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100 Days: Economist lauds Sanwo-Olu’s achievements

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Sanwo-Olu

An economist, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, has commended Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State on some of his achievements and initiatives, resulting to positive economic implications on residents.

Ekpo gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos while reacting on Sanwo-Olu’s 100 days in office for second term.

Recall that the Lagos State governor was reelected for a second term in office on March 18.

According to him, one notable accomplishment is the progress made on the Lagos Blue Line Rail project expected to significantly ease transportation and help mitigate the impact of the oil subsidy removal.

Ekpo, Chairman of the Foundation of Economic Research and Training (FERT), noted that the project remained a major milestone in assisting workers in coping with the economic hardships resulting from the subsidy removal.

The economist expressed appreciation for the 50 per cent fare reduction on all transportation means owned and operated by the government.

He maintained that the reduction would provide relief to commuters and further support residents to navigate the economic challenges brought about by the removal of the petrol subsidy.

According to him, it is noteworthy that Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration has initiated the implementation of the Lagos State 30-year development plan within his first 100 days back in the office

Ekpo commended the governor for progressing with this plan and advised him to continue to do so in the future.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that construction of the 13-kilometer blue line rail began in 2009 and was inaugurated by Gov. Sanwo-Olu on Sept. 4.

The project faced delays, due to funding constraints, but it is now completed.

Once fully operational, the blue line rail is expected to transport an estimated 150,000 passengers daily, with each trip accommodating up to 1,200 passengers.

This will significantly reduce travel time from Mile 2 to Marina, cutting it down from three hours to just 25 minutes.

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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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