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Resident doctors say strike to continue indefinitely

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Doctors

The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) says the ongoing nationwide strike action embarked upon by its members on Wednesday may continue indefinitely.

It added that the strike would continue until reasonable progress was made by the government to address its demands as
contained in the ultimatum issued to the federal government on July 5.

The association made its stand known in a communique it issued on Saturday at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Lagos.

The meeting which began on Monday had “Bullying in Medical Practice: a Matter of
Perspective?” as its theme.
The communique was signed jointly by NARD’s National President, Dr Innocent Orji, Secretary-General, Dr Chikezie Kelechi and the Publicity and Social Secretary, Dr Umar Musa.

The demands of the group include the immediate release of the circular on the One-for-One policy for the replacement of exited clinical workers for implementation.

“We cannot continue to watch our members lose their lives and break down under the weight of work overload occasioned by massive depletion of clinical staff in our hospitals on account of brain drain.
“We demand as a matter of urgency, the immediate payment of the 2023
Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF).

“To demand the payment of all salaries and arrears including the salary arrears
of 2014-2016, arrears of hazard allowance, arrears of consequential
adjustment of the minimum wage, and promotion arrears to our deserving members without further delay.”

The association also called on the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN) to reverse the downgrading of the
membership certificate.

It added that continuing with the downgrading of the certificates would only reduce the value placed on the postgraduate medical training in Nigeria.

The group said it embarked on the strike action on Wednesday after many months and years of non-implementation of agreements reached with the government.

“NEC observed the attempts made by some well-meaning Nigerians to resolve the issues at stake but expressed surprise that these have not resulted in any
meaningful solutions.

“We have observed the various meetings held with government agents and officials over the demands of NARD, the various memoranda and agreements reached, and the unfortunately slow wheel of progress of the
government’s implementation processes.

“NEC also observed with shock that up till now, about two months after the agreed date, the government has not yet released the circular on one-for-one replacement of exited clinical workers,” it noted.

The association said that this was in negligence of the morbid and mortal effects of the massive brain drain on its members still working in the country and Nigerian citizens.

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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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