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Stakeholders call for judicious use of fuel subsidy funds

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Some stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to channel subsidy funds into agriculture, health and education to address the impact of fuel subsidy removal.

The Stakeholders which include 19 Civil Society Organisations, traditional leaders, women groups and Unions, among others, made the call during a two-day northern regional town-hall meeting organised by Partnership for Amplified Voices (PAV) in Kano.

The stakeholders also called for increase minimum wage and subsidized production.

The Executive Director Connected Development (CODE), Mr Hamzat Lawal, said that the meeting was to come together to proffer lasting solutions on fuel subsidy removal which has affected people at the grassroots level.

Lawal described citizens engagement as a major catalyst to help improve their engagements in the northern region, states and Communities and be more effective at promoting transparency and accountability.

On his part, the National Coordinator, NG Cares, Dr Abdulkarim Obaje, in his presentation, tagged “understanding the NG Cares initiative of Federal Government, Financed by world bank”, called for enforcement of funds release policy to ensure timely release of palliatives.

“The fund should not stay more that 10 working days in the account of the state government and immediately be disbursed to the beneficiaries,” Obaje said.

He advised CSOs to work closely with government and citizens, to effectively monitor the subsidy savings and spendings to promote transparency and accountability at sub national level.
Dr Eze Onyekpere, also speaking on “fuel subsidy Savings and other FG policies: How can citizens optimally benefit?” noted that an Infrastructure support fund has been set up by proclamation to alleviate suffering due to fuel subsidy removal.

Speaking earlier, the Falakin Bichi, Alhaji Abba Wada-Waziri, emphasized the need for more efforts, by CSOs to ensure that palliatives are distributed at the grasssroots level.

Others who spoke during the town-hall meeting, include: Hajiya Mairo Bello from AGIP, Safiyan Lawan-Bichi, from Kano budget working group and Fatima Musa-Aliyu, Bridge connect Africa, among others.

The town-hall meeting, with the theme “How Best Citizens Can Benefit From Government Policies on Electricity Pallaitives and Fuel Subsidy Savings”, was organized by Partnership for Amplified Voice (PAV) with support from World Bank.

The PAV is an accountability Civil Society platform facilitated by partnership of two leading CSOs in Nigeria, BudgIT Foundation (BudgIT) and Connected Development (CODE).

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Hardship: Protesters Defy Police Warning, Hit Lagos Streets

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Residents have hit the streets of Lagos State to protest against the increasing spike in the price of food and the high cost of living in the country.

The protest was facilitated by a human rights group identified as the “Take It Back Movement.”

This comes against the warning issued by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Adegoke Fayoade, on Sunday.

The protesters were seen carrying placards of various inscriptions at Ojuelegba Under Bridge area of the state to express their grievances.

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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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