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Unbanned 43 items: CBN wants to kill our businesses, local producers cry out

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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.

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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PHOTO: Gov Makinde Host Nigeria Police Games

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1: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) and Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

2: From left, Deputy Governor of Oyo State, Barr Bayo Lawal; Governor Seyi Makinde; Inspector General of Police, Olukayode Egbetokun and his wife Elizabeth, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

3: Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde (left) take a salute from the Police Mascots, during the opening ceremony of the 14th Biennial Nigeria Police Games, host by Oyo State Government, held at Adamasigba Stadium, Ibadan. PHOTO: Oyo Gov’s Media Unit.

CREDIT: Oyo Gov Media 

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Economic crisis: Find more ways to improve your IGR – President Tinubu to universities

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The Nigerian government has called upon universities in the country to broaden their sources of funding amidst economic challenges. President Bola Ahmad Tinubu made this assertion during the 6th & 7th combined convocation ceremony of Federal University, Dutse, which took place on Saturday.

Speaking through Professor Kabir Bala, the Vice-Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who represented him at the event, President Tinubu stressed the government’s dedication to facilitating a conducive environment for universities despite resource limitations.

He urged universities to actively explore alternative funding channels, underlining the significance of self-reliance in the prevailing economic circumstances. The President also encouraged universities to seek international funding opportunities for research, advocating for collaborations and the attraction of funds from global sources.

President Tinubu emphasized that government alone cannot shoulder the financial burden of universities, particularly amid economic challenges and competing demands from various sectors. Nonetheless, he reiterated the administration’s commitment to providing the necessary support within the available resources to ensure universities function as pillars of educational advancement and national development.

He further urged universities to pursue innovative strategies for generating revenue and to tap into international research funding opportunities. He assured that his administration remains dedicated to supporting universities in achieving their objectives as outlined in the Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Contempt threat against NLC, TUC leaders over public protest uncalled for – Femi Falana replies FG

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Human rights advocate and constitutional lawyer, Femi Falana, has clarified that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have every right to organize the nationwide public protest scheduled for February 27 and 28, asserting that it does not constitute contempt of court.

As a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Falana emphasized that Nigerian workers are entitled to freedom of assembly and expression as enshrined in the country’s Constitution. He urged the federal government, in a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, to ensure maximum security for the workers and to participate in the protest.

In response to the AGF’s threat of contempt charges against the NLC and TUC leaders, Falana’s letter dated February 24 countered the threat, arguing that it lacked legal basis.

Falana pointed out the history of negotiations between the government and the labor unions following the removal of fuel subsidy in 2023, which resulted in court orders restraining the unions from striking. Despite compliance with these orders, the unions challenged them, and the contempt proceedings initiated by the government were subsequently withdrawn.

He highlighted subsequent legal actions initiated by the government against the unions, noting that these actions were contested by the unions on grounds of abuse of court process and lack of jurisdiction. Falana emphasized that since the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, there is no basis for the government’s threat of contempt charges regarding the planned protest.

He cited legal precedents affirming citizens’ rights to protest on matters of public interest without the need for police permits, emphasizing the democratic importance of freedom of speech and assembly.

Falana urged the government to respect these fundamental rights and directed the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security for the protesters in accordance with the Police Establishment Act.

In conclusion, he called on the government to reconsider its stance and assured that the protests would be conducted peacefully.

The federal government had previously warned of invoking relevant laws to charge the NLC leadership with contempt if the protest proceeds, citing it as a breach of agreement and a challenge to the court’s authority. The AGF, Prince Lateef Fagbemi, conveyed this warning in a letter to Falana, urging the NLC to abandon the protest to avoid violating the court’s order.

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