By Ayo Fadimu
The Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) has sent strong warning to foreign exchange speculators pushing the naira to forceful depreciation through their illegal activities.
Speaking to financial journalists on market development, ABCON President, Alhaji (Dr.) Aminu Gwadabe, said forex speculators are taking huge risks with their funds, as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has enough financial muscle to defend the naira and close the widening gaps between official and parallel market rates.
The naira has the in last few days depreciated to N480 to dollar in the parallel market but has remained stable at N379 to dollar at the official CBN rate.
According to Gwadabe, with nearly $36 billion foreign reserves, the CBN has what it takes to punish the enemies of the economy forcing the naira to depreciate through speculative activities.
He said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele has continued to take the right steps to achieve exchange rate stability and ensure that foreign exchange is made available to manufacturers and end users who need the funds for their medical trips, school fees payment, travel allowances among others.
According to him, the funding of Bureaux De Change (BDCs) has also helped to deepen the forex market and reduce the level of forex scarcity that always formed the basis for speculative activities.
He said that with the CBN having the needed financial strength to fund the market, the rates will soon converge to save the naira.
He said exchange rate unification will further narrow the gap between official and parallel has been canvassed by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank because it makes for positive transparency, it makes for clarity of direction and drastically reduces speculative demand for the naira.
“I think that the CBN by pushing the official foreign exchange rate from N306 to N379 to dollar is in line with market demand. It has also helped to narrow the officinal-parallel market rates gap that formed the basis of ridiculous speculations among unpatriotic forex dealers and spectators,” he said.
Gwadabe advised the Federal Government to enhance security surveillance at the nation boarders to checkmate illegal foreign currency cash transactions. He further called for BDC operators’ liquidity ratios to be raised to discourage dollar holdings.
He said ABCON Executives will from this week begin enforcement of regulatory compliance of its members in BDC designated offices nationwide.
He said that ABCON will continue to enlighten and educate its members on the need to continue to trade within the official BDC selling rates set by the apex bank.
The ABCON boss said the beyond trading within set rules, a liquid forex market will always be a disincentive for speculative activities.
He said now is the time to deepen forex market by making BDCs agents of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs). He said the move would help attract more dollars to the economy and promote more diaspora remittances.
Gwadabe said ABCON has been working with industry consultants in designing and developing a robust automation and deployment of technology that will enable BDCs fit into the IMTOs role in deepening dollar liquidity in the economy.
He warned domestic, foreign investors, companies and individuals against patronising the unofficial market, saying it was helping to overheat that market.
Gwadabe disclosed that ABCON Executive Council under his leadership will continue to promote transparency and efficient market dealings while commending the CBN Management for its progressive policies towards a stable exchange rate that aligns with its mandate of exchange rate stability.
He said the CBN has been able to create a people-centric Central Bank focused on promoting inclusive growth and reducing unemployment in the country.
Gwadabe said the BDCs remain at the centre of economic development and have the capacity to attract needed capital for the development of the Nigerian economy. He said that Nigerian BDCs, like their counterparts in other emerging or developing economies, have what it takes to deepen the forex market and promoting global best practices.
IMO: Oyetola restates FG’s commitment to reposition maritime sector
…Reveals Nigeria’s intent to seek election into IMO Council in 2025
…As IMO Secretary-General commends Nigeria for being futuristic
By Seun Ibiyemi
Nigeria’s Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola has restated the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration to reposition the nation’s maritime sector in line with its agenda for economic growth and development.
He disclosed that his ministry had already mapped out plans on how to revamp the maritime industry, noting that the plans cover areas such as security, marine environment management, climate action and human capital development.
The minister made the remarks on Monday while addressing member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at the 33rd session of its General Assembly in London, according to statement released by his spokesperson, Ismail Omipidan.
This is even as the Secretary General of IMO, Kitack Lim, commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for creating the new ministry, saying that the approach was futuristic and strategic.
According to Oyetola, President Tinubu, in recognition of the importance of the maritime industry and Nigeria’s strategic position as a leading maritime nation in the region, established the Ministry for Marine and Blue Economy upon assuming office in May 2023.
He added that the new Ministry had already made significant strides in the quest to put in place a more progressive and dynamic maritime sector nationally, regionally, and internationally.
The minister said, “We have already begun the process of developing a framework that will ensure short, medium and long-term outcomes to reposition the maritime sector to achieve the new administration’s agenda for economic growth and development.
“In the area of national security initiatives, Nigeria has continued to take concrete steps in emplacing the necessary legal and institutional framework to sustain the successes attained in ensuring maritime security within her maritime domain.
“It is noteworthy to mention in this regard the enactment of a dedicated legislation, the Suppression of Piracy and Other Offences Act, which fortifies the legal framework, and in addition to that, the implementation of the Integrated National Surveillance and Waterways Protection Solution, known as ‘The DEEP BLUE PROJECT,’ which further enhances maritime security with its command and control infrastructure,” Oyetola said.
He noted that the aforementioned initiative had continued to bolster Nigeria’s maritime security architecture and contributed to the significant drop in the number of security incidents in Nigerian waters and the wider Gulf of Guinea, which he said was achieved in collaboration with member states, stakeholders and the IMO.
In the area of marine environment management, Oyetola said that Nigeria had remained steadfast in the actualisation of its treaty obligation and that he was happy to report the recent ratification of six maritime conventions and protocols that will further promote a cleaner marine environment, ship-breaking criteria, global standard for fishing crew and response to oil pollution casualties.
While in the area of climate action and in fulfilment of the the IMO’s commitment to the global fight against climate change, the Minister said that Nigeria was committed to working with other member states in the implementation of the strategy.
“Nigeria notes the 2023 strategy on Green House Gas emissions adopted at the MEPC 80 which demonstrated the spirit of friendship, compromise and consensus amongst member states,” Oyetola said.
He added that in the aspect of human capacity development, Nigeria had continued to place and give priority to the training of its seafarers through its national cadetship initiative, the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP).
“Through this initiative, Nigeria has continued to train indigenous seafarers to build capacity and enhance its contribution to the global seafarer’s pool and manpower development, with attention on women seafarers. Since the inception of the NSDP programme, the Federal Government has trained 2,476 cadets in various fields at world-class maritime institutions across the world.
“To reform the business environment, we have continued to implement a broad-based agenda to improve the Nigerian maritime operating environment for commerce to thrive and be driven through inter-agency collaboration and cooperation with the private sector With technical support from IMO, we have initiated the development of a Port Community System (PCS) to create an effective and efficient port community system.
“Currently, we have ensured interconnectivity of operations of the relevant agencies to create seamless cargo clearance processes and procedures to further enhance and simplify cross-border trade,” Oyetola stated.
While concluding his address, the Minister informed the Assembly of Nigeria’s intention to seek election into into the Category C of the IMO Council in 2025. He, therefore, sought the support and votes of member states of the organisation.
Speaking during an event held on the sidelines of the ongoing General Assembly, the IMO Secretary General, Mr. Lim during a brief chat with Oyetola, described the decision by President Tinubu to create the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy as futuristic and strategic. He also commended Nigeria for providing security in the Gulf of Guinea, while also the country to share the idea of the new ministry with member states.
Meanwhile, Minister Oyetola also held bilateral meetings with representatives of Greece, Qatar, and Mexico.
The minister was accompanied on the trip by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Magdalene Ajani, Director, Marine Safety and Security, Babatunde Bombata, MD, NPA, Mr. Bello Koko and the DG of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh.
Nigeria investors provide 30% return on investment — NEXIM
The Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) has disclosed that investors in Nigeria earn about 30 per cent return on their investments.
The Executive Director of Business Development, NEXIM, Stella Okotete, disclosed this while playing host to the Mexican Ambassador to Nigeria, Alfredo Miranda, who led a delegation on a courtesy call to the management of the bank in Abuja.
She called for a partnership between the country and Mexico with a view to expanding access to Nigerian goods to the Mexican market.
According to the NEXIM boss, collaboration with Mexico would boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings, attract investment opportunities and ultimately promote prosperity for citizens of both nations.
Okotete, who used the opportunity to showcase Nigerian-made export goods financed by the bank, highlighted other investment opportunities available in Nigeria, according to a statement issued by the bank in Abuja on Sunday.
“I should once again assure you that with Nigeria, as a country and with a very large opportunity in export, especially the non-oil export sector, you have 100 percent access to your foreign exchange for repatriation and you have a very huge ROI (return on investment) on your investment.
“We are talking about in some cases 30 percent, between seven to 30 percent; you won’t get it anywhere but in Nigeria. So, in terms of return, on investments, this is the best place you can invest,” she stated.
According to Okotete, it is clear that Mexico has a huge advantage in mining; Nigeria is an untapped mining destination.
“So if you have businesses that would want to partner with Nigeria to develop the mining sector for export, Nigeria Export-Import Bank will be willing to work with you and support that aspect to grow the sector,” she asserted.
The bank said the visit by the Mexican delegation was to deepen trade relationships, foster economic growth and explore mutually beneficial investment opportunities, as it marked a significant step towards fostering strong ties between the two nations.
In his response, Miranda highlighted the potential for increased economic and bilateral cooperation between Mexico and Nigeria.
The ambassador took note of the various initiatives undertaken by the bank to promote non-oil exports for sustainable economic growth.
He pointed out that Mexico was a $1.4trillion economy, which Nigerian businesses and exporters could greatly benefit from.
He stressed the need to identify business opportunities in Nigeria and Mexico, which could be leveraged to enhance trade, investments and attract financing for the development of both countries through their trade policies.
NIPOST CLRD receives first vehicle donation from Zenith Carex
By Omolola Dede Adeyanju
The Courier and Logistics Regulatory Department, Nigerian Postal Service has received a donation of an eighteen seater Hummer Vehicle from Zenith Carex International Limited on Friday as a part of the firm’s CSR and in acknowledgement of the regulatory standards that has promoted the Creation of a profound pace for the courier and logistics company.
The General Manager, Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), Mr Shonde Gideon Oludotun expressed that with the vehicle, the CLR department of NIPOST will experience a step-up since there is something to step on. He explained that the postal service needs equipment, technologies, and logistics to thrive in this digital age.
“The vehicle will be put to the right use, we will not be diverting it for irrelevant purposes. You will be seeing more of us now because we don’t have the excuse of a lack of vehicles any longer,” he assured.
The GM further stated, “We have started mobilising our people already. We need more mobile policemen, we need more vehicles to move, more digital enforcement materials.”
As regards the need of digital materials for E-Monitoring, Mr Shonde said, “We don’t need to be on the road to monitor, we can monitor courier agencies right from the office. There’s a new digitised security sticker with a QR code, so once you are licensed and you have this sticker on your asset it is tagged to your license and your company, in that case, from the office, with just a phone, we can scan and get relevant details.
“We need adequate funding, we need equipment, softwares, hardwares, computers and more manpower as we are across various states in the country.”
He pointed out that NIPOST is taking measures to create awareness to sensitise people about their existence for regulation of the courier and logistics Industry. Therefore, if a person had complaints about any courier agencies or logistics company, there is a regulatory body they can lodge complaints to for resolution.
While reiterating his gratitude for the donation, Mr Shonde noted that this vehicle is the first ever being donated. However, he stated, “It is a wonderful thing knowing that we still have patriotic Nigerians who value our services, I am elated for this donation even as it comes from the private sector for due purpose of enforcement and monitoring. It is a wonderful aid to support our course in making sure that there is a championing and people get returns for their Investments
Meanwhile, CEO/MD, Zenith Carex International Limited, Dr Adelana Olamilekan enumerated what informed the company’s choice of donation to the postal service, saying that Zenith Carex is an indigenous company in Nigeria and has been in the industry for the past two decades.
“The regulatory department of NIPOST,” he said, “have been very helpful and supportive in ensuring that there is compliance to rules and regulations of the courier industry.”
“Considering the fact that Zenith Carex has upgraded its license from National to International, we also felt the need to give back to the same system that has been very supportive over the years, this we do as part of our CSR,” Dr Adelana noted.
He examined how the postal service aided in setting a standard to make Zenith Carex what it is.
“We are all aware of the clampdown NIPOST enforces on illegal operators to ensure regulations of the courier and logistics agencies, this amongst the many other functions of the department has helped a whole lot.”
Mr Lekan emphasised that Zenith Carex has been registered and licensed by the Corporate Affairs Commission and Nigerian Postal Services under the courier and logistics department in Nigeria and over the years the firm has diversified into the core logistics, ranging from documents, cargo, clearing and freight forwarding, shipping, warehousing, distribution and over the years have carved a niche in the industry.
He envisaged that soon, “Zenith Carex will be the choice of every subscriber when it comes to logistics and every Service we offer. We have taken the major steps by upgrading from a national licensed courier to an international one.”
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