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Naira Redesign: APC Appeals to Buhari Again, as President Calls for More Patience

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A meeting called by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and attended by its presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, 12 governors and two deputy governors, has called on the Attorney General of the Federation and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to respect the Supreme Court order of interim injunction on

In effect, the party, like its governors in Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, and Ogun that defied the Federal Government, wants the CBN to allow N500 and N1,000 notes which President Muhammadu Buhari says are no longer legal tenders in the country, to run side by side the old N200 note and new notes.

The ruling party’s position comes as lawyers continue to differ over the lifespan of the interim injunction, which the law says has a seven-day lifespan. Many argue the order of the apex court is not an interlocutory injunction which subsists until the determination of a matter, but an interim one with a lifespan.

However, the spokesman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Minister of Labour and Employment and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Festus Keyamo, disagreed on Channels Television last Friday, insisting that the interim injunction of the Supreme Court has no lifespan.

But from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is attending the African Union meeting, President Buhari sent in a message, saying he is fully aware of hardship some policies of government, “which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country” had caused and appealed for further patience as the government takes appropriate measures to ease them.

In a video recording to shore up support for Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC in the upcoming elections a few days ahead, the President thanked Nigerians for electing him to be President for two terms, and urged them to vote for the APC flag bearer because “he is reliable and I know he will build on our achievements.”

In the campaign message to voters, according to his spokesman, Mr. Garba Shehu, the President specifically called on “our traditional rulers, religious leaders and parents to warn their followers and wards alike, to not allow themselves to be used by a few to foment trouble.

“I want to assure you that the Government has taken adequate security measures to allow everyone to come out and cast their votes. I am therefore appealing to everyone to give them the necessary support.

“Fellow Nigerians, I want to use this opportunity to once again thank you for electing me to be your President on two occasions.

“I am not a contestant in this election, but my party, the All Progressives Congress, has a candidate in the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As I mentioned before, Tinubu is a true believer in Nigeria, who loves the people and the development of our country.

“I am calling on all of you to vote for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He is reliable and I trust he will build on our achievements.

“Finally, I want to once again assure you that I am fully aware of the current hardship you are facing as a result of some policies of the government which are meant to bring overall improvement to the country.

“I am appealing to you to exercise further patience as we take appropriate measures to ease these hardships. God willing, there will be light at the end of the tunnel.”

Though he did not reference the cashless policy, its attendant Naira redesign, and swap of old notes for new, it is generally believed he was referring to it.

The President, the statement adds, emphasised that the APC presidential candidate has demonstrated his commitment to the development of the country and the well-being of its people.

Meanwhile, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, the APC National Chairman, in his news conference in Abuja, said the appeal was part of resolutions reached at the emergency meeting between the party’s governors and members of its National Working Committee (NWC) on Sunday in Abuja.

Adamu, who spoke to newsmen at the end of the closed door meeting, said the meeting also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in resolving issues caused by the new Naira note re-design and the cashless economy policy.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Supreme Court had in a ruling granted an interim injunction that the CBN and the federal government should suspend the implementation of the Feb.10 deadline for the expiration of the legal tender status of the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

This, it said, should be pending until the hearing and determination of a suit before it slated for Feb. 22.

Buhari had however on Thursday (Feb. 16), announced that only the old N200 note would remain valid until April 10, while the old N500 and N1000 notes had lost their legal tender status, contrary to the ruling of the apex court.

“Without prejudice or whatsoever to the case that is lying at the Supreme Court at this point in time, that has to do with the issue of currency re-design.

“We note very seriously that the programme and its implementation is causing tremendous difficulties to the people of Nigeria and to the national economy.

“That we urge the Attorney General of the Federation and the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to respect the Supreme Court order of interim injunction which is still subsisting.

“That the meeting is urging his Excellency, President Buhari, to intervene in resolving issues that are causing this great difficulties to the economy,” Adamu said.

He added that contrary to speculations, the party’s leadership and governors elected on its platform under the agies of Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) were on the same page on this matter.

▪︎ Additional report by NAN.

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Economy

Currency Speculators in Trouble as Naira’s Resurgence Continues

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Currency speculators are in trouble as the Naira has continued to gather strength in the market in recent times.

It would be recalled that the US Dollar exchanged for nearly N2,000 in February this year, same with the Pounds, Euro and other foreign currencies.

However, the Naira has continued to gather strength and is currently hovering around N1,480 and N1,520 for a Dollar.

To that end, the Presidency has warned forex speculators to discard their Dollars, saying that the Naira will soon appreciate more and may depreciate their savings.

President Bola Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, made this call in a statement via his X handle on Thursday.

The presidential aide urged speculators to quickly dump their dollars to avoid “tears.”

He stated, “With backlog FX settled, Naira is set to appreciate further, faster. Currency speculators should quickly dump their stock of dollars to avoid sorrows and tears.”

Onanuga was reacting to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, disclosure that it had cleared the $7 billion foreign exchange backlog inherited by Governor Yemi Cardoso.

Yemi Cardoso, CBN Governor

In a statement on Wednesday, CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications, Mrs Hakama Sidi Ali, confirmed the settlement of all valid FX backlog claims.

Ali said the apex bank employed Deloitte Consulting, an independent auditing firm, to meticulously assess the transactions, ensuring that only legitimate claims were honoured.

“Any invalid transactions were referred to the relevant authorities for further investigation,” she stated.

The CBN’s commitment to tackling the FX backlog appears to be paying off, with the external reserves seeing a significant rise, reaching $34.11 billion as of March 7, 2024, the highest level in eight months.

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Economy

CBN Uncovers $2.4b Invalid FOREX Claims

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CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Yemi Cardoso said the apex bank has discovered $2.4 billion invalid forex outstanding claims pressuring the naira and causing anxiety in the currency market.

Cardoso disclosed this in an interview with Arise Television on Monday.

According to Cardoso, this was uncovered during an audit by the consultant the CBN hired, which exposed a number of dubious transactions.

The CBN Governor stated that the apex bank commissioned Deloitte to look into the FX allegations to provide a true picture of the situation.

Cardoso said, according to the Deloitte assessment, up to $2.4 billion of the backlog consists of fictitious claims, with claimants in certain cases being unable to provide import documentation.

“We had had reasons to believe we needed to take a harder look at these obligations. So we contracted Deloitte management consultants to do a forensics of all these obligations and to actually tell us what was valid and what was not,” Mr Cardoso said.

“The result that came out of this was startling in a great respect. It was startling. We discovered that of the roughly $7 billion, about $2.4 billion had issues, which we believe had no business being there and the infractions on that ranged from so many things, for example not having valid import documents and in some cases entities that do not exist,” he said.

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Economy

We are Determined to Stabilise Forex and Boost Economic Growth. -FG

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By Christopher Sunday

Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, has said the Tinubu administration is committed to implementing macroeconomic reforms.
aimed at curbing inflation, easing the cost of living, and stabilising the foreign exchange as part of the broader objective of boosting economic growth.

The Minister stated this on Saturday in Minna, Niger State, at the 2024 Press Week of the Niger State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Represented by the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mallam Jibrin Baba Ndace, the Minister said the year 2024 holds a lot of prospects for Nigerians as some of the promising initiatives of the administration begin to bear fruit.

“Permit me, distinguished invited guests, as chief spokesperson of the Federal
Government of Nigeria, to use this hallowed platform to tell Nigerians, at this early and auspicious time of the year, that 2024 would be a great year for Nigeria as thepolicies of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu under the Renewed Hope Agenda takefirmer roots for the growth of our nation’s economic development, our invaluablehuman assets, and national security.

“The Tinubu administration will continue to implement macroeconomic reforms.
to achieve broad economic objectives of sustained economic growth aimed at
bringing down inflation, easing the cost of living, and stabilising foreign exchange
and job creation, among others,” he said.

Idris said, against the backdrop of the withdrawal of fuel subsidies, liberalising the foreign exchange regime, and the fight against corruption, the Tinubu government is showing fidelity to the rule of law and the independence of institutions, as demonstrated in the recent judgements of the courts.

The Minister explained that the recent Federal Government decision to relocate certain departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Lagos is part of a broader strategy to enhance operational efficiency, streamline processes, ensure a responsive financial system for Nigeria, and cut operations costs. He emphasised that the government’s directive aligns with global best practices and has no political motivation, however wrongly propagated.

The minister assured that no policy of the present administration would put any part of the country in a disadvantageous position. “President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s commitment to fairness and equitable development, as outlined in his oath of office, ensures that no policy under his administration will disadvantage any region. His dedication to fostering national unity and inclusivity is reflected in policies guided by principles of fairness and equality,” he said.

The Minister, who also used the occasion to enlist the support of the media in the fight against fake news, said the hydra-headed menace of fake news is ravaging the media space. “My dear colleagues, we need to rise against the elements of fake news that are deliberately designed to misinform Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also announced to the gathering that the Federal Government would soon unveil comprehensive details of the National Values Charter, which are aimed at inculcating values in the citizenry.

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