As a fallout of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, approved the sum of $3.4 billion, as emergency financial support for Nigeria.
The financial support, which is under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) programme, is to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Nigerian economy, especially with plugging the revenue gaps.
As part of the highlights of the IMF statement, the Deputy Managing Director/Acting Chair of the Bretton Woods Institution, Mitsuhiro Furusawa, expressed special interest in getting Nigeria to follow through with the unification of the multiple exchange rates.
In his words, the IMF Chief said, ‘’Steps taken towards a more unified and flexible exchange rate are also important and unification of the exchange rate should be expedited.’’
While approving the $3.4 billion loan for Nigeria, the IMF is still pressuring Nigeria to fast track the unification of various exchange rates that are currently applicable in Nigeria.
The global lender has been very consistent with its opposition to the usage of multiple exchange rates because it believes that it creates a lot of distortion in prices, hurts businesses, and encourages corruption as it is susceptible to manipulation. The unified exchange rate will encourage transparency and help attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The single exchange rate has been identified as a very effective tool for resource allocation.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on its part, pointed out that it operates multiple windows, rather than multiple exchange rates.
However, as a fallout of the crash in crude oil prices globally and the gradual depletion of the country’s external reserve, the CBN moved towards the unification of the exchange rate, when it adjusted the official rate from N305 per dollar to N360 per dollar, and adjusted the rate for Bureau de Change operators from N360 per dollar to N380 per dollar.
The investors and exporters window was also adjusted from N366 per dollar to about N380 per dollar.
The IMF had earlier acknowledged that the country is already working towards that direction through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
It pointed out that unifying the exchange rate will impact the economy more positively than the multiple exchange rates, which create a lot of opportunities for arbitrage. Also, it avoids situations where public and private sector decisions are distorted due to uncertainties.
#EndSARS: Access Bank debunks aiding military onslaught against Lekki protesters
Access Bank has dismissed rumours on social media suggesting it aided military onslaught against protesters.
Access Bank Nigeria Plc has vehemently debunked rumour making the rounds that it aided the military onslaught against peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki, by allowing military snippers access its head office tower for operations.
Backstory: Recall that Nairametrics had earlier reported on how soldiers allegedly fired gunshots to disperse #EndSARS protesters in Lekki yesterday.
In view of this development, there have been public outcries and ensuing allegations, one of which is that Access Bank Nigeria Plc aided the military onslaught.
What they are saying
In response to the allegations, the bank first reacted to the development by expressing condolence. A verified tweet by the bank read thus: “We are deeply saddened to hear about the unfortunate loss of innocent lives yesterday at the Lekki Toll. We pray that the souls of the innocent rest in peace”.
In addition, the bank stated: “We wish to address the statement by Arise TV alleging that Military Snipers were allowed access to our Head Office Tower for operations at the Lekki Toll Gate area. This is absolutely untrue. The video shared on Arise TV featured an employee of the bank conducting routine maintenance at the Tower location. It is unfortunate that this was reported as a sniper without any proof. As a corporate citizen with the purpose of impacting lives positively, we will never endanger the lives of Nigerians.”
We wish to address the statement by Arise TV alleging that Military Snipers were allowed access to our Head Office Tower for operations at the Lekki Toll Gate area. This is absolutely untrue.
— Access Bank Plc (@myaccessbank) October 21, 2020
Just in: UK High Commission shuts down visa centres in Nigeria due to #EndSARS protests
The UK High Commission in Nigeria has announced the shutdown of its VISA application centers in Nigeria.
The United Kingdom High Commission in Nigeria on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, announced the shutdown of its VISA application centers in Nigeria for the next 48 hours, with effect from today (Wednesday), due to the ongoing #EndSARS protests in the country.
This comes barely a day after the US shut down its Lagos consulate, following the outbreak of violence from the #EndSARS protests in major parts of the country including Lagos State and the FCT.
The disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the UK High Commission in Nigeria on Wednesday, October 21, 2020.
The High Commission in a brief statement, also asked applicants with appointments for Wednesday and Thursday, to reschedule their appointments from Monday, October 26th.
“Due to the ongoing protest in Nigeria and for the safety of both staff and applicants, our Nigeria centres will be closed for 48 hours at a minimum. For applicants with booked appointments within this period, please you will need to reschedule your appointment for next week, from 26th October 2020.
“We will continue to post regular updates on this page, so please keep checking back for the latest information on reopening. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your understanding.”
Update on UK Visa Application Centres:
Our TLS contact Visa Application Centres in Nigeria are currently closed.
For further updates on the closures please visit:
Victoria Island: https://t.co/B17AtE4kqv
— UK in Nigeria🇬🇧 (@UKinNigeria) October 21, 2020
#EndSARS: Archbishop of Canterbury condemns Lekki shootings
The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined his voice to the condemnation of the shooting of protesters in Lagos.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby says he condemns the shooting of unarmed protesters in Lekki and urges President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that lives are protected.
The Archbishop, who is the Chief of the Anglican Church globally disclosed this on Wednesday morning, as the International Community reacted to videos of protesters getting shot at the Lekki tollgate.
I have urged President @MBuhari directly to ensure that lives are protected – and I say that again now.
I mourn for Nigeria. May God save Nigeria.
— Archbishop of Canterbury (@JustinWelby) October 21, 2020
Recall Nairametrics reported that several social media accounts revealed peaceful protesters were being shot at by the military at the Lekki toll gate holdout for the #EndSars protest.
The Nigerian Army, however, denied deploying soldiers to attack #EndSARS protesters who assembled at the Lekki Toll Plaza.
The Archbishop earlier said in his statement, “I condemn in the strongest terms the reported deliberate shooting of unarmed protesters in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria.
“I have urged President Muhammadu Buhari directly to ensure that lives are protected – and I say that again now.
“I mourn for Nigeria. May God save Nigeria.