CBN raises minimum capital requirements for banks

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April 1, 2024
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7 min read
CBN building
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. [PHOTO CREDIT: Ehud Kaduna]

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Ina kwana,

Victoria from Techpoint,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • CBN raises minimum capital requirements for banks
  • Cellulant exits Nigeria’s mobile money scene
  • NITDA warns against QR code scams
  • Kenya goes green with green plates

CBN raises minimum capital requirements for banks

CBN building
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN. [PHOTO CREDIT: Ehud Kaduna]

Last Thursday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised the minimum capital requirements for banks. 

Here’s the lowdown: For commercial banks with international authorisation, the CBN is raising the bar to ₦500 billion! While banks with national authorisation now need at least ₦200 billion, regional ones must have a minimum of  ₦50 billion in their kitty.

Merchant banks are looking at a minimum of ₦50 billion, while non-interest banks need ₦20 billion for national authorisation and ₦10 billion for regional.

This is not just a suggestion; it is a deadline. All banks have 24 months – from April 1, 2024, to March 31, 2026 – to get their ducks in a row and meet the new requirements. 

The goal? To ensure that Nigeria's banks have sufficient financial resources to continue supporting the economy.

And how should banks go about it? The CBN recommends they bring in new equity capital through private placements or rights issues, merge with other banks, or even downgrade or upgrade their licences.

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The catch is that the new capital must consist solely of paid-up capital and share premiums. No funny business with additional Tier 1 Capital, alright? And if a bank falls short of the capital adequacy ratio requirement, it'll need to inject more capital to make up for it.

Now, what about new banks? Well, they better come prepared with the big bucks, too. Any new applications for banking licences after April 1, 2024, must meet the new capital requirements upfront, with a deadline of March 31, 2026, to get their ducks in a row.

But don't worry, the CBN won't leave banks hanging. It’s giving them until April 30, 2024, to submit a plan detailing how they'll meet the new requirements. Besides, your money is safe.

Cellulant exits Nigeria’s mobile money scene

Cellulant's office
Image source: Techbooth\

Cellulant, a big player in African payments, has decided to bow out of the mobile money scene in Nigeria. 

Why? The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yanked the company’s mobile money licence because Cellulant wanted to switch gears and focus on serving businesses instead of individual users.

However, Cellulant says it's all good because the CBN didn't pull the plug because of any rule-breaking or shady business. It was more of a mutual decision, with Cellulant asking for the licence to be revoked so they could pivot to offering payment services. 

This plan has been brewing since 2021. Remember when it renewed its PSSP licence back in February 2023? That was just the start. Now, it wants to offer online and offline payment solutions to businesses across Nigeria.

Cellulant started as a music streaming platform in 2002, but it’s come a long way since then. These days, it’s all about fintech, offering digital payments and managing a whole network of retailers, banks, and more across Africa.

But it hasn't been smooth sailing lately. It’s had its fair share of challenges, including a bit of restructuring and some layoffs. And to top it all off, its CEO, Akshay Grover, stepped down in January 2024 to deal with personal stuff.


NITDA warns against QR code scams

NITDA

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) warns Nigerians about QR code scams. 

The agency says scammers use these codes to trick people into phishing scams, payment fraud, and even identity theft.

QR codes are those black-and-white squares you see that store URLs or other info for your smartphone's camera to read. But now, scammers are taking advantage of them.

NITDA's advice? Be super cautious when scanning QR codes. These scammers are sneaky and can trick you into revealing sensitive information or redirecting payments to their accounts instead of where they're supposed to go.

How do they do it? Well, they might link you to fake websites or apps, embed malware in the codes, or even collect your information through fake ads or surveys.

So, what can you do to stay safe? Stick to scanning codes from trusted sources, double-check before scanning anything fishy, and use reliable QR code scanner apps with good security features. And remember to keep your devices updated with the latest antivirus software.

Kenya goes green with green plates

Kenya's Green Number Plate

Kenya is going green with special number plates for electric vehicles (EVs)! 

The government is rolling out green plates for all EVs, including electric motorbikes. It's all part of Kenya’s big push to get more people driving EVs to cut down on carbon emissions.

Kipchumba Murkomen, Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Roads and Transport, says EVs can slash greenhouse gas emissions and save the country a tonne of money on importing petroleum.

And the fancy green plates? They are not just for show; they are intended to get people talking about electric vehicles and, hopefully, persuade more people to switch.

But that's not all. Kenya's also getting serious about electric mobility with a new draft policy. This policy will guide everything from electric cars to trains, planes, and boats. 

And it's not just about saving the planet; it's about creating jobs too. Murkomen says the EV sector will bring in more manufacturing jobs, which is great news for the economy.

And get this: even the government is jumping on the EV bandwagon. They intend to replace all their old fuel-guzzlers with new EVs, which they believe will save taxpayers a boatload of cash on fuel and maintenance.

To top it all off, the ministry is setting up charging stations at its headquarters.

Last week on Techpoint Africa

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Have a great week!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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