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FG Begins Remediation Work On Nkpolu Road

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Residents and road users at Nkpolu axis of the East/West Road can now heave a sigh of relief as the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has started remediation work on the road.
The Tide reports that the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs on Saturday deployed personnel and equipment to the site, with special attention on the drainages and water channels.
Speaking to The Tide, the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs Site Engineer, Henry Abite, said the ministry had reaffirmed its preparedness to rehabilitate the drainages and water channels as a remediating measures, saying as soon as the flood water are channeled to the right directions the problem of the road would be half solved.
The chairman of Nkpolu-Rumuigbo Community Development Committee, Achinike Orubuogwu in his comment said that the community would provide needed support for the project to succeed.
He said, “The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs is here to carry out the repair of the road today, we are also here to receive them. We will join hands and partner with them, especially in providing them all the necessary enabling conducive environment for them to do whatever they want to do”.
It would be recalled that the Nkpolu axis of the East/West Road had long been abandoned by the Federal Government following which several protests were staged to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the area.
Mid last year, the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio promised to fix the road when he visited the area, but nothing was done until last Saturday.
Meanwhile, commercial drivers and other road users had commended the move by the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry.
Speaking to The Tide, a taxi driver, Deji Kehinde, expressed joy over what he described as God’s intervention, saying “There is nothing people have not done to draw the attention of the Federal Government to come and fix the road, yet no answer.
Another road user, John Akah, who commended the efforts of Federal Ministry said “the action is long overdue and we have been expecting Federal Government presence on this road rehabilitation for over five years and now that they are here, we wish they do a thorough job that would be sustainable”.

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COVID-19: CBN Grants Two-Week Market Holidays To BDCs

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has granted a two- week market holidays to the Bureaux De Change operators.
This followed a request by the Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria to the CBN for the regulator to grant it market holidays, given the ongoing challenges faced in local and global economies due to the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) pandemic.
In a notice  to BDC operators and directors,  ABCON President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, said the CBN’s approval meant that sales of foreign exchange to BDCs is now suspended till further notice.
Gwadabe also advised the  public not to go into panic buying, hoarding  and partronasing  the street traders as  the CBN has enough reserves to sustain supplies when the BDCs return to operations.
The CBN had also acknowledged the contributions of BDCs in promoting stable exchange rate in recent months despite challenging circumstances facing the Forex market due to drop in crude oil prices.
Gwadabe advised members to observe strict guidelines on the preventive measures on the dangers of the COVID 19, wear their mask, gloves, and frequent washing of hands.
“We also want to advise members to  strictly  comply with their regulatory obligations on their daily operation. If you are trading, be cautious not to fall under the hand of security agencies. Don’t be involved in giving black market rates,street trading  as doing so might create regulatory breach,” he said.
Gwadabe said that  CBN/NFIU were tracking large movements of funds within the financial sector and noted the need to be cautious.
“Once again, accept our continuous assurances on serving you better as we continue to ponder on lasting solutions to the growing challenges facing our operations amongst them, crowd management, expansion of scope of our buisiness, lesser penalties, automation, among others,” he stated.

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…Suspends Cheque Clearing Amidst Lockdown

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has suspended clearing of cheques until further notice following the lockdown in Lagos, Ogun  and FCT to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The suspension was announced in a circular to Deposit Money Banks and the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) by the Director of Banking Services at CBN, Mr Sam Okojere.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Sunday ordered a lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and the FCT with effect from 11 p.m. on Monday, March 30 FCT), as a response to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The bank explained that in view of these developments and in furtherance to the Bank’s effort to ensure hitch-free clearing and settlement activities, the CBN had therefore suspended it until further notice.
The apex bank further stated that the clearing of cheques instruments in the Nigerian clearing started from March and for the avoidance of doubt, no fresh cheque instrument would be allowed to pass through March 31.
The CBN noted that only returned cheque would be treated on the said date.
“However, settlement activities for electronic instruments will continue to hold during this period of suspension”, it said.

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Nigeria’s Economy Fragile Before COVID-19 Pandemic –Finance Minister

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has said that prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Nigerian economy was already fragile.
She said this in a statement issued by her Special Adviser on Communication, Mr Yunusa Abdullahi, on Monday in Abuja.
Ahmed, according to the statement, said this during her meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly where she spoke on implications of the global economic crisis on Nigeria.
The coronavirus pandemic had led to unprecedented disruptions to global supply chains, a sharp drop in global crude oil prices, turmoil in global stock and financial markets, the lockdown of large swath movements of persons in many countries, among others.
These outcomes have had severe consequences on households’ livelihoods and business activities, resulting from drop in global demand, declined consumer confidence and slowdown in production.
But the finance minister said that prior to the outbreak which had led to decline in crude oil prices, the Nigerian economy was already fragile, vulnerable and deteriorating.
She said the global economic downturn had forced international oil prices to drop to as low as $22 per barrel.
The minister said international travels and trade had been severely disrupted, while demand for goods and services is deteriorating as a result of the social distancing policies.
This, she said had led to financial markets uncertainty which had resulted into capital flows’ reversal from emerging and frontier markets such as Nigeria.
She said, “Increasing pressure on the naira and foreign reserves as the crude oil sales receipts decline and the macroeconomic outlook worsens.
“Central Bank of Nigeria, just as in other countries, has resorted to quantitative easing, by reducing interest rates to support economic activity and governments announcing fiscal stimulus plans for healthcare and social safety nets.”
She said the government was working on a fiscal stimulus package to cushion the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable individuals and communities.

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