Aso Villa Reads for 11/06/18

Every day, we bring you the best stories the media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria.

“With the commencement of visa-on-arrival policy by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the country’s tourism industry is set to boom with increase in tourist arrivals and spending by the visitors. Tourist arrivals, which stagger between two to three million visitors annually, including the 1.7 million international air passengers in 2017, is expected to reach five million international visitors in the first year of the implementation of the new visa policy. As well, investments in the Nigerian travel and tourism industry is set to improve from about N1.12 trillion ($4.5bn) in 2016 to almost N2 trillion by the end of 2018, on the account of the new visa regime that fast-tracks easy visa processing amid other incentives introduced by the Federal Government to encourage both local and foreign direct investments. Also, revenue from tourists spending in the country is expected to cross the $1 billion mark in the first year of the implementation.” Business Day reported.

“The National Pension Commission has said it will soon commence the verification of intending retirees in the federal service. The Acting Director-General, PenCom, Aisha Dahir-Umar, said this during the pre-retirement seminar in Lagos for Federal Government workers due to retire in 2019 under the Contributory Pension Scheme.” According to Punch,“Dahir-Umar explained that the impending exercise necessitated the need to undertake adequate sensitisation and public enlightenment in order to prepare prospective retirees for the steps to take towards a hitch-free retirement life. According to her, the commission decided to enlighten them on the enrolment exercise and documentation requirements, accessing retirement and terminal benefits under the CPS and life after retirement.”

“The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it approved a total of $17 billion financing for Nigerian entities between its commencement of operations in 1994 and last December. The President of the bank, Dr. Benedict Oramah, disclosed at the weekend when he led an Afreximbank delegation on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja. He identified the sectors benefiting from the Bank’s facilities to include: financial institutions, transport, hospitality, manufacturing, agro-allied, oil and gas, power, and telecommunications. Dr. Oramah added that the Bank is willing to work with the government to arrange financing of up to $1 billion to support the governments investments in trade enabling infrastructure.’’ Vanguard reported.

According to a report by This Day “the Federal Ministry of Finance has said that the new excise duty rates on alcohol and cigarettes, which came into effect on June 4, was not targeted at destroying local manufacturers. The Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Finance, Mr Hassan Dodo, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja. According to him, the purpose of introducing the new duty is to increase government’s revenue. Dodo stated that the approved excise duty rates followed all-encompassing engagements with key industry stakeholders by the Tariff Technical Committee (TTC) of which Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) is a member. He also reiterated the federal government’s commitment to achieving its industrialisation agenda. He said that the government would continue to put in place fiscal policy measures to protect local manufacturers and stimulate the growth of the economy.”

“Works, Power and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola says temporary measures are on to put back up the collapsed Mokwa-Jebba road in 72 hours. He spoke in Zaria on Sunday shortly after commissioning a 60MVA, 132/33kV transformer at TCN power station in Zaria. He attributed the collapse of Mowo Junction Bridge along Mokwa-Jebba road to forces of nature. According to him, the ministry has deployed its personnel and those of relevant agencies to take alternative but temporary measures around the collapse bridge for motorists to start using the road within the next 72 hours”. Daily Trust reports that “the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) had on Sunday morning alerted motorists over the collapse of the bridge after Mowo Junction on the Mokwa-Jebba road, due to heavy rainfall. In his words, the Minister said, “The bridge collapse is part of the hazards that come with whether changes. All over the world we see them, mudslide, hurricane, volcano, windstorm, damaging public infrastructure. So, Nigeria is not exempted. We know this will cause some discomfort to commuters, for which we apologise for. It is an emergency and we are treating it as such. We are responding”.

“The Nigerian Communication Commissions (NCC) has urged customers of telecommunication operators to lodge their complaints of unsatisfactory services through its 622 Toll-Free-Line. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, said this at the 95th Edition of Consumers Outreach Programme in Dutse at the weekend. Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Consumers Affairs Bureau of the commission, Felicia Onwuegbuchulam said that the commission was disturbed with the various complaints from customers.” According to Business Day Newspaper (Monday, 11th June 2018, page 6), “It is in response to these complaints that the commission as a proactive institution took appropriate steps to address the issues raised. Onwuegbuchulam said that the commission had issued directive to service providers to desist from forceful subscription of data services and VAS unless they got the consent of the customers.”

“Morocco and Nigeria have agreed a cooperation plan to press on with a proposed pipeline transporting gas to the North African kingdom along the Atlantic coast. King Mohammed VI and President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday oversaw the signing of the accord in Rabat detailing the way forward for the mega-project first agreed in 2016. The two countries are looking to build an extension to Morocco of a pipeline that has been pumping gas from resource-rich southern Nigeria to Benin, Togo and Ghana since 2010. The proposed pipeline, to be built in several phases, will measure some 5,660 kilomtres (3,500 miles) and respond to the growing needs of the transit countries and Europe over the next 25 years. The next step will be to sound out countries around the region and customers in Europe and to talk to international lenders about funding the project.” So writes Punch.

Business Day reported that “the Debt Management Office (DMO) last week, said it plans to issue another green bond in the later part of the year as part of its initiative in improving the sustainability of the environment. Dele Afolabi, Director, Portfolio Management at DMO who disclosed this in a statement, said the issuance will be higher than the previous amount raised in December last year. If this plan falls through, it will be the second time that Africa largest economy is raising funds through the green bond issuance. Afolabi said that the major subscribers to the bond were majorly Public Fund Administrators (PFA’s), contributing 75 percent of the investment in the green bond while the remaining was shared among banks with no foreign investor buying into the bond.”

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