Aso Villa Reads for 01/09/2020

Every day, we bring you the best stories that the Media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria

The implementation of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act has saved Nigeria an estimated $2billion in the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for Nigeria LNG Train 7 Project, The Sun reports. The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, disclosed this at the 2020 Annual Capacity Building Workshop organised by the Board for the Judiciary. The workshop was held via zoom and it drew over 117 participants, including Justices of the Supreme Court, Appeal Court, National Industrial Court, Federal High Court and external solicitors. Wabote, who delivered the keynote address at the workshop stated that contrary to wrong insinuations held in some quarters, ample evidence has proven that sustainable Local Content practice reduces the cost of oil and gas projects in addition to creating job opportunities and economic prosperity. He gave example with the LNG Train 7 EPC bid, where Saipem Contracting Nigeria and its consortium won the contract with a much lower bid than its competitor, leveraging its commitment to local content and investments in Nigeria in the last 50 years. He said: ‘’In the LNG Train 7 project contract which was recently concluded and awarded, the difference in price between Saipem that had established itself in Nigeria and the second lowest bidder that was coming from outside the country was $2billion. That’s a huge sum of money that this country would have lost if not for the drive for the development of Local Content.”

The rehabilitated Akanu Ibiam International Airport was, on Sunday, reopened for use, with the Minister for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, hinting that the airport would be among the Airports that may be put up for concessions. Sirika also announced that with the official commissioning of the Enugu Airport, local flight operations have immediately commenced there, while International flights will resume at the airport from September 5. He further said that attention would henceforth be focused on completion of the international terminal of the Eastern gateway, just like works would be speeded up on other rehabilitations at the airport. [Vanguard]

The Federal Government says it is working with state governments and some development partners to improve the country’s education system by making it more digitally accessible as part of its response to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sector. Senior Special Assistant on Education Interventions to President Muhammadu Buhari, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, says that going forward, one of the key areas that Nigerians are going to see a lot of funding from both the federal and state governments towards the education sector, is in the area of devices. “How do we get cheap and affordable devices into the hands of school students? It’s a key thing that we are working on.” Mr. Bank-Olemoh was speaking at MTN Nigeria’s The Revv Programme masterclass on ‘Education without Borders and Boundaries’. The pandemic has meant that the state and federal governments, along with development partners, rethink Nigeria’s education system. “The reality has changed how we do education whether at the state or federal level. Whether we like it or not, we have to provide learning devices for our children; this is because if something like this happens the second time, we can’t make the excuse of not planning for it,” according to Bank-Olemoh.[TechEconomy]

Determined to address the issue of food security, the Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with Dangote Fertilizer Limited in order to achieve Agricultural Transformation Agenda, aimed at boosting food production in the country. Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, who stated this during a facility tour of the Dangote Fertilizer plant in Lagos at the weekend, called on the company to assist the Federal Government’s agricultural mechanisation scheme as well as extension services for small scale farmers. Besides, the construction of the Fertilizer plant has been fully completed and is set for commissioning in the next few months. Nanono said Dangote support is needed for the success of the mechanisation scheme, which he said, is expected to cover 632 local government areas across the nation. “It is very clear that Dangote, in one way or the other, will help in this programme by the Federal Government.” he said. Nanono said Aliko Dangote’s investment in fertilizer production will contribute to improved farm yields and agricultural productivity, which are critical to Nigeria’s long-term food security. The Minister commended Dangote for keying into the Federal Government’s Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer aimed at bringing down the cost of fertilizers across the country.[All Africa]

The dispensing of autogas into automobiles through selected filling stations across the country will commence by the end of September, the Federal Government has said. It was gathered that autogas to be dispensed into automobiles and other prime movers include Liquefied Petroleum Gas, Compressed Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas, depending on the type of vehicle. Documents obtained from the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources in Abuja on Friday stated that the Committee on National Gas Expansion Programme had been assigned to ensure the effective implementation and take off of this initiative. The NGEP was inaugurated in January this year by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, in furtherance of the domestic gas expansion programme of the Federal Government. Also, officials of the ministry told Punch correspondent that selected filling stations across all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory had been informed, as plans to collocate autogas dispensing facilities at the outlets had reached advanced stages. They said the NGEP would promote gas as replacement fuel and also save the nation the much-needed foreign exchange expended on imported fuels by providing alternatives to petrol, diesel and kerosene. “Under this arrangement, retail outlets will offer a full complement of gas products as transportation fuels in addition to existing white products as cheaper cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternatives.” It added, “The NNPC and mega retail outlets owners and equipment providers are fully onboard in this objective and measures are in place to achieve a roll out of this programme by end of September 2020 using select NNPC owned outlets as pilots.”[Punch]

The Federal Government has raised the share capital of the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme to N50bn from N3bn. The Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed this in a document on Monday entitled ‘Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (Amendment) Act 2019.’ It stated that the ACGSF Amendment Act was assented to by the Federal Government on June 24, 2019. According to the document, complete agricultural value chain financing is now allowed under the ACGSF Amendment Act 2019. The CBN said, “Under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Amendment Act 2019, the sharing ratio is Federal Ministry of Finance (60): Central Bank of Nigeria (40). The maximum for non-collaterised loan under the ACGSF Amendment Act 2019 is now N100,000. Under the amended Act, the maximum amount for collaterised loan granted to individuals, cooperative societies and corporate entities is now N50m, up from N10m. Complete agricultural value chain financing is now allowed under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Amendment Act 2019.”[Punch]

The Federal Government says it plans to electrify rural communities with N2.3 trillion under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) being coordinated by the Office of the Vice President. Mr Goddy Jedy-Agba, the Minister of State Power said this in Abuja on Tuesday, while inaugurating the First 12 Kilo Watts Peak (KWP) Volus Solar for Health (VSFH) Mini-Grid with58 KWH Battery Bank at Karu Primary Health Centre initiated by Volus Energy Ltd. Jedy-Agba said that the project would provide Solar Home Systems (SHS) to five million homes across un-served rural communities in Nigeria. According to him, government is promoting a holistic development agenda and will continue to provide power for under-served communities in Nigeria. The minister said that the provision of electricity to the rural communities would encourage people who live outside the towns and cities to engage in small businesses and preserve farm produce by processing them.[Vanguard]

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