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CBN lifts manufacturing, power with $660m forex



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed $660.17 million to 1,342 manufacturers, power and other real sector operators for raw materials, plants and machinery, a foreign exchange (forex) utilisation report has shown.

The funds, sourced from the CBN and sold to the beneficiary customers at the official rate of about N305.5 to the dollar, were handled by commercial, merchant and non-interest banks using the interbank market, the CBN report said.

The funds were specifically used for the procurement of raw materials, plants and machinery as specified in the Letters of Credit (LCs) under which they were sourced and in-line with the CBN-stipulated import approval list.
The report is  meant to promote transparency and accountability on the side of the lenders which act as a link between the regulator and the forex users.
The report, which was for September, showed that a large part of the funds went to 20 companies. Dana Motors ($12,877,278.81), Nigeria Breweries ($6,240,000), A-Z Petroleum Products Limited ($12,962,425.04), Rahamaniya Oil & Gas ($19,220,000), Dag Motorcycles Industries Nigeria ($27,964,123) and Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited ($5,882,293.67).
Others are: Biswal Limited ($6,779,858.11), HIS Nigeria Limited ($10,006,405.57), IPI Power Tech ($7,405,595.55), Promasidor Nigeria Limited ($5, 122, 472.80), Saba Steel Industries Limited ($11,147,478.58), and Crown Flour ($10,254,558). Also listed are African Foundries Limited ($4,020,679.36), Parco Enterprises Limited ($6,558,320), Prime Plastochem Nigeria Limited ($5,668,012.75), TempoGate Oil & Gas ($7,145,279.25), Saro Agro Sciences Limited ($10,106,833.54), Midland Rolling Mills Ltd ($9,895,653.60), Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc ($11,968,016.74) and Matrix Energy Limited ($14,872,223.91).
The report also showed the raw materials that the beneficiaries used the funds to import. Dana Motors Limited imported  Kia brand of vehicles in semi-knocked; Nigeria Breweries Plc brought in malt row winter specifications. Dag Motorcycles Industries Nigeria Limited imported  Bajaj vehicles spare parts.
African Foundries Limited used its funds for the importation of industrial raw materials; Parco Enterprises Limited (hard wheat) and  Seven-Up Bottling Company Limited (273 units of Pesi-Cola).
A-Z Petroleum Products Limited, Rahamaniya Oil & Gas Ltd, TempoGate Oil & Gas imported gasoline. Biswal Limited imported Yaanmar engines.
HIS Nigeria Limited used its funds for telecom plant and equipment import. IPI Power Tech imported automatic board panel. Promasidor Nigeria Limited procured Cowbell powder. Matrix Energy Limited brought in unleaded gasoline.
The CBN said providing forex to the manufacturers and other key players in the economy was meant to it keep its promise to strengthen the real sector by ensuring that 60 per cent of available forex is used to procure industrial inputs, such as raw materials, machine spare-parts, telecom equipment, plastic raw materials, agricultural machines and pre-payment meters, amongst others.
The CBN has also expressed its commitment to ensuring that manufacturers of goods for which Nigeria does not enjoy comparative advantage get LCs to import the required materials for their businesses.
The exercise, the CBN insists, would provide a new lease of life in the manufacturing sub-sector, and also boost industrial output and employment. The regulator said it will continue to support and facilitate hitch-free procurement of necessary industrial inputs to sustain productive activities in the manufacturing sector.
The gesture, it said, buttresses its commitment to rejuvenation and sustenance of industrial activities and retention of jobs.

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New minimum wage goes to National Council of State for discussion



Chris Ngige

Chris Ngige

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says the proposed new National Minimum Wage will be presented to the National Council of State on Jan. 22.

Ngige disclosed this while speaking with State House correspondents after the National Economic Council meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

The minister said work was still ongoing on the figure, frequency of review, those to be exempted and everything about the bill before it would be ready for transmission to the National Assembly.

“The information minister told you the other day after the Federal Executive Council meeting that we are taking our deliberations to the National Economic Council and then we close up on the 22nd (Jan. 22) at the National Council of State.

“After that, we will be able to say where we are going.

“It is not a question of governors saying they cannot pay N30, 000, discussions are still ongoing and will terminate on 22nd when we meet with the National Council of State.

“Governors are part of Nigeria and they are part of the government’s side of the public sector; so do not disengage them or dis-articulate them from the Federal Government.

“The public is the Federal Government and the state government, and even the local government,’’ Ngige said.

The minister, however, said that the plan was to transmit the National Minimum Wage Bill to the National Assembly on or before Jan. 23 in consonance with the agreement with labour.

On his part, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi State, said that the governors were after a National Minimum Wage legislation that “could work.’’

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CBN spurs access to banking services



CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has rolled out measures to ensure that at least 80 per cent of Nigerians have access to banking and other financial services.

The apex bank also on Thursday released new policy frameworks on consumer protection, financial literacy and financial education.

The bank unveiled measures in the National Financial Inclusion Strategy released inb Abuja.

Mrs Aisha Ahmad, the CBN Deputy Governor on Financial System Stability, made the presentation at the National Financial Literacy Stakeholders’ Conference in Abuja.

“Adequate consumer protection is critical to sustaining the long term viability of the financial sector because consumer protection is a necessary precursor to building and maintaining trust in the formal financial sector.

“An essential pillar of any consumer protection regime is consumer education, which is founded on financial literacy.

“The benefits of a financially literate population are immense. Consumers are better equipped to make optimal choices in the use of financial products, pose lower credit and default risk.

“In addition constitute a market for sustainable financial services and promote Financial System Stability by increasing market demand and responsible use of financial services,” she said.

Ahmad said the CBN recently introduced regulations and guidelines for the licensing and operations of Payment Service Banks in furtherance of its efforts to leverage technology to enhance access to financial services for the unbanked.

She said the move was expected to drive down exclusion rates by leveraging wider variety of multiple channels to enhance access to deposit products, payments and remittance services to small businesses and low income households.

Meanwhile, the Director, Consumer Protection Department, CBN, Mr Kofo Salam-Alada, harped on the importance of promoting sound financial system in the country to ensure that consumers continue to have confidence in the sector.

“As we seek to boost the number of consumers in the financial industry through the Financial Inclusion Strategy, it is important that we establish policies, structures and programmes that would engender confidence among the general public.

“This is even more imperative considering the fact that we are only just recovering from a financial crisis that brought the financial system on the brink of collapse.

“All the efforts at strengthening the financial system would be fruitless if there are no concerted efforts to restore trust and confidence among consumers,” he said.

Salam-Alada revealed that since the consumer protection department was set up, it had successfully recovered more than N68 billion in favour of customers who have been shortchanged by their banks.

Also, the Managing Director, Jaiz Bank, Mr Hassan Usman said that the bank was committed to deepening financial services in the country through its non-interest banking strategy.

He said that the bank was currently engaging with women entrepreneurs in rural areas and giving them small loans to grow their businesses while encouraging them to open accounts.

According to him, the aim is to expose them to bank facilities that will grow their businesses in the near future.

The newly released National Financial Inclusion Strategy proposes roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders in the financial sector to reduce financial exclusion rate from the present 36.8 per cent to 20 per cent by 2020.

The key stakeholders are the Federal Government, the Deposit Money Bank’s, Development Finance Institutions, National Insurance Commission, National Pension Commission, National Communication Commission and Nigeria Postal Service among others.

The priority areas identified for the success of the strategy includes “Tiered Know-Your-Customer” regulations, agent banking regulations, national financial literacy strategy and consumer protection.

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Northern Investment Companies, Perform Bellow Expectations- Sanusi II



Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Malam Muhammad Sanusi II

By Yakubu Salisu, Kano

The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has decried the inability of state owned Northern Investment Companies to meet up with the purpose for which they were set up for.

Sanusi made the remarks yesterday, (Wednesday) in Kano during the maiden conference of state-owned Investment Companies of Northern Nigeria, organized by Kano State Investment and Properties Limited (KSIP).

The Emir, represented by the Dan-Adalan Kano, Isyaku Umar Tofa, said it is sad to note that, the Kano Investment Company which was the key element in the movement of the economy of the state in the past has been crippled by avoidable circumstances due to failure on the part of stakeholders to do the needful in order to salvage the situation

According To him, the Company inherited quite a number of industries back in 1972, which has eventually folded up forcing one to ask where have such industries gone too and what has happened to them.

He said, “ the occasion is not for praises but a time to rethink, a time to re-energize and re-strategize, to ensure that we bring out policies that would really move the Northern Economy forward.

“ I think one of the fundamental thing for the Kano state Investment is to ensure the revival of such industries.

We know all of them, they are there lingering, closed, doing nothing. I would advise the State Investment and property Company to put their search light into the manufacturing sector.

All the manufacturing industries they have inherited should be revived, the money is there is only for us to create the opportunity and tap into them.

He charged them to use their use their connections with great people in the financial sectors with well known names in the capital market, to raise huge capital that would be used in the development of the economy especially in the agricultural, manufacturing and other sectors that are important to the Northern Economy, such as solid minerals, commerce and others.

Chairman of the occasion, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu Wazirin Dutse, revealed that it is sad that the 19 Northern states that owned NNDC have no single banks as against its initial properties of 9 banks.

According to him, as important as banks are to the development of modern economy, it is sad to note that the 19 norther states presently owns no bank as theirs, when compared to the initial state in the late 70s and early 80s when the north has 9 banks.

He added that in most cases government policies are in themselves responsible for the folding of such investment, as bottlenecks and harsh terms aligned as requirement, wouldn’t allow new investments to thrive or at worst wouldn’t allow investment to sprang at all.

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