The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to review and suspend the planned restriction of foreign exchange (Forex) for milk importation into the country.
According to NECA, going ahead with the restriction now will be catastrophic for the nation’s economy.
The Director-General of the association, Mr Timothy Olawale, made this call in Lagos on Thursday, while speaking at a business forum on the need to measure the suitability of the policy.
The details: The NECA director-general said the CBN should further engage stakeholders in extensive consultation on the issue before implementation, as it would enable the apex bank to gauge the merits and demerits of the policy in the long term.
“While employers understood and acknowledged the imperative for backward integration in the long term, the proposed foreign exchange restriction is too sudden and has the potential of crippling businesses which are already struggling.
“Without prejudice to the long-term benefits of backward integration, the short-term consequences, without a deliberate and acceptable plan by critical stakeholders can be catastrophic for local businesses in the value-chain,” he stated.
Earlier development: In a recent circular released by the apex bank, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, reiterated the bank’s plan to restrict FOREX for importation of milk and other dairy products.
Emefiele said Nigeria spends between $1.2 billion to $1.5 billion annually on importation of milk and other dairy products.
- The CBN governor noted that although there were some successful attempts at producing milk locally, the vast majority of the importers still treat this national aspiration with imperial contempt.
- Subsequently, reactions have trailed the announcement from various stakeholders concerned, thus, labelling the policy as political and sudden.
- While the CBN has through various media reiterated its stand on the policy, industry analysts have called for a review of the policy in order not to complicate certain economic realities.
The way forward: The NECA boss stated that while backward integration was a welcome development, a long-term plan for massive investment would have to be made for the purpose of importing dairy cows for milk production.
According to him, the cow husbandry in Nigeria has not been proven to be good for milk production. He added that the consequences of the planned policy by the apex bank will result to:
- the unpatriotic activities of smugglers to import milk and loss of revenue for the government;
- attendant social consequences, such as massive job loss; and
- the adverse effect of capacity under-utilisation in the entire food and beverage sector.
In the meantime, NECA has emphasized that there is a need for the apex bank to reexamine the timeline for the implementation of the policy.
COVID-19: FG to disburse N10 billion for local vaccine production
The Minister of Health has disclosed that Nigeria is exploring options for the licensed production of COVID-19 vaccine.
The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, has announced the sum of N10billion for the production of vaccines in Nigeria, to fight the coronavirus.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, at the daily Covid-19 briefing by the Presidential Task Force on Monday in Abuja.
- “The Ministry of Finance has released N10billion to support domestic vaccine production. While we are working to develop our own vaccines, Nigeria is exploring options for licensed production, in collaboration with recognised institutions. We are also exploring the option of local production of the vaccines in the country.”
He also warned Nigerians to ignore news about vaccines being for sale in Nigeria, as the procedures to acquire vaccines have to pass through due process.
- “I advise all citizens to disregard these claims, as they are criminal. There are procedures for vaccine acquisition and use, which include appropriate regulations and certification by National Agency for Food and Drug and Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
- “I advise against fake vaccines, as there is no one approved for use in the country. The National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) is the only authorised vaccine administrator in Nigeria.”
He also stated that as Nigeria is experiencing the second wave, the FG needs to change its response procedures through infection mitigations and vaccines.
- “There is no doubting the fact that we are deeply into the second wave of the pandemic which requires that PTF and FMoH review our strategies to respond to the challenge. The Federal Ministry of Health has outlined three approaches to confront the pandemic – Infection mitigation, Therapeutics and Vaccines.”
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Health Minister announced Nigeria’s plans to set up a vaccine production company in Nigeria to boost local COVID-19 vaccine production.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 112,004 confirmed cases.
On the 18th of January 2021, 1,617 new confirmed cases and 14 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
To date, 112,004 cases have been confirmed, 89,939 cases have been discharged and 1,449 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 1.17 million tests have been carried out as of January 17th, 2021 compared to 1.15 million tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 18th January 2021,
- Total Number of Cases – 112,004
- Total Number Discharged – 89,939
- Total Deaths – 1,449
- Total Tests Carried out – 1,172,234
According to the NCDC, the 1,617 new cases were reported from 18 states- Lagos (776), Kaduna (147) Kwara (131), FCT (102), Plateau (78), Edo (59), Ogun (53), Osun (45), Rivers (37), Taraba (36), Nasarawa (34), Adamawa (33), Kano (26), Delta (20), Ebonyi (16), Bayelsa (11), Gombe(11) and Borno (2).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 41,400, followed by Abuja (14,700), Plateau (6,831), Kaduna (6,325), Oyo (4,695), Rivers (4,429), Edo (3,320), Ogun (2,912), Kano (2,617), Delta (2,122), Ondo (2,070), Katsina (1,723), Kwara (1,697), Enugu (1,583), Gombe (1,500), Nasarawa (1,335), Ebonyi (1,275), Osun (1,260), Abia (1,134), and Bauchi (1,107).
Borno State has recorded 867 cases, Imo (857), Sokoto (677), Akwa Ibom (667), Benue (657), Bayelsa (619), Adamawa (573), Niger (547), Anambra (515), Ekiti (473), Jigawa (425), Taraba (294), Kebbi (251), Yobe (211), Cross River (169), Zamfara (162), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State announced the closed down of the Eti-Osa Isolation Centre, with effect from Friday, 31st July 2020. He also mentioned that the Agidingbi Isolation Centre would also be closed and the patients relocated to a large capacity centre.
Due to the increased number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria, the Nigerian government ordered the reopening of Isolation and treatment centres in the country on Thursday, 10th December 2020.
US Capitol complex temporarily shut down
The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby.
The US Capitol complex was shut down temporarily for about an hour on Monday as a precautionary measure after a small fire broke out nearby, highlighting the security concerns that are being raised days before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The security concerns and the lockdown follows the January 6 attack on the US Capital by supporters of the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, after his encouragement and inciting comments, calling the Presidential election a fraud without any proof of evidence.
Some of them even called for the death of the US Vice President, Mike Pence for presiding over the certification of Joe Biden’s November election victory.
While making the disclosure in a statement, the Capitol Police said that the lockdown has been lifted and the nearby fire contained.
The Acting Chief of the Capitol Police had said that the complex which comprises of the Capitol, its grounds and several buildings were shut down as a precautionary measure.
The US Secret Service in a tweet post on its official Twitter handle said, “Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public.’’
The city’s fire department in its tweet post said that firefighters put out a fire outside near the Capitol complex.
The fire department said, “There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen.”
What you should know
- President-elect, Joe Biden is expected to be sworn in at the US Capitol on Wednesday amid an unprecedented cordon of security, with strict physical distancing measures in place due to threats of violent attacks in Washington and the rising cases of coronavirus infections.
- Donald Trump, who is just fresh from a historic second impeachment from the congress had said he would not attend, although his deputy, Vice President Mike Pence, had given an indication that he would attend.