Moslem Leader Cautions On Respect to Authorities

A prominent Moslem Leader in Rivers State and chairman Iriebe Yam Zone, Chief Alhaji Yakubu Idris has cautioned Northerners residing in the state against attacks on officials of the state government.

Alhaji Idris was reacting a alleged attacks on some officials of Rivers State Waste Management Authority (RIWAMA) by some waste scavengers and cart pushers suspected to be from the North.

According to the Iriebe Yam Zone chairman, the attack was condemnable and stressed the need for all persons residing in the state to keep the peace and respect constituted authorities.

“You cannot be living in somebody’s place and begin to make trouble with the people. We must obey the laws of the state no matter what”, he declared

Alhaji Idris, who also holds the traditional title of Enyika Nwanne I, of Iriebe acknowledged the cordial relationship existing between the Northern Community and the Iriebe people, expressed commendation to the traditional ruler of Iriebe, Eze Jeremiah Worionwu for his magrmity and love for strangers in the area.

On the security situation in the area, Alhaji Idris said his leadership has been cooperating with the police authorities in the area adding that of crimes, such as kidnapping, robbery and drug abuse prevalent in other areas do not occurs in Iriebe.

“If anybody commits any crime here, we immediately alert the police. We have identity of everyone in this place and if you don’t conform to the rules here, we send you back to where you came from”, the market leader state.

He also cautioned traders in the market to adopt the new waste disposal measures in the market, stating that trades carry out regular clean up of the market and urging the people to ensure proper disposal of their wastes.

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Motor Parts Dealers Union Gets Caretaker Committee

The Port Harcourt Motor Part Dealers Union in Rivers State High Chief Anthony Alaribeole as chairman has a Caretaker Committee.

According to a statement issued by the union, Chief Alaribeole and other members of the Committee were inaugurated at an extraordinary meeting held at the Motor Part Dealers Union last Thursday. in Port Harcourt.

Other members of the Committee, are Okey Umunakwe, Obumnewe Ele, Amaechi Egbudom, Chief Fridy Ndubisi , Chimezie Erondu and Simon Iheanacho Zakky.

The list also includes; Uchenna Ugochukwu, Ezedike Ezechukwu, Nze Emmanuel Ejims, Onuora Emmanuel Nwaodo, Godwin Chibuka and Comr. Nnamdi Amadikwu as Secretary

The document which was signed by the former president of the Union, Maxwell Anuomye.

The General Secretary, Aneme Okoli and endorsed by Chief Martine Ezekiel and Matthias Jeremiah as Chairman and secretary of the Elders forum respectively stated that the Chief Alaribeole-led Caretaker Committee has the mandate to among others, undertake the reconciliation of all functions and aggrieved members of the union and also carry out regulation of old and new members of the union.

The committee is also mandated to plan organize and conduct the election of new executives for the union, all within six months.

The Vortex business reporter, recalls that the Port Harcourt Motor Parts Dealers Union (PMPDU) has been enmeshed in crises and functionalized along several groupings.

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Ikoku Traders Keep Vigil Over Eviction Threat

Traders of the popular Ikoku Motor Spare Parts Marker in Port Harcourt Rivers State have resorted to keeping vigil on their stores in the Market for fear of forceful eviction.

Chairman of the Spare Parts Market, High Chief Anthony Alaribeoke who  spoke to The Vortex  on the recent face off between the traders and landowners alleged that some shops in the market  were vandalized by thugs.

According to Chief Alaribeole, on August 7, Eze our Landlord visited the area with some officials of the Nigeiran Civil Defence corps NCDC and orally informed us that the landlord harbouring the Market has been sold to some investors and asked them to vacate the land by the end of August, 2020.

Alaribeole said the traders were surprised when they were alerted that the Landlord came with some persons dressed in NCDC uniform and began vandalizing shops in the market.

Chief Alaribeole, who is the chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Port Harcourt Motor Parts Dealers Union, however appealed to Governor Nyesom Wike to come to the aid of the traders and assist in resolving the crises between them and Ikoku Landlord.

He lamented the monumental economic hardship and security challenge which the action of the Landlord if not resolve will inflict on the thousands of traders at the Spare Parts Market.

The Chairman called on public sprinted individuals and others Nigerians to speak out against the unjust actions of the Landlord, emphasizing that as tenants on the land for over 40years, three weeks oral notice of eviction to the traders was legally and morally unacceptable.

Chief Alaribeole said traders in the Market have become apprehensive in leaving the market to their homes adding that the Union has engaged private security to watch over the Market.

“As law abiding citizens, we will await government reaction before take further action on the matter,” he said.

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NLNG Signs Contract For Train 7 Project

Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has signed the Contracts for the construction of its Train 7 Project with the SCD JV Consortium, comprising affiliates of Saipem, Chiyoda and Daewoo.

Speaking on the contracts’ signing, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NLNG, Mr. Tony Attah, was quoted in a statement signed by the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Mrs. Eyono Fatai-Williams, as saying that the EPC contracts represented yet another milestone in the company’s journey towards achieving its vision of being a global LNG company, helping to build a better Nigeria.

He said: “With the award of the EPC Contracts to our preferred bidders (SCD JV), we are guaranteeing that our country remains significantly on the global list of LNG suppliers. This singular act clearly demonstrates our shareholders’ determination and resolve to sustain the economic dividends that NLNG’s monetization of our vast natural gas reserves offers our great country Nigeria”.

Attah expressed confidence in SCD JV consortium’s proven competence, adding that the demonstration of an understanding of NLNG’s business philosophy by the consortium will positively influence the execution of the project and ensure zero harm to people, environment and host communities.

The statement also quoted the Group Managing Director of the NNPC and Director on the NLNG Board, Mallam Mele Kyari, as saying that the “Nigeria LNG’s successes, since it started operation in 1999, had continued to prove its unique business model that is profitable to all its stakeholders.

He said: “It is for this reason that our President, Muhammadu Buhari, instructed through the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources that NNPC as a shareholder, it must do everything possible to support all the other shareholders and NLNG’s management to secure the much-needed public confidence from all critical stakeholders, especially the critical agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria and international investors, to pursue the company’s ambition of adding a 7th train to its existing production capacity.

According to the statement, the project was in fulfillment of the NLNG’s vision of being a ‘global company, helping to build a better Nigeria.’

The project upon completion will support the federal government’s drive to generate more revenue from Nigeria’s proven gas reserves of about 200 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) and further reduce gas flaring in the country’s upstream oil and gas industry.

The construction period is expected to last approximately five years with the first LNG rundown expected in 2025.

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Osinbajo Lists Palliative For MSMEs

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the Federal Government has set up palliatives to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) to survive the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vice President said the palliatives reflected the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government placed on small businesses.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president performed the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs through the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) last Friday in Abuja.

Osinbajo listed the Federal Government’s palliatives as, “E-Registration of MSMEs/ products at 80 percent discounted rate over six months. Zero tariffs for the first 200 micro and small businesses to register on the E-platform. Waiver on administrative charges for overdue late renewal of expired licenses of micro/small businesses products for a period of 90 days.”

According to the vice president, businesses across the world are faced with the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the MSMEs sector was not seriously affected by the development.

“Of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succour and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is a practical and active stimulus to new MSMEs. So that the growth of this sector is not discouraged by the current economic trauma. This is our moment, and the government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies are prepared to back MSMEs and other businesses that are prepared for the innovative and interesting times that lie ahead of us,” he added.

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We Work to Provide Dependable, Comfortable Transport Services- AKTC

Akwa Ibom Transport Company (AKTC) opened over 10 years in Rivers State, has been providing dependable and comfortable transport services to commuters between Akwa Ibom and Rivers State, as AKTC buses make daily shuttles between Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Uyo in Akwa Ibom and Calabar in Cross Rivers State.

Manager of AKTC Port Harcourt branch, Uduak Johnny spoke with The Vortex service delivery in Nigeria.

According to Jonny AKTC is a pacesetter in the commercial transportation sector that has become a dependable and comfortable ally to travelers, stressing that its peculiar services marks it out above its competitors in Rivers State.

Uduak explained that AKTC was set up at the creation of Akwa Ibom State by the Ibrahim Babaginda regime in 1986, adding that the company has made steady progress in the transport sector.

He said the company which is owned by the Akwa Ibom state government was being managed by the state government until 10years ago when the government handed over the management of the transport company to a private firm, Nsuk Motors.

The branch manager attributed the success and growth of the company to the business touch which the private investor has brought to bear on the services of Akwa Transport Company.

“We take the lead in safety of customers and that is why we ensure that our drivers are properly trained and sensitized on customer care and safety on the roads,” the manager stressed.

Uduak added that AKTC management work in collaboration with officials of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), the Rivers State Ministry of Transport and other relevant bodies, in ensuring total compliance to appropriate government policies and statutory agencies. 

In AKTC we provide insurance cover for our passengers, in case of any mishap and we also conduct regular safety on our vehicles and for our drivers,” the manager explained.

She listed some of the challenges of the transport company to include the prevalence of bad roads on its major routes, harassment by security personnel and the activities of task force officials who according to her make constant demand for all manner of payments.

Uduak said the company has been complying and paying the approved taxes to the host state government but regretted the menace of double taxation on transport companies is worrisome. She regretted that multiple taxation from states and local government and noted that the growth of business and called on the Rivers State government to address the challenge in order to attract more investors to the state.

Also speaking with The Vortex, a driver with AKTC, James Jeremiah expressed satisfaction with the operations of the company adding that its policy of safety and comfort of its passengers was commendable.

Akanyele Idoson also a driver with the company who particularly landed the training programme for drivers, stating that they have benefited from the training programme of the company.

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Trailers Union Decries Reign of Touts along Aba – PH Road

Members of the Heavy Duty Trailers Union in Onne branch, Rivers State, have decried the activities of touts who pose as task force members along the Imo River end of the Aba-Port Harcourt road in the state.

Chairman of the Union, Comrade Mohammed Umar Giwa disclosed this to newsmen after receiving an award from a Port Harcourt based media group, the League of South South Media Professionals in his office located at the Trailer Park in Onne.

Comrade Giwa lamented that the activities of the touts have caused untold hardship to its members in their efforts to convey goods to the state.

The union chairman appealed to the media to assist in informing the state government on the difficulties of their members especially while crossing the Imo River bridge to the state, alleging that the touts demand and extort collect all manner of levies from heavy duty vehicles coming into the state.

He said the Union has met several times with the commissioner in charge of Transport on the matter but that not much has changed.

Giwa said “One of our conductors was killed few weeks ago along the same Imo River axis after a disagreement with the touts who demanded for money from the driver leading to protests by our members in the area. All our efforts to get the police to investigate the matter turned out a blame game.”

Comrade Giwa called on the state government and security agencies to clear the road of the touts, emphasizing that as a law abiding Union, its members were willing to pay legally approved taxes to the state government.

The Chairman commended the League of South South Media Professionals for the award conferred on him, stressing that it will motivate him to do more for the Union and humanity.

The event was attended by executives and members of the union including the General Secretary, Mohammed Lawal.

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Loan For SMEs:Taming The Shylocks. Ojo Akin-Longe

As the Central Bank new initiatives such as the credit card facilities to boost the creative industry, is well thought but should be followed through as loans are issues of concern as many have experienced.

We applied for credit after doing what I thought was a very thorough feasibility report and confident we had a very good business.  Even at that, I knew one of the ‘Big Men’ at the top of the bank whom I could reach should the need arise.  The financing proposition was for the bank to finance part of the equipment purchase, whilst we provide part financing, and as well bear all installation costs and purchase additional equipment locally.  The bank would in effect also make the fund transfer and so they were involved in the transaction.

 In all, it would be a 50/50 funding.  We already had the business going and the additional contribution from the bank would be far less than the current value of the business.  Once we got confirmation from the bank that the credit would be approved, we effected payment of initial 10% deposit amounting to Euro 20,000.  It was our first request for bank financing so we made everything pretty clear and based on what we really needed.

After the initial deposit payment, I was to run after the bank severally.  I followed up, begged and pushed and was really shocked at the attitude.  With delays setting in, the supplier promptly wrote to informed us that we would be surcharged for the delayed payments otherwise they’d cancel the transaction and we forfeit the deposit.  We further begged and pushed and eventually, the bank ‘graciously’ obliged us the credit, they gave us 65% of what we requested.  I felt this didn’t connect so I asked what happened and was told that, that was all the bank could afford.  Caught between losing our deposit and having faith that some miracle could happen we trudged on. 

When the equipment arrived, we started installation and commissioning then I started seeing signs of trouble.  I alerted the bank; they said I should be grateful I got given in the first place.  We channelled all funds we had into the commissioning, essentially using operational funds for capital expenditure.  It wasn’t long before we got stranded.  Repayment time was up and the bank promptly demanded that we start paying.  I took every necessary document to show to them, tried to talk with that we were actually stranded and couldn’t run. 

All the talks seemed to count for nothing.  I called the ‘big man’ yet again, who wondered why we were given less than we requested stating that the practice is that a customer got what is applied for, otherwise they reviewed and agree with the customer to reduce if there were concerns that the request was frivolous or padded.

Subsequently, my banker again, ‘graciously’ announced that the total facility was granted at the first instance and they had deliberately disbursed the fund short to see if we could survive.  I raised the fact that we had been stranded for about four months.   That we had had several meetings with the bank on the situation, and that they mentioned that we were being surcharged 40% default charges and asked if that meant anything to him. He just shrugged off. 

The nightmare didn’t end there.  They eventually released the outstanding funds to us.  Then a new twist, we would now have to repay in 10 months.   We now had two concurrent loans running together with repayments falling due first, in the first week of the month and next by midmonth. It isn’t allthat, the loan amount had now increased significantly as previous unpaid amounts which earlier fell due were now charged at 40% interest for default.

I just stared at them.  I tried having a meeting with them they bluffed me.  The bank resorted to threats and intimidation.  I felt we borrowed the money and we must pay back and I was reluctant to make any case or be seen to be irresponsible, besides we were debtors and some sense of shame, if you know what I mean! Also, I felt I needed to show gratefulness for this bank’s ‘help’! 

At last, I talked with a Lawyer who was appalled at all these and suggested that I have to make the officials  understand that it mattered that they appreciate their culpability and that they couldn’t ride rough-shod over us, and that we would escalate and seek re-dress if need be.  I told him we owed and needed to pay, he said, yes, but responsibly so. 

Then I had one more meeting with the bank executives and very calmly took them through the credit journey showing them e-mails evidences, reminded them of the original request and letting them know that we were committed to paying back but it will have to be within responsible limit.  Expectedly, they backed down.

See my story.  The question is how do you grow an economy without the SMEs? And how do SMEs grow and survive without credit? How do small and medium scale enterprises access credit fairly and easily? How do we get credit within reasonable interest rates? How can we simplify credit application system and process? What thoughts do you have for financial security system that makes borrowers pay?

What changes do we need to make to our legal and judicial system to ensure accelerated judicial and legal process so that the wheel of justice will move in good time and in good speed? Are there venture capitalists out there? How do business people access you? Do banks have dedicated SME funds? What form of social engagement and responsibility can the banks can engage in to prime business knowledge and awareness to help viable and genuine business entrepreneurs build knowledge and capacity to help them better able to access credit? Do you have a successful credit application story? \

 Please tell it.  Is it true that Bank Managers actually own the loan shack businesses giving credit at up to 25% per month?  That they get the monies to their cronies and then direct bank customers to them? I heard so but I don’t know. Folks, how do genuine business people get credit besides getting from some relative or friend or well-wisher?  By the way, my MBA thesis is going to be on a comparative analysis of family and friend’s credit provisions for SME survival against the bank’s effort in this same direction, looking at the Nigerian example and using a special case study.

And you know, interestingly, it comes back to us all, the banks, the SMEs and the economy.  It works well, and we all benefit; a vibrant economy, more jobs, people off the street and yes, a safer world.

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Seaports Shut As Maritime Workers Begin National Strike

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has directed its members to withdraw their services and commence a nationwide industrial action over unpaid wages to dockworkers, among other issues.

The action is expected to substantially shut down ports operations leading to huge losses in terms of revenue to government and organizations especially in the upstream oil and gas operations.

Addressing officials and a cross section of dockworkers at the Dockworkers’ Branch of MWUN, Lagos, president general of the union, Adewale Adeyanju, threatened that the industrial action would not be suspended until all outstanding payments accumulated for over a year were fully liquidated along with the resolution of other workers’ welfare issues.

MWUN had on June 11, 2019, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to compel the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to pay all outstanding wages to Dockworkers, among other issues or face nationwide industrial unrest.

 The leaders of the Union had, last week, set up a strike coordinating committee and directed its officials in all port formations nationwide to begin a massive mobilization of members ahead of the planned strike.

Explaining why the Union had resorted to industrial action, Adeyanju contended that non-payment of government-appointed stevedores/dockworkers by the IOCs contravened Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Act 2007.

He lamented that several efforts made to get the IOCs to comply including the stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, failed. 

 He stated: “Some of the affected dockworkers have passed on prematurely due to economic hardship, while those that are alive have been forced to live like destitute. As a responsible union, we cannot continue to hold our arm and watch our members die prematurely because of the nonchalant attitude of the IOCs toward the welfare of our members.

In view of the foregoing, we gave a 14-day ultimatum/notice to the Federal Government, through the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation to prevail on the IOCs to do the needful by paying our members. Ahead of the expiration of the ultimatum, which was Friday, June 28, 2019, we issued a reminder letter dated June 27, 2019.

\”The three days’ reminder elapsed and we are, therefore, directing that all ports operations nationwide should be shut and our members should begin an indefinite strike until all payments are made and other issues resolved. That is, if at the close of work today, (yesterday) no evidence of payment is seen, our members shall withdraw services in all the nation’s seaports until all issues in contention are resolved.”

Part of the complaints of the Union in the letter to the government says, “It is on record that on June 1, 2018, the NPA appointed stevedoring contractors to provide stevedoring services at various off-shore jetties and on-shore locations to the International Oil Services and other operators. It will be necessary to inform you that NPA had held several meetings with these operators to grant access to the government appointed stevedoring contractors, process their invoices and effect payment. Unfortunately, the operators have refused to comply with the NPA directive after one year that the stevedoring contractors were appointed.

 “We commend the managing director of Nigerian Ports Authority for the NPA management has made to compel the IOCs to engage the services of appointed stevedoring and registered dockworkers in their stevedores and registered dockworkers in their stevedoring operators.

In fact, at stakeholders meeting held on February 28, 2018, organised by the NPA at Victoria Island, Lagos, to sensitise stakeholders, i.e., IOCs, jetty owners and terminal owners, that the NPA appointed stevedores and registered dockworkers are empowered by law to solely handle discharged and loading operations at the ports, jetties and oil platforms.

“The position of the operators on NPA directive is worrisome and very surprising because the same operators had processed and paid the former stevedoring contractors since 2010 through a foremost terminal operator. So, why are they refusing to cooperate with the newly appointed stevedoring contractors since the modus operandi remains the same?

 “The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has been monitoring the chain of events on this matter since last one year, and noted that the implication of the operators defiant attitude amongst others is untimely death of some dockworkers while awaiting the payment of their wages, because they could not meet their family obligations like payment of house rent, children school fees and hospital bills, to mention but few. We can no longer continue to watch our members die prematurely because of the defiant attitude of the IOCs.

“Consequently, we are constrained to give the Ministry of Transportation that superintends the appointment of stevedores two weeks (14 days) to prevail on the management of the IOCs to pay all outstanding bills to our members, failing which we will be compelled to withdraw our services and shut down operations in all the Nations Sea Ports.”

Although the  NPA, yesterday claimed it was holding a meeting with the union leadership in the bid to avert the strike, President General of MWUN,   Adeyanju denied knowledge of such meeting.

The General Manager, Corporate Communications of NPA, Mr Adams Jatto, said the Authority had called the Union for dialogue earlier yesterday morning. He stated: “There was a meeting, the meeting is not over, but even if the Union decide to go ahead, NPAs operations will not be affected because the issue is with the IOC, and I believe the strike will only affect the upstream. This ultimatum has been hanging and those directly involved have failed to respond. It is not the Authority’s problem in the actual sense, we are only trying to mediate.”

 But Adeyanju denied any meeting, insisting that only evidence of payment of the outstanding wages would stop the strike, saying all four branches of the Union, comprising of Dockworkers, Seamen, Ship Chandelling and NPA would comply fully as they had been mobilised for an effective nationwide strike from today.

 In the reminder letter addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Union lamented that there was no evidence that the issues raised were being addressed.

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CBN Reveals Five-Year Strategic Plan …Eyes Double-Digit Growth, Single-Digit Inflation

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in Abuja, Monday, while briefing the media on his agenda for the next five years. According to him, the 2004 recapitalisation undertaken by former CBN Governor, Prof. Charles Soludo has weakened, substantially.

His words, “In the next five years, we intend to pursue a program of recapitalising the Banking Industry so as to position Nigerian banks among the top 500 in the world. Banks will therefore be required to maintain higher level of capital, as well as, liquid assets in order to reduce the impact of an economic crisis on the financial system.

 “It was Governor (Chukwuma) Soludo, in 2004 who did the last recapitalisation we had. Moving the capitalisation from N2 billion to N 25 billion. “I must commend that effort because it resulted in positioning Nigerian banks, not only in Africa, but to become among top banks in the world, in terms of capitalisation.”It also increased helped the strengthen the banks to take on large transactions and those are the things they badly needed. The wrong way to defend the naira(Opens in a new browser tab)

 “Today, when you relate N25 billion in 2001 exchange rate, which was about N100/$1, N25 billion was about $200 million . Today if you relate N25 billion at N360/$1, you can see that it substantially lower than $75 million . “What we are trying to say is that the capitalisation has weakened quite substantially and there is need for us to say it is time for us to recapitalise Nigerian banks again. ‘Kudimoney’ gets CBN license, rebrands to ‘Kuda’(Opens in a new browser tab).

 “It is a policy thrust which will be discussed at the Committee of Governors’ Meeting and of course the frame work for the recapitalization of Nigerian banks would be unfolded for the whole world to know.”

 . The governor said that in the next five years, his team would work closely with the fiscal authorities to ensure a stable macro-economic stability, double-digit growth, single-digit inflation and greater access to finance for businesses.

Emefiele said, “Working closely with our fiscal authorities, we pledge to target a double digit growth by the next five years and at the CBN, we commit to working assiduously to bringing down inflation to single digit; while accelerating the rate of employment.

 “Put succinctly, our priorities at the CBN over the next 5 years are the following; First, preserve domestic macroeconomic and financial stability; Second, foster the development of a robust payments system infrastructure that will increase access to finance for all Nigerians thereby raising the financial inclusion rate in the country; Third, continue to work with the Deposit Money Banks to improve access to credit for not only small holder farmers and MSMEs but also Consumer credit and mortgage facilities for bank customers.

 “Our intervention support shall also be extended to our youth population who possess entrepreneurship skills in the creative industry.” On the management of the foreign exchange, he said , “We will continue to operate a managed- float exchange rate regime in order to reduce the impact which continuous volatility in the exchange rate could have on our economy”

The CBN, the governor said, he would support measures that would increase and diversify Nigeria’s exports base and ultimately help in shoring up our reserves, particularly by supporting domestic industries and creating jobs on a mass scale for Nigerians.

The Governor said, “We intend to aggressively implement our N500bn facility aimed at supporting the growth of our non-oil exports, which will help to improve non-oil export earnings. “Will launch a Trade Monitoring System(TRMS) in October 2019, which is an automated system that will reduce the length of time required to process export documents from 1 week to 1 day. This measure will help support our efforts at improving our non-oil exports of goods and services.

“We will also work with our counterparts in the fiscal arm in supporting improved FDI flows to various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, insurance and infrastructure. These measures while supporting improved inflows into the country, will help to stabilise our exchange rate and build our external reserves.”

Mr. Emefiele said that his team would boost productivity growth through the provision of improved seedlings, as well as access to finance for rural farmers in the agricultural sector, across 10 different commodities namely: Rice, Maize, Cassava, Cocoa, Tomato, Cotton, Oil-palm, Poultry, Fish, and Livestock/Dairy.

He said, “Our choice of these 10 crops is driven by the amount spent on the importation of these items into the country, and the over 10 million jobs that could be created over the next 5 years if efforts are made to expand cultivation and processing of these items in Nigeria. So far, we have held series of engagements with importers and producers of these products.

“Most of them have committed that they would install or expand their production capacities in Nigeria. We believe these measures will help to boost not only our domestic outputs but also improve our annual non-oil exports receipts from $2 billion in 2018 to $12 billion by 2023.”

He added that CBN would support an aggressive embroilment of prospective banking customers in the informal sector on to the BVN system and move the current enrolment of 38 million unique banking customers to 100 million over the next 5 years.

Emefiele said that the consumer credit programme would be pursued more vigorously, including mortgage at 9 per cent interest.

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