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Championship: Watford boss reveals why he rejected chance to sign Dennis

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The removal of the ban on 43 items that were initially restricted from accessing foreign exchange markets by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised concerns among local manufacturers and farmers in the country. They fear that this move may lead to many of them going out of business. Additionally, despite the CBN’s policy, the value of the naira continues to decline.

The CBN stated that the purpose of lifting the ban on these items was to encourage participation in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window to attract foreign exchange into the economy. The original ban was implemented to manage scarce forex resources and protect local manufacturers by making the import of these items expensive, thus preventing them from competing with locally made products.

However, the decision to unban these items has not resulted in increased availability of foreign exchange. Experts suggest that structural issues and inefficiencies in the forex market, along with the allure of the black market’s arbitrage opportunities, have hindered the success of this policy. They argue that the CBN needs to find ways to ensure a consistent inflow of foreign exchange, reducing dependence on the supply side of the market and addressing structural distortions.

Some stakeholders believe that the policy to unban the 43 items aligns with the liberalization of foreign exchange. They argue that companies invested in backward integration for import substitution will not suffer losses due to dumping, as there are still customs import bans on most of the items on the list.

Others, however, criticize the unbanning, suggesting it may increase demand for foreign exchange without adequate supply. There are backlogs of trapped funds, pending payments, and delays in important transactions. Additionally, the removal of fuel subsidies without functioning refineries is affecting households as fuel prices have surged while salaries remain stagnant.

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Local oil palm producers are concerned that the policy may push them out of the market. The availability of cheaper imported palm oil may discourage local producers, causing them to lose market share.

Some experts emphasize the need for harmonizing monetary and fiscal policies to ensure a more comprehensive approach to trade regulation. They argue that without sound fiscal policy and cooperation with stakeholders, the unbanning of these items may negatively impact local manufacturers, potentially leading to factory closures and job losses.

In contrast, some stakeholders believe the removal of the ban will help rediscover the nation’s economy and promote interaction with neighboring countries. They argue that while the ban was in place, it did not lead to the expected influx of foreign exchange, and removing it may not significantly affect the economy.

Ultimately, opinions on the unbanning of the 43 items are divided, with some praising it as a positive move while others express concerns about its potential negative consequences.

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Europa League: England legend thumbs up hat-trick hero, Lookman

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England legend Alan Shearer praised Ademola Lookman for his outstanding performance in the UEFA Europa League final. Lookman scored a hat-trick, leading Atalanta to a 3-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen at the Aviva Stadium on Wednesday night, ending the club’s 61-year trophy drought.

The Nigeria international was unstoppable, opening the scoring in the 12th minute with an assist from Davide Zappacosta. He then dribbled past Granit Xhaka and unleashed a powerful shot for his second goal 14 minutes later. Lookman completed his hat-trick with a superb finish 14 minutes from the end.

Shearer lauded Lookman’s performance after the game, saying, “Atalanta brilliant again tonight. Lookman wow, what a hat-trick,” in a post on X.

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JUST-IN: Mauricio Pochettino Quits Chelsea  

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Mauricio Pochettino has parted ways with Chelsea FC by mutual agreement after a two-day meeting with the club’s leadership, including sporting directors Paul Winstanley and Laurence Stewart, and co-owner Behdad Eghbali.

The decision was made following the club’s end-of-season review, which began on Monday. Despite his departure, Pochettino leaves with his reputation intact and a significant compensation package.

Chelsea will now seek a young and progressive coach to replace him, with potential candidates including Sebastian Hoeness, Michel, Kieran McKenna, and Enzo Maresca. Pochettino’s departure marks the third permanent head coach to leave under the current ownership, following Thomas Tuchel and Graham Potter.

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EPL: Arsenal’s co-chairman, Kroenke makes promise to Arteta ahead of title decider

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Arsenal’s co-chairman, Josh Kroenke, has promised that the team will continue to grow stronger, regardless of whether they win the Premier League title on Sunday.

The Gunners are two points behind Manchester City heading into the final fixtures. Mikel Arteta’s squad can only clinch the championship if they defeat Everton and City drop points against West Ham.

In his programme notes for Sunday’s season finale, Kroenke wrote: “While we are undoubtedly proud of the progress we have made, I want to be clear that no one at the club will stand still.

“Regardless of today’s outcome, we are all working behind the scenes to push us forward – always forward.

“There is so much that we want to achieve, both domestically and in Europe, and we are focused on creating exciting new stories and chapters that build on the history of Arsenal Football Club.”

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