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Banks Move against Bullion Van Robberies

Posted by By Chinyere Okoye on 2008/06/09 | Views: 1804 |

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Banks Move against Bullion Van Robberies

The frequent attacks on bullion vans in the country may soon be curbed following the engagement of the services of a South African integrated cash management firm, SBV Services (Pty) Limited.

The frequent attacks on bullion vans in the country may soon be curbed following the engagement of the services of a South African integrated cash management firm, SBV Services (Pty) Limited.

SBV, owned by the country’s four largest banks – Absa, Nedbank, FirstRand and Standard Bank – is expected to commence operations in Nigeria this month.

SBV is expected to provide bullion van services for banks and financial houses, which have been having a running battle with armed robbers.

Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro had raised an alarm over the casualty figure of police personnel arising from bullion van and bank robbery operations, which had assumed frightening proportion across the country.
He directed banks and financial institutions to get bullion vans that were suitable for the transfer of cash from one location to the other.

Okiro had also directed the banks and financial institutions to either comply with the directive to buy proper bullet-proof bullion vans or stop requesting the use of policemen for escort of cash.

He had also warned Commissioners of Police in the 36 states of the federation that they would be made to face the consequencies of the death of policemen if the banks failed to comply with his directive.

SBV, which has been operating in Africa and the Middle East, is said to have a reputation for efficiency in cash risk and operational cost management.

Many banks, THISDAY learnt, are hoping that the company will fill the gap in the Nigerian cash operations industry by providing integrated cash transit and cash operations solutions to Nigerian banks.

With investments of over US$250 million planned over the next 18 months, the company, THISDAY was told, projects to employ over 4,500 Nigerians and pioneer the emergence of a modern and technology driven cash operations industry in Nigeria, with great multiplier opportunities in the form of several Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) businesses that will feed into the ICMS platform.

Sources in the company say the immediate past Governor of CBN, Dr. Joseph Sanusi (OON), is the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua had recently sought to re-energise Nigeria-South Africa cooperation.

He had received South Africa’s Deputy President, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, three weeks ago, and had last week met President Thabo Mbeki in South Africa.

At the forum, the two leaders had emphasised the urgent need for increased bilateral investments by the private sectors of both countries, as the surest way to accelerate continental economic development and enable Africa catch up with the rest of the world.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had advertised its intention to outsource its cash transportation and processing function to credible private sector operators.

This to the CBN was to enable it focus more acutely on the rapidly evolving Nigerian banking industry, as well as redirect resources on its other core activities.

Towards this end, the CBN had circulated to the banking industry draft guidelines for the regulation of all cash operations in the country.

The guideline and the full disengagement of CBN from all cash handling services are expected anytime from now.

The company will be formally launched at a dinner scheduled for tomorrow at the Regent Chinese Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to a letter of invitation sent to banks and stakeholders, the Joint Venture Company called Integrated Cash Management Services (ICMS) Limited is owned by SBV Services (Pty) Ltd and a group of Nigerian investors led by XL Cash Management Services Ltd.
Guests expected at the launch include the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria, CEOs of major Nigerian and South African companies and banks, Okiro and other dignitaries.

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