The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has announced its decision to distribute relief materials valued at N3.2 billion to Nigerians. The items are meant to be distributed in a bid to cushion the negative economic effects of the ongoing lockdown in the country due to Covid-19.
The approval to distribute the materials was given by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), according to a statement that was released by the NCS’ Public Relations Officer, Joseph Attah.
The items, according to Attah, include 46,000 metric tons of (158 trailers), 30 trucks of vegetable oil (25l) 36,495keg, one truck of Palm oil 3,428 kegs, and 54 trucks of tomatoes paste 136,705 cartons. Other items include Spaghetti/Noodles (2,951 cartons and 1,253 packets), one truck of wrappers (Ankara) comprised of 828 bales, and one truck of lace fabric comprised of 2,300 rolls.
Reasons for the decision: Attah explained that the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic had elicited various reactions from Nigerians. According to him, many people advised the Service to share the seized items at its disposal to help Nigerians during this period.
Some people also insinuated that the Nigerian Customs Service had shared the seized items among themselves. However, this notion is false. And that is one of the reasons the approval was given to share the items. According to Attah, the approval was the Service’s way of contributing its quota to the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to provide relief for Nigerians during this difficult time. He said:
“Reacting to pains associated with the effects of the lockdown in some parts of the country, some Nigerians have taken to the social media to call on Nigeria Customs Service to share seized rice and other edible items to members of the public.
“While some of these calls appear well intended, others had attempted to create the impression that Customs Officers have the liberty to use seized items as they deem fit. Some even mischievously impugned that the items may have already been shared to cronies. Nothing can be further from the truth.
“It is, therefore, necessary to explain that in line with the provision of section 167(2) of CEMA CAP C45 LFN 2004, seized items upon condemnation and forfeiture to the Federal Government by a competent court of jurisdiction are kept in government warehouses pending Government directive on its disposal.”
The outbreak of the deadly Corona Virus (Covid-19) necessitated various and continuous actions by Government at different levels to prevent/stop the spread of the virus in Nigeria. pic.twitter.com/3DImjnPodu
— NIGERIA CUSTOMS (@CustomsNG) April 7, 2020
In the meantime, some Nigerians have taken to Twitter to berate the NCS for deciding to distribute the items which were apparently seized from importers. According to some of those who have criticised the decision, the Customs’ DG had at some point argued that foreign rice is poisonous and unfit for consumption. Why then is he deciding to distribute the poisonous rice at this point?
The only problem is that the CG of customs has said imported rice is poisonous.Why distributing?
— Galatians 6 :7 (@Dave_Suc) April 8, 2020
CG of customs said imported rice is poisonous. Now Buhari said that customs should share 150 trucks of rice for us. Who should we obey now? why are these my brothers putting us inside confusion?
— Danjuma Adubad (@Mallamgaskiyaa) April 7, 2020
They claimed imported rice is poisonous and now they want to share the same poisonous rice to the masses!
— Modebolanle (@modebolanle) April 7, 2020
BREAKING: CBN reduces MPR to 12.50%, holds other metrics
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.50% to 12.50% and retains CRR at 27.5%, Liquidity ratio at 30%.
The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) from 13.50% to 12.50%.
Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this while reading the communique at the end of the MPC meeting on Thursday in Abuja. Meanwhile, other parameters such as the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) remained at 27.5%, Liquidity ratio at 30%.
Details later …
Just in: Buhari seeks approval from green chamber to borrow fresh $5.5billion
Buhari, is also seeking the approval for the revised 2020-2022 mid-term expenditure framework (MTEF) which became necessary as a result of the crash in crude oil prices and the cut in the production output.
President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking the approval of the House of Representatives to borrow fund to finance capital projects at the federal and state (to support state governors) levels in the 2020 budget.
This request was disclosed via the official twitter handle of the House of Representatives.
The president’s letter, which indicated that the fund would be sourced locally and internationally, was read on the floor of the House of Representatives by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary on Thursday, May 28, 2020.
In the letter to the lower chamber, Buhari, is also seeking the approval for the revised 2020-2022 mid-term expenditure framework (MTEF) which became necessary as a result of the crash in crude oil prices and the cut in the production output.
Although the tweet did not contain the total amount of loan that is being requested, reports suggests that the President is seeking approval to borrow the sum of $5.513 billion from external sources to finance 2020 budget deficit and support state governments to meet challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
President @Mbuhari is also seeking the House approval to borrow locally & internationally to finance capital projects as well as finance projects to support state governors in the 2020 budget
The letter was referred to the House Committee on loans & debt management. #HousePlenary
— House of Reps NGR (@HouseNGR) May 28, 2020
CBN’s MPC unlikely to cut rates, as Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.16 billion
Note that Nigeria’s inflation could potentially rise to 14% by the end of the year due to a higher VAT and a weakened naira.
The CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to leave the interest rate of 13.5% unchanged during its meeting later today.
The projection is coming on the heels of macroeconomic fundamentals released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which showed that inflation rose to 12.34%; its seventh consecutive monthly rise and highest level since April 2018.
Note that Nigeria’s inflation could potentially rise to 14% by the end of the year due to a higher VAT and a weakened naira. Therefore, in order to minimise the risk of exacerbating inflationary pressures, the CBN is unlikely to further cut rates. This possible outcome from the MPC meeting will help stimulate economic growth, just like it did in 2019.
Meanwhile, despite the foreign exchange liquidity crisis being experienced in the currency spot market, data obtained from CBN revealed that the country’s foreign exchange reserves have further increased to $36.16 billion (Gross Estimate) as of 28th of May, 2020.
The surge in Nigeria’s external reserves is due to the fact that the price of crude had gained more than 40% since the deadly COVID-19 pandemic started, coupled with reports that foreign investors are returning to Nigeria. The disbursement of $3.4 billion emergency facility by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to CBN has also been a contributing factor.
Recall that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had promised more liquidity in the currency market, assuring that all genuine dollar demands would be met.
However, an Interest rate expert, Ola Oladele, during a phone chat with Nairametrics, advised that the CBN should keep its word by boosting Nigeria’s Forex supply as the persistent downtrend in the currency black market continues. She said:
“The depreciation of the naira in the parallel market as a result of low supply of FX from official sources and less optimistic outlook on the economy due to falling oil prices.
“The BDCs haven’t received supply from official sources since our borders were closed and the crash in oil prices has made natural sellers of FX more cautious.
“We hope that the recent statements by the regulator will restore confidence and subsequently, supply to the market.”