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Chiesa, Danilo on target as wasteful Juventus win at Empoli



Chiesa, Danilo on target as wasteful Juventus win at Empoli

Goals from Danilo and Federico Chiesa earned Juventus a 2-0 victory at Empoli in Serie A on Sunday, with the visitors squandering several other chances, having two efforts disallowed and missing a penalty.

The victory maintains Juventus’s unbeaten start to the season, having earned seven points from their opening three games to sit two points behind leaders Inter Milan and AC Milan.

“It was a good performance against an Empoli side that is not easy to play against,” Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri told reporters.

“We allowed practically nothing at the back, but need to be calmer in the final third or with the final ball, as we were a bit too frenetic.”

Juventus captain Danilo thought he had given them an early advantage with a close-range header.

This was following a corner but the goal was ruled out due to a collision with keeper Etrit Berisha just before the strike.

He did not have to wait long for a goal however as he put the visitors ahead after 24 minutes, deftly sweeping the ball into the net following a scramble after a corner.

Dusan Vlahovic missed a penalty around the half-hour mark, after Youssef Maleh fouled Federico Gatti.
Juventus maintained their dominance in the second half, with Chiesa going close to scoring, sending the ball inches wide of the far post.

They had a second goal chalked off in the 66th minute when Paul Pogba found the net with an elegant volley.

The effort was however ruled out because Vlahovic, who had chested the ball down to him, was offside.

They did manage to double their lead, however, when Arkadiusz Milik’s pass sent Chiesa clear on goal.

Milik then skipped around Berisha’s challenge to slide the ball home and seal the win in the 82nd minute.

Milik nearly scored a third for Juventus in stoppage time, as his header struck the woodwork, while team mate Moise Kean also hit the post shortly after.

After the match, Pogba seemed to be in discomfort, touching the back of his thigh.

“We don’t know anything yet, he felt a twinge at the back, so we’ll see what the tests say,” said Allegri who praised Pogba for his performance.

When asked about Juventus’s ambitions the season, Allegri denied they were favourites for the league title.

“There are teams out there better equipped to win the Scudetto, such as Inter, Napoli and Milan,” he said.

“We must do well to stay as close to them as possible and finish in the top four.”


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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