…As Appeal court says Nigerians can’t pursue Shell spill claim in U.K.***
Nigeria’s foreign reserves have hit $42.8 billion, according to spokesman of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor.
Okoroafor, who disclosed this at a meeting with Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Wednesday, in Abuja, attributed the steady growth of the reserves to CBN policies targeting reduction in importation of goods, especially food that can be produced in the country. Rice production under the Anchor Borrowers Programme remains a reference point in the bank’s efforts at conserving the nation’s foreign exchange.
He said: “CBN decided to go into the funding of rice and other agricultural produce because we felt that food supply is key if price stability is to be maintained – food makes up a disproportionately large portion of the basket of prices in the country. We decided to target food supply to bring down inflation.
“Second, we went into this business of funding agriculture because we felt that food, especially rice, was a key component of importation in Nigeria. It was, therefore, a key component in the depletion of our foreign reserves.
“So we felt if we could deal with rice importation and replace it with local rice production, we would be working at rebuilding our reserves. And I tell you, we have succeeded in meeting those two objectives.
Our serves are up. ‘’The reserves have gone to $42.8 billion as at yesterday (Tuesday) and you can see the inflation figures have been dropping and we expect this to continue throughout the year.” Wedneday’s meeting with RIFAN was the beginning of a new form of collaboration between the apex bank and commodity associations, through which to reach producers of various commodities in the country.
In his remarks, the President of the RIFAN, Alhaji Aminu Goronyo, said the association has keyed Nigeria into the global agric-business practice. According to him, RIFAN has the capacity to handle the new collaboration with the CBN as over six million rice farmers in the country have been placed on a digitised platform with biometric cards through which each member could receive adequate inputs and funding.
Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday that two Niger Delta communities cannot pursue Royal Dutch Shell in English courts over oil spills in their regions.
The split decision upheld a High Court ruling in 2017 that was a setback to attempts to hold British multinationals liable at home for their subsidiaries’ actions abroad.
The court rejected the appeal from a law firm, Leigh Day, on behalf of Bille and Ogale communities.
It upheld a ruling that English courts did not have jurisdiction over claims against Shell’s Nigerian subsidiary Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
SPDC is jointly operated with the Federal Government.
Shell said the court “rightly upheld” the earlier ruling, adding that Nigeria’s “well-developed justice system” was the correct place for the claims.
Leigh Day said the two communities intended to bring the case to Britain’s Supreme Court.
“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will grant permission to appeal and will come to a different view,” Leigh Day partner Daniel Leader said.
Vanguard with additional report from Nation