One of the major decisions taken by President Bola Tinubu on assumption of office on May 29, after removal of petrol subsidy, was the suspension of the governor Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, who announced Tinubu’s decision to suspend Emefiele on June 9, directed the deputy governor, Operations Directorate, Mr Folashodun Shonubi to act as governor.
On June 14, the apex bank abolished the multiple Foreign Exchange (FX) market.
In a statement by Angela Sere-Ejembi, Director, Financial Markets, the CBN announced that all segments of the FX market were collapse into the Investors and Exporters (I&E) window.
This indicated that the apex bank and its monetary policy functions were integral to economic policy direction of the new president.
Experts are optimistic that the policy decision to unify the exchange rates, experts will sanitise the forex market.
The I&E exchange rate window hit N755 to the dollar shortly after, implying a 21 per cent depreciation of the Naira compared to the previous official rate of N463 to the dollar.
By this development, buyers and sellers of foreign currency in the official FX market were now allowed to quote rates they find comfortable.
This is against previous practice where rates were dictated by the CBN
Some stakeholders, however, interpreted it to imply that the Naira, which has suffered serial depreciation and devaluation over the decades, was being effectively floated.
If floated the value of the currency would be subjected to market forces of demand and supply.
According to the experts, unified and flexible exchange rate regime will help boost investor confidence, increase foreign inflows, reduce import costs, and ease pressure on the naira.
A financial expert, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, said that it was commendable for the CBN to unify the country’s exchange rate.
Uwaleke, a Professor of Capital Market at the Nasarawa State, Keffi, however, cautioned against a sudden free float of the Naira.
According to him, the economic fundamentals required to support a naira float are still very weak, especially in relation to sources of forex.
“Let me say upfront that I support the unification of exchange rates, which makes for a more transparent forex market.
“But I think that the CBN should implement it in a way that does not cause massive distortions in the general price level.
“It is rather early to bank on sustainable capital inflows from foreign direct investments due, in part, to insecurity and the overall unconducive environment of doing business in Nigeria,”.
He said that sudden naira devaluation may draw foreign portfolio investments, which was part of the reason the stock market was surging.
“But we also know that portfolio investments are not money and do not represent a sustainable source of forex inflows,” he said.
He said that the unification of exchange rates should not be a one step process but should be implemented over a period of time, however short it may be.
According to him, empirical evidence suggests that reforms are more successful when they are sequenced and implemented in phases.
“This is against the backdrop of the oil subsidy removal, which, taken together, can result in galloping inflation and rising poverty level.
“So, while fiscal and monetary policy reforms are welcome, absolute care should be taken to strike the right balance and minimise their unintended consequences,”.
Some other stakeholders argue that the disparity in exchange rates provided an avenue for people with access to dollars to buy at the official rate and resell at the black market.
They said that many millionaires were created through that distorted system.
According to Dr Chijioke Ekechukwu, Managing Director, Dignity Finance and Investment Ltd., the unification of the exchange rate and floating of the foreign currency market has come as a welcome development.
“With this, Deposit Money Banks can now go source their own funds and sell to users at their own rate and margin. This is going to bring a rate war amongst them, which will force the rates lower.
“Merging the rates will reduce arbitraging, speculation, and curb multiple malpractices in the market ”.
Ekechukwu, however, said that rates would remain reasonably high in the short run before they drop; and for a higher supply of foreign currencies is achieved.
“This may affect the cost and prices of imported products, including petroleum products. It may increase hardships and retain a high inflation rate,” he said
Dr Muda Yusuf, Director, Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), explained that FX unification was not a devaluation policy.
Rather, he said, it is a normalisation of the foreign exchange policy regime and an adjustment of rate to reflect the fundamentals of demand and supply.
According to him, in the short term, a depreciation of the currency should be expected in the official window.
“This is because of the huge backlog of demand but as the market conditions normalise and move towards equilibrium, the rate would moderate, ” he said.
He said the new policy regime would boost inflows and strengthen the supply side amidst elevated investors’ confidence.
“The component of forex demand driven by arbitrage, rent seekers, speculators and other economic parasites would also fizzle out, thus restoring stability to the forex market.
“It would be dynamic, and the naira will appreciate or depreciate depending on the fundamentals,” he said.
The CBN Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate, Kingsley Obiora , however, said the apex bank had no plans to set the naira on a totally free float, as no country runs a completely free float.
Clarifying recent monetary policy decisions of the bank Obiora said countries do not usually subject their currencies to free float.
“There is no country in the world, even the U.S. that has a completely free float. We are allowing the market itself to set a price.
“It may be too early to determine if the naira’s exchange rate to the dollar has bottomed out,” he said.
He added that the CBN had not intervened in Nigeria’s FX markets since the new policies were introduced.
As Tinubu hits the ground running with major monetary policy decisions, Nigerians are hopeful that the changes will enhance their wellbeing by strengthening the economy. (NAN)
Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim Dies At 95
From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland, Alhaji (Dr ) Ado Ibrahim is dead.
Ibrahim died in the early hours of Sunday. He was was 95 years old.
An astute and successful businessman, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, was a man of taste and splendour during his lifetime and lived a greater part of his life in Lagos, where he build his career in corporate governance with interest in many businesses.
He was one time Chairman of Nestle Nigeria Plc before his appointment to the throne as Ohinoyi of Ebiraland.
The body of Ohinoyi Ado Ibrahim will be buried today in Okene according to Islamic rites.
Tinubu Mourns Late Traditional Ruler
President Bola Tinubu has said he was in grief over the passing of the late Ohinoyi of Ebiraland.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Tinubu condoled with the government and people of Kogi State on the passing of the revered traditional ruler and said the death of the Ohinoyi was a painful loss, describing the late monarch as peace-loving, affable, and cerebral.
“The Ohinoyi of Ebiraland was in a class of his own. He was highly respected and admired for his deep insights, wisdom, and sophistication. He had a masterful way of handling issues. He was very knowledgeable and wise.
“May Almighty Allah grant His Majesty Aljannah Firdaus,” the President prayed.
The President asked the people of Kogi State to take solace in the legacy of peace and fellowship left behind by the late monarch.
Jonathan and The Burden of African Development
By Mike Tayese, Yenagoa
Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was a man who began his political career from a humble beginning but Rose to become one of the African most celebrated leaders of our time. He started as the deputy governor of Bayelsa state to late Chief Diepreye Alamieyesigha Solomon Peter fondly called DSP from 1999 to 2003 and from 2003 to August 2005 when he became the Acting governor of the state and later governor.
Jonathan took over as the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following the death of President Umar Ya’radua on May 5, 2010, and contested in 2011 and won.In 2015, he lost his reelection bid to former president Muhammadu Buhari in the presidential election. Jonathan was the first sitting president to have conceded defeat and congratulated his opponent because he openly said “his political ambition does not worth the blood of any innocent Nigerians.”
His actions have endeared him to African and World Leaders as one of the most peaceful politicians in recent times. Since Jonathan left office, his desire has been how African leaders can imbibe the culture of having and organizing a peaceful election across the continent without shedding innocent Peoples blood and how the winner of the election can translate it to overall development.
Hence the establishment of the “Goodluck Jonathan Foundation” (GJF) in 2017 in order to give meaning to the African Democratic Process that benefits not only the political gladiators but most importantly the electorates. The birth of the Foundation has witnessed tough provoking Topics in the last few years.
Over the past eight years, the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation has implemented a range of Initiatives in several African countries aimed at contributing to the building of Democratic accountability, strengthening governance, and promotion of a culture leadership that is both transparent and conducive to the peaceful transfer of power.
Although democracy may be good in and of itself as a system for ensuring participation and accountability, it is also clear that for it to be sustained, it must deliver and be seen to be delivering material improvements in the lives of citizens and progress for society as a whole. The 2023 Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Democracy Dialogue was devoted to exploring the interface between democracy and development more closely and in all its dimensions. The foundation gathered who is who in the African Democratic Process to rub minds together on the way forward.
The 2023 edition which took place at the 1000 capacity auditorium of the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board in Yenagoa was the first time since 2017 the event was taking out of Abuja. An event that was loaded with different topics with different erudite scholars in their field of endeavors.
This year’s theme: “Breaking New Grounds in The Democratic Development Nexus in Africa” had Prof PLO Lumumba as the keynote speaker while His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse CFR, The Olu of Warri as the royal father of the day. While delivering his keynote address, Prof Lumumba, believed that the Sit-Tight mentality of African Leaders Were Responsible for Frequent Coups because those who find themselves in the corridors of power have failed to meet the desired development by their citizens. Prof Patrick Lumumba stressed the need for Africans to look inward to solve their problems.
According to him, the sit-tight African leaders were responsible for the frequent coups in the continent. He said there are too many individuals in Africa that are claiming to be leaders but they are not leaders. Saying the thing we need to interrogate in Africa is who is a leader? According to him, since the colonial masters left and we started electing leaders, our leaders have not changed nor have they used the God given resources for the benefit of the people. “You can construct roads and build bridges, they can be destroyed and rebuilt but when you build human beings intellectually, that is development. The end and beginning of development is human resources”.
In his remarks, chairman and founder of the Goodluck Jonathan Foundation (GJF), Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, said the GJF Annual Democracy Dialogue is an initiative that brings together stakeholders across Africa to examine issues of democracy and crisis in the continent towards proffering solutions. According to Dr. Jonathan, “democracy in the continent has gone through a period of crises that thrive by social tension, coup d’etat, insecurity and poor management of the electoral process, which in itself is a threat to our democracy in Africa.”
He pointed out that the theme of the dialogue underscored the fact that the people need to see democracy beyond elections and what happens after by the way of good governance. In his welcome address, governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa state, said the decision to re-elect him or choose a governor for the state should be the people’s prerogative. “On November 11 this year, Bayelsans will be going to the polls to elect a governor. I hope I have done enough to merit their endorsement for a second term. The decision should be theirs to make. I am inviting you all back here to be observers of the process.”
Diri had stressed that the introduction of armed non-state actors in political contests poses a greater threat to democracy than the military, noting that unless the people insist on building strong institutions capable of resisting the antics of strong men, more countries would be affected. “The introduction of armed non-state actors in political contests poses a greater threat to our democracy than the military. And unless we insist on building strong institutions capable of resisting the antics of strong men, more and more countries will be infected. “The antidote is the rise of accountable leaders, vibrant civil societies, and engaged citizenry who shape their own destinies and demand transparency, justice, and equal opportunities.”
The governor said the timing of the conference could not have come at a better time in view of what he described as “recent epidemic of military takeovers in the sub-region, which have woken us rudely from our sweet dreams that Africa has come a long way from an era marked by oppressive regimes and limited civic participation.”
The Bayelsa’s helmsman noted that if the people build the right foundations, they would leave enduring legacies, and applauded the unexampled conduct during the 2015 presidential election when President Goodluck Jonathan wrote himself into history as the father of Nigeria’s modern democracy. He said, “in accepting to host this important event, I am aligning myself with the ideal so famously expressed in his immortal words that his “ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. “Democracy should be about ballots, not bullets. It should be an exchange of ideas and convictions. That is why I often say, “those who will kill you to rule you, cannot mean well for you.”
Similarly, the Olu of Warri, His Majesty Utieyinoritsetsola Emiko, Ogiame Atuwatse III, noted that the interest of the people should be paramount in whatever system of government that is adopted, whether traditional or democracy.
Also, a panel of discussants – former president of Sierra Leone, Bai Koroma, former Vice President of the Gambia, Fatuomata Tambajang, Prof Ibaba Samuel Ibaba and Amb. Joe Keshi among others made their contributions towards the development of Africa, as President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr Omar Touray, blamed the lack of development in Africa on weak institutions that have failed to hold leaders accountable, while the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed called for strengthening of democratic institutions through inclusiveness of women, youths and the vulnerable in the society.
Perhaps, former President Jonathan sees all these anomalies in Africa democratic systems as a burden on how to make democracy work. Would the likes of Jonathan and some few African leaders who believe in the development of this African continent, democracy and development get the opportunity to impact the citizens?
Myth and Information Management About Albinism
“I won’t accept this rubbish and I won’t allow it lying low“, Miss Mercy Igiose, fumed as she faced Mr Johnson Giwa, the estate agent.Giwa is trying to pacify her to accept the refund of her payment for a two-bed room apartment. a rare genetic disorder where you aren’t born with the usual amount of melanin pigment.Melanin is a chemical in your body that determines the color of your skin, hair and eyes. Most people with albinism have very pale skin, hair and eyes.People with this type of health condition are often referred to as `Albinos’ or simply “Persons with Albinism (PWA).Worried by the situation, the Nigerian Government in 2013 formulated the national policy on PWA.The then Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, under whose supervision the national policy on albinism was formulated, said it was in response to the numerous challenges encountered by PWAs in their daily lives.He had said: “In Nigeria, the socio-cultural system with its inherent myths and beliefs has put PWAs at a low stratum in all spheres of life.“PWAs experience psychological challenges due to stigmatisation, discrimination and segregation.“Prior to the implementation of the policy, it was common place to see PWA denied the chance to go to school, get a job, have a family and often face discrimination for their entire lives, simply because of their appearance.The policy seeks not only to protect PWAs from discrimination but also seeks to maximise the talents.“This policy is intended to improve the status of PWAs by harnessing their full potentials and guaranteeing equal access to education, social, health, economic and political opportunities.“It is multi-sectorial and provides a holistic approach to improving the standard of life of PWAs. The Policy is aimed at mainstreaming albinism into every sector of development in Nigeria.“Based on the issues stated above, the rights of persons in this group cannot be disregarded. It is hoped that effective implementation of this policy and its guidelines will guarantee improved conditions of life for PWAs,’’ Adamu said.Unfortunately, in spite of the policy the likes of Iyase, are rather stuck to their stigma and discrimination against PWAs.Sadly, these cases are either not reported as the victims simply keep mute as they seek not to aggravate an already bad situation.The Albino Foundation of Nigeria, an NGO, says only about 12 attacks against people with albinism had been reported in the nation. “Yet, bullying and name-calling are common for children with albinism,’’ it said.It is against the backdrop that the Initiative for Advancement of the Albinism Cause (INAAC), an NGO, recently held an enlightenment workshop in Benin, the capital city of Edo.The convener, Miss Joy Odigie, Executive Director, INAAC, said the workshop was meant to increase awareness about the plight of PWA, especially women, girls, and mothers.This, Odigie said, would equip them with knowledge and skills on how to deal with the challenges they are faced with, especially those fuelling Gender Based Violence (GBV).The workshop had as its theme: “Preventing Gender Based Violence against Women and Girls with Albinism and Mothers of Children with albinism in Benin City, Edo State.’’According to Odigie, women and girls with albinism, especially mothers of children with albinism, face numerous challenges and risk becoming victims of gender-based violence.“Such women suffer not only from discrimination and stigmatisation, but also face physical and emotional abuse, sometimes leading to loss of life.“We have also heard about a case of job denial as a result of skin colour and also refusal to give out an apartment for rent because the family has a child with albinism.“The myth that persons with albinism have supernatural powers and that they can be used for rituals still hold strong in some parts of Edo,’’ she said.According to her, any form of violence targeted against women and girls with albinism is a human rights violation, and perpetrators should be punished.“Women and girls with albinism are humans and, as such, deserve fair treatment from members of the society,’’ she said.“This workshop organised, with support from the Nigerian Women Trust Fund, is to ensure equality and inclusion of women and girls with albinism as well as mothers of children with albinism, to protect their human rights and prevent gender-based violence,” she said.Some stakeholders blame the plight of albinos on cultural practices and myths.Mr Olumide Dosumu, Edo Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), says one of the myths claims that having sex would an albino could cure HIV/AIDS.He, therefore, attributed the cases of rape against albinos to this misconception.“It is unfortunate that this has led to the infection of many women with albinism, thereby deteriorating their health condition and psychosexual feeling.“Sexual based violence against them makes the case a double tragedy,” he said.Persons with albinism, the NHRC boss said, were susceptible to killing for ritual because of the myth that they were potent tool.He, however, regretted that these vulnerable persons suffered discrimination in the society in spite of the abundant laws and documents that guaranteed their rights in the society.“Women and girls with albinism have equal rights and opportunities opened to them just like any other citizen.“There must be assertiveness in demanding for their rights and inclusiveness; there must be well groomed knowledge on issue content of GBV.“Persons with albinism must see themselves as human beings and citizens because the Nigerian constitution has guaranteed their rights,” he said.Similarly, Mrs Agatha Isieke, Executive Director, Women, Youths and Children Advancement Programme, identified society’s attitude towards practices of gender discrimination as the root cause of GBV.She said understanding these contributory factors would help uncover necessary steps to take in addressing the menace.No wonder, stakeholders hived sigh of relief and described as hearth warming, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye’s recent disclosure of the constitution of a mobile court to try GBV cases.The minister, at a news conference in Abuja, said the plan was aimed at increasing the visibility of the activities of the ministry in dealing with SGBV issues.Kennedy-Ohaneye said that among the suspects to be arraigned are those still practicing female genital mutilation (FGM).Others, she said, suspected offenders against PWA, adding that the aim was to put an end to the offensive and obnoxious old traditional practice nationwide.The minister said the board of directors of the ministry had given its tacit support to the ministry’s avowed determination of giving women a voice in the society.“This will be done in line with Mr President’s renewed hope agenda”, saying that they would work to allow the poor to breathe and not to be suffocated,” she said.According to her the prosecution of suspects will be in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice, Attorney General of the Federation, Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Governor’s Forum, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and security agencies.She said partnering with other organisations was to have an innovative way to enforcing the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act 2015, and other laws to guide against SGBV, GBV PWA, and FGM among others.For Odigie, “the minister’s statement is refreshing and promising. But it is expected that government will go beyond rhetoric and effectively implement VAPP Act 2015.It is also incumbent on the media to dispel the misinformation about albinos through factual reportage of whom they are and the challenges they face in the society. (NANFeatures)
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