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CBN boosts foreign exchange market with $210m

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has boosted the inter-bank foreign exchange market with $210 million to meet customers’ requests in various segments of the market.
The Bank’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement on Monday in Abuja said the fund would ensure that legitimate demands for foreign exchange are met.
He said that the CBN offered $100 million to authorised dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got $55 million.
He said also that customers needing foreign exchange for tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, were also allocated the sum of $55 million.
Okorafor reiterated the Bank’s determination to continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.
He said the CBN would continue to manage the forex market with a view to reducing the country’s import bills and minimise depletion of foreign reserves.
In the past week, the CBN intervened in the market to the tune of $210 million, to cater for requests in the airlines, agricultural, petroleum products, raw materials and machinery sectors.
Meanwhile, the Naira continues its stability in the foreign exchange market, exchanging at an average of N361 to a dollar in the Bureau de Change segment of the market.

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NCAC to Lunch Int’l Cultural Diplomacy for Peace

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By Sarauniya G Usman, Abuja

The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC),is set to launch the International Cultural diplomacy for peace, aimed at propagating and promoting sustainable peace in Nigeria, across Africa and the world.

The DG, NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the 11th edition of the International Arts and Crafts (INAC) Expo Abuja, with the theme: ‘NETWORKING NIGERIAN CRAFTS TO THE WORLD.

He said the expo was upgraded to be International last year because of its growing popularity and need to reflect the global relevance and outlook of the programme.

Runsewe said the expo which will last till the 24th of November, is geared towards exposing entrepreneurs across the globe to interact, network and exchange ideas and it also serves as an avenue for mobilising the youths and women towards actualising their talents, skills and creativity.

He said, empowering the masses and stimulating rapid socio-economic growth would contributes to the Gross Domestic Product of the nation.

He called on Nigerians to take full advantage of the Expo by availing themselves with the free medical services and numerous skill acquisition components/waste to wealth initiatives carefully designed by the NCAC to empower Nigerians in line with the policy thrust of President Mohammadu Buhari.

The DG expressed confidence that Nigeria’s culture and living arts industry would make unprecedented economic gains with over 23 countries from around the world participating in this year’s INAC which is expected to last from 19th to 24th November.

Also speaking, Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed who was represented by his ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Grace Gekpe said the expo serves as an opportunity for Nigerian Artists to leverage on its diverse culture and traditions.

He called on corporate bodies to support Nigerian economy by investing in the creative sector for improved sustainable growth to benefit the teaming population of the country.

Also speaking, the chairman of the occasion,
Chairman of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Nda-Isaiah said the arts and craft sector is one of Nigeria’s best kept secret evident from the quality it produces.

He called, on government to invest more in the sector as it promises to provide more jobs and take many out of poverty in the country.

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FCMB partners WSBI to boost financial inclusion, savings in Nigeria

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to substantially increase its support to agribusiness, its value chain and growth of the Nigerian economy after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI). The memorandum outlines a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors. As part of the terms of the partnership, in addition to the stated areas of support, WSBI will provide technical oversight supervision on a regular basis to ensure the achievement of mutually agreed goals set by both institutions.

According to the memorandum, the project involves FCMB rolling out an integrated savings account – named ‘Kampe Account’ – to offer financial services under phase one of its plan to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states through agricultural agents operating under the bank’s agency banking proposition. The first set of states to benefit in this first phase are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach 2 million farmers across the entire nation by year 2023.

In addition to the financial support to farmers, FCMB plans to deploy its state-of-the art technology and mobile banking solutions to drive the project mainly in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements where most farmers are based. The bank will also organize capacity-building programmes for farmers aimed at facilitating their understanding of the sector and promote innovative ideas that would make the sector attractive, ultimately facilitating job creation that would in turn, impact on productivity and income.

Commenting on the grant from WSBI and the initiative, FCMB’s Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr. Adam Nuru noted the development will revolutionize agribusiness – one of the various empowerment strategies adopted by the bank that is appreciated by stakeholders within and outside Nigeria.

Adam Nuru said:

‘” Partnering with WSBI and harnessing the business model we have developed to drive it, under our Kampe Account, is built on a sustainable approach which ensures farmers can gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help them build successful businesses.”

Nigerian smallholder farmers have been at a disadvantage due to several factors including land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance and inadequate cash flow. Over the years, they have suffered from lack of essential services such as access to good markets to create low economies of scale, challenges in the promotion of agricultural productivity, hurdles in their bid to achieve increase in food security to improve rural livelihoods for engendering systematic growth out of poverty. FCMB and WSBI are optimistic that these challenges will be addressed.

Mr. Nuru added: “Farmers who benefit from this effort can and should make the best use of the opportunity. FCMB will continue to partner with WSBI to create opportunities that would ensure the realization of the personal and business needs of customers.”

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose concluded: “The Kampe Savings Project is yet another example of the innovative ways rural communities can flourish through mobile savings and beyond. Expanding banking access and agricultural services through the provision of mobile services to the farming community, which increasingly includes more women, can help knock out any doubt about the payoff that farming can bring.”

About FCMB

First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited is a member of FCMB Group Plc, which is one of the leading financial services institutions in Nigeria with subsidiaries that are market leaders in their respective segments. Having successfully transformed to a retail banking and wealth management led group, FCMB expects to continue to distinguish itself through innovation and the delivery of exceptional services.

About WSBI

The World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI), founded in 1924, represents the interests of 6,000 savings and retail banks globally, with total assets of $15 trillion and serves approximately 1.3 billion customers in nearly 80 countries (as of 2016). The Institute focuses on international regulatory issues that affect the savings and retail banking industry. It supports the achievement of sustainable, inclusive, balanced growth and job creation, in industrialized and less developed countries.

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Atiku reveals how he helped Dangote, What Obasanjo did to him

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Atiku Abubakar

Atiku Abubakar

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, has recalled how former President, Olusegun Obasanjo shut down his (Atiku’s) company, Intels for 6 months when they were in power.

The former Vice President pointed out that his company has always been targeted because of his involvement in the fight for democracy.

Atiku said that Obasanjo closed Intels for six months during the government that he even served as a democratically elected Vice President when he had a disagreement with me.

Atiku stated this in an interview with the African Report, where he also revealed that he was one of the people who promoted Aliko Dangote.

Asked if his company, Intels was under pressure and if he was the one being targeted, politically, Atiku, said, “Intel has always suffered because I have been involved in the fight for democracy since the 1980s, when the military was in power. [Governments] will pounce on Intels – refuse me one licence or the other, close me down.

“Even the government that I served as a democratically elected vice-­president, the president closed Intel for six months when he had a disagreement with me. […] He never found a fault with it and eventually opened it again.

“The last three years have been the worst in the history of Intels because our turnover dropped by 70%. Oil companies and gas companies are no longer investing in that sector because of the absence of laws that can guarantee their investment.

On Dangote, he added, “I am one of the people who promoted Aliko Dangote, but I’m never for monopoly. Import bans to some extent, but certainly not for a monopoly.

“As long as [a ban] is going to develop industries, which means creating jobs, as long as it is going to develop our infrastructure. I’m prepared to privatise the development of infrastructure in the country. That will create millions and millions of jobs.”

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