Aso Villa Reads for 02/11/2020

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

Ikeja Electric has commenced the rollout of over 106,000 prepaid meters to customers across different locations in its network. A statement issued by the company on Friday said the rollout was under the National Mass Metering Programme approved by the Federal Government, which took effect on Friday. It stated that the metering initiative was designed to ensure a seamless metering process that allowed customers register and be metered on the same day after following due process. According to the firm, beneficiaries of the programme would not be required to pay upfront for the installation of the meters. Rather, the modalities of cost recovery for the meters would be clearly defined and communicated to the beneficiaries. IE noted that the programme was part of the Federal Government’s effort to further bridge the country’s metering gap and cushion the effect of Service Reflective Tariff on electricity consumers in Nigeria. It stated that the initiative was also expected to assist in reducing collection losses, while increasing financial flows to achieve 100 per cent market remittance obligation of the DisCos. The statement said, “In line with this programme, IE is committed to driving the roll out through a series of one-day metering initiative across different locations in its network. For the first phase of the programme, which will run till the end of the year, Ikeja Electric is rolling out over 106,000 prepaid meters to customers across its six business units of Ikeja, Abule-Egba, Akowonjo, Oshodi, Ikorodu and Shomolu.” Other objectives listed were elimination of arbitrary estimated billing, improving network monitoring capability and provision of data for market administration and investment decision-making. [Punch]

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, said on Saturday that between N250,00 to N5m would be accessible to each benefitting youth from the Federal Government’s N75bn youth entrepreneurial support fund. The minister had penultimate Saturday said the Federal government created a youth fund of N25bn as part of efforts to address the #EndSARS protests and other related youth restiveness across the country. Ahmed explained that the youth fund would be increased to N75bn within the period of three years. On Saturday, in an interface with the 77 District Heads and religious leaders held at the Kaduna State University in the state capital, the minister explained how the youth could access the N75bn fund. Ahmed said benefiting youths would receive various amounts of money ranging from N250,000 to N5m each. This, she explained, would be dependent on the business idea, proposal and repayment plan of each benefiting youth. The minister added that the interest-free loan was expected to be paid back to the government within a period of five years. The finance minister said the meeting was designed to get inputs on best ways to empower the youths in reaction to the #EndSARS protests. She appealed to religious and traditional leaders to help sensitise parents at community level on the need to instill family values in their children. On his part, the Minister of Environment, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, urged stakeholders to support government in the discharge of its duties of protecting lives and property. [Punch]

Nigeria’s trade relation with the Republic of Bangladesh this year is almost $145 million, a modest rise from $11.27 million last year. Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo disclosed this at the inauguration of the Commercial Display Room of the Bangladesh High Commission in Abuja, weekend. The Special Assistant to the Minister, Ifedayo Sayo in a statement in Abuja, Sunday said the minister called for an enhancement of bilateral trade between Nigeria and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. According to the Minister, “the two-way trade between the two countries have increased from US$11.27 million in Year 2018/2019 to US$144.75 million in 2019/2020.” “Nigeria under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari enjoys a respectful place in the world, and it has already become the largest economy in Africa. Nigeria has taken a series of steps to diversify its export basket as too much dependence on its oil revenue cannot be a viable option”, the Minister said. [Vanguard]

The Federal Government on Sunday rewarded 12 youths who won the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development 60-day App Challenge. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 of the winners received one million naira each, while five got #500, 000 each. The disbursement held on Sunday during an event to celebrate the national Youth Day observed on November 1. NAN reports that the Day which was being marked nationally for the first time, coincided with the African Youth Day celebration. The event has as its theme: ”Invest in the Youth, Secure Our Future”. President Muhammadu Buhari used the occasion to appeal to the youth to end the protests and participate in meaningful discussions with government aimed at comprehensive reforms to end all forms of police brutality against Nigerians. Buhari, represented by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister, Mohammad Bello said that the protests had led to disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). According to him, the demands of the youth have been heard by the Federal Government. Describing Nigerian youths as agents for social change, economic growth and sustainable development, Buhari said his administration had established no fewer than 25 initiatives aimed at empowering youths across the country. The president noted that these noble initiatives, ongoing in the last five years, were aimed at placing Nigerian youths on the path of career development, entrepreneurship, skills development and direct employment. Buhari announced that more than one million applications had already been received since the Youth Investment Fund Portal became functional on October, 12. He listed other youth-based initiatives consistent with his administration’s policy of positioning the youth for strategic leadership in different fields of endeavour. They include birth of the Nigerian Youth Policy in 2019, the Nigeria Youth Investment Fund in July 2020, Young Farmers Initiative, and Digital Skills. He listed others to be Entrepreneurship, Employability and Leadership/Mentoring (DEEL) programme, which recently received an approval of N4 billion for implementation, and the Not Too Young to Run Act.” Other initiatives, he said were the Presidential Youth Empowerment Scheme (P-YES) , the N-Power, SI and Disaster Management, the Youth Entrepreneurship Support Programme , Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS) and the Youth Enterprise with Innovation In Nigeria (YouWIN). The president also mentioned the 20 million dollars Technology Fund for Young Innovators as some of the major initiatives empowering youths across the country. [Vanguard]

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it is providing and will continue to provide interventions for Agriculture and Industrial revival of Nigeria as the two sectors amongst others remained a veritable tools towards building a robust economy for the country. CBN acting Director, Corporate Affairs Communications, Mr Nwanisobi Osita disclosed this on Saturday in Lokoja during a one-day interactive enlightenment session with stakeholders organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria in collaboration with labour unions. Nwanisobi said the 5-year policy thrust of the apex bank which covered 2019–2024 initiated by the CBN Governor will grow the real economy for the country. He said that the policy which centred around establishing a firm and stable micro economic environment would pave room for low inflation, financial stability, exchange rate stability and efficient payment system. According to him, “There must be a limit to importation of goods. We can grow tomatoes, rice, wheat, cotton and other consumable and CBN will continue to provide finance for farmers to grow those commodities and create jobs for Nigerians”. Speaking on the revival of the nation’s economy, he said the Apex bank is making concerted effort to see a double digit economic growth where the inflation rate would be single digit, adding that the bank would also looked at issues of power, industries and the nation’s foreign reserve. [Vanguard]

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, says the Federal Government is set to end impunity for crimes against members of the public including journalists. Malami made this known in a statement issued by Dr Umar Gwandu, his Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in Abuja on Sunday. In a message to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, the Minister said it was gratifying to note that Nigeria is no longer among the countries with impunity for crimes against journalists. The 2020 global index for impunity for crimes against journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), released on Oct. 28 indicated that Nigeria is the only country that came off the index from 2019. He described the achievement as a result of deliberate and committed efforts of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration through the implementation of many reforms in the Nigerian justice sector. These, he said, include increased access to justice, speedy justice dispensation, decongesting of Nigeria’s correctional centers and judicious implementation of the Criminal Justice Act and Justice Sector reforms. The AGF expressed optimism that with the solid foundation of reformed justice sector to be bequeathed by the Buhari Administration, never again will Nigeria feature among nations where journalists, citizens and inhabitants of the country will suffer from any form of impunity in the future. [Vanguard]

The Federal Government says it will effect a change in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Survival Fund and Guaranteed off-take Stimulus Scheme site from Nov.1 due to operational challenges. Amb. Mariam Katagum, Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of National MSMEs Survival Fund and Guaranteed off-take Stimulus Scheme disclosed this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja. According to the minister, the survival fund site will be migrating to www.survivalfund.gov.ng with effect from Nov. 1. “I wish to inform the general public that due to operational challenges the committee will be effecting a change in the site of the fund and migrate to www.survivalfund.gov.ng. The public is further warned not to pay anything for the ongoing formalisation process or any of the package under the scheme…it is absolutely free,” she said. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state. Under the scheme, which is under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, millions of Nigerians would be impacted. The portal for the fund registration was opened for beneficiaries and became operational in Sept. 21. [Vanguard]

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