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Niger Delta Chieftain applauds Tinubu for returning NDDC to Presidency

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A Niger Delta Chieftain, Mr Nature Dumale, on Sunday hailed the decision of President Bola Tinubu to return the supervision of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) back to the Presidency.

Dumale, who is the National Secretary of the First Phase Ex-agitator, gave the commendation on behalf of ex-agitators in a statement issued in Yenagoa.

“It is heart-warming to hear that the NDDC will henceforth report directly to the President like the North East Development Commission (NEDC).

“This development is like an answered prayer. I had in the past led a campaign for the commission to be directly supervised by the President positive impact, ” he said.

Dumale, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) Strategic Communication Committee (SCC) said, “Tinubu has, by this singular act, demonstrated his genuine intention to turn around the fortunes of the NDDC and by extension, the Niger Delta region.”

He said that the the Niger Delta had suffered lack of development over the years because greedy individuals were allowed to convert many interventions of the Federal Government for the region, into their personal gains.

Dumale said, “We, in Niger Delta region want to use this opportunity to appreciate Mr. President, for the wisdom in returning the NDDC to the Presidency.

“We believe that this will speed up the development of the region, and stem the culture of turning the Commission into a cash cow.

“For us, it is a sign that the President has good intentions for the Niger Delta region for summoning the political will to move the interventionist agency back to the Presidency. This means that he wants proper supervision of the NDDC.

“As ex-agitators, we can boldly say that the Niger Delta has been suffering because of mismanagement. This move will engender accountability, transparency and the much touted development of the Niger Delta, would become a reality.

“This is one step Mr. President has taken to give us hope as leaders in the region. We believe that the NDDC under the supervision of the Presidency would facilitate meaningful development.

“The only time we experienced some development was when NDDC was under the direct supervision of the Presidency. As soon as it was moved to the Ministry of Niger Delta, it became a cash cow, for the Niger Delta Cartel, whose only agenda, is to keep the Niger Delta underdeveloped”.

Dumale said that they discovered that apart from the NDDC and the PAP, there is a Niger Delta Recovery Plan (NDRP), which mandates the ministries of petroleum, environment and Niger Delta affairs, to work in synergy in articulating the development of the region.

“We live in an environment where a lot is taken away on a daily basis by the Federal Government, yet there is little to show for it.

“The condition of Ogoni-Onne-Eleme Road, which is part of the East-West road, comes to mind. The road has remained a death trap making it impossible for free movement of goods.

“We are standing behind President Tinubu and we await, with great enthusiasm and renewed vigour, the speedy development of our homeland” he stated.

Dumale warned that the ex-agitators were empowered with education and strategies to hold their leaders accountable and would no longer tolerate mismanagement of their commonwealth.

Dumale called on President Tinubu to compel the NDDC to make public, its forensic audit report, insisting that persons responsible for diverting the resources of the commission must be held accountable.

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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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