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CBN Must Review 41 Items Restricted From FX Market

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The Organised Private Sector, OPS, yesterday, insisted that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, must review its policy on the 41 items restricted from official foreign exchange market.

According to the group, the decision is hurting the manufacturing sector in such a way that could no longer be ignored, having led to the closure of many companies and relocation of others from Nigeria to Ghana and other neighbouring countries. It has also led to the refusal to repatriate over $10 billion held offshore by Nigerian businesses. These views were expressed by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN; National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, NASME, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industries, LCCI, at a ‘Stakeholders’ Dialogue on the Manufacturing Sector in Nigeria’, organised by NOIPolls and the Centre for the Study of the Economics of Africa, CSEA, in Abuja.

Generally, MAN, NASME, LCCI and NOIPolls stated that about 272 manufactures are either ailing or have closed shop over the last couple of months, while thousands of jobs are being cut on a daily basis.

According to Mr. Vincent Nwani, Director, Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the CBN announced the 41-item list without consulting the sector and that the chamber has made several representations to the apex bank without the desired results.

“We did press releases; we did stakeholders engagement; we engaged with the CBN at all levels, at least three times; we met the directors twice–up to the CBN Governors on this same matter of the 41 items- giving them examples of product-by-product. There must be an urgent review of the CBN’s policy on the restriction of access to foreign exchange placed on 41 items, as about16 of the total items in the list, serve as critical raw materials for intermediate goods produced in Nigeria, especially as the country lacks the capacity for optimal production of the items.”

Specifically, he said the ban on oil palm has led to the loss of about 100,000 jobs over the last couple of months, with major blue chip companies in Nigeria relocating to neighbouring countries; while the ban on glass and glassware has led to the loss of 80,000 jobs mainly in the pharmaceutical industry, as companies in this sector now find it difficult to package their products.

He said: “Local production of oil palm is put at about 600 metric tonnes annually, but the total demand of the country is put at about 1.8 million metric tonnes. Today, Presco Oil has orders of up to December 2017 to fill, it is presently hard pressed with demands. Listing oil palms among the restricted items meant that we have a shortfall of about 1.2 million metric tonnes.

“Some of the items placed on the restriction list by the CBN should be reinstated until the country develops the capacity to produce them locally. Some of the items need a period of between three and seven years for the country to develop self-sufficiency in their production. For instance, it takes a minimum of five years for oil palm to be planted and for harvest. The CBN should have given us more time. The manufacturing and industrial sectors lost about N1.4 trillion as a result of foreign issues, while about 780 raw materials needed by the sector were affected by the restrictions placed by the CBN.

“I have talked about palm oil, I have talked about glass and glassware, I have talked about rubber and rubber ware. Glass and glassware, rubber and rubber wares you need about a 3 year gestation period. The palm oil, we need 5 years gestation period before we can have the local capacity to be able to supply the 1.2 million metric tons that is in deficit as we speak. I will not be able to remember all the items off hand but we have the list and I can simply make it available.

“We have sent it to CBN before, they put up resistance about it and we are ready to send it again. You know the challenge the organized private sector had initially was that we were not able to understand the magnitude of this challenge.

“We are making this demand on the basis that we don’t have local capacity for the affected items on the list. Even if we are having scarcity of foreign exchange some of these lists need to be supplied and because of that, few of our members who have been able to earn export credit or export income in dollars have refused to bring it in or repatriate it. We have about $ 10 billion stuck in one country or the other earned by our members. Some of them are not manufacturers; some are agriculturists or merchants of different products. They cannot bring it in because the business confidence, the manufacturing confidence, industrial confidence is negative.

“Until we do something to boost this confidence all of this money will be stocked abroad. Even Nigerians that are living in the Diaspora that was able to bring in $ 23 billion in 2013. Last year we saw about 5 billion dollars, this year it is going to be less than 3 billion dollars. This is what negative confidence can do to an economy.”

Speaking in the same vein, Executive Secretary of NASME, Mr. Eke Ubiji, stated that recently, about 222 of its members have either collapsed or are ailing, while he blamed lack of access to credit, foreign exchange challenges, high interest rate, multiple taxation and poor infrastructure, among others, for their woes.

MAN

Also speaking, Mr. Ambrose Oruche, Director, Economics and Statistics of the Manufactures Association of Nigeria, MAN, lamented that the unavailability of productive inputs is the major challenge confronting manufacturers, stating that this was as a result of the restriction placed by the CBN on certain items.
According to him, the current operating environment in the country is harsh for many manufacturers to continue to operate, disclosing that some economic policies churned out by the Federal Government and the CBN are conflicting and are retarding the growth of the manufacturing sector.

He argued that the manufacturers were not consulted by the CBN and other regulators before the restrictions were placed on the items, noting that many of the products under foreign exchange restrictions are raw materials needed by manufacturers.

He said, “Presently, about 50 manufacturers have closed shop, while some have downsized.

Some manufacturers are still producing due to their love for this country. Government policy on cement should have adopted in this case.

“In the case of cement, Nigeria used to be a net importer of cement, but the government set up a policy over a five-year period, which made it possible for us to be a net exporter of the commodity.”

MPR

Mr. Oruche further faulted the decision of the CBN to increase the Monetary Policy Rate, MPR, to 14 per cent, stating that it has made it difficult for manufacturers to access funds to finance t heir operations. According to him, the fact that the economy is technically in recession, the CBN’s effort should have been directed towards expanding the economy rather than contracting it.

He also listed high interest rates, poor patronage of local manufactured products, poor supporting infrastructure, such as poor power supply, policy somersault and policy inconsistency, among others, as the challenges confronting manufacturers. To address the declining fortunes of the manufacturers, Mr. Oruche called for the resuscitation of domestic refining, as this would ensure that certain chemicals imported into the country, can now be sourced locally.

He also stated that attention should be paid to developing the infrastructure base of the economy and also on energy generation and distribution, while the Federal Government should also grant incentives and concessions to businesses.

The Chief Executive Officer of NOIPolls, Mr. Bell Ihua, said that the organization’s survey covered all six geopolitical zones of the country and that urgent actions were needed by the federal government to save the sector.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Ford Motor’s India Head Anurag Mehrotra Quits After Ford Stop Manufacturing Cars in India

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Ford Motor’s India head Anurag Mehrotra has quit the company to pursue other career opportunities, days after the United States’automaker said it would stop making cars in the Asian nation, taking a hit of $2 billion.

Mehrotra, according to his LinkedIn profile, has spent over a decade with Ford in India across multiple roles, including marketing, sales and most recently as president and managing director.

September 30 will be Mehrotra’s last day, a source with knowledge of the information told Reuters.

Mehrotra did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ford India said in its statement it has put its director of manufacturing, Balasundaram Radhakrishnan, in charge of overseeing its restructuring in the country.

Ford’s decision to stop making cars in India ends its more than two-decade long presence in a market it no longer sees as profitable. The move will affect around 4,000 employees, the company has said.

Ford is the fifth major automaker to cease vehicle manufacturing in India since 2017, following exits by General Motors and Harley Davidson from a market that is dominated by Asian rivals.

Despite being in India since the mid-1990s, Ford has less than two per cent share of the passenger vehicle market and was using about 20 per cent of its total production capacity of 440,000 cars a year across two plants.

Ford said earlier this month it plans to wind down production at its western India plant by the end of this year and at its southern India plant by the second quarter of next year.

Theannouncement has upset hundreds of its factory workers, some of whom protested the decision this week.

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Appointments

Veritas Kapital Assurance Appoints Mrs. Oyindamola Unuigbe as an Executive Director

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Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc, one of Nigeria’s leading insurance firms, on Monday announced the appointment of  Mrs. Oyindamola Unuigbe as an Executive Director of the Company.

The appointment of Mrs. Oyindamola Unuigbe as Executive Director, Operations is subject to the final approval from the National Insurance Commision (NAICOM), the company disclosed in a statement signed by Saratu Umar Garba, Company Secretary and Legal Adviser.

Oyindamola Profile

Oyindamola brings to bear over two decades of hands-on expertise in the insurance and financial services sectors. She combines experience in entrepreneurship, underwriting; reinsurance; portfolio management; product and business development; enterprise risk management and sales and marketing; acquired across leading international and local organizations.

Preceding her appointment as Executive Director at Veritas Kapital Assurance Plc, Oyindamola served as Head, Business Development, South wherein she was responsible for overseeing business procurement and total service delivery activities of branches in the Southern region of Nigeria.

Her over 27-year career includes working as an Accounts Manager with Brokerlink Inc.; one of Canada’s largest brokerage firms; Primerica Life Insurance Company, Alberta Canada; where she developed key competencies in the areas of processes and procedures that conform to the international practice of General and Life Insurance,
Standards and Regulatory Compliance requirements.

She started her career at the Lagos office of SCIB insurance brokers and subsequently worked at Citi Trust insurance brokers and the Nigeria Reinsurance Corporation where she served as a senior manager.

Oyindamola holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Ife, Nigeria. She is an Associate of both the Chartered Insurance Institute of London (ACII) and Nigeria (ACIIN) and is a recipient of various prestigious international certifications encompassing general insurance, life insurance and professional risk management.

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SMEs

Fidelity Bank To Develop SMEs Capacity in Non-oil Exports Sector

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In furtherance of its resolve to help Nigerian businesses build sustainable export capabilities, leading Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc, is set to host the 11th and 12th editions of its highly acclaimed Export Management Programme (EMP).

Launched in 2016, the EMP is targeted at preparing participants for real-time experiences in the international non-oil export markets and the broader export market at large. The session typically covers a wide range of topics including Export documentation, Selection and Implementation of Supply Chain Management for Exports, Application of Export Development Business Processes amongst others.

Speaking on the programme, the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe noted that, “As a leading supporter of small businesses, we introduced the EMP five years ago to bridge the knowledge gap in the export business locally and to help participants to compete effectively in the global export market. Given the success, we have recorded in the course of the programme and following the yearnings of potential participants, we decided to host an edition of the training in Kano for those who are unable to attend the session in Lagos.”

While EMP 11 is scheduled to hold at the Lagos Business School (LBS), Lekki, Lagos between 4 and 8 October 2021; EMP 12 would hold at a soon-to-be-announced venue in Kano State from 11 to 15 October 2021. The sessions would be facilitated by leading faculty from LBS, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) staff as well as experts in financial management and exports.

Fidelity Bank has over the years demonstrated its resolve to grow the non-oil export side of the economy through strategic initiatives and partnerships. For instance, the bank provided over N32.7 billion in credits to businesses operating in strategic sectors including rice, dairy, poultry, oil palm and cocoa in 2019. The bank has also successfully leveraged strategic partnerships with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) under various industry targeted intervention funding programmes to enhance access to credit for eligible players in the agribusiness and non-oil exports space with the aim of addressing food security gaps and enhancing foreign exchange earnings.

“The benefits of supporting the non-oil sector of the economy cannot be overemphasized given the immense benefits that it provides to the economy and the nation in terms of providing much needed foreign exchange investments, increasing our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment generation. This informs our decision to host the EMP regularly and we enjoin interested entrepreneurs to take advantage of this initiative to take their business to the next level,” Onyeali-Ikpe explained.

To register for the event, kindly visit www.fidelitybank.ng

About Fidelity Bank Plc

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with about 6million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and various other digital banking channels. The bank has in recent times won accolades as the Best SME Friendly Bank, Best in Mobile Banking and the Most Improved Corporate/Investment Bank among several industry awards and recognitions. The bank was also ranked the 4th Best Bank in the Retail Banking Segment in the 2017 Banking Industry Satisfaction Survey conducted by KPMG.

Focused on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), Fidelity Bank is rapidly implementing a digital-based retail banking strategy which has resulted in an exponential growth in savings deposits over the last 3 years and a corresponding surge in customer enrollment on the bank’s flagship mobile/internet banking products.

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