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ABCON supports Govt’s efforts to clamp down on illegal street sale of foreign currencies

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In a decisive move to curb the rampant market speculation and the proliferation of street trading, the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) is gearing up to transition to automated trading operations.

This strategic shift comes in support of the government’s intensified efforts to clamp down on the illegal street sale and purchase of foreign currencies.

The Nigerian naira has experienced a significant downturn since the beginning of the year, plummeting to a record low of N1,900 against the US dollar on Wednesday.

The devaluation is attributed to a combination of scarce liquidity and a heightened demand for the dollar.

ABCON’s President, Aminu Gwadabe, in a recent interaction with the press, disclosed the association’s ambitious plan to overhaul the retail foreign exchange market through the adoption of a sophisticated automation platform.

This initiative is currently awaiting the green light from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the form of a “no objection” endorsement. Gwadabe expressed optimism about the transformative potential of technology and innovation in streamlining bureau de change operations.

He confirmed that the automation system is ready to be deployed within three weeks, contingent upon receiving the necessary approval from the CBN.

The move to automate is expected to bring about a significant transformation in the efficiency and transparency of foreign currency transactions, providing a much-needed boost to the Nigerian economy amidst its currency valuation challenges.

Gwadabe said, “We have now put a lot of recommendations on how we can at least utilise technology, innovation, and automation in our operations.

“In three weeks, we will automate the system. We already have the automation system in place just for the CBN to give us the approval for ‘No Objection’ that is all we are asking.

“We can entirely automate the industry of any retail trader, we will automate them in three weeks, we already built the automation platform that is there for them. We have sent it to them, and we are only waiting for ‘no objection’ approval. This innovation will also eliminate street trading.”

Gwadabe further advised that the ongoing raids and arrests of traders should not be misconstrued, revealing that FX street traders ambush customers of licensed operators, thereby causing a lull in their operations.

He added, “What is happening is not targeted at licenced Bureau De Change but the operators of FX street trading.

“For us, we are against street trading and support any action that will remove FX street traders. Their activities affect me also. I have an office but my clients cannot come to my office because of the menace of street traders.”

On the volatility in the FX market, Gwadabe explained that various factors, including the imbalance between supply and demand and liquidity, were responsible.

He urged members of the association to strictly adhere to all FX regulations and conduct their operations within their offices.

On Wednesday, the naira depreciated further to N1,900 against the dollar in the parallel market.

According to currency operators, the naira exchange declined by 9.83 percent from the N1,730 recorded at the beginning of the week and N170 or 9.82 percent from the trading rate on Tuesday.

This is even as Bureau de Change operators battle for liquidity to meet the surging demands for the greenback.

On Wednesday, BDC operators quoted the buying rate at N1,850 and the selling rate at N1,900, leaving a profit margin of N50.

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Tinubu appoints Olatunji Bello CEO, Vice Chairman of FCCPC

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Olatunji Bello as the new Chief Executive Officer and Executive Vice Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, pending confirmation by the Senate.

A statement by Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu’s media aide, noted that Mr. Bello is a lawyer, administrator, and renowned journalist.

He is the former secretary to the Lagos State Government and holds a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos. He studied Law at the same university and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2002.

Mr. Bello began his career in journalism at the Concord Newspapers in 1985 and held the positions of Group Political Editor, Sunday Concord Editor, and Editor of National Concord.

He is a winner of the US Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship and was appointed Chairman of the Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers in 2001.

He also served as Commissioner for Environment under various administrations in Lagos State.

Ngelale said the President expects that the new CEO of this important agency will ensure the holistic realisation of the commission’s mandate of protecting and promoting the interests and welfare of Nigerian consumers and ensuring the adoption of measures to guarantee the safety and quality of goods and services.

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NCDC reports 1,598 suspected cholera cases in Nigeria

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The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, NCDC, has reported 1,598 suspected cases of cholera across 107 local government areas.

The cholera outbreak is characterised by a case fatality rate of 3.5 per cent, significantly higher than the national expected average of one per cent, underscoring the severity of the situation.

The Director-General of NCDC, Dr Jide Idris, disclosed this on Monday in Abuja while providing an update on the cholera epidemiological situation in Nigeria and ongoing prevention and response efforts at the national and sub-national levels.

Cholera is a severe diarrheal illness caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The disease remains a significant health challenge, especially in regions with inadequate sanitation and clean water access.

Understanding the transmission mechanism of cholera is crucial to curbing its spread and implementing effective prevention measures.

Idris said: “Government is deeply concerned about the rapid spread and higher-than-expected mortality rate, indicating a more lethal outbreak.”

He emphasised that the fatalities represented significant personal losses, including those of family members, spouses, parents and healthcare workers.

“This situation can be compounded as the rainy season intensifies,” he added.

He disclosed that Lagos State accounted for the highest number of deaths with 29, followed by Rivers with eight, Abia and Delta with four each, Katsina with three, Bayelsa with two and Kano, Nasarawa and Cross River with one each.

He added: “This alarming trend highlights the urgent need for coordinated response to prevent further escalation of the crisis. Sixteen states accounted for 90 per cent of the confirmed cases, with Lagos being the epicentre of the outbreak. Lagos State, having the highest number of cases, has received significant focus, with ongoing support and resources directed to manage the outbreak effectively.”

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NAFDAC alerts public on unregistered B-GAG syrup

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The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has notified Nigerians about the illegal production and sale of unregistered B-GAG mist pot CIT syrup.

The alert is contained in a public notice No. 023/2024, issued by the agency’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, in Abuja on Sunday.

The unregistered product is alleged to have been sold by a company named Babban Gida Agalawa General Enterprises.

According to the statement, the product, being presented in a pet bottle, was discovered during a surveillance operation carried out by the NAFDAC Post Marketing Surveillance Directorate Officers in Maiduguri, Borno, and Keffi, Nasarawa States.

It said that the product was found to be without a NAFDAC registration number and a misleading label.

NAFDAC in the statement said that illegal marketing of medicines or counterfeit medicines posed a risk to public health.

Adeyeye noted that without compliance with regulatory provisions of safety, quality, and efficacy of such products were not guaranteed.

The agency gave the batch number of the fake product as 0070, the manufacturing date as 01/02/2024, as well as the expiring date as 01/02/2027.

Adeyeye also gave the address of the manufacturer as No. 883/884 Western Bypass Ring Road, Kumbosto Local Government, Kano State.

Adeyeye further said that NAFDAC Zonal Directors and State Coordinators had been directed to carry out surveillance to mop up the illegal products within the zones and states.

She advised consumers and caregivers to avoid the use of the product, adding that all medical products must be obtained from authorised and licensed suppliers.

Adeyeye said that products’ authenticity and physical condition should be carefully checked before buying.

She also advised healthcare professionals and consumers to report any suspicion of either the sale of substandard and falsified medicines or medical devices to the nearest NAFDAC office.

Adeyeye called on the public to report any adverse reaction to NAFDAC on 0800-162-3322 or via email: [email protected].

She encouraged healthcare professionals and patients to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of medicinal products through NAFDAC E-reporting platforms.

The e-reporting platforms, according to her are: www.nafdac.gov.ng, the Med- safety application available for download on Android, and IOS stores or via e-mail on [email protected].

She said the notice about the product would be uploaded on the World Health Organisation, Global Surveillance and Monitoring System.

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