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Finance Minister opposes CBN plan to redesign Naira, raises alarm

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…warns CBN of  likely consequences 

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has rejected a plan by the Central Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign naira, warning the apex bank of its consequences on the country’s troubled economy.

Ahmed expressed her opposition to the policy in response to a question raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele during the 2023 budget defence session she had with the Senate Committee on Finance.

The Minister warned CBN of the consequences that may arise from the exercise.

Senator Bamidele had in his question, told the Finance Minister that barely two days after announcement of the policy by CBN , repercussions of it on the value of naira to US dollar was being felt.

He said, ” Just two days after announcement of the policy , value of Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to rush in exchange of starched Naira Notes for foreign currencies , particularly dollar.

“To me , the policy may be a well conceived one , but the timing going by realities on ground , is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023 fixed for full implementation of the policy.”

While answering the question, the Minister said she is not aware of the policy but only heard of it from the media .

She said, ” Distinguished senators , we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned Naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise .

“However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management , the policy as rolled out at this time , portends serious consequences on value of Naira to other foreign currencies.

“I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”

Recall that CBN Governor Emefiele had on Wednesday said that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from 200 Naira denomination to N1,000 notes .

Emefiele said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that  the  bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.

According to him, the planned policy he added , was  in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the Management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

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Southeast governors shun Soludo as Anambra hosts regional conference

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Southeast governors have shunned the zone’s regional conference on human capital development, hosted by Anambra State Governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo.

The region’s other four governors of Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo sent representatives to the two-day conference held in Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Soludo lamented the lack of unity among the region’s leaders, saying it was detrimental to the Southeast’s growth.

He advocated for a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for the region.

The governor also said that the Southeast could come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region.

It was his reaction to recommendations and policy documents unveiled by technocrats during the conference.

In the area of education, labour and health, he said they could be adopted by the governors of the region to grow human capital.

He maintained that the Southeast could not afford to lag in the area of human capital development, adding that Anambra had the least land mass in the country, and also the least natural resources.

Soludo said: “Your recommendations are excellent. I will read them with keen interest and see which of them we can take.

“We have little land mass in the Southeast. We are actually the smallest with Lagos State, but while Lagos is reclaiming land from the sea, we are losing our land to gully erosion.

“Anambra is the world’s gully erosion capital. In the Southeast, we are landlocked, and we have the least mineral resources. Our only boost is human capital.

“Human capital naturally is our only dependable resource. It has been so yesterday and today and will remain so tomorrow.

He described the conference as “pivotal to who we are.

“And if we do not mind about human resources, then we are going nowhere. We must work on that

“I listened to your recommendations on education, but who said the Southeast cannot set up a regional education board to fashion out a curriculum for students in the region?

“Must we always use what others are using? Who knows, you may fashion out a curriculum that will attract the interest of other people, and the world at large.

“The various governments of the Southeast can come together and set up a teacher certification institute to certify teachers for schools in the region too.”

Soludo lamented that in the past some governments of the Southeast sent home some workers, on the ground that they were not from their state. He added that Anambra had reversed that policy.

“We just recruited 5,000 teachers in Anambra State, but I told the ministry not to accept if I recommend anybody to them. We employed people from every state.

“All I need is for the best teachers to be employed. Our children deserve the best teachers, and all they hope to get is the very best, no matter where the teachers come from.

“In my own eyes, I don’t see those boundaries and for the greatness of Nigeria, we must not see those boundaries,” he said.

The conference had the theme: changing the narrative – towards entrenching human capital development in the Southeast Nigeria. (The Nation)

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2023: INEC announces new deadline for collection of PVCs

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the extension of the deadline for collection of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, nationwide.

During its meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners, RECs, from the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Friday, the Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, indicated that the Commission will not hesitate to consider additional measures to ensure that all citizens have ample opportunity to collect their PVCs ahead of the general election.

Having reviewed reports from all the states of the Federation, the Commission said it was encouraged by the progress made so far as more Nigerians troop out daily to collect their PVCs.

The Commission, therefore, announced the collection of PVCs in all its local government offices by one week.

“The ongoing collection of PVCs nationwide will therefore continue and end on 5th February 2023,” a statement signed by Festus Okoye
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said.

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2023: Obi of Onitsha storms Kaduna, says Nigeria’s unity sacrosanct

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Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe
The Obi of Onitsha (AGBOGIDI),  His Royal Majesty (HRM), Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has called on Nigerians to remain united and love one another irrespective of tribe or religious affiliation.
The royal father spoke to journalists in an interview on Thursday after commissioning the Digital Resource Centre named after him at the Green Field University (GFU), City Campus in Kudenda, Kaduna,saying Nigerians are brothers and sisters and they must live together.
Ahead of the February election, the royal father charged Nigerians to pick up  their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) and vote massively during election.
“What matters most at this point of the nation’s history is a unifier.What Nigeria needs is a good president, but if you say South East today, South East tomorrow, it doesn’t matter. What we want is a Nigerian leader who will unite the country and lead it to greater heights,” he said.
The Founder/Pro-Chancellor, Greenfield University, Chief/Engr Simon Ifediora Nwakacha (Onwa of Umueri),  described the Obi’s visit to the university as a wonderful occurrence, adding that “this is the first First Class traditional ruler. His coming here is good for unity of Nigeria,” he said.
“The prospects for the university are very bright.We  look forward to the university being great. Already now the first set of accreditation was succesful. Greenfield scaled through  getting its permanent license to operate campuses from any part of the country,” he added.
In  his Keynote address, Engr.  Nwakacha  welcomed the Obi of Onitsha, whom he described as the first First Class Traditional Ruler to visit their city campus.
“During deliberation in one of our council meetings to choose who we would name the digital resource centre after, your name was suggested and widely accepted,” he said.
He recalled that when they were setting up the Imperial Academy, a  school owned by his wife in 1996 in Kudenda, they met the traditional ruler and begged him to name the road leading to the school after his village in the South East, Umueri, which he obliged and the name has remained till date.
He described the feat as an understanding that promotes unity among the diverse people of Nigeria.

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