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Media not seen as adversary to govt., Says Alake

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Dele Alake

Minister-designate Dele Alake has said that the Federal Government does not see the mass media as an adversary, but a tool to put the administration on its toes.

Alake, current Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, made this known at a meeting with media executives on Friday in Abuja.

This said at the end of the day, both the media and government operate in the same society.

“If we are practising adversary journalism and we create problems in our society, where are we going to practise,” Alake asked.

He said the meeting was to seek the understanding and buying-in of the media to ongoing fundamental policy initiatives of the Tinubu government that were necessary for the country’s development.

He implored the media to practise responsive journalism, saying this was critical to avoid heating up the polity and misleading the public.

“When there is genuine course to criticise the government, do it constructively and also suggest and proffer solutions to issues affecting the country.

“It is important that even when we are angry at what is going on in the country, we should still apply that sense of responsibility in our reportage so that even after venting our anger, we will still have a society to live in to practice our profession and thrive,” he said.

Alake explained that government did not see the media as enemy because of its criticism, saying that criticism was part of democracy.

“Criticism you must do because it is an integral part of democracy; however, what is obnoxious is destructive criticism, you have to engage in constructive criticism.

“When you engage in constructive criticism, the person you are criticising will enjoy that criticism because you will be proffering solutions to challenges at the end of the day.

“The language of criticism should not be repulsive as some of our colleagues do, we can always criticise in decent language and make very good points that the recipient will take you very serious,” he said.

On the removal of fuel subsidy by the Tinubu administration, Alake said without confronting the rot and naughty issues in the petroleum sector, we would just be groping in the dark as a country while feeding a few to the detriment of the larger majority.

According to him, if past administrations had been bold enough to remove subsidy on petroleum products, we would have had enduring structures on ground and would not be where we are today.

Alake said Tinubu came to office to make positive impact and to make a name not to acquire material things which he already had.

“The only thing he is fighting for now is legacy and for it to be said that in his life and in his time as president, Nigeria was strengthened out and put on the part of full recovery,” Alake said.

Also speaking at the event, Mr Bayo Onanuga, Director, Media and Publicity of the defunct All Progressives Congress (APC), Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), called on Nigerians to support the Tinubu administration to enable it to deliver on its campaign promises.

Onanuga, a former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also implored the media to try as much as possible to moderate what they pushed out to the public and be mindful of their headlines.

He stressed that the removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government was in the general interest of Nigerians, adding that they would get used to it over time.

He called on the media to shift attention to state governments and to interrogate them on how they spent their federal allocations, noting that attention should not just be only on the Federal Government.

“We should support government intervention policies, shift attention to state governments and interrogate them on how they spend their federal allocations and as media gate keepers, we have a lot to do to sanitise this country,“ Onanuga 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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