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Naira Tumbles By 51.95% Despite CBN’s Defence Measures

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The value of the Naira to the Dollar fell from 196.99 in December, 2015 to 410 in April, 2021, reflecting a 51.95 per cent decline despite the various foreign exchange policies introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to strengthen the currency.
According to a monthly document obtained from the CBN’s website, the value of Naira at the inter-bank forex market stood at N196.99 as of December, 2015.
Last month, the CBN adopted the NAFEX exchange rate of N410.25/$1 as its official exchange rate, devaluing the Naira from N379/$.
In a move to achieve exchange rate stability and preserve the country’s forex reserves, the CBN in 2015, reviewed downwards the spending limit on the usage of Naira-denominated debit cards for transactions abroad.
In a circular issued in April, 2015, signed by the then Director of Trade and Exchange, Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the bank said the limit had been reduced from $150,000 to $50,000 per person annually, while daily cash withdrawals per person was pegged at $300.
After six months of implementing the policy, the value of Naira in the official window remained stable at 197/$, but fell from 210/$ to 258/$ at the parallel market.
In June, 2015, the CBN announced that it was stopping the supply of forex to 41 items that could be easily produced in Nigeria, a development that brought about the forex exclusion policy.
The implication of the policy is that importers of items on the forex restriction list would not be able to get forex directly from the windows created by the apex bank to bring the products into the country.
A circular issued by CBN said, “The implementation of this policy will conserve foreign reserves as well as facilitate the resurrection of domestic industries and improve employment generation.”
However, after about a year of implementation, the value of Naira plummeted at both markets, falling from 197/$ to 232/$ and 218/$ to 351/$ at the official and parallel markets, respectively.
In 2017, the exchange rate at the official window fell to the N300/$1 threshold, ranging between N305 to N306 to a Dollar.
This was despite the introduction by the CBN of a new window for investors, exporters and end-users aimed at driving liquidity in the forex market.
From January, 2020 to April, 2021, the Naira continued in a downward trend at both markets, falling from 307/$1 to 381/$1 in the official window and 361/$1 to 481/$1 at the parallel market.
Within this period, the CBN adopted new forex rules.
For instance, in November, 2020, the bank announced that recipients of Diaspora inflows could receive their funds in foreign currency or have it transferred to their domiciliary accounts where they also have options to withdraw in cash or transfer.
In March, 2021, the CBN introduced an incentive of N5 for every $1 of fund remitted to Nigeria through International Money Transfer Organisations, as part of its reforms to boost the inflow of foreign currency in the country.
The incentive was termed ‘Naira-4-Dollar scheme’.
Speaking on the CBN policy, an economist and the current Chairman of Foundation for Economic Research and Training, Prof. Akpan Ekpo, said the idea behind the Naira-4-Dollar scheme was to shore up the exchange rate.
Responding to a question on why the Nigerian forex continued to depreciate despite the policies, an investment strategist at Afrinvest, Omosuyi Temitope, said, “The reason the policies are failing is because they are makeshift policies; they can’t address the fundamental factors that have kept the Naira under water.
“The major factor that needs to be addressed is the external trade condition – that is the current account; so long as the Nigerian current account continues to suffer major setback, particularly when we have huge imports over exports, then Naira will remain likely subdued.
“Between 2018 and 2020, for instance, we have continued to witness consistent deceleration in the current account balance; last year alone, the current account balance was negative, $17billion, from about $14billion in 2019.
“We also saw the performance of the foreign reserve; as a result of deceleration in current account, foreign reserve also went down, and in the last few months, foreign reserve has continued to plummet. So, if we don’t address our external trade position – that is, if Nigeria doesn’t export enough to get foreign earnings, we will continue loss in terms of Naira depreciation.”
He added Nigeria must produce sufficiently to meet local demand in order to reduce the Dollar demand for importation of consumer goods.

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N1.8bn Discovery: Recall Buratai For Investigation, PDP Tasks Buhari

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to recall the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Ambassador to Benin Republic, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai (rtd), to face investigations over an alleged connection with the N1.8billion recovered in a property in Abuja.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) recently recovered N1.8billion worth of property owned by a military contractor in Abuja.
The opposition party, in a statement by its National Organising Secretary, Hon. Debo Ologunagba, yesterday, demanded the recall and investigation of Buratai.
PDP said its demand was predicated on the alleged missing $1billion meant to purchase arms to fight terrorism.
It added that corruption under President Muhammadu Buhari’s APC-led administration has led to the upsurge in unhindered terrorism attacks, mass killing of citizens, and loss of many of our gallant fighters.
The statement partly read, “It is therefore of serious interest to Nigerians when reports that the ICPC discovered the sum of N1.8billion in various currencies, expensive cars, and jewellery secreted in a property in Abuja allegedly linked to the former COAS broke out.
“There are already apprehensions that the discovered money is part of the security fund that was criminally diverted. This is especially against the backdrop of the frenzy and spirited efforts by certain quarters linked to the APC to suppress investigation and free flow of information, politicise the matter and sweep it under the carpet.
“Nigerians will recall that our Party has on several occasions alerted that the looting of our treasury is officially sanctioned and enabled by the APC administration with its refusal to prosecute those who were alleged and found to have been involved in massive corruption.
“It would also be recalled that the PDP drew attention to plans of the APC to create a slush fund account from monies fraudulently drawn from the national treasury to finance their plot to rig the 2023 general election.”
According to the PDP, the APC test runs their 2023 rigging plot in the Ekiti State governorship election with massive use of money to prosecute a vote-buying scheme.
The opposition party insisted that the reports of alleged massive looting under Buhari’s watch further confirm the APC administration as a haven for treasury looters.
“Moreover, the recently exposed looting of N80billion by the suspended Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, which investigation has now gone cold is suspected to have been engineered by the cabal at the very high level of the APC administration,” it added.
The PDP maintained that Buratai should return to the country and be made to face investigation.
According to the party, this is important because any allegation bordering on the looting of funds meant for the fight against terrorism is of grave national concern and consequence.
PDP requested that Buratai be thoroughly investigated and if found wanting must be made to face the full weight of the law.

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King Jaja, Alapu-In-Council Receive Rivers PDP Guber Candidate In Opobo …Say Fubara’s Emergence Represents Riverine Communities’ Yearnings

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The Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amanyanabo of Opobo Kingdom, King Dandeson Douglas Jaja, alongside the Alapu-In-Council, last Saturday, received the Rivers State gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 general election, Sir Siminialayi Fubara in Opobo, the headquarters of Opobo/Nkoro Local Government Area of Rivers State.
While receiving the candidate, King Jaja said Fubara’s emergence represents the long yearnings of the riverine communities to produce the governor of the state since creation, and prayed that God perfects his victory at the elections.
The Amanyanabo noted that the kingdom would not take the opportunity of his emergence for granted as he expressed the undying gratitude of his kingdom to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, who supported the emergence of their son as the candidate of the ruling party.
He urged his people to leave no stone unturned in supporting Fubara to victory in 2023.
Speaking earlier, the PDP flag bearer, Sir Siminialayi Fubara,had told the Amanyanabo and the Council of Chiefs that his visit was to intimate them of his emergence as the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP in the 2023 elections, and to seek their blessings as their son.
He said he considered it proper to do this before party campaigns commence, especially in seeking their prayers and blessings.
Fubara noted that his victory at the primary was not by his effort but grace of God at work, and enjoined the kingdom to join him in applauding Governor Nyesom Wike for supporting his emergence.
He further commended the governor for his developmental strides in Opobo and across the state.
The standard bearer visited the Amanyanabo and Alapu-In-Council along with party stalwarts and elders of Opobo/Nkoro extraction.

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Insecurity: Northern Group Backs Matawalle On Self-Defence Order

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A northern group, Arewa Development Forum for Peace and Justice (ADFPJ), has said the directive by the Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, that residents in the state should bear arms to defend themselves was in order.
This, the group, while rising from an emergency meeting held in Kaduna, yesterday, said was because the people of the North-West part of the country had suffered so much from banditry activities over the years.
They, therefore, noted that any lawful measure taken by the state to stop the rampaging terrorists that had consistently invaded the state, was in order.
Consequently, a statement released by the Executive Chairman of the group, Alhaji Zubairu Mustafa, also urged governors from the North-West to emulate the Zamfara State’s helmsman by issuing similar directives to their citizens.
The North-West comprises Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Kebbi, Jigawa, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
The group also knocked the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, and other elites for hastily rebuking and condemning the governor’s order, adding that they were just being economical with the truth over the spate of insecurity in Zamfara State and other parts of the country.
According to them, the insecurity has festered across the country because there was no serious strategy in place by security agencies to end the challenge.
They added that with Matawalle’s order, the insecurity in his state would cease because if citizens were armed, bandits or terrorists or other criminal elements, would rethink before striking.
The statement read in part, “The Northern Elements Group, known as AREWA Development Forum for Peace and Justice, has risen from an urgent meeting of general concern in Kaduna with the resolution to support the idea of Zamfara State Governor, Bello Mohammed Mutawall, on giving permission to citizens to acquire and use weapons for protection against invading bandits in their communities.
“The group pleads with the state governors in the North-West region to set up machinery and measures for the Joint Task Force of able youths as community-based vigilante volunteers in order to complement the efforts of security operatives in the fight against criminal activities in the region like that of the Community Protection Guard (CPG) launched in Zamfara on Saturday.
“The group faulted negative reactions over the suggestion of Zamfara State Governor and bemoans at hurried comments of discouragement by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, and other elites who are economical with the truth of happening on the recent kidnapping, killings and attacks of the communities in North-West region and environs by suspected bandits.
“From Zurmi to Tsafe, from Bakura to Maru to Shinkafi, these bandits have continued with their deadly and dastardly attacks against innocent people because security agencies are overwhelmed with inadequate manpower, precision equipment and logistics facilities to nip the nefarious activities of these blood-thirsty terrorists, insurgents and bandits in the bud.
“In this case, Governor Matawalle is the man wearing the shoe and knows where it hurts, hence, our call on all meaning Nigerians to support his call on locals to legally acquire arms to protect and defend their communities against any form of criminal invasion.
“Therefore, we are supporting any leader that seems to have agreed and made a clear and acceptable decision within the ambit of law to bring lasting peace and security to the lives and properties of citizens.
“Nothing is more important than a leader in playing his role of saving lives and properties of his people than attending funerals or making a sympathy visit and lamentations after attacks.
“Proactive measures that include supporting military & Police operations, provision of logistics and giving communities’ rights of self-defence, are more important and best options for bringing a lasting and assured peace, cohesion and security to people in dire situations like now.”

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