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Economy

Don says CBN can print money to augment fall in revenue

 

Eyewitness reporter
A professor of Economics, Lanre Olaniyan,  has declared that it was within the fiscal responsibilities of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) to print money to augment Federal Government’s revenue.
Olaniyan said on  Tuesday that there was nothing unusual about this phenomenon whenever the need arises.
He was reacting to an allegation made by Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State that the CBN printed money to augment the shortfall of March revenue allocations to states.
However , Prof. Olaniyan, who teaches at the University of Ibadan, said the concept of ‘printing money’ does not always relate to the printing of physical cash.
“This happens virtually all over the world. The money is not always printed as cash.
“Sometimes, it just refers to ‘creation of money’ for the government.
“Cash is only involved when and if the cash reserve is very low.
“But the big issue is that any money that is printed to support the government is a loan.
“It is not a free gift. It appears in the balance sheet as loans given to the government,’’ he said.
The idea, he added, was for the Central Bank to give loans to the government as ‘the lender of last resort’.
“I do not know for sure whether or not the CBN printed money, but there is nothing wrong if it did.
“It is the duty of the CBN to print money, and virtually, every Central Bank in the world prints money.
“Apart from the reason of shortage of cash or replacing mutilated cash in circulation, the CBN can print money to give loan to the government.
“In elementary economics, we are told that the Central Bank is the lender of last resort to the government,’’ he said.
According to the professor, when governments face revenue challenges, they usually resort to their Central Banks for succour.
The Central Banks, he said, would usually raise such monies through the sale of bonds and treasury bills.
He, however, added that the idea of printing money should be under certain economic considerations.
“When the CBN gets such money, either through bonds or treasury bills, it then gives it to the government as a loan with terms.
“It could be a short term of between one month and 90 days, or long term of between one year and five years.
“When government prints money, it is usually to stimulate a productive sector of the economy for increased economic growth and sustainability,’’ he said.
Olaniyan added that high-interest rates usually served as incentives for people to invest in bonds or treasury bills.
“In the last one year, because of the recession that we had, the interest rate has gone low, and people are not too willing to invest in treasury bills or bonds,’’ he said.
According to him, Nigeria has limited choices in sourcing for improved revenue as most revenue sources are getting tight.
“The other alternative is foreign loans, but we already have a high burden of foreign loans.
“The total revenue of the government is about the same amount we are spending on debt servicing,’’ he said.
The Finance Minister also addressed the issue of external debt last Wednesday.
“The Nigerian debt is still within a sustainable limit.
“Our debt, currently at about 23 percent to GDP, is at a very sustainable level if you look at all the reports that you see from multilateral institutions,’’ she had said.
Olaniyan said also that “the only option is to go back to elementary economics and approach the ‘lender of last resort’, the CBN.
“If people are not investing in treasury bills and bonds, the Central Bank embarks on printing of money.
“It is called, ‘Seigniorage’, a process where the apex bank prints money to fund activities of government.’’
The Don said that Nigeria was a country freshly out of recession, which needed to put money in people’s pockets to sustain the post-recession economy.
“The Federal Government will have to spend enough money that will go round a large percentage of the citizenry; it is called ‘Quantitative Easing’.’’
Nevertheless, Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, has debunked Obaseki’s claim.
“It is not true to say we printed money to distribute at FAAC. It is not true,’’ the minister said last Wednesday at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

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Economy

News Alert! CBN revokes operational licenses of 4,173 Bureau De Change operators for breach of regulatory guidelines

CBN Governor, Olayemi Cardoso

The Eyewitness Reporter

In its continuous efforts to sanitize the foreign exchange market and halt the frightening slide of the naira in exchange for the dollars, the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operational licenses of 1,173 Bureau De Change operators.

In a press release issued Friday, March 1st, 2024 and signed by Mrs. Sidi Ali Hakama, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications, the apex bank said the axed BDCs failed to observe at least one of the following regulatory provisions which include payment of all necessary fees, including license renewal within the stipulated period in line with the Guidelines, rendition of returns in line with the Guidelines, compliance with guideline, directives and circulars of the CBN, particularly Anti-Money Laundering(AML), countering the Financing of Terrorism(CFT)and Counter-Proliferation Financing(CPF) regulations.

The apex bank said it relied on the powers conferred on it under the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act(BOFIA)2020, Act n0.5 and Revised Operational Guidelines for Bureaux De Change 2015(the Guidelines).

“The CBN is revising the regulatory and supervisory guidelines for Bureau de Change operations in Nigeria. Compliance with the new requirements will be mandatory for all stakeholders in the sector when the revised guidelines become effective.

‘Members of the Public are hereby advised to take note and be guided accordingly”, the statement concluded.

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Economy

Anxiety in public service over massive job loss as Tinubu set to implement Steve Oronsaye panel on civil service reform

The Eyewitness reporter
There is palpable tension among the public service workers as President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has approved the full implementation of Steve Oronsaye’s public service reform.
Their anxiety stems from massive job loss that will result from the implementation of the recommendations of the report which seeks the scrapping, subsuming and merging of some Ministries, Departments, and the Agencies of government whose functions are overlapping.
The report also seeks to enhance efficiency in the Federal civil service and reduce the cost of governance.
The Oronsaye report was submitted in 2012 to the Jonathan administration.

In 2014, the Jonathan government released a white paper on the report. The Buhari administration after re-examining the white paper also released a second white paper in August 2022, but did not implement the report.

According to Bayo Onanuga,Special Adviser Information and Strategy to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the  Tinubu administration has decided to confront the monster of high governance cost by implementing elements of the report.

According to him, an eight-man committee has a 12-week deadline to ensure that the necessary legislative amendments and administrative restructuring needed to implement the reforms are effected efficiently.The committee comprises the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of the Civil Service, Attorney General and Justice Minister, Budget and Planning Minister, DG Bureau of Public Service Reform, Special Adviser to the President on Policy Coordination, Special assistant to the president on National Assembly. The Cabinet Affairs Office will serve as the secretariat.

Some of the key recommendations of the report for implementation include the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission to be subsumed under the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission.

The National Assembly will need to amend the constitution as RMAFC was established by the constitution.
Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission to be merged with Bureau of Public Enterprise and be rechristened as `Public Enterprises and Infrastructural Concession CommissionNational Human Rights Commission to swallow Public Complaints Commission

The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate(PTAD) is to be scrapped and functions to be taken over by the Federal Ministry of Finance

NEMA and National Commission for Refugees to be fused to become the National Emergency and Refugee Management Commission

Border Communities Development Agency to become a department under National Boundary Commission

NACA and NCDC to be merged

SERVICOM to become a department under the Bureau for Public Service Reform(BPSR)

NALDA to return to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

Federal Ministry of Science to supervise a new agency that combines NCAM, NASENI and PRODA

National Commission for Museums and Monuments and National Gallery of Arts to become one entity that will be known as the National Commission for Museums, Monuments and Gallery of Arts.

National Theatre to be merged with National Troupe.

Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa and Directorate of Technical Aid Corp to be merged under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 Nigerians in Diaspora Commission to become an agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Federal Radio Corporation and Voice of Nigeria to be one entity to be known as Federal Broadcasting Corporation of Nigeria

National Biotechnology Development Agency(NABDA) and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology to be emerged into an agency to be known as National Biotechnology Research and Development Agency(NBRDA).

National Institute for Leather Science Technology and National Institute for Chemical Technology to become one agency.

 Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency and National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development to become one agency.

The National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Metallurgical Training Institute will be merged.

National Institute for Trypanosomiasis to be subsumed under the Institute of Veterinary Research in Vom, Jos.

The list is inexhaustive.
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Business

“You lied” – FG lambasts cement manufacturers over hike in product price

Ahmed Dangiwa
The Eyewitness reporter 
The Federal Government has picked holes in the reasons proffered by the cement manufacturers for the sudden jump in the price of the product.
It could be recalled that a few days ago, cement recorded an astronomical increase in price as the 50kg of the essential building materials climbed from  N5000 to between N10,000 to N15,000, depending on the location in the country.
Concerned by the sudden hike, which has elicited uproar among already depressed Nigerians, the Federal government summoned the major cement manufacturers and other merchants of building materials in the country such as Dangote Cement, BUA and Lafarge, to an emergency meeting.
Addressing the manufacturers at the meeting, the Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ahmed Dangiwa, dismissed the reasons given by the cement manufacturers, describing them as untenable.
Whereas the manufacturers blamed the cost of gas and mining equipment for the hike, Dangiwa said key input materials for cement production such as limestone, clay, silica sand, and gypsum, sourced within the nation’s borders, should not be dollar-rated.
He said the price of gas that manufacturers are using as an excuse was not tenable because gas is a raw material found within the country.

The minister further declared that the excuse of an increase in mining equipment should not come up because equipment bought by the manufacturers has been used for decades and not purchased every day.

He however threatened that the federal government may be forced to throw open the borders and allow importation of cement to flood the Nigerian market in a bid to crash the prices of the community should the manufacturers refuse to reduce their prices.
He warned that the cement manufacturers should not push the government into taking this decision which he believed would push them out of business.
The minister said the border was closed to the importation of cement to help local manufacturers.

However, he noted that if the government decides to open the border for mass importation, prices of cement would crash and local manufacturers would be gravely affected.

The minister, who called on the manufacturers to be more patriotic, said BUA Cement, for instance, has been willing and is still willing as at the last time he spoke with them, to crash the price of their cement, lower than the N7000, N8000 agreed by the manufacturers and he sees no reason why the others should not do same.

“The challenges you speak of, many countries are facing the same challenges and some even worse than that but as patriotic citizens, we have to rally around whenever there is a crisis to change the situation.

“The gas price you spoke of, we know that we produce gas in the country. The only thing you can say is that maybe it is not enough.

“Even if you say about 50 percent of your production cost is spent on gas prices, we still produce gas in Nigeria. It’s just that some of the manufacturers take advantage of the situation.

“As for the mining equipment that you mentioned, you buy equipment and it takes years and you are still using it,” he said.

Earlier, Group Chief Commercial Officer of Dangote Cement, Rabiu Umar blamed the high cost of gas and mining equipment for the hike in cement price.

He said: “It is safe to say we are all Nigerians and we are all facing the current head weight that is happening.  I would like to speak on the popular belief that most of the raw materials to produce cement are available locally.

“While we have limestone and in some cases, we have gypsum and some cases coal, the reality is that it takes a lot of forex-related items to produce cement.

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