IN order to reduce internet fraud in Nigeria, some banks in Lagos State have warned its customers against responding to requests for their personal bank details over the internet, telephone or in person. Francis Barde, head, corporate affairs department, Union Bank Plc, said that more people are now getting scam e-mails than before.
He said that scammers are taking advantage of changes in electronic banking transactions to dupe unsuspecting customers of their money. “More people are embracing the e-payment system which is popularly known as cashless policy. As a bank, steps have been taken to protect customers and secure their transactions; it has become part of our policy to often inform our customers not to share their personal bank details with a third party. Customers should be wary of any email or website that requires them to fill forms that require their personal identification numbers, passwords or security codes,” he said.
Ramon Nasir, head, Media Relations Unit, United Bank for Africa, UBA Plc, Marina, said that many of the e-mail scams looked real for an ignorant and unsuspecting customer. According to Nasir, there are many types of scams with the sole aim of stealing customers’ account, information, number and money. We have taken steps to secure and protect our customers against cyber crimes and other forms of e-banking threats.” He said that the drive towards a cashless economy has necessitated that systems and processes are put in place to protect customers. He warned customers who get periodic e-mails and messages requesting for their personal data to ignore them.
CIBN Demands Special Intervention Funds
THE Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, CIBN, wants the federal government to intensify efforts on the implementation of infrastructural development programmes and the provision of special intervention funds for real and agricultural sectors in the country. Segun Aina, president, CIBN, said these would ensure the success of the ongoing economic diversification agenda.
He said diversification of the country’s economic base had become more imperative in view of the increasing uncertainties in the international oil market and the quest by countries for alternative energy sources. Aina noted that the government has done fairly well in areas of appropriate policy frameworks and reforms in the power, financial services and agricultural sectors required to attract investments and re-position the economy on the path of sustainable growth. “There is still more to do in areas of translating the transformation plans to assets in terms of adequate infrastructure, cheaper, long term funds and other critical needs.”
He said that in 2009 and 2010, the CIBN recommended the fast- tracking of the proposal for the development of a competency framework and that in November 2012, the Central Bank released the guidelines for the implementation of the competency framework for the Nigerian banking industry with the Institute as the sole accreditation and certification agency.
“However, there are other key recommendations for which we are expecting positive outcomes. These include issues relating to the diversification of the economy away from oil, given the uncertainties of the oil and gas sector globally. This has become imperative especially with the threat posed by the quest for alternative energy sources and the discovery of shale oil and gas,” Aina said, adding that the issue of the unique and coordinated National Identification Programme was yet to be completed while provision of adequate infrastructure remains a major challenge.
Rise in Nigeria’s External Trade
NIGERIA’S external trade has risen by N242.3 billion in the second quarter of 2013 according to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS. Yemi Kale, statistician-general of the federation, said the trade figure rose from N5.09tn in the first quarter to N5.34tn in the second quarter. He noted in the report that an increase of N290.8bn or 8.4 per cent in the value of exports from N3.45tn in the first quarter to N3.74tn in the second quarter was responsible for the rise.
“The total value of Nigeria’s external merchandise trade amounted to N5.341tn in the second quarter of 2013, an increase of N242.3bn or 4.8 per cent from N5.098tn recorded in the previous quarter. “This change resulted from an increase in the value of exports from N3.452tn in the first quarter of 2013 to N3.742tn in the second quarter (an increase of N290.8bn or 8.4 per cent), and a 2.9 per cent decline in the value of imports from N1.646tn in the first quarter of 2013 to N1.598tn in the second quarter.
“Furthermore, the increase in exports and decrease in imports resulted in a favourable trade balance of N2.144tn in the second quarter, an increase of N339.3bn or 18.8 per cent from levels recorded in the first quarter of 2013.” The report put the crude oil component of the total trade at N2.709tn, indicating a decrease of N321.2bn or 10.6 per cent when compared with the previous quarter. The crude oil component also recorded a 23.6 per cent decline in the year-on-year analysis.
Giving reasons for the decline in imports, the report stated, “The decline of imports in the second quarter of 2013, relative to the first quarter of the year, resulted from the decline of some products such as crude inedible materials, which accounted for N12.2bn or 0.8 per cent, of total imports, oil and fats at N1.2bn or 0.1 per cent, mineral fuels at N14.2bn or 0.9 per cent; and beverages and tobacco with N6.7bn or 0.4 per cent of total imports.”
Details of imports classified by sections showed that footwear, head gear and umbrellas accounted for N4.7bn or 0.3 per cent of total imports; miscellaneous manufactured articles accounted for N7.0bn or 0.4 per cent; mineral products were recorded at N254.7bn or 15.9 per cent; and vehicles, aircraft and parts at N89.4bn or 5.6 per cent. In terms of exports, the report revealed that mineral products contributed N3.122tn or 83.4 per cent of the total.
This was followed by plastic, rubber and parts, with N196.5bn or 5.2 per cent; and prepared foodstuff, beverages, spirit vinegar and tobacco were recorded at N98.2bn or 2.6 per cent. The report stated that exports to various continents indicated that Europe ranked first with N1.410tn or 37.7 per cent of total exports, followed by the Americas with N971bn or 25.9 per cent, and Asia with N734.6bn or 19.6 per cent. It added that while Africa accounted for N503.8bn or 13.5 per cent of total exports, the ECOWAS region contributed N218.5bn or 43.4 per cent of exports to the region.
Compiled by Chinwe Okafor
— Sep. 30, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT