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NECA hails CBN for exempting coys from Forex restriction

The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for exempting six companies from restriction on milk and dairy products importation.

The NECA’S Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale said in a statement on Thursday in Lagos that it was timely and a sign of responsiveness to good reasoning and businesses concerns.

CBN had on Feb. 11 announced the exemption of six companies from the restriction on milk and dairy products importation.

The apex bank said that the exempted companies had started investments in local milk production as part of its backward integration plan.

The companies exempted include; Friesland Campina WAMCO Nigeria, Chi Limited, TG Arla Dairy Products Limited, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Nestle Nigeria Plc (MSK only) and Integrated Dairies Limited.

Olawale said; “we commend CBN for the bold step of reversing a policy that almost crippled the dairy and milk industry.

“The exemption of the six companies demonstrated that government is indeed, responsive to the concerns we had expressed severally.

“While we support the efforts of CBN, its derivatives and dairy products, we believe that businesses should be given ample time to plan and implement the backward integration programme’’.

He commended the exempted companies for their resilience, doggedness, commitment to local milk production and bold steps at backward integration.

The Director-General, however, urged government to ensure policy consistency and also encourage investment in animal husbandry.

According to him, it will enable the organisations and many other players in the industry to focus on their core business of dairy and milk production.

He said that the experience in other climes showed that animal husbandry was a thriving industry that generated large employment for citizens and revenue for government.

“Government should institutionalise dialogue and focus engagement with organised businesses before taking fundamental policy decisions that can affect businesses.

“A collaborative approach to policy formulation and implementation will do well for the development of the nation,” Olawale said.

NECA is the umbrella organisation of employers in the organised private sector of Nigeria.

Oil Theft: Navy Hands over Seven Sri-Lakans, Two Ghanaians to EFCC for Prosecution 

The Nigerian Navy has handed over seven Sri-Lankans and two Ghanaians, who were among the 66 suspected crude oil thieves arrested in December 2019 by naval operatives attached to the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, BEECROFT in Lagos to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, for prosecution.

Speaking during a media briefing in Lagos on Thursday, February 13, 2020, Navy Capt. Rafiu Oladejo, Executive Officer, NNS BEECROFT, stated the suspects would be charged to court before the end of next week, adding that the Navy would also hand over to the EFCC seven vessels used by the suspects to commit the crime.

Oladejo, who represented Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, Commander, NNS BEECROFT, further said that the crude oil found on them was suspected to have been stolen from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, facilities in the Niger Delta region.

According to him, samples of products found on the seized ships had been taken by officials of the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, for laboratory analysis.

He said: “At the time of arrest, the ships were found to be carrying about 2,725.5 metric tonnes of crude oil and 746 metric tonnes of AGO and had no valid approval for the product.

“As you can recall, NNS BEECROFT arrested 12 vessels involved in illegal bunkering activities between December 2019 and January 2020.

“Consequently, officials of EFCC and DPR were invited to take samples of the products for analysis and also to investigate the people involved.

“As a follow up to these actions, the Base will be handing over seven of the arrested vessels to EFCC for prosecution.

“The vessels are: MT Tim Bgegele arrested on December 3, 2019.

She was found to be carrying 381 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of 11 Nigerians onboard.

“MT Zeebrugge was arrested on December 12, 2019 laden with 838 metric tonnes of crude oil without any valid approval.

She had a crew of seven Sri-Lakans on board.

“MT Jonko was arrested on December 21, 2019 laden with 450 metric tonnes of crude oil. As at the time she was arrested, she had a crew of 11 Nigerians onboard.

“MV Ekpere Amaka was arrested on December 25, 2019 with 85 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of eight Nigerians onboard.

“MV Ella was arrested on December 27, 2019 with 100 metric tonnes of AGO without valid approval. She had a crew of one Ghanaian and six Nigerians onboard.

“MT Ibim was arrested on December 27, 2019 laden with 810.5 metric tonnes of crude oil.

She had a crew of 14 Nigerians onboard.” Idris Abdullahi Abubakar, Head, Extractive Industry and Fraud Section, EIFS, led a five – man delegation of EFCC officials to the hand – over ceremony.

Debt: MPC Raises Concerns As Servicing Gulps N2.45trn 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-led Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has raised concerns over Nigeria’s rising debt and debt service cost.

An MPC member, Okwu Nnanna, said in his personal note at the last MPC meeting in Abuja that debt service gulped N2.45 trillion in one year, and that Nigeria’s rising debt remained unsustainable.

“At N2.45 trillion or 23.2 per cent of the total expenditure, the obligation is 14.5 per cent higher than the previous year and could be exacerbated if fiscal revenues and oil exports decline lower than the benchmarks,” he said.

He explained that with the debt-service-to-revenue ratio rising precipitously, the debt level is on the trajectory which is not sustainable given the slow pace of revenue generation and output growth. Debt service obligations remain precariously high as the 2020 budget reveals.

Nnanna said public expenditure was constrained by weak tax administration and concomitant inadequate revenue buffers.

He added that security-related spending and higher wage bill due to the implementation of the minimum wage are the major factors driving the non-debt recurrent expenditure.

Nnanna said the financial system is resilient and stable, but threatened with significant liquidity overhang due largely to the lack of coordination between monetary and fiscal policy.

“The liquidity surfeit in the banking system arising from the financing of maturing Open Market Operation (OMO) bills and the fiscal operations of Government represent clear upside risks to inflation and volatility in the exchange rate of the naira.

Emerging CBN policies particularly, the Loan-to-Deposit Ratio (LDR) which is pegged at 65 per cent have led to the expansion of credit to the private sector,” he said.

He added: “Also, the introduction of the Global Standing Instruction (GSI) mandate, has aided the de-risking of the financial market.

Nevertheless, we caution that action must be taken to lower the cost of liquidity management, moderate the uptick in inflation and sustain stability in the foreign exchange market.”

 

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