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How NAGGW spent N81.2bn to plant 21m trees – Reps

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NAGGW

The House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee investigating the utilisation of ecological funds released to the National Agency for the Great Green Wall (NAGGW) has uncovered N81.2 billion allegedly spent to plant 21m trees in 11 states.

The investigation is from 2015 till date

Rep. Isma’ila Dabo, the Chairman of the committee in Abuja, decried the persistent of environmental challenges in spite of funds put into the programme.

He said the funds put by the Federal Government and international partners necessitated the investigation.

He said the committee would embark on, on-the-spot assessment tour to all the projects executed under this scheme to ascertain the claims.

He said the committee was not out to scandalise any individual or organisation but only to ensure that public funds were utilised for the purpose they were given.

“We will not shy away from pointing fingers where necessary, not out of personal animosity but simply in the national interest of our nation.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 11 states where the trees are planted are: Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Yobe and Borno.

The committee expressed displeasure over conflicting financial reports submitted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and office of the Accountant General of the Federation (oAGF) to the committee.

Piqued by the inability of the agency to substantiate most of the tree planting projects carried out so far, the committee said 80 per cent of trees planted by the agency did not survive.

Meanwhile, the documents submitted by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein showed that the total sum of N19.378 billion was released from the derivation and Ecology Accounts to the agency from Feb 2019 to date.

Responding to questions from the committee, NAGGW Managing Director, Dr Yusuf Bukar, said the Great Green Wall Act was signed by Mr. President in 2015.

He said it enabled the agency to implement the Nigerian component of the programme as an initiative of the African Union being implemented in 11 African countries.

This according to him, is to address the problem of land degradation, desertification, drought, climate change and livelihood of affected communities.

He saud the agency planted 1 million trees in Borno, Yobe and other states, adding that N2.4 billion was released in the first phase and N7.3 billion released in the second phase.

He added that the fund accruing into the agency’s account included 15 per cent of the ecological fund for the Great Green Wall, contribution of fund from the natural resources development fund and gifts.

Others include loans and grants in aid from national bilateral, multilateral organisations and donors, international and development agencies as well as individuals.

He said that the agency often got funds from donor agencies; however, he did not provide relevant documents on the amount received so far.

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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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