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FG withdraws contempt proceedings against Organised Labour

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NLC, TUC

The Federal Government says it has withdrawn the contempt of court proceedings against organised labour for embarking on a nationwide protest.

This is contained in a letter addressed to the lead counsel to the NLC, Falana and Falana’s Chambers.

The letter dated Aug. 7 to Falana’s Chambers was signed by the Solicitor General of the Federation, Mrs
Federal Ministry of Justice had through the National Industrial Court (NICN) issued the leadership of organised labour summons on contempt of court for embarking on the protest.

Recall that organised labour had threatened to embark on a nation-wide strike from Aug. 14, if the Federal Government failed to withdraw its contempt of court charges.

Organised Labour had embarked on mass protest over anti-poor policies of government,especially the removal of subsidy that had brought untold hardship to Nigerians.

The letter reads: “kindly recall the exchange of correspondence between the ministry and your office on the need for compliance with the extant court orders, restraining industrial action of any kind on the part of the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress.

“The position of the ministry was informed by the need to safeguard the integrity of the court and prevent avoidable service disruption or damage to public facilities.

“Inspite of these exchanges/interventions, the labour unions on Aug. 2, proceeded with the industrial action through public pretests”.

It also said the protest led to disruption of work and the eventual pulling down of the gate of the National Assembly.

“The foregoing, it said, prompted the ministry to initiate contempt proceedings by tiling Form 48 on the same 2nd August 2023 in accordance with Section 72 of the Sheriffs and Civil Process Act and Order 9 Rule 13 oftlwe Judgment (Enforcement) Rules.

“It is trite that issuance of Form 48 is just the starting point in contempt proceedings which will only crystalize upon the issuance of Form 49 and the consequential committal order.”

It noted that upon the intervention of President Bola Tinubu and the decision of the labour unions to call-off their industrial action after meetings with the President and leadership of the National Assembly.

“The ministry did not proceed further with the contempt proceedings, which would have required the issuance of Form 49 within two days of thc issuance of Form 48.

“It is self-evident that the none-issuance of Form 49 as at Aug. 4, renders the contempt proceedings inchoate.

“You may therefore wish to advise or guide the labour unions on the practice and procedure of contempt proceedings.

“Also particularly to the effect that the issues or concerns raised by NLC in its communique on the proceedings, have been overtaken by events,”it 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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