Textile manufacturers in the country have appealed to the Federal Government to stop selling gas to local industries in dollars.
According to them, the payment of the gas tariff in the United States dollar is counter-productive to local manufacturers, a development that has made the commodity unaffordable to many businesses.
Speaking under the aegis of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association, operators in the sector stressed that the gas being supplied to the local industries was costlier than what the commodity was selling for in the international market.
“The current domestic tariff at $7.38/mmscf is three times the price of gas in the international market. There is a need to review the tariff on gas supplied to the industries in naira, which should be affordable.”
The Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources and the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing on several occasions had made it clear that the cost of gas to the power plants was lower than what industrial gas users were paying.
Both ministries also stated that gas was an international commodity and, hence, it was being priced in the US dollar.
Kwajaffa, however, stated that despite the government’s pledge to revive the textile sector, the reality on ground was worrisome.
He said the prevailing harsh environment had no doubt dealt a serious blow to the already fragile sector, adding that Nigeria was currently spending over $4bn annually to import textiles and ready-made clothing.
“Our country has the potential to produce for the local market, export to the ECOWAS market of 175 million people, and to the developed world, but smuggled goods continue to flood major textile markets in Kantin Kwari, Kano, Balogun and Oshodi in Lagos,” he stated.
Kwajaffa noted that a number of recommendations on how to revive the sector had been made available to the government, adding that urgent steps must be taken to save the industry from collapse.
He said, “Scarcity of black oil has crippled the operations of the textile mills in the North. There is a need to ensure availability of the fuel to the textile mills by way of direct allocation from the Kaduna and other refineries. Consistent supply of certified seeds is required to ensure adequate supply of cotton to the local textile industry
“Under the dual exchange rate policy being currently pursued, the CBN should allocate forex at the official rate to textile manufacturers for meeting the need for import of essential raw materials by the textile mills. The need for import substitution has never been felt stronger before. The government should persuade its MDAs to source all their uniforms from the local textile mills.
“The scheme for the supply of free meals to schoolchildren should be extended to free uniforms to be procured by the government from local textile mills. Government should check the influx of smuggled goods and take action against counterfeit textiles, which fake the Nigerian trademarks.”
More Retirees Quit Pension Scheme, Collects N28.46 Billion
114,837 Retirees Quit Pension Scheme, Collects N28.46 Billion
Thousands of retirees whose employers did not adequately fund their Retirement Savings Accounts and retired with balances below N550,000 have collected their contributions and quit the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).
A total of 114,837 employees who retired after attaining the age of 50 and had less than N550,000 in their CPS account had collected their contributions and left the scheme as of the end of June 2020.
This includes contributors from the state, federal and private sectors.
In the quarterly report released on Friday by the PenCom, these retirees withdrew a total sum of N28.46 billion since the inception of the scheme till June.
The report showed about 6,561 of the total retirees that left the program were from the Federal Government sector while 3,879 and 104,397 were from the state and private sectors, respectively.
The report also showed that some of those who collected their contributions included foreign nationals who retired and returned to their countries of origin.
A further breakdown showed as of the end of third quarter of 2019, a total of 109,284 retirees with similar low balances withdrew N27.09 billion. While by the final quarter of 2019, 2,241 retirees withdrew about N569.27 million.
In the first quarter and second quarter of 2020, about 2,227 and 1,085 retirees withdrawn N531.95 million and N274.09 million, respectively. Bringing the total from inception to N28.46 billion.
PenCom stated in its Q2 report on en-bloc payments that, “The commission granted approval for the payment of the entire RSA balances of the categories of retirees whose RSA balances were N550,000 or below and considered insufficient to procure a programmed withdrawal or annuity of a reasonable amount over an expected life span.
“Approval was also granted for payment of RSA balances to foreign nationals who decided to return to their home countries after making contributions under the CPS.
“Accordingly, the sum of N274.78m was paid to 1,085 retirees, which comprised 140 from the public sector retirees (FGN and state) and 1,085 from the private sector retirees during the second quarter.”
Central Bank to Promote Zero Balance Account Opening to Drive Financial Inclusion
Banks Now Accept Zero Balance Account Opening to Deepen Financial Inclusion
In an effort to boost financial inclusion in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria has said it would start promoting zero balance account opening to encourage and lure the unbanked into the banking system.
The apex bank disclosed this in its report titled ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.
The report read in part, “As part of its effort towards promoting greater financial inclusion in the country, the bank shall continue to encourage banks to intensify deposit mobilisation during the 2020/2021 fiscal years.
“Accordingly, banks shall allow zero balances for opening new bank accounts and simplify their account opening processes, while adhering to Know-Your-Customer requirements.
“Banks are also encouraged to develop new products that would provide greater access to credit.”
The apex bank said the Shared Agency Network Expansion Facility, launched to deepen provision of financial services in under-served and unserved locations and drive financial inclusion through agent banking, would continue in the 2020/2021 fiscal years.
Banks, mobile money operators and super-agents would also continue to render returns in the prescribed formats and frequency to the CBN.
Investors Oversubscribed for FGN Bonds by N205.87 Billion in October
FG October Bonds Oversubscribed by N205.87 Billion
The Debt Management Office (DMO) has said investors oversubscribed for the Federal Government’s October bonds by N205.87 billion.
The DMO stated this after concluding the monthly FGN bonds auction on Wednesday.
Two instruments of 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 re-opening 15-year bond and 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 re-opening 25-year bond were auctioned.
The two bonds of N15bn each with a total auction figure of N30bn received a subscription of N235.87bn.
The 15-year tenor and 25-year tenor bonds received 99 and 67 bids but recorded 21 and 26 successful bids respectively.
The amounts allotted for each of the bids were N20bn and N25bn respectively.
According to the DMO, successful bids for the 15-year tenor bond and 25-year tenor bonds were allotted at the marginal rates of 4.97 per cent and six per cent respectively.
However, it added, the original coupon rates of 12.5 per cent for the 12.5 per cent FGN March 2035 bond and the 9.8 per cent for the 9.8 per cent FGN July 2045 bonds would be maintained.
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