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Community Demands Banks’ Reopening

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Community leaders
in Omu-Aran, Kwara State have called for the re-opening of closed commercial banks in the town, 12 months after they were robbed.
The community leaders made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Omu-Aran, recently.
They expressed disappointment over the continued closure of the banks in spite of the community’s commitment to ensure adequate security for banking operations in the area.
They lamented that the closure of the banks was impacting negatively on the economy of the community, saying that the community recently donated two Hilux vehicles to security agencies to boost security.
The Tide source recalls that armed robbers had on May 14 raided three banks in the town, killed three persons, and escaped with unspecified amount of money.
Residents in the town now travel to Ilorin, the state capital, about 75 km away, and towns in neighbouring states to transact their banking businesses.
President, Omu-Aran Development Association, Chief Peter Oyinloye, told reporters that the association had done “everything humanly possible’’ to assist security agencies to ensure that the banks resumed normal operations.
“The community had held series of meetings, especially those that border on security, all in the efforts to woo the banks to re-open their doors for banking transactions.
“The community has also gone the extra mile to fortify its local security outfit and facilitated joint patrols of the nooks and crannies of the town by several security outfits, including the army.
“But, regrettably, even with the latest donation of two Hilux vehicles to assist the law enforcement agencies, the banks have refused to open after many promises to that effect,’’ Oyinloye said.
The Akeweje of Omu-Aran, Chief Bisi Adeyemi, also appealed to Bankers Association to urgently intervene to address their plight.
He said that the traditional ruler of Omu-Aran, Oba Charles Ibitoye, viewed the refusal of the banks to reopen as a hindrance to socio-economic development of the area.
“Our markets have been deserted because residents who travel to Ilorin and Otun in Ekiti State for banking transactions prefer buying their items along with them after such transactions,” Adeyemi said.
On his part, the local government council chairman, Alhaji Luqman Owolewa, said his administration had been making efforts to get the banks resume operations.
He promised that the council would continue to liaise with the bank authorities and the state government to ensure that they reopen in the interest of the people of the community.
Reacting to the request, Manager, EcoBank, Omu-Aran branch, Mr Banji Olasehinde, expressed the willingness of the bank to reopen.
He, however, said that the bank needed the presence of at least one other bank before it could begin operation.
“We have done everything possible, including staff mobilisation and renovation of the damaged building; but if at least one other closed bank can be persuaded to come along it would be an advantage,’’ he said.

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Senate Confirms Cardoso, 11 Others As Monetary Policy Committee Members 

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The Senate has confirmed the nomination of Olayemi Cardoso as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Also confirmed for appointment as members of the MPC yesterday, include, Muhammad Abdullahi, (CBN deputy governor), Bala Bello (CBN deputy governor), Emem Usoro (CBN deputy governor), Philip Ikeazor (CBN deputy governor), Lamido Yuguda, (DG Securities and Exchange Commission) and Jafiya Lydia Shehu, (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance).

Others are Murtala Sabo Sagagi (CBN director) Aloysius  Ordu, Aku Odukemelu, Mustapha Akinwunmi, and Bamidele Amoo.

President Bola Tinubu had on Wednesday named Cardoso as the chairman and 11 others as members of the MPC.

Tinubu in his letter of nomination to the Senate, said his action was in line with the provisions of Section 12 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.

The President had about a week ago asked the Senate to confirm Cardoso, as the chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee of the apex bank.

CBN MPC will hold its first policy meeting for the year on February 26 and 27.

The Senate had , on Wednesday, screened the nominated members of the CBN Monetary Policy Committee, questioning them on the lingering foreign exchange and food crises.

 

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‘Unemployment Rate Hit 0.8% In 2023 Q3’

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The unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 0.8percent in the third quarter of 2023.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), this was a significant rise, adding that the unemployment rate rose from the 4.2percent recorded in Q2 2023 to 5.0 percent in Q3 2023.
The NBS, the custodian of official statistics in the country, disclosed this in a report it published last Monday titled “Nigeria Labour Force Survey Q3 2023”.
“The employment-to-population ratio was 75.6 percent in Q3 2023 with a decrease of 1.5 percent compared to a ratio of Q2 2023.
“The combined rate of unemployment and time-related underemployment as a share of the labour force population (LU2) increased to 17.3percent in Q3 2023 from 15.5percent in Q2 2023.
“About 87.3 percent of workers were self-employed in Q3 2023. The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q3 2023 was 12.7 percent.
“The unemployment rate increased significantly in Q3 2023 at 5.0 percent. This is an increase of 0.8 percent from Q2 2023.
“The rate of unemployment among persons with post-secondary education was 7.8 percent in Q3 2023”, the report stated in part.
It added that the unemployment rate for youth between the ages of 15 and 24 years was recorded at 8.6 per cent in Q3 2023 while the informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3 per cent.
The report added, “The unemployment rate in urban areas was 6.0 percent percentin Q3 2023, a slight increase of 0.1 percent from Q2 2023.
“Time-related underemployment in Q3 2023 was 12.3 percent, showing a slight increase of 0.5 percent from the rate recorded in Q2 2023. This shows an increase of 1.4 percent compared to the rate in Q4 2022.
“4.1percent of the working-age population was in subsistence agriculture in Q3 2023. Informal employment rate in Q3 2023 was 92.3percent, while Q2 2023 was 92.7percent.
“Percentage of youth Not in Employment, Education or Training was 13.7percent in Q3 2023”.
Recall that Nigeria’s inflation rate last Thursday climbed to 29.90 per cent in January 2024 from 28.92 per cent recorded in the previous month.
The 0.98 percent increase shows that the inflation rate in the country is yet to slow down.
The NBS revealed this in its ‘Consumer Price Index’
The development adds more pressure on the Central Bank’s monetary policy committee to sharply raise interest rates at a February  26-27 meeting its first in seven months.

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Merchant Navy Lauds NIWA Over Staff Welfare

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The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNO/WTSSA) has expressed optimism that the Managing Director of National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Mr. Bola Oyebamiji, will prioritise workers welfare for optimal performance of the agency.
Jibril Darda’u, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NIWA, in a statement over the weekend, disclosed that the seafarers’ union’s remarks are one of the highlights of the meeting between the Trade Union Congress (TUC) affiliate group and management of the agency.
The statement quoted the Chairman of the NMNO/WTSSA, Comrade Suleiman Danjuma, as commending the Managing Director of NIWA for the good initiative of the kind of interaction that brings the staff closer to the management.
“This will definitely boost the morale of the staff and pledge their loyalty and confidence in the Managing Director’s leadership style”, Danjuma stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of NIWA promised to build on the progress already achieved at the Lokoja River Port, Kogi State.
The MD disclosed this when he went on a familiarisation tour of NIWA’s facilities in Lokoja.
According to the MD, the importance of Lokoja River Port being in the confluence State is to boost the economic viability of the State and Nigeria at large.
“We are here for facility tour to see for ourselves what is on ground at Jamata Port, Lokoja. It is important we come here to assess the facilities to see, at least, how we can move the facilities forward”, he stated.
Recall that in continuation of his familiarisation tour, the Managing Director’s visited the NIWA Lokoja Area office to inspect the Dockyard facilities.

Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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