President, Association of Bureaux Des Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to harmonise the rate at which it sells foreign exchange to commercial banks and its members.
Gwadabe told newsmen yesterday in Lagos, that the disparity between the rates had forced about 50 per cent of its members to boycott the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) window.
According to him, the CBN sells Forex to banks at N357 per dollar, while banks are expected to sell at N360, on the other hand, BDCs buy at N360 from the CBN and are expected to sell at N362.
The financial expert noted that its members incurred losses the moment they accessed the CBN window, which had forced many of them out of market.
“The direct implication of this will be the loss of about 20,000 jobs nationwide as the tactical edging of BDCs out of the market will result in the sacking of its workers across the nation,’’ Gwadabe said.
The ABCON chief appealed to the CBN to make BDCs direct agents of International Money Transfer Service Operators (IMTSO) since they were fully automated, and transparency had remained their watchword.
Gwadabe explained that the rate of disparity in accessing the CBN window had elevated parallel market operators to the delight of the enemies of the Naira.
He said that the edging of BDCs out of the market would inhibit financial inclusion as BDCs make N30 billion weekly turnover which translates to commission for the commercial banks.
Gwadabe said that BDCs remain the potent agent for transparency and price stability in the market as exemplified during the peak of the recession when exchange rate volatility was blown out of proportion.
He noted that if the parallel market, which selling rate was presently lower than that recommended for the BDCs, was allowed to dictate the market price, there may be the resurgence of fake currency in the market.
“Allowing the parallel market operators to dictate the price in the market will erode investors’confidence and that of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the nation’s economy.
“This also will be counterproductive to the mandate of the CBN and that of the IMF.
“It will run counterproductive to the IMF mandate of price discovery and stability.
“Allowing the parallel market to dictate the price will also fuel the existing multiple exchange rate regime,’’ Gwadabe said.
The ABCON chief recalled that at the peak of recession, with an external reserve of 27 billion dollars, and dwindling oil revenue, BDCs made a cogent suggestion to the CBN that gave birth to accessing the IMTSO window.
He said that accessing the window became an alternative to the depletion of the external reserve.
According to him, BDCs have remained strategic partners with the CBN in ensuring price stability and transparency in the foreign exchange market.
Our correspondent reports that prior to the commencement of aggressive interventions of the CBN in the nation’s foreign exchange market in Feb. 2017, the naira had exchanged at a scandalous N520 to a dollar.
At the peak of dwindling oil revenue, the BDCs had partnered strategically with the CBN to ensure that proceeds of IMTSOs were used to intervene in the FOREX market.
For a sustained partnership between the BDCs and the CBN, rate harmonisation should be looked into to save the FOREX market from the jaws of currency speculators who manipulate the market with the aid of parallel market operators.
100 In Police Net For Attacking Task Force On Street Trading
No fewer than 100 suspected touts are now cooling off in police net for attacking the coordinator and operatives of the Rivers State Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks.
The taskforce coordinator, Mr Bright Amaewhule made this known at the weekend, in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt.
Amaewhule said that suspected touts, numbering about 200, attacked the task force operatives with weapons while carrying out their duties.
According to him, no fewer that 100 of the suspected touts were apprehended and are currently in the custody of the Rivers State Police Command for interrogation and possible prosecution.
He said, “we were at Oil Mill when we were attacked by some suspected cultists and criminal gang while we proceeded to Rumuokoro. Surprisingly, a set of cult related boys descended on us. We apprehended about a hundred of them and the two gang leaders were also with them. Currently, we have taken them to ‘Operation Safe’ and they are making statements and they will be charged to court on Monday” (today).
Amaewhule assured that he and his team would not let the attacks deter them from sanitising and decongesting the streets and roads of the state.
He said, “I’ve received threats on my life in the last two or three weeks but that will not deter me. We will continue to do our work in as much as we’re not witch-hunting anybody. Either as individuals or group of persons, we will do that work which the government of Rivers State has assigned to me and my team members”.
In a related development, Amaewhule has announced plans by the task force to collaborate with psychiatrists with a view to carrying out test on commercial drivers in the state.
The task force coordinator made this known at a meeting with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), in Port Harcourt.
He observed that many commercial drivers were reckless and hinted that it was the plan of the task force to subject commercial drivers to tests before they are allowed to go on the road.
He also disclosed that there were plans by the state government to build new parks in designated areas to help decongest the state, adding that the task force would no longer allow automobile mechanics and vulcanizers to operate along the roadside except in garages and filling stations.
$9.6bn Judgement: FG Opts To Negotiate With P&ID
The Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), yesterday gave an insight into why the Federal Government at a point decided to negotiate with Process and Industrial Developments Limited, despite being aware that the contract for which a United Kingdom court had ordered the firm to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian assets was fraudulent.
Malami who spoke at a press conference in Abuja, said the government took the decision because, at the inception of the present administration, there was already an award and the timeline for government to appeal had elapsed.
He said since the previous government of the Peoples Democratic Party did not appeal, the option left for the administration as of the time was to negotiate, despite its reservations about the contract.
He also said the previous administration and the lawyers it hired should be blamed for the court case instituted on the matter in a Nigerian court, which was struck out due to lack of diligent prosecution.
“Even if, indeed, any case was struck out, it was out at a time when lawyers engaged by the previous administration were in charge,” he said.
On ongoing investigation into the matter, which he described as intensive and extensive, Malami said there was no limitation on who can be invited for questioning by the relevant security agencies.
He said those to be probed include those who were involved in drafting and signing of the agreement, conduct, trial and “other personalities of interest.”
Nigeria, Niger, Chad Move To Rehabilitate Lake Chad Basin
Nigeria, Niger and Chad are working on a joint trans-border agro-ecosystem project aimed at the restoration of livelihoods and rehabilitation of the Lake Chad Basin.
Director-General, National Agency for the Great Green Wall, Dr Bukar Hassan, disclosed this yesterday after an international conference on desertification in New Delhi, India.
The 14th Conference of Parties (CoP 14) to UN Convention to Combat Desertification was held at India Expo Centre.
He said that since environmental issues did not recognise national boundaries, the partnership would help to rehabilitate agricultural system, restore degraded land and livelihoods of people in Lake Chad basin.
According to him, the project includes promotion of agro-forestry and livestock development in the three participating countries bordering the Lake Chad Basin.
The Director General said that Lake Chad, which was located in a very dry area, had lost about 90 per cent of its water over the years, thus making farming unattractive in the basin.
“Today, agriculture is no longer practised in the Nigerian side of the Lake Chad Basin.
“So, our responsibility as an agency of Nigerian government is to make sure that we regain what we lost in terms of water (which has created huge unemployment among the people) and empower the people to be able to get back their land which was lost due to the disappearance of lake.
“We will also make sure that the boundary of the lake is afforested to stabilise the basin.
“The Lake Chad basin was one of the worst degraded areas in the world with the attendant humanitarian crisis.
“That’s why our president is keen on seeing that the basin is rehabilitated because the insurgency affecting the three participating countries is all linked to environmental degradation.
“That’s why we are developing a project that will help in rehabilitating the Chad basin,” Hassan said.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had already given his agency marching orders to intensify afforestation specifically in the country’s five northern border states of Sokoto, Jigawa Yobe, Borno and Katsina.
He said that land degradation and desertification resulting in loss of livelihoods had led to forced migration of young people from the northern to the southern parts of the country.
“There was mass movement because the means of livelihoods are no longer there; otherwise people will not just board an articulated vehicle from Jigawa to Lagos in search of a means of livelihood.
So, we’re trying to provide capacity for these people to get them adapted to the arid environments they found themselves and also do some economic activities, so that they can stay put where they were, take care of their families like everyone else,” Hassan said.
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