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Palliatives: Tinubu advised how to engage Nigerians on workable solution

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Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director of Centre For Transparency Advocacy (CTA), a civil society organisation, has advised the Federal Government to urgently engage Nigerians to find workable solutions that would mitigate the hardships trailing the removal of fuel subsidy.

She made the call in Abuja on Monday at a one-day National Dialogue on Subsidy Removal, facilitated by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Palladium.

Nwadishi said that besides its disruption to lots of development in the country, the hasty removal of subsidy had led to untold hardships.

“It has led to people suffering and the inability of many people to meet up with the high increase in transportation, goods, services and other basic needs needed for survival.”

According to her, in the spirit of transparency, accountability and citizen participation, it has become critical for government and the political class to engage the people whom they have vowed to serve.

“This is to find out their specific problems, needs and how best they could be addressed as the voices of those directly affected by the subsidy removal must be heard and considered.”

“The decision to remove fuel subsidy has had significant implications on the lives of our fellow citizens. It has resulted in increased costs of living, affecting transportation, essential goods, and services.

“As we gather here today, it is imperative that we recognise the urgency of coming up with sustainable recommendations to mitigate the hardships faced by vulnerable groups in our society.”

One of the participants, Dr Micheal Uzoigwe, said that it was of strategic importance for government to cushion the socio-economic effects of the subsidy removal on citizens.

According to him, there is a concern that the fundamental problems that underline the failure of the subsidy regime in Nigeria may yet be ignored.

He said that fuel subsidy failed to achieve its aim in Nigeria because its administration was flawed and characterised by lack of transparency, mismanagement and corruption.

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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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