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Ondo State announces 30-year infrastructure development plan

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Ondo State governor Akeredolu

Ondo State government announced a 30-year development plan, “Ondo 2054’’ in Akure on Sunday.

Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, Mr Emmanuel Igbasan, said the plan, designed in collaboration with the UNDP, was for the infrastructural and socio-economic development of all parts of the state.

He said the state’s House of Assembly would legislate over the plan to give it legal backing.

“As a people, we must define a clear path for our progress.

“For a nation to experience progress and development, there must be a clear, strategic and sustainable trajectory, which provides the compass to guide and direct efforts and resources.

“The future we all desire depends on the vision we have; the strength of the foundation we lay and the efforts we make today.

“It is, therefore, against this realisation that the present administration, in compliance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Law 2017, started the process of charting a clear path.

“The path will address our present day challenges and provide the highway for accelerated development for the next 30 years.

“The core objective of this exercise is to galvanise all citizens and friends of Ondo State to collectively set the policy direction that will optimise our efforts and harness our potentials.

“It is to define the future we want and to channel our energies to catalyse the socio-economic activities that will guarantee a shared prosperity for all, irrespective of the party in power,’’ he said.

Igbasan stressed that Ondo State needed the long-term development plan also for the adequate and accelerated exploration of the natural resources in its 18 local government areas.

“Our development and technical partner, the UNDP, assisted us in conducting the needs assessment throughout the 18 local government areas and trained our technical staff on system dynamics approach.

“Ondo State is ranked as the 7th biggest economy in Nigeria.

“It has tremendous potential to be the giant of Nigeria as the highest producer of cocoa; the largest deposit of bitumen and boasts of arable and fertile land with various vegetation.

“The state is blessed with gold, oil and gas, granite, silica and ceramics, but most essentially it is populated with about six million intelligent, honest and industrious people,’’ the commissioner said.

Igbasan said government would establish a steering committee with which residents and investors could liaise to actualise the project.

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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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