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Expert Tasks FG On Manufacturers’ Challenges

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A financial expert, Mr Boniface Okezie, has called on the Federal Government to tackle the challenges facing manufacturers to grow the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) to enhance the economy and the capital market.
Okezie, who is also the President of Shareholders Association of Nigeria (SAN), made the call in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
According to him, manufacturers are the major drivers of economic growth, and if they can operate optimally, there will be employment opportunities and this will boost GDP, the economy and invariably the capital market.
“There is no magic that will strengthen the naira and ensure availability of dollars when the country has been import-dependent.
“The manufacturers are suffering from inability to source dollars for raw materials due to high exchange rate, epileptic power supply and economic instability among others.
“The way forward is for the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for the manufacturers to operate effectively,” he said.
The expert said an enabling environment and stable policy would encourage foreign investors to bring hard currencies into the economy and lower the exchange rate.
Meanwhile, an analysis of transactions in the capital market last week showed that a total of 1.533 billion shares worth N23.026 billion were traded by investors in 17,009 deals.
This was in contrast with a total of 968.947 million shares valued at N10.246 billion exchanged in 9,654 deals the previous week.
The Financial Services Industry (measured by turnover) led the week’s activity chart with 1.218 billion shares valued at N12.634 billion traded in 10,132 deals.
The Conglomerates Industry followed with 70.807 million shares worth N120.611 million in 803 deals.
The third place was occupied by Consumer Goods Industry with a turnover of 58.505 million shares worth N3.422 billion in 2,624 deals.
The All-Share Index during the period lost 577.72 points or 1.63 per cent to close at 34,848.45 against 35,426.17 posted in the preceding week.
Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N12.933 trillion shed N211 billion or 1.63 per cent to close at N12.722 trillion.
NAN reports that 34 equities depreciated in price, lower than 45 equities of the previous week.
IkejaHotel topped the losers’ chart in percentage terms by 18.64 per cent or 52k to close at N2.27 per share.
First Aluminium trailed with a loss of 15 per cent or 6k to close at 34k, while Glaxosmith shed 14.38 per cent or N2.20 to close at N13.10 per share.
Conversely, Portland Paints led the gainers’ table in percentage terms by 20.65 per cent or 15k to close at N2.98 per share.
AIICO Insurance followed with a gain of 17.14 per cent or 12k to close at 82k, while PZ Cussons appreciated by 14.94 per cent or N1.95 to close at N15 per share.
FG offers 2 savings bonds at 11.36%, 12.36% September
The Federal Government has offered for subscription two-year savings bond at 11.36 per cent and three-year savings bond at 12.36 per cent, the Debt Management Office (DMO) has said.
According to the offer circular obtained from the DMO website yesterday, the two-year bond will be due in Sept. 2020 while the three-year bond will be due in Sept. 2021.
It, however, did not state how much was offered, but added that the maximum subscription was N50 million at N1,000 per unit, subject to minimum subscription of N5,000 and in multiples of N1,000.
The website said that the bond was fully backed by the full faith and credit of the Federal Government, with quarterly coupon payments to bondholders.
The savings bond issuance is expected to help finance the nation’s budget deficit.
It is to also part of the Federal Government’s programme targeted at the lower income earners to encourage savings and also earn more income (interest), compared to their savings accounts with banks.
The circular also said that the offer would close on Friday.

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Traders Protest FG’s Move To Restore Festac Town

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The move by the Federal Government to restore Festac Town in Lagos to its original status has sparked up protest among traders occupying Agboju Amuwo Planks and Building Materials Market.
The traders on Wednesday, protested at the FHA office in Festac Town against the demolition of their market, following the demolition of illegal structures by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) ahead of the restoration. 
The Tide recalls that there was a petition to the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, in 2020 about illegal structures that had taken over Festac Town.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on the restoration of Festac town organised by FHA, last year, its South-West Zonal Manager, Mr Akintola Olagbemiro, said, “This year, we commenced the restoration of Festac town, following the consent judgement from the court against illegal occupants of Festac land.
“Our action is to save the residents from the insecurity that has taken over the entire Festac town as a result of illegal structures everywhere”.
The chairman of allottees of First Gate to Third Gate, Mr Kole Olatunji, in his remarks at the meeting said the land from First Gate to Third Gate was allocated between 1985 and 1999, noting that with the consent judgment, original owners of the land as allocated should take over their plots.
But the chairman of plank market, Muhammed Bello, protested the seven-day notice given to traders to vacate the place without alternative arrangements.  
Bello said: “How do they expect us to remove our wares in seven days?
“What we want is that they should allow us to remain there and we will pay whatever amount they ask us to pay”.
Speaking in the same vein, the chairman of Cane Chair and Furniture Association, Emmanuel Okoye said: “We need freedom. Let them tell us where they want us to stay. That place was swampy. We filled the place with several millions of Naira which we got as loans.
“We also rely on loans to do our business. Whatever the government wants us to pay; we are ready to pay to remain there. We have been there for 27 years. What we lost to the demolition is over N300 million”.

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Fuel Tanker Explosion Kills Five, Injures Two In Ogun

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No fewer than five persons were on Wednesday burnt to death, while two others sustained first degree of injury in a fuel tanker explosion at Ajilete, along Owode-Idiroko road, in Yewa South local government area of Ogun State.
Eyewitness accounts revealed that a truck bearing 33,000 litres of petroleum product was descending the steep portion of the road when its tank suddenly detached from truck’s body and tumbled to the ground with a bang.
The explosion, the witnesses said, killed five persons on the spot, while two other persons were injured.
The Tide learnt that the seven victims were all residents of the area where the accident occurred.
Confirming the incident, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Commander, Idiroko Unit, Akinwunmi Olaluwoye, said five deaths were recorded in the accident which occurred at about 8.15 am on Wednesday. 
According to him, the remains of the dead had been claimed by their families.
He disclosed that a bus and a motorcycle were also caught in a web of the explosion and razed.
He said, “no vehicle rammed into the tanker. The tank dropped off from the back of the tanker and exploded. The number of persons involved are seven; five dead, two injured.
“The driver had taken away the head of the truck as at the time we got there. But we have allowed the police to take charge and handle that aspect”.

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Travellers To Access $4,000  As CBN Boosts Forex Supplies

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Nigerians travelling abroad can now access a maximum amount of $4,000 foreign exchange from banks following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) announcement to increase forex supplies.
The CBN had said in a recent statement that it had concluded plans to increase the amount of foreign exchange allocated to banks to meet legitimate needs.
This followed the warning by the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to Deposit Money Banks to desist from denying customers the opportunity to purchase foreign exchange.
The purposes to access forex included Personal Travel Allowance, Basic Travel Allowance, tuition fees, and medical payments as well as Small and Medium Enterprises transactions or for the repatriation of Foreign Direct Investment proceeds, the CBN had stated.
Sources from some of the banks said those travelling on business trips could also access a maximum amount of $5,000 for each trip.
At a virtual Bankers’ Committee meeting last week, the bankers discussed how the CBN intended to assist with forex to ensure availability for the upcoming summer period and the return of students to school in September.
The CBN also said the BDCs would continue to have their weekly allocations.
The committee observed that the rates were going up.
It stated, “The CBN has said that all the banks must make availability at all times and anyone who wants to buy BTA, PTA, medical fees, student school fees and all the eligible invisible purchases to ensure that Nigerians are not forced to go and queue in the parallel market.
“So what the Central Bank is doing is to encourage all banks to make sure that there is available forex at all times, and that his information should be communicated on all our platforms.
“We are asking our customers to come to the branches and for BTA, for example, present the required documents, which are basically your international passport, your visa, your valid ticket and fill up the form in the bank.
“And what we have been instructed to do is ensure that we don’t turn anybody back and that we should request from the Central Bank once we exhaust the forex that we have.
“The idea is to have a hitch-free summer period and the resumption for children to go back to school. The idea is to ensure there is less pressure on the forex and then the rates will come down”.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the Group Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, said, “I think again as part of the Central Bank’s role in terms of price stability and the need to support small and medium enterprises, there was highlight of the need for banks to go and support SMEs who import small raw materials for them to set up their businesses”.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Patrick Akinwuntan, said, “All banks are available to ensure forex need is met.”
Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman, said the CBN had provided sufficient foreign exchange to meet the needs of all legitimate Nigerian travellers and therefore, the idea of going to any other market should not arise at all.

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