Friday, 30 December 2016

margin-bottom: 20px; text-align: center;"> CBN sells $1b to clear forex backlog in aviation, manufacturing
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has sold about $1 billion on the forward market to clear a foreign exchange (forex) backlog in selected sectors, especially aviation and manufacturing, traders said yesterday<script type="text/javascript" src=";k_bid=77ecefb9"></script>
The dollar sale is the apex bank’s largest special auction since a currency peg was removed in June. Outstanding dollar demand was about $4 billion before June, when the 16-month-old peg was removed. Efforts to cut dollar demand have been largely unsuccessful due to low oil prices.<iframe src="//" width="300" height="250" scrolling="no" border="0" marginwidth="0" style="border:none;" frameborder="0"></iframe>
Traders said the CBN told banks to prioritise airlines, manufacturing firms, petroleum products imports and the agriculture sectors, the sectors worst hit by the dollar shortage, in the auction.
“The CBN sold $1 billion at last week’s special forex auction and directed banks to issue fresh letters of credit to reflect the amount sold in favour of the affected sectors,” a senior currency trader told Reuters.
Traders said the Central Bank sold 30-day and 60-day forwards at the auction. On December 19, the apex bank instructed commercial lenders to submit their backlog of dollar demand from fuel importers, airlines, raw materials and machinery for manufacturing firms and agricultural chemicals for the special forex intervention.

Nigeria is in its first recession for 25 years, caused by the oil price drop which has cut the supply of dollars needed to fund imports. Attacks by militants on pipelines in the Niger Delta since January have cut crude output, further reducing dollar inflows.
The dollar shortage Nigeria, whose crude sales make up two thirds of government’s revenue, has caused many companies to halt operations and lay off workers, compounding the economic crisis.
Some foreign airlines have closed down or reduced their operations over an inability to repatriate the proceeds of their earnings due to the dollar shortage. An acute shortage of jet oil in the last few months – caused by the inability of importers to secure the dollars needed to buy the fuel – has led to many operators refuelling in neighbouring countries.<script type="text/javascript">
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40,000 seized bags of rice shared to IDPs camps, says Customs
•IDPs in a camp
THE Customs has seized over 40,000 bags of rice recent time, it was learnt.
Deputy Comptroller-General Mr. Umar Ilya, said the bags of rice were shared among Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.
He spoke yesterday at a joint media briefing with Acting Director General of National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) Mrs. Yetunde Oni on the suspected seized plastic rice.
Ilya, who was responding to a question, said: “We have seized over 40,000 bags of rice since the ban on importation of rice through the border. Those are rice shared to the IDP camps after we tested and certified them suitable for consumption.”
At the briefing, the two agencies put to rest the alleged report of importation of plastic rice into the country.
Laboratory result released by NAFDAC showed the rice was not plastic as suspected.
The country was thrown into panic early this month when a report said Customs  intercepted some bags of imported plastic rice meant for distribution during the Yuletide.
But Minister of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole debunked the report after preliminary studies.
He said there was no truth in the report, assuring Nigerians there was no cause for alarm.
The final result made public yesterday confirmed the earlier declaration by the minister.
NAFDAC, however, said the rice failed other integrity test, which ruled it out for human consumption.
Mrs. Oni said the rice was contaminated, not suitable for human consumption and should be destroyed.
She said: “Based on the laboratory result, the product is not plastic but rice contaminated with micro-organisms above permissible limit. Hence, the seized rice consignment is unsatisfactory and therefore unwholesome for human consumption. The consignment upon handover by the NCS shall be destroyed
Ilya said irrespective of the outcome of the findings, the service would continue to do its work and ensure that fake and banned goods were not allowed into the country.<script type="text/javascript" src=";k_bid=77ecefb9"></script>
Explaining the circumstances surrounding the alleged plastic rice, Ilya said the service only responded to security alert issued by the Office of National Security Adviser on the importation of plastic rice into the<script type="text/javascript" src=";k_bid=33e7ff5f"></script>
“You may recall that recently, our operatives in Lagos intercepted a consignment of rice, based on credible intelligence. Customs action was based on earlier intelligence received from the Office of National Security Adviser, alerting us and other frontline agencies that large consignments of plasticised rice were said to be shipped from the Far East to Africa.
“As the largest market for imported rice in Africa, Customs took the alert serious and charged officers to watch out for such imports that do not conform to regulatory requirements.
“When the consignments of rice in question were brought to Customs warehouse, our apprehension became heightened when we observed glaring lapses in the packaging. The bags of rice had no NAFDAC number, batch number, manufacturing or expiry dates. We could also not see any detail about the manufacturers on the bag. We were left with no option than escalating our findings to the agency that is statutorily charged with the responsibility of confirming the true status of the import.
“As required by law, officials of NAFDAC were invited to draw samples for laboratory analysis. However as we know social media works in our clime, the outcome we are about to hear today was pre-empted.”


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