Manufacturers Lobby CBN for Weekly Dollar Sale

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CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele

By Obinna Chima with agency report

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) said it has lobbied the central bank to sell dollars directly to its members, bypassing commercial lenders as it looks to counter a shortage of foreign currency it says threatens thousands of jobs in Africa’s largest oil producer.

MAN, which has about 2,700 members, proposed weekly auctions of dollars to manufacturing businesses at a meeting with Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in Abuja, according to the Vice President, MAN, Ali Madugu.

“We’re calling for the central bank to start giving to us directly, hand-to-hand, rather than through the banks,” Madugu, who is also managing director of Kano-based Dala Foods Limited, a food processor, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

“Some of our member companies will run out of raw materials next month. Without restocking, what will happen? Thousands of jobs are on the line.”
Nigeria, which derives about two-thirds of government revenue from oil, has rationed dollars and brought interbank foreign-exchange trading to a halt since February last year in a bid to prevent the naira falling. The measures have all but pegged the currency at N197-N199 per dollar. As dollars have become scarce, the black-market exchange rate has plummeted to N310, while forwards prices suggest the naira will fall to N291 in a year.

The International Monetary Fund estimated the economy grew 3 per cent in 2015, the slowest pace since 1999. Manufacturing is in recession, having declined during the first three quarters of the year. President Muhammadu Buhari and Emefiele have said that boosting employment in the manufacturing sector is crucial to reviving Nigeria’s growth.

Under the current system, the central bank sells foreign exchange to commercial lenders who then distribute it to their customers. That’s left manufacturers short since the banks often prioritize other businesses and individuals, Madugu said. The MAN hopes to receive a response from the central bank this week, he said.

“The banks have everybody as their customers,” Madugu said. “They even have people buying dollars for medical bills and school fees. If the central bank believes the economy must be diversified and manufacturing boosted, they should allocate directly to us.”

CAPTION: Head of ACCA Nigeria, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Ademola

ACCA Supports FG’s Financial Literacy Project

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has thrown its weight behind the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financial literacy campaign.

The Head of ACCA Nigeria, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Ademola, made this known at the 2016 Finance Summit organised by the association recently.

According to her, based on findings that revealed that about 43 per cent of Nigerians were not financial literate, ACCA is interested in teaching more people about finance so that it would contribute to economic growth.

“When people are not financially literate they would not contribute to the growth of Small and Medium scale Enterprises which in itself is the engine of growth in any economy,” Ademola said.

She blamed the failure of most Nigerian SME businesses on the lack of ability of the owners to apply financial knowledge in their daily jobs.

Apart from physical training of participants, ACCA she said, had earlier launched an online training platform to boost financial literacy.

“The major reason there is poor SME growth in Nigeria is due to lack of understanding of basic finance. There is no organization or firm that does not need the services of an accountant even on part time basis. Some of them want to make profit but they don’t have somebody to teach them,” she said.

Every year, ACCA organises summits in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt to prepare undergraduates and fresh graduates for employment opportunities. The body has taken a step further by putting together a virtual careers fair called ‘Advantage,’ an online platform that brings together employers, tuition providers, members and recruitment partners. Candidates are able to log on to this portal and upload their curriculum vitae and have live chats with employers.

Ademola used the opportunity to invite small and medium business entrepreneurs to arm themselves with ACCA’s various skill acquisition packages, including rudimentary financial training, to enhance their operations.

CAPTION: Zenith Bank
Zenith Bank Partners Virgin Atlantic on Enterprise Challenge

Zenith Bank Plc has for the second year supported Virgin Atlantic Airways on the promotion of entrepreneurship among Nigerian youths with the launch of ‘The Enterprise Challenge’, a competition to promote entrepreneurship among young Nigerians.

According to a statement, a 3-day Boot camp to horn the entrepreneurship skills of the 20 shortlisted participants of the competition recently resumed.
Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said the competition was organised to test the business skills of young Nigerians aged 18 – 35 years.

She disclosed that the 20 participants were drawn from over 11,000 entries from the heavily advertised competition across 22 states of the federation. The shortlisted candidates are partaking in a 3-day Boot Camp under the mentorship of trainers/resource persons from the Richard Branson Centre in South Africa, with the first three finalists to be sent to London where they will meet with the maverick Richard Branson for further mentorship.

Explaining Zenith Bank’s involvement in the competition, the Executive Director of the Bank, Sola Oladipo said it was part of the bank’s strategic vision to partner with any initiative that is targeted at developing the Nigerian youths.

Throwing more light, the Executive Director said that the bank already has a number of initiatives targeting the Nigerian youths and as such they, at Zenith Bank, were only too happy to sponsor the competition since it was aimed at positively channelling the energies and talents of the Nigerian youths towards nation building.

He said further that for a country like Nigeria that is struggling with worsening unemployment, The Enterprise Challenge is an initiative that should be encouraged as it has the potential to address graduate unemployment.

Besides gaining through the mentorship programmes, the first three winners will go home with a seed grant of N2 million, N1.5 million and N1 million being first, second and third place prizes respectively, courtesy Zenith Bank.