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Ministerial list: New ministries may be created – CoS Gbajabiamila

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The President Bola Tinubu’s administration may create new ministries from the existing ones, Femi Gbajabiamila, Chief of Staff to the President, disclosed on Thursday in Abuja.

The ministerial list was submitted to the National Assembly today by Gbajabiamila and was read by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

‘’Mr President intends to separate portfolios or restructure the ministries in such a way you might be hearing of new ministries that were not standalone ministries before. So the process continues.’’

The 28 minister-nominees include Abubakar Momoh, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Ahmed Dangiwa, Hannatu Musawa, Chief Uche Nnaji, Dr Betta Edu, Dr Doris Aniche Uzoka, David Umahi, and Nyesom Wike.

Others are Badaru Abubakar, Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai, Ekperipe Ekpo, Nkeiruka Onyejocha, Olubunmi Tunji Ojo, Stella Okotette, Uju Kennedy Ohaneye, Mr Bello Muhammad Goronyo, Mr Dele Alake, and Mr Lateef Fagbemi.

The rest include Mr Muhammad Idris, Mr Olawale Edun, Mr Waheed Adebayo Adelabu, Mrs Iman Suleiman Ibrahim, Prof. Ali Pate, Prof. Joseph Utsev, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, Sen. John Enoh, and Sen. Sani Abubakar Danladi.

Gbajabiamila said that the nominees were chosen after undergoing strict personal screening by the President.

He said that a second part comprising 13 names would be sent to the assembly, adding that this was part of the process of having a cabinet for the administration.

‘’As you know he had 60 days from time of inauguration, as stipulated in the constitution. He has fulfilled that requirement of the constitution by submitting 28 names today.

‘’As his letter stated, and was read on the floor of the Senate, the remaining names, not sure how many, probably about 12, maybe 13, will be forwarded to the Senate in the coming days.

‘’As far as the nominees themselves are concerned, and like I said, Mr President took his time to sift through those names,’’ he said.

The Chief of Staff said that the president decided to tow the line of tradition by not attaching the portfolio of the nominees in the letter to the senate in order to give room for reviews.

‘’As good as that sounds, it straitjackets the president to pigeonhole one person in an office or the other. What happens then if you change your mind, do you then bring the person back for screening again, because the president is at liberty to change your mind.

‘’For instance, if I decide I want somebody as Minister of Labour, and then after sending the name, later on, I decide that this person would actually be better with another portfolio. And meanwhile, the Senate has screened that person for that particular initial portfolio?.

‘’What happens then? Do you now re-screen the person? So, a lot of these things have their merits and demerits,’’ Gbajabiamila said.

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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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