of the fraudulent practices include: the use of bogus visas and the cancellation of air tickets following the purchase of Personal Travel Allowance and Business Travel Allowance.
“The CBN has received and noted with concern reports of sharp practises by some unscrupulous customers to circumvent the new CBN policy on the sale of forex for overseas personal and business travel.
“Some of these unwholesome practices include the use of fake visas and cancellation of air tickets after purchase of PTA/BTA. This trend, if not curbed, portends risk to the integrity and stability of the forex market.
“Consequently, further to the various measures already put in place, all banks are hereby directed to publish on their websites the names and BVN of defaulting customers who present fake travel documents or cancel their tickets and fail to return the purchased PTA/BTA within two (weeks) as stipulated in the customer declaration form signed by them,” the document read.
Earlier in September, banks sent email messages to their customers, warning them that defaulters of the new foreign exchange policy may face fines, including being prevented from accessing FX from the official FX market, bank account restrictions as established by the CBN, and criminal prosecution.
Meanwhile, one of the commercial banks, United Bank of Africa, UBA, has published the names of three customers who allegedly received foreign currency under false pretences and have not returned it.
According to UBA, one of the customers presented a fake visa to apply for PTA, while the other two cancelled their trip and failed to return the PTA availed to them despite several mails, text messages and follow up phone calls.
FG, states, LGCs share N696.965bn in August
A total sum of N696.965 billion has been disbursed to the three tiers of government as federation allocation for the month of August, 2021.
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, made the disbursement during its virtual meeting of Wednesday September 22, 2021.
The latest disbursement falls short of over N63 billion from a total of N760.717 billion shared in July 2021 the Federal, States, and Local Government Councils.
In July, the N760.717 billion total distributable revenue comprised distributable statutory revenue of N617.705 billion; distributable Value Added Tax, VAT, revenue of N140.555 billion and Exchange Gain of N2.457 billion.
A statement by the Deputy Director of Information, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Oshundun Olajide, on Thursday said the August allocation was, inclusive of Value Added Tax, VAT, exchange gain excess bank charges and revenue from non-oil.
A breakdown of the allocation showed that the Federal Government received N289.257 billion, the States received N217.183 billion, the Local Government councils got N161.541 billion while the oil producing states received N41.376 billion as 13 per cent of mineral revenue derivation.
Citing a communique issued by FAAC at the end of the meeting, it indicated that the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax, VAT, for August, 2021 was N166.228 billion.
It noted that the distribution was as follows; Federal Government got N24.934 billion, the states received N83.114 billion, Local Government Councils got N58.180 billion.
The communique said the sum of N50 billion from non-oil revenue was equally distributed accordingly to the three tiers of government.
According to the document, the Federal Government received N26.340 billion; the States got N13.360 while the LGCs received N10.300 billion.
“The distributed Statutory Revenue of N477.504 billion was received for the month from which the Federal government received N236.437 billon, states got N119.924 billion, LGCs got N92.4456 billion, and Derivation (13% Mineral Revenue) got N28.687 billion,” it said.
It further noted that Companies Income Tax, CIT, Petroleum Profit Tax, PPT, Oil and Gas Royalties and Excise Duty recorded decreases, while Import Duty and Value Added Tax, VAT, increased significantly.
The communique disclosed that the money disbursed for the current month came from Gross Statutory Revenue of N477.504 billion, VAT of N166.228 billion, Exchange Gain of N2.830 billion, Excess Bank Charges Recovered of N0.403 billion and N50 billion from Non-Oil revenue, making a total distributable revenue to N696.965 billion.