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Subsidy Removal: Revert To Status Quo – TUC Tells FG

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The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has urged the Federal Government to revert to status quo over its decision to remove fuel subsidy.

Mr Festus Osifo, TUC President, spoke while addressing newsmen at the end of an emergency meeting of the congress’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Friday in Abuja.

According to Osifo, the TUC is unhappy with the unilateral decision of the Federal Government to remove the subsidy.

He said the TUC’s expectation was that the government should have engaged Organised labour.

“Having noted this, we wish to state that the NEC-in- session resolved that discussions with Federal Government should continue while demanding that the government should revert to the status quo ante.

“The status quo ante should be maintained while discussions continue as we had a meeting with the government on Wednesday.

“During that discussion, they gave us a list of all the things they would do and they also demanded to know our thinking and what we are putting up.

“We told them the lists of the things we want to put forward, we will not submit them now but put them forward to our organs, to discuss and seek a mandate from them of the things we can put forward,’ ‘he said.

According to Osifo, it is how the government reacts to TUC’s demands that will determine the union’s next line of action.

“We will wait till Sunday when we will meet with the representatives of the government.

“Once we are done with that meeting then the TUC is going to put its demands forward, it is how they react to those demands that will determine our next line of action, ”he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress also had its NEC meeting and has said it will embark on a nationwide strike from June 7 if the issue of fuel subsidy removal and increase in the price of fuel is not reverted.

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Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN

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AGAINST the backdrop of sustained pressure in the foreign exchange market and high cost of production, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN has indicated that inventory of unsold goods is escalating to levels now threatening the existence of companies operating in the production sector of the economy with attendant job losses.

Findings show that as of the weekend the foreign exchange market had recorded over 254 per cent plunge in the value of the naira since flotation of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in June 2023.

Recall that the naira traded for N471 per dollar in the official I&E market on June 13, 2023 before the floatation of the currency, but exchanged for N1,665.50 to a dollar as at February 23, 2024 on the Nigerian Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), indicating a depreciation of more than 253.6 per cent over the eight-month period. The forex crisis is also stoking inflation, and coupled with high energy costs, purchasing power has continued plummet, stifling demand for goods.

Speaking on the impact of this development on the manufacturing sector, Director General, MAN, Segun Ajayi-Kadir, said: “There are reports that across the board, many warehouses and plants of many manufacturing firms are stockpiled with unsold goods manufactured last year. “The development is as a result of the devastating effects of the exchange rate crisis, inflation, fake and sub-standard goods, smuggling and other macro-economics challenges.”

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CBN Lifts Ban On BDCs, Introduces New Operational Mechanism

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In a major development aimed at financial stability and strengthening the naira, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to resume its weekly intervention in the country’s foreign exchange (FX) market through the Bureau de Change (BDC) operators.

In 2021, the central bank, in a bid to achieve its mandate of safeguarding the value of the local currency, ensuring financial system stability, and shoring up external reserves, announced the immediate discontinuance of foreign currency sales to Bureau de Change (BDC) operators in the country.

However, the resumed intervention, which would reportedly commence today for funding as well as Tuesday for collection, will see the apex bank inject FX into the subsector in a bid to rescue the naira from further depreciation against major currencies, particularly the US Dollar. The collection will be at designated CBN branches in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, and Awka, while details of the naira accounts to be credited for funding bidding will also be made available today.

CBN is also expected to publish the list of eligible BDCs to benefit from its funding using certain compliance criteria.National Executive Council of Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) hinted on the latest developments through a memo to its members over the weekend.

The association also warned members that it will no longer be business as usual under the new supervisory regime of the central bank, as any infringement or infraction would result in outright revocation of license and prosecution.

ABCON said through the association’s various engagements with the central bank, in conjunction with ABCON’s strategic partners, CBN had agreed to its request, under the bank’s supervision, to inject liquidity into the market through a weekly intervention beginning today.

CBN assured ABCON that the new circular on the Revised Regulatory and Supervisory Guidelines to BDCs, which was introduced over the weekend, was only a draft exposure that required the association’s inputs before the release of the final guidelines by the apex bank.

To that effect, the letters of the guidelines were not cast in stone, the association’s leadership told its members, who had been worried over the sweeping reforms in the document, which, among other things, prescribed N2 billion and N500 million minimum capital for national and state BDCs, respectively.

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