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COVID-19: Ekweremadu Tasks Federal Government On Realistic Plan To Tackle Effect On Economy

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The global Task Force, he added, will continue to share perspectives with a view to mobilising ideas and global resources to deal with the pandemic among the nations in the world.

The Chairman of the Senate committee on Environment equally appreciated Nigerian health workers, whom he said were at the frontline of the battle against the novel coronavirus and called on African, particularly Nigerian scientists, to join the race for the cure and vaccine for COVID-19.

While expressing optimism that Nigeria and the world would ultimately overcome the threat posed by the pandemic, Ekweremadu commended all levels of government as well as the international community, corporate Nigeria, and kindhearted individuals for their efforts to end the pandemic and mitigate the challenges occasioned by it.

He singled out for commendation the five South East governors for their proactive measures, which he said kept the COVID-19 figures in the geo-political zone low.

His words: “I commend the Governors of the South East for the proactive measures taken by them. I believe this accounts for the comparatively low cases in the region. I commend in a special way the Government of Enugu State for the successful management and discharge of the two COVID-19 index cases”.

The legislator, however, urged the states not to relent saying “we must not let down our guards, we must consolidate on this advantage of minimal cases by continuously staying safe and building capacities in the areas of medical infrastructure, equipment, personnel, and food security to prepare ourselves for the days ahead”.

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World Bank Puts Pressure on Nigeria For More Forex Reforms To Aid Recovery

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The World Bank has expressed reservations about the Foreign Exchange measures rolled out by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The multilateral bank recently urged the CBN to intensify its efforts towards easing the pressure on the country’s FX market.

This was disclosed by the World Bank’s country director, Shubham Chaudhuri, via email to an inquiry by Bloomberg.

Chaudhuri said, “stronger action and a clear commitment from the CBN would go a long way towards facilitating a stronger recovery, despite its recent resumption of dollar sales to the BDCs after a 5-month suspension.”

Nigeria has been hit by a severe shortage of the greenback for several months, following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the crash of crude oil prices, which accounts for over 90% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. The pandemic led to a lockdown of major economies globally including Nigeria, and very low foreign exchange inflow.

CBN suspended its weekly inter-bank foreign currency sales in March, in the face of depleting external reserves which were limiting the apex bank’s capacity to intervene in the Forex market.

The scarcity of dollars, which has been a major challenge, led to a backlog of about $2 billion forex demand by importers and foreign investors, who are looking to repatriate their funds. In a bid to stem this tide, defend the naira, and reduce the pressure on the country’s depleting external reserve, the CBN rolled out some measures to boost liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

However, stakeholders have complained that some of these measures from the apex bank are hurting their operations, and the capacity to repay their dollar-denominated debt.

Chaudhuri pointed out that a good example of that is the Azura Power Project in Edo state, which is partly financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private lending arm of the World Bank. It is one of the many established local and foreign private firms that are having serious difficulty in assessing forex to meet their business and contractual obligations.

It was reported earlier in the week that this might cause the Azura Power Plant to default in its dollar-denominated debt.

Nairametrics had earlier reported that in a bid to boost dollar liquidity, the CBN had banned third parties or agents from buying forex routed through Forms M, and threatened to sanction exporters who do not repatriate proceeds of their transactions. In addition, President Muhammadu Buhari, recently instructed the apex bank to stop providing foreign exchange to importers of fertilizers and food items. (Nairametrics)
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” No Security Breach” Says Access Bank, Assures Customers Of Safety Of Funds, Data

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Following the reaction of Nigerians to a viral video of a hacker Ihebuzo Chris who alleged that he was in possession of data such as BVNs, and Account Numbers, of customers banking with Access Bank, the bank has reached out to assure it’s customers of the security of their accounts stating that ‘there is no security breach with customers banking details’.

Contrary to the claims of the supposed hacker, Access bank in a statement said,

“ Your safety is our priority and we will never disclose any information that will result in loss of your funds.”
it stated that the bank is working with appropriate authorities to bring the perpetrator to book.

“ Please note that our customers financial security is a top priority, we will never disclose any information that will jeopardise the safety of your account”, the bank further affirmed. ”

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N50bn CBN Loans To SMEs, Others End 2024

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has set December 31, 2024 exit date for its intervention loans to the Small and Medium Enterprises and households aimed at cushioning the effects of coronavirus on businesses and the people.

It also gave December 31, 2030 as the exit date for the COVID-19 intervention funds for the pharmaceutical sector in its guidelines for the funds.

Recently, the banking regulator disclosed a combined N150bn intervention fund to ease the impact of the pandemic on some sectors.

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