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Ebonyi First Lady assures development partners of favorable environment



Ebonyi First Lady, Mrs Mary-Maudline Nwifuru, has promised an enabling environment for development partners and other agencies to advance their missions in the state.

Nwifuru made the promise on Wednesday when officials of UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), Nigeria Immigration Services (NIS) and Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike (AE-FUNAI) Women Association paid her a courtesy visit in Abakaliki

The First Lady also sought synergy with the partners to facilitate coherent humanitarian response.

She said that the partnership would help agencies partnering with her projects to achieve long-term sustainable development.

She expressed her readiness to work with UNFPA in eradicating human trafficking, Gender-Based Violence (GBV), harmful practices against vulnerable persons in the society and to promote family planning.

Nwifuru praised the development partners for their support and interventions in the reduction of vices in the state.

“My office is ready to partner with NMS to check and ensure every child taken away from the state is certified.

“This will reduce the trend. We need your help, including that of the police,” she said.

Mr Arasu Jambuke-Swaran, UNFPA Programme Coordinator, said that the agency would use its technical resources to partner her projects billed to better the lots of Ebonyi people.

Jambuke-Swaran, who is also Head of Office, Cross River, disclosed that the GBV cases were high and requested for synergy to reduce the menace.

Speaking, the NIS Comptroller in Ebonyi, Mrs Catherine Uzzi, pledged her organisaton’s readiness to support the Office of the First Lady in the fight against human trafficking.

According to her, human trafficking emanated in the early 1980s because of the country’s dwindling economy.

Mrs Chinyere Elom, President of AE-FUNAI Women Association (AE FUNAI WA), said the group would identify with the Ebonyi government in its tripartite principle of equity, fairness and good conscience.


Job Losses, Factory Closures Loom As Unsold Goods Pile Up — MAN



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



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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