- Shuts 4 mortgage banks, 3 finance coys
- Fines five companies N346bn in five years
The Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operating licences of 132 microfinance banks in the country, alongside those of four primary mortgage banks and three finance companies.
This was disclosed in the official gazette of the Federal Government, which was published on the website of the CBN on Tuesday.
The gazette said that the licences of the financial institutions were revoked because they “ceased to carry on in Nigeria, the type of business for which their licences were issued for a continuous period of six months; failed to fulfill or comply with the conditions subject to which their licences were granted; or failed to comply with the obligations imposed upon them by the Central Bank of Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, Act No. 5.”
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, revoked the licences in the exercise of the powers conferred on the Central Bank of Nigeria under Section 12 of BOFIA 2020, Act No. 5.
The microfinance banks include: Atlas Microfinance Bank, Bluewhales Microfinance Bank, Everest Microfinance Bank, Igangan Microfinance Bank, Mainsail Microfinance Bank, Merit Microfinance Bank, Minna Microfinance Bank, Musharaka Microfinance Bank, Nopov Microfinance Bank, Ohon Microfinance Bank, among others.
Finance companies whose licences were revoked include HHL Invest and Trust Limited, TFS Finance Limited and Treasures and Trust Limited, while the four primary mortgage banks whose licences were revoked are: Resort Savings and Loans, Safetrust Mortgage Bank, Adamawa Savings and Loans and Kogi Savings and Loans.
Gas flaring: Companies fined N346bn in five years, says CBN
In another development, oil and gas companies paid a total of N346bn as penalty for flaring gas in five years, according to data from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The amount was marked as part of the federally collected revenue.
Gas flaring is the surface combustion or burning of natural gas, often associated with crude oil production when pumped up from the ground. It is burnt off as part of the oil production process.
According to the World Bank, the practice has persisted since the beginning of oil production over 160 years ago and takes place due to various issues, from the market and economic constraints to a lack of appropriate regulation and political will.
However, the Federal Government had in recent times led campaigns for gas monetisation against flaring.
Findings showed that an undisclosed number of companies paid the sum between 2018 and 2022 as companies continue to flare gas.
It was observed that the fines maintained a steady increase of over 1,491 per cent, from N4.5bn paid in 2018 to N71.6bn collected in 2022.
A breakdown showed that the companies paid N4.5bn in 2018, N86.2bn in 2019, N87.1bn in 2020, N96.5bn in 2021, and N71.6bn in 2022
However, oil and gas analysts linked the rise in gas flaring to low fines by the Federal Government, and lack of infrastructure investment, among others.
According to a 2022 report by the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, 12 million tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere from gas flaring has contributed to global warming.
To tackle this, the Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers, Nigeria Council, Olalekan Olafuyi, in a recent interview, said the Federal Government would increase gas flare penalties as Nigeria races towards achieving its commitment to the United Nations net zero goals by 2060.
Although he did not state how much increase the flare rates would attract, he said the council was working closely with the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission on the matter.