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Naira Scarcity: An Economic War on the Yoruba People by Prof Banji Akintoye

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has declared that as of last Friday, 10th February 2023, the old naira notes will no longer be legal tender. Yet they have offered no assurance that they will meet the enormous demand for the redesigned currency. This is despite the Supreme Court ruling that CBN must allow the continuing circulation of the old naira note.

This change in currency has been implemented without consulting the relevant stakeholders to assess how it will affect the lives and livelihood of ordinary Nigerians. It raises the question of whose agenda the CBN Governor is following.

The inflexible application of this policy by CBN starves ordinary Nigerians of cash, preventing them from being able to carry out their daily activities. This has disproportionately disadvantaged the ethnic nationalities in the south of the country. Whilst strict adherence to the rules is encouraged across the South, the Northern leaders have already granted their people permission to continue using the decommissioned currency in contravention of the CBN.

We, the Yoruba people, are a people known for trade and commerce, a characteristic ingrained in our culture for many centuries, even before the British colonialisation. We must not allow ourselves to be subjugated by this policy designed to destroy our economy. Throughout the entire history of Nigeria and its component nations, there has never been a time when people are made to buy their own national currency in order to trade. In fact, nowhere else in the world would anyone be required to pay large sums of money in order to access cash that should be readily available to them through banks and point of sale (POS).

The denial of physical currency to our market women and traders is highly destructive to people’s life and well-being across Yorubaland, an outcome that would have been undeniably foreseen by those instating these regulations. We cannot accept the enforcement of a policy that has been this poorly thought through, a policy that will destroy our economy by starving our people of the cash they need to enable the free flow of trade.

The CBN’s demands to recall the old naira note will further impoverish our people who are already living below the poverty line every day, due to the Nigerian government. Therefore, there is no other alternative than to ask the Yoruba people to resist this destructive policy enacted by CBN. I plead with you, my people, for the sake of yourselves and your kinsfolk, continue to accept the old naira notes and, where possible, agree to accept alternative currencies such as the CFA in your everyday trade and commerce. In our unity, we are stronger; by standing together, we will outstay and overcome any powers that seek to oppress us.

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Personality in Focus

Tinubu Appoints Yakubu As DG, Budget Office, Drops Akabueze

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Tanimu Yakubu as the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Ben Akabueze.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on Thursday.

Yabuku is an accomplished economist and Chief Economic Adviser to a former President from 2007 to 2010; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2003 to 2007, and Commissioner of Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning in Katsina State from 1999 to 2003.

The new Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the same institution.

The statement noted that President Tinubu thanked the outgoing Director-General, Mr. Akabueze, for his services and wished him success in his future endeavours.

“The President expects the new Director-General of this pivotal agency to further enhance the provision of efficient and qualitative budget functions, with a view to promoting fiscal sustainability, transparency, and accountability in public finance management for national development,” it added.

Akabueze was first appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari as a Special Adviser Planning (SAP) to the President on February 15, 2016, and later redeployed and appointed as DG Budget, June 10, 2016.

Buhari renewed Akabueze’s appointment as the DG of Budget Office in 2020.

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Onyeali-Ikpe Makes MIPAD’s List of Global Top 100 Trade Champions of African Descent

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In acknowledgment of her outstanding impact on global trade, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, has been recognized as one of the honorees in the 2024 Most Influential Global Top 100 Export and International Trade Edition.
Themed, “Championing the Vision of Global Africa as a Unified Economic Block and Single Market,” the initiative which was announced on May 25, 2024 in celebration of Global Africa Day, lists several leaders in the global trade space of African descent, including the President, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah,); Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Algeria, H.E. Kamel Rezig;  Chairman, World Trade Centre Accra, Ghana, H.R.H Togbe Afede; the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite; Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (Nigeria), Nonye Ayeni; Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB), Kanayo Awani; Director, Trade Development (Africa & Caribbean), World Trade Centre Miami, US, Kemi Arosanyin; Secretary of State for Business and Trade and President of the Board of Trade (United Kingdom/Nigeria), Kemi Badenoch; President, US-Africa Business Centre at US Chamber of Commerce, Kendra Gaither; and President of the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce (Colombia), Milady Garces Arboleda.
According to a statement by Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), the organisers of the initiative, “These honorees are recognized for their groundbreaking achievements in Trade & Export and are called upon to champion the vision of a unified Global Africa as an economic block. This recognition aligns with the ethos of the International Decade for People of African Descent, highlighting MIPAD’s ongoing commitment to celebrating individuals, organizations, and governments demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing people of African descent globally.”
Commenting on the initiative, Dr Onyeali-Ikpe said, “This recognition demonstrates our market leadership in the international trade space at Fidelity Bank and our devotion to helping Nigerian businesses play a more active role in the global trade space.
Since 2022, we have hosted the largest private-sector driven trade expo tagged the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) with hundreds of export businesses from Nigeria, off-takers in the UK and USA, investors, regulators, media and other key stakeholder in the trade sector. Through FITCC, we have closed deals totaling $450million. Our commitment as a bank is to do more in this space and we thank MIPAD for the recognition.”
The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), is a global civil society initiative in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237, to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank with over 8.3 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
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Nafisa Mohammed Assumes Duty As New ROSOWA President

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The wife of Mallam Shehu Mohammed, the new Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Hajiya Nafisa Shehu, has taken over as the new President, Road Safety Officers Wives Association (ROSOWA).

The brief ceremony took place at the national Secretariat of the Association in Abuja on Monday, according to a statement signed by the Corps Public Education Officer, Corps Commander Olusegun Ogungbemide, and made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP).

Hajiya Nafisa took over from the erstwhile President of the Association, Hajiya Aisha Biu.

At the handing over ceremony, the new President commended her predecessor for her exceptional leadership and gave assurance of her resolve to build on the legacies handed over to her. She pledged her commitment towards promoting collaboration and bring up strategic initiatives that will promote unity amongst members.

While appreciating God for the opportunity to serve, Hajiya Nafisa implored members of the association to give her the necessary support to make her tenure a successful and impactful one.

The erstwhile President, Hajiya Aisha Biu equally thanked the incumbent President for a successful handing and taking over and urged members to give her successor more support than she enjoyed during her tenure.

The handing and taking over ceremony was carried out at the National Secretariat of the Association in Abuja on Monday.

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