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Traders weep as Enugu Govt demolishes Kenyatta market



MAPOLY rusticates 90 students for examination misconduct

After prolonged legal battles and negotiations  between traders of Kenyetta Building Materials Market in Enugu South local government area and the Enugu state government over the location of the metropolitan market, the government in the early hours of Thursday demolished the market.

Hundreds of stalls in the one-storey buildings hosting the market were pulled down by Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) amidst weeping and wailing by the helpless traders many of who lamented that their goods were damaged in the process.

Plans to relocate the market to a permanent site at Ugwuaji, along Enugu-Port Harcourt expressway had led to a legal dispute between the traders and the state government, which could not be finally resolved before the government invaded the market on Thursday.

Some traders had relocated to the new site while some dealing on electrical parts remained at the old site as the continued to lobby the government to allow them continue their activities there even when the permanent site had been ready since the past three years.

Eyewitnesses said the bulldozers used for the demolition arrived early in the morning before traders arrived at the market and were forced to evacuate their goods in a hurry.  The goods removed unplanned were seen scattered along all the streets in Uwani with most of them confused on what to do.

Speaking at the scene of the demolition, the Chairman of ECTDA, Josef Onoh blamed the leaders of the market for their inability to convince the traders to vacate the street market and move over to the better planned permanent site of the market.

Onoh said that the exercise was a development control measure due to the congestion of the city. He also noted that the area where the traders converted into a market was originally a place given to National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, for Youth capacity development and recreation, but which the council turned into a building material market in the heart of the city center.

“As way back as 2003, a site was obtained and designated as Enugu South International market and the successive state administrations failed to relocate the traders to that site in Ugwuaji and its not only hurting the economy of the state, but also affects the development and growth of the city.

“So, we now have an over populated arena which has contravened every single aspect of the Town planning development; and we have given them so much time to relocate to the site. On January 6 2000, we came for enforcement and we moved a portion of the traders but some said they didn’t have shops.

“We have the Youth Council which was given this allocation in the 1960s but has abused the purpose clause for which it was given to them. It was given to them for Youth development and recreational activities, but as you can see there is no recreation here. In 1989, they applied for adjustment, an amendment in the purpose clause which said commercial but the commercial activity was supposed to be for the benefit of the council such as a conference hall which they didn’t do but embarked of sale of every single part of the land demised unto them thereby abusing the purpose clause for which this land was demised,” Onoh said.

Chairman of Kenyetta Market Traders Association, Hon. Chinweuba Igwesi said there have been several relocation notices for the building materials dealers which some traders in the market failed to comply with, expressing sadness that relocation lingered.

“We advised them, some heed to it but others did not. Spaces for shops were given at discounted rates then but many of them did not take it seriously. A good number of sensitization was done as leaders of the market which made some buy theirs at Ugwuaji but others refused. Some of them said that the relocation will not work. Some moved to that place but after some time without government enforcement, they came back.

“These notices have been served for over three years and I thank the Governor of Enugu state but some traders deceived their colleagues into believing that there will be no enforcement. Those who have already relocated to Ugwuaji are giving testimonies of the economic viabilities of the place and cannot wish to come back here,” Igwesi said.

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CBN devalues Naira to 630/$1



The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has devalued the Naira to N631 to the dollar from N461.6 it sold at the Importers and Exporters (I&E) window the previous day, Daily Trust gathered.

The devaluation came 48 hours after President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the plans of the federal government to unify the country’s exchange rate to stimulate the economy.

In his inaugural speech, minutes after he was inaugurated as the 16th president of the country, Tinubu said, “Monetary policy needs a thorough house cleaning. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.”

There has been a wide margin between the I&E window and the parallel market, a situation that experts say encouraged round-tripping with Bureau de Change operators.

The situation has seen the CBN devise several measures to check the practice as well as completely stop the sale of forex to BDCs.

On Tuesday, President Tinubu met with the top echelon of strategic institutions including the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, at the presidential villa.

At the end of the meeting, neither the presidency nor Emefiele disclosed the outcome of the briefing. It was, however, gathered that the issue of the exchange rate was discussed at the meeting.

The President also met with the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari. The removal of petrol subsidy was discussed, it was gathered.

Findings, however, revealed that at the resumption of the weekly bidding for foreign exchange, the apex bank sold the spot rate to banks on behalf of their customers at N631 to a dollar and most bidders got the full amount they requested.

One of the customers told this paper that they applied and that their request was fully granted at N631 as against N461.6.

The move has also seen prices at the parallel market trend downwards. Checks by this paper revealed that prices dropped from N750 to a dollar in the early hours of yesterday to N745 by evening in Abuja and Kano respectively.

The naira weakened in the parallel market to the lowest level in a year on expectations of a possible change in exchange rate management after Tinubu takes office on Monday.

The naira dropped to N762 a dollar on Friday from 775 the previous day in the unauthorized market in Lagos, said Umar Salisu, a BDC operator who tracks the data in the nation’s commercial capital.

The unit has weakened steadily in the parallel market since last week after stabilizing for most of this year.

The market arbitrage (difference between the official and parallel markets) has widened in the past three years from N100 per dollar or about 30 per cent in 2020 to over N400 per dollar (above 100 per cent) sometime last year when the black market rate spiked to N880/$.

Development institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are wary of exchange rate differential in excess of five per cent and warn that such could trigger unhealthy manipulation that could negatively affect other efforts on market stabilisation.

From 2020 to 2022, the CBN spent about $42 billion intervening in the foreign exchange market to stabilise the naira. The amount was sold to the end-users, including students and tourists, at the official rates, which are way off the effective exchange rate of the naira.

According to the Financial Stability Report, a publication of the CBN, the apex bank sold $9.2 billion in the market in the first half of last year.

The full data for the second half are not available, but the annualised value is assumed to have surpassed that, especially with the level of social and economic activities associated with the second half.

Whereas the black market rate averaged N730/$, the I&E window finished at suppressed N447/$ on average. That puts the arbitrage at N283/$, pushing the CBN’s FX subsidy in the year to about N3.65 trillion.

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EEDC blames rainstorm for lack of electricity supply in South East



Enugu Electricity Distribution Company

The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company PLC, EEDC, has informed her esteemed customers across the South East that the loss of supply in some areas within its network was due to the rainstorm which occurred on Sunday evening and early hours of Monday

EEDC explained this through a message issued by Mr Emeka Eze, its Human Capital Development Head and made available to reporters.

This he explained had resulted in faults, occasioned by fallen trees and a high rate of broken High and Low Tension poles, causing supply disruption to their 11KV and 33KV feeders across the business districts.

He explained that their various technical/maintenance teams have since commenced patrol of the network to evaluate the extent of damage and treat faults where they are minimal.

EEDC expressed regret over the inconveniences these developments have caused their esteemed customers and appealed for their patience and understanding while these challenges are addressed.

Emeka Eze maintained that EEDC remained committed to delivering improved services to her esteemed customers.

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CBN gives reason for raising interest rate to 18.5 per cent



The Central Bank of Nigeria has opened up on why it raised the Monetary Policy Rate, also known as the interest rate, to 18.5 per cent from 18 per cent.

In a communique from the 291st Monetary Policy Committee meeting posted on CBN’s website on Wednesday, the Governor of the apex bank, Godwin Emefiele, stated that its investigation and research found that the country’s interest would have been higher but for its intervention by raising interest rates.

According to Emefiele, Nigeria’s April inflation rate of 22.22 per cent would have been 30.48 per cent if the MPC had not raised the interest rate.

The bank’s decision to raise interest rates since May 2022 positively moderated the country’s rising inflation rate.

“The results revealed that following each monetary policy rate hike, the rise in inflation moderated relative to what it could have been if the MPC had not aggressively raised rates at all.

“The empirical evidence provided showed that whereas inflation in April 2023 stood at 22.22 per cent, the counterfactual evidence suggests that, it could have risen to 30.48 per cent in April 2023, had the MPC not taken any action to raise policy rates as it did since May last year,” he said.

CBN’s MPC raised the interest to 18.5 per cent.

CBN retained the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR, Retained the CRR at 32.5 per cent, and Retained the Liquidity Ratio at 30 per cent.

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