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High fuel price: Anambra Community leader sues for dialogue instead of strike

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Mazi Christina Beluchukwu, a Community leader in Enugwu-Ukwu, Anambra state, has appealed to the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), to dialogue with government instead of the consideration for strike over the increase in fuel pump price.

Beluchukwu made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Enuguw-Ukwu, Njikoka Local Government Area (LGA) of Anambra, on Sunday.

He said that NLC leaders should hold a round table with government officials instead of just giving the Nigerian the National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) an ultimatum to reverse the fuel pump price or face a nationwide strike.

Beluchukwu said that strike is unnecessary, suggesting that civil servants should negotiate and accept a new minimum wage that may be offered by the new government and save the country the pain of avoidable disruptive protest.

“Nigerians have started buying fuel at the new price and moving along with their lives, we do not need any strike now,” he said.

Beluchkwu said that Nigerians should commend the decision to remove fuel subsidy because it has been long overdue since 2012 when it was discovered that the aim of the subsidy was not being actualised.

“Many people do not understand the politics behind fuel subsidy and its dangers to the development and growth of the nation because if they do, the policy would be embraced immediately no matter the temporary pain.

“The intention in subsidy is simply for government to make the product affordable for citizens and make life easier, but as it is now, the idea was defeated so it favoured the marketers instead of the public, so the answer to it is removal,” he said.

Beluchukwu appealed to the government to urgently provide incentives to the people so as to cushion the effect of the premature removal of fuel subsidy.

He said that the country has endured so much harsh economic and social challenges that the protest or strike would inflict more pain on the people, adding that it is best to be shelved and negotiate.

Beluchukwu said that government agencies on social orientation should explain the situation to the people, including that the country’s refineries need be up and running.

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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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