12 Mar

Daily Watch – Bank fraud on the up, Alcohol and tobacco prices go up too

  • Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products are set to rise following the approval of an amendment to the excise duty rates by President Buhari following a request by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun. According to the finance ministry, the review will take effect from June 4, 2018. Adeosun said the new excise duty rates will be spread over a period of three years to moderate the impact on the prices of the products. Nigeria’s cumulative specific excise duty rate for tobacco was 23.2 percent of the price of the most sold brand, as against 38.14 percent in Algeria, 36.52 percent in South Africa and 30 percent in Gambia.
  • Lagos has given out ₦4.9 billion in loans to about 5,800 small and medium scale businesses. The Chief Executive Officer of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Akin Oyebode, said that the loans were meant to boost the businesses of unemployed residents in the state. Oyebode promised that the number of beneficiaries would hit 15,000 by the end of the year. “We even expect an improvement in the later years, if businesses key into our innovation-driven enterprise framework-Lagos Ennovate, which is a set of programmes designed to support innovation-driven start-ups in the state. Our goal is to make Lagos the destination for innovation and technology in Africa. Already, we have raised $1 million from the United Nations Development Programme to drive this,” Oyebode said.
  • The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation says the number of fraud cases attributed to internal abuse by staff of banks increased from 231 in 2016 to 320 in 2017. NDIC spokesman, Mohammed Ibrahim, said that the figure was in the organisation’s recent report on off-site supervision of the Deposit Money Banks. “The report relied on a total of 286 responses received from 26 banks during the period and there were 22 NIL monthly responses from the banks as at year ended December 31, 2017. The 286 responses received from banks in 2017 cited 26,182 cases of fraud and forgeries which is 56.30 per cent higher compared to 16,751 cases reported in 2016. Similarly, the amount involved in the fraudulent activities documented increased by ₦3.33 billion from the ₦8.68 billion reported in 2016 to ₦12.01 billion in 2017 or 38 percent. However, the expected/actual loss slightly-decreased by ₦24.42 million or 1.03 percent from ₦2.39 billion in 2016 to ₦2.37 billion in 2017.” Internet/Online-banking and ATM/Card-related fraud-types reported constituted 24,266 or 92.68 percent of all the reported cases, resulting in ₦1.51 billion or 63.66 percent of losses in the industry in 2017.
  • The Corporate Affairs Commission says it hopes to reduce the time spent to register a company to two hours from 24 hours by December 2018. Azuka Azinge, the acting registrar-general, CAC, said the commission has created an enabling environment to allow customers register their businesses within 24 hours to improve the ease of doing business in the country. In April 2017, Mahmud Bello, CAC’s registrar-general at that time, said business owners in Nigeria could conveniently register their businesses online within 48 hours. He also said the commission had started operating 24 hours company registration process to make startup of business easier in Nigeria.