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ABCON warns members ahead resumption of forex sale



The Association of Bureau de Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has warned its members not to sell foreign exchange to unauthorised buyers to avoid sanctions on the body as they resume sales.

The association’s President, Alhaji Aminu Gwadabe, gave the warning on Wednesday, during a webinar with the topic: “Resumption of Foreign Currency Sales to BDCs, COVID-19, Challenges, Compliance and Way Forward “.

Recall that the CBN had announced that gradual sales of foreign exchange to licensed BDC operators would commence with effect from Sept. 7.

The bank said the step was part of efforts to enhance accessibility to foreign exchange, particularly to travellers, following the announcement of the limited resumption of international flights by Minister of Aviation.

“Consequently, purchase of foreign exchange by BDCs shall be on Mondays and Wednesdays in the first instance.

“The BDCs are to ensure that their accounts with the banks are duly funded with the equivalent naira proceeds on Fridays and Tuesdays accordingly,” the apex bank had said.

Speaking at the webinar on Wednesday, Gwadabe urged his members to avoid infractions, as the apex bank had means of tracking their dealings.

He also called on them to always render returns to CBN.

“You cannot sell dollars to someone that is importing goods in whatever form as a BDC, you are only authorized to sell to a traveller, sell for payment of school fees, medicals and mortgage.

“Anything outside this is serious Infraction and can be meted with penalties,” he said.

Gwadabe advised members not to indulge in bulk payments saying that the regulator now had robust and innovative technologies to monitor, supervise and track their financial dealings.

He called on CBN to review their margin of two naira as it was not covering their cost of operations.

According to him, other clients charge as high as 10 per cent margin.

He said once the margin is reviewed, the association would perform well.

The ABCON President disclosed that Naira gained value by mere pronouncement that BDCs operation would be commencing.

He described the gain as “magical”, assuring that they would keep and leverage the achievement.

Gwadabe also spoke on some procedures that had been put in place concerning the resumption.

“I want to discuss the procedures in the new resumption, they are not new, but due to Covid-19, and as an institution, we must observe some certain measures that are being laid down by the government.

“Ordinary financial transactions or funding transactions for disbursement will start this Friday, Sept. 4, in four zones.

“We have Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Awka Zones; these are our four service providers; and in Port Harcourt, the Travelex Retail Nigeria are back, they are the ones to disburse foreign currency to our members in the zone.

“So, we are happy to announce to CBN that our waiting areas are ready and we are engaging the payment service providers in all the five payment services areas to ensure we have smooth operation,” he said.

Gwadabe said as part of readiness to resume operations, the association had introduced a queuing management systems called” 360 QMS” to allow members work virtually from the comfort of their homes.

According to him, about 4,000 members have already registered on the platform.

He said other Covid-19 preventive measures like wash-hand basins, Hand Sanitizers and Face masks had also been provided before the commencement of their operations on Monday.

Gwadebe said the association was faced with the challenge of smaller margin, saying they still see a gap between advance exchange rate and what was currently obtained in the market.

He called on CBN to allow BDCs carry out online documentation to avoid physical contact with persons due to the pandemic.



NIMASA DG calls for contributory pension for dockworkers



…As agency hosts maiden ‘day of the dockworker’ event

By Seun Ibiyemi

It was a milestone event for the local maritime industry as the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) hosted the maiden edition of the ‘Day of the Dockworker’ in Lagos recently.

With the theme of the event being “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity,” it was an opportunity for stakeholders gathered to not just appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well-being.

Delivering his welcome address at the event, the NIMASA Director General, Dr. Bashir Jamoh OFR, charged employers of labor to ensure all dockworkers are enrolled on contributory pension schemes, while also emphasising the need for operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.

According to Dr. Jamoh, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month.”

Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas.”

On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organising the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.

In attendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).

Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.

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LCCI tasks govt on transparent FX regime, multinationals’ engagement



The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has implored the government to create a more flexible and transparent foreign exchange policy to address scarcity issues.

Its Director-General, Dr Chinyere Almona, gave the advice on Thursday in Lagos, in reaction to the recent announcement of Procter & Gamble to transition its Nigerian operations to an import-only model.

Recall that the Chief Financial Officer of Procter & Gamble, Andre Schulten, had said this move would effectively dissolve its on-ground presence in the country.

Almona noted that over the last few months, there had been a consistent increase in exit plans or a reduction in involvement in the Nigerian market by multinationals, saying the trend was worrisome.

She stated that the country’s lingering foreign exchange scarcity, poor power supply, port congestion, multiple taxation, insecurity, and poor infrastructure, among others, had taken a toll on many businesses in the country.

She recommended that the government should implement measures to stabilise and ensure the availability of foreign exchange for businesses, particularly those operating in dollar-denominated environments.

“Further, the chamber urges the government to engage multinational corporations and the business community to understand their challenges and gather input and feedback on policy decisions to collaboratively develop solutions that would forestall the exodus of businesses from Nigeria.

 ”The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should prioritise the stability of the country’s currency and adopt the right policy mix to ensure price stability,” she said.

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Tinubu appoints Omatsola Ogbe as new ES of NCDMB



President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe as Executive Secretary of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale appointed new board members for the NCDMB.

According to the Spokesperson to the President, the President in conformity with Sections 71(1), 72, and 73 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act (2010) approved the appointment of qualified Nigerians to serve on the Governing Council and Management team of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

The newly appointed board members include:Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri — Chairman / HMS, Petroleum Resources, Engr. Felix Omatsola Ogbe — Executive Secretary, Oritsemyiwa Eyesan — Member / EVP Upstream, NNPC Ltd, Gbenga Komolafe — Member / CEO, NUPRC, Bekearedebo Augusta Warrens — Member, Nicolas Odinuwe — Member, Rapheal Samuel — Member, Sadiq Abubakar — Member, Olorundare Sunday Thomas — Member.

Ajuri noted that the President expects the new appointees to discharge their duties with his patriotic resolve to significantly enhance indigenous industry participation in the energy sector as part of the Renewed Hope Agenda’s mandate to achieve the goal of 70 percent indigenous content and participation in the nation’s energy industry during the lifespan of this administration.

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