Aso Villa Reads for 28/09/2020

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

Nigeria’s North-Central geo-political zone received N18.29 billion, the highest, from the N66.18 billion Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS), as at September 22, 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said at the weekend. Following is South-South, which got N13.93 billion; South-West, N12.52 billion, and North-West received N9.12 billion. South-East geopolitical zone got the lowest at N5.44 billion, followed by North-East which got N6.86 billion, Business Day reports. Philip Yila Yusuf, director, development finance, said at a zoom meeting that the regulator was collaborating with the government of the respective states and private sector to grant long-term facility to farmers within agricultural value-chains in a coordinated manner. He disclosed that the CBN has commenced a large scale food production in select states to ensure food security, especially during the dry season. AGSMEIS is an initiative to support the Federal Government’s efforts and policy measures for the promotion of agricultural businesses and small/medium enterprises (SMEs) as vehicles for sustainable economic development and employment generation. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting last week noted that the various interventions by the CBN to reflate the economy, improve aggregate supply, and drive down inflation. Recent interventions were largely in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, electricity & gas, solar power and housing constructions among others. It expressed optimism that these initiatives will significantly ease the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and set the economy on a path of recovery. Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN said after the MPC that so far, total disbursements from the Bank’s interventions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic amount to N3.5 trillion including real sector funds, (N216.87 billion); Covid-19 targeted credit facility (TCF), (N73.69 billion); AGSMEIS, (N54.66 billion); pharmaceutical and healthcare support fund, (N44.47 billion); and creative industry financing initiative (N2.93 billion). Under the real sector funds, a total of 87 projects that include 53 manufacturing, 21 agriculture and 13 services projects were funded. In the healthcare sector, 41 projects which include 16 pharmaceuticals and 25 hospital and health care services were funded. Under the targeted credit facility, 120,074 applicants have received financial support for investment capital. The AGSMEIS intervention has been extended to a total of 14,638 applicants, while 250 SME businesses, predominantly the youths, have benefited from the creative industry financing initiative. In addition to these initiatives, the CBN is set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total N2.30 trillion needed for the Federal Government’s 1-year Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), through its various financing interventions using the channels of Participating Financial Institutions (PFIs).

The Federal Government of Nigeria on Wednesday evening approved new names for 10 improved cassava varieties, as part of efforts to brand the root crop for easy identification, cultivation and marketing of cassava stems. The branded varieties comprise six released varieties and four yet-to be-released varieties. The released varieties and their new names are as follows: IBA961632 (Farmer’s Pride), IBA980581 (Dixon), CR36–5 (Ayaya), IBA070593 (Sunshine), and IBA980505 (Fine face). TME 419, a variety already popular among farmers, remained unchanged as TME419. The yet-to-be-released (pre-release) varieties and their new names are TMS13F1160P0004 (Game Changer), TMS13F1343P0022 (Obasanjo-2), NR130124 (Hope) and TMEB693 (Poundable). The Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Karima Babanginda, who moved for the adoption of the names on behalf of the government of Nigeria described the move as a ‘welcome development.’ “Our farmers can now be able to identify the different cassava varieties,” Mrs Babanginda said. The naming of the varieties was facilitated by the Building an Economically Sustainable, Integrated and Economically Sustainable Cassava Seed System, Phase 2 (BASICS-II), that is being led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the NextGen Cassava Breeding project (NextGen Cassava).[Premium Times]

President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) to do more toward eradicating religious extremism and intolerance in the country. The President, who made the call at the 60th Independence Day Public Lecture and Special Juma’at Prayer held at the Abuja National Mosque Auditorium in Abuja, stressed that the power and appeal of religion must be used constantly and only for peace building and promotion of unity among the people. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Buhari, who was represented by Senate President Ahmed Lawal, at this independence anniversary lecture, themed, ‘Together Nigeria at 60: The Imperative of Building a Nation Together,’ stated that the Federal Government was committed to entrenching sustainable peace, as it intensifies the fight against insurgency, extremism and all forms of intolerance. The President assured Nigerians that the government would continue to work with committed and patriotic religious and traditional leaders to advance the ideals of peaceful coexistence. He commended NSCIA for its tireless efforts to safeguard “God- given liberties,” urging the body to adopt stringent measures to rid Nigeria of religious extremism.[Guardian]

The Federal Government on Friday commissioned and handed over the Infectious Disease Care Centre built and equipped by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), to the management of the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital (UATH), Gwagwalada. The Centre will significantly strengthen the country’s capacity to manage infectious diseases and response to outbreaks. Asides the Infectious Disease Centre, the Federal Government also commissioned two other facilities in this hospital — the Accident and Emergency Unit, which is a 32-bed Unit with an intensive care unit (ICU), radiology suite, dialysis unit, fully equipped dedicated operating theatre and oxygen supply; and the Cardiology Unit with a full complement of facilities for non-invasive procedures, including a state-of-the-art 4D echocardiography. Speaking during the official commissioning and handover ceremony, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said “This project commenced over a year ago, as part of the commitment of the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructure and resources for infectious disease management, through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.”[The Nation]

The Nigerian military has commissioned the Rim Primary Healthcare Centre revamped by the Defence Headquarters in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State, as part of it’s Civil Military Cooperation activities ( CIMIC). The Defence Headquarters medical team in conjunction with Headquarters Operation Safe Haven medical team also conducted a 2-day medical outreach in ZangonKataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State. This was disclosed by John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations (DMO), in Abuja. The Coordinator also disclosed that the Headquarters Operation Safe Haven fostered several stakeholders meetings in various parts of Plateau and Kaduna states including Bokkos, Bassa, Mangu, Jos, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State, as well as Jama’a and Zangon- Kataf Local Government Areas of Kaduna State. In addition to CIMIC activities, Eneche said troops in the North-central zone, have continued to sustain intensive clearance operations against armed bandits and other criminals.[Business Day]

The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria has praised the Central Bank of Nigeria for its N200bn housing intervention programme targeted at low income earners. According to a statement issued by the association on Sunday, the fund is to fast track the construction of 300,000 homes in the country, in addition to creating up to 1.5m jobs in five years. The Chairman, REDAN, South West, and Managing Director, RevolutionPlus, Bamidele Onalaja, hailed the initiative, adding that if sincerely applied, it would achieve the long dream of affordable housing by the public. Speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State, at the unveiling of the Manchester Park and Garden, Oxford Park and the launch of his cooperate office, he commended the Federal Government for not channeling the fund to the Family Home Funds. He said the association was elated because the facility type was a term loan to enable FHF to finance the construction of social housing units for low-income earners for a three-year tenor from the date of disbursement.[Punch]

The African Continental Free Trade Area is one major solution for the expansion of non-oil exports from Nigeria to foreign lands, the Federal Government stated on Sunday. Special Assistant to the President on Public Matters, who doubles as Secretary of the National Action Committee on AfCFTA, Francis Anatogu, described the continental free trade area as a vehicle for Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification. He disclosed this at the first strategic stakeholders’ sensitisation seminar of the committee on the AfCFTA. The NAC under the leadership of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo, recently brought together private and public sector stakeholders for knowledge sharing in preparation for the operationalisation of the AfCFTA scheduled for January 2021. In a statement issued by Anatogu in Abuja, he said, “The stakeholders are an integral part of the AfCFTA drive that would ensure a smooth, seamless and beneficial implementation of the agreement. For as long as we depend on crude oil revenue, our economic prosperity will depend on oil prices which sadly continued to fall in recent times. The solution is to expand non-oil exports and AfCFTA gives us the opportunity to do that.”[Punch]

Electricity generation in the country rose by 979.2 megawatts on Sunday to 4,312.1MW as 16 power plants saw an increase in their output, Punch reported. The nation generates most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydropower plants makes up about 30 per cent of the total generation. Generation from Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro hydro plants, which stood at 182MW, 289MW and 412MW, respectively as of 6am on Saturday, rose to 305MW, 300MW and 450MW on Sunday. Electricity generation from Egbin, the nation’s biggest power station, increased to 454MW as of 6am on Sunday from 304MW on Saturday. Other plants that recorded increases in their outputs on Sunday were Delta (gas), Omotosho I, Olorunsogo I, Geregu II, Odukpani, Okpai, Azura-Edo, Afam VI, Omoku and Rivers IPP.

The Federal Government has said it will reconstruct the failing flyover along the Akpajo-Aleto axis of the East-West Road in Eleme LGA Rivers State in order to ease traffic congestion. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akapbio, said this during an inspection of some Federal Government projects in Rivers State, saying the government was working to ensure that the East-West was completed by the end of 2021. Akpabio assured that the current administration would reconstruct the East-West Road due to its huge economic importance. Akpabio said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, had shown the political will to complete the East-West Road.[Punch]

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