Aso Villa Reads for 24/09/2020

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

To address concerns around the economic impact of hike in the price of petrol, the Federal Government is intensifying efforts at making alternative fuel source available, assuring that over 1 million vehicle conversion kits would be established in the six geopolitical zones of the country for easy access to autogas. The autogas which is liquified petroleum gas comes in form of compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas for vehicles. The government said alternative fuel has to be made available for people who cannot afford the regular petrol that currently sells around N160. The government also informed that some filling stations across the country were already keying into the plan by converting their stations to provide an alternative and cheaper source of fuel to Nigerians which the CNG offers. Justice Derefaka, technical adviser, gas business and policy implementation to the minister of state for petroleum resources, gave this assurance on Tuesday at “Goodmorning Nigeria” a Nigerian Television Authority programme monitored by our correspondent in Abuja. Derefaka said that the government was mindful of the concerns of Nigerians in calling for alternative source of fuel, noting that efforts were in top gear to ready the options with an official launch for pilot collocation and conversion centres across the country for CNG. Derefaka said the environmental benefits and affordability benefits of the CNG were huge, adding “there will be a list of certified conversion centres to be unveiled soon within the last quarter.”[Business Day]

The Federal Government is projecting over N20 billion revenue from lottery activities in the next three years with the implementation of a Central Monitoring Platform to connect all the operators in Nigeria to block leakages, Business Day reports. This is just as the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, George Akume inaugurated a Ministerial Taskforce for the recovery of unpaid revenues from lottery operators and permit holders in Nigeria from 2015. Addressing journalists after the inauguration on Tuesday in Abuja, Director General of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission, Lanre Gbajabiamila said Nigeria has being generating over N1 billion from lottery in the last two years as against the N500 million before then. He said: “Considering what we are doing now, if we start the implementation of this Central Monitoring Platform by the first quarter of next year, before the year is over, we will make about N8 billion and we will be making at least a minimum of N20 billion for the next two, three years”. While inaugurating the Taskforce, Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Akume said given Nigeria’s current economic climate, definitive measures must be taken to boost government revenue so as to fund development projects. He charged the Taskforce to determine what funds are owed to government from 2015 to 2020 and facilitate the immediate recovery of such funds to government coffers, adding that the team shall complete its work within the next two months.

ipNX, an information, communications and technology (ICT) company and the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) have signed a partnership deal that will further support the development of Nigeria’s ICT and broadband infrastructure and help ipNX expand its fibre-optic network to more than 200,000 residences in Lagos and other locations, including Abuja and Port Harcourt. A virtual signing ceremony that signaled the beginning of the relationship between the two parties was held recently where both parties expressed commitment to the partnership. Through this innovative initiative, the USTDA is supporting ipNX to promote inclusive, secure and sustainable connectivity across the nation. The agreements were made possible as a result of several engagements between the USTDA delegation to Nigeria and the leadership of ipNX; and will advance the goals of the recently updated Nigerian Broadband Plan. At the Signing Ceremony, Ejovi Aror, group managing director of ipNX, said: “We believe that world-class connectivity and broadband internet access will be pivotal to the digital transformation and socio-economic development of Nigeria. We are very positive that this project will play a crucial role in making our belief a reality.” Mary Beth Leonard, U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, said’ “These projects will support the development of Nigeria’s telecoms infrastructure and help to achieve the goals of the National Broadband Plan. The U.S. Government has committed significant resources to improving telecoms infrastructure in Nigeria and this support is crucial as we believe that investment in critical ICT projects will strengthen the resiliency outlined in Nigeria’s economic sustainability plan.”[All Africa]

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has approved additional incentives under its Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP), through which it will share equal risks with smallholders farmers (SHFs). This is expected to boost production and ensure food security in the country, while checking inflation tide, and slashing farmers risk portfolio from 75 to 50 per cent, and increase CBN’s collateral guarantee to 50 per cent up from 25 per cent. The development is aimed at ensuring that farmers increased their productivity level to lower the component of food import into Nigeria. The additional incentive was announced Tuesday at the launch of this year’s Dry Season Farming by the Director, Development Finance, CBN, Philip Yusuf. Yusuf told stakeholders, comprising maize, wheat, rice, and cassava farmers and processors that the apex bank was willing and open to suggestions that would help eliminate their challenges to boost productivity. Yusuf claimed that with the advent of the ABP, the programme had lifted thousands of SHFs out of poverty, and generated millions of jobs for unemployed Nigerians. The programme has been characterised by using high-quality seeds, establishment of off-take agreement, which guarantees a ready market for farmers at agreed market prices.[Guardian]

The Federal Executive Council, FEC, on Wednesday approved about $1.96 billion for the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in Niger Republic. The Council also approved the sum of N745.2 million for the procurement of additional eight Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC and another N12.088 billion Umuahia/Bende/Ohafia road with a distance of 45 kilometers. The approval was disclosed by the Ministers of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while briefing State House correspondents at the end of the FEC virtual meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa, Abuja. Briefing on the rail project, the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amechi said that his ministry presented two memoranda that were approved by the council. It was gathered that the proposed rail line from Kano in Nigeria to Maradi in Niger Republic is to cover a track length of 248 kilometres and will pass through seven senatorial districts in the North. The rail contract which was initially budgeted in the 2018 Appropriation will connect at least seven cities in Nigeria and one city in Niger Republic and is expected to start from Kano and pass through Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and terminate in Maradi, Niger Republic. Also, briefing, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed, who briefed on behalf of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed said that the council approved the procurement of 1,800 units of laptop computers for training schools and computer-based test examinations at three Nigeria Customs training schools. Also, briefing on behalf of the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, Alhaji Mohammed said, “Finally, on behalf of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, a memo was presented today asking for approval for the augmentation of the contract for the construction of Petroleum Technology Development Fund corporate headquarters office in Abuja, for the sum of N3,773,784,399.48, therefore raising the initial approval for the contract to about N14 billion.” The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio said that the memo that was presented by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs was a concluding memo on the procurement of Field Forensic Auditors for the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission. He said the council approved eight additional forensic field auditors at a total sum of about N745.2 million.[Vanguard]

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