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

The Federal Government is working out the modalities to supply 2000 buses to Cooperative Societies in Nigeria as part of the efforts to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty. The scheme is jointly carried out by the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (Federal Department of Cooperatives) and CFAO Motors. Speaking at the Inter-Ministerial Stakeholders Meeting on the supply in Abuja on Monday, Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, George Akume said the move was to tackle the issue of poverty eradication from a wealth creation approach using the platform of Cooperative Societies in Nigeria. Akume explained that the distribution and deployment of 2000 Buses (being the first tranche) will go a long way in ensuring that jobs are not only created but that an enabling environment for wealth creation is also engendered with the eventual acquisition and ownership of these vehicles by the members of the cooperative societies. The Minister reiterated that the alleviation of poverty in Nigeria has been and always remains a cardinal agenda of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.[Business Day]

Hope for the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in future elections brightened yesterday as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) screened applications from over 40 IT firms bidding to begin the process. Chairman of INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this during the firms’ demonstration of the machines at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja. He said the deployment of the EVMs was part of efforts to deepen the country’s electoral process, adding that INEC has been working on the deployment of technology in voting at elections to replace the manual system, which he said, was tedious and expensive. Mahmood explained that the commission has now been uploading polling unit level results in real-time on elections day to a portal for public view, adding, “These are significant innovations that have deepened transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process. Today, INEC is taking yet another decisive step towards full automation of the electoral process. For some time now, it has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the manual system, which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver large quantities of printed materials and much ad-hoc staff to administer the process.” He added that to achieve a seamless process, the commission developed the specifications of the machines’ functions, maintaining that after extensive discussions and reviews, the commission took the decision to invite manufacturers of EVMs around the world for a virtual and practical demonstration of the machines.[Guardian]

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has written to the House of Representatives to seek approval for the Federal Government to reimburse five states for constructing roads on its behalf, Punch reports. The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, read the presidential request at the opening of plenary on Tuesday. In the letter read by Gbajabiamila, Buhari sought “approval of the reimbursement of N148.14bn through the issuance of promissory notes to Bayelsa, Cross River, Ondo, Osun and Rivers State governments for federal road projects executed by the states.” Buhari noted that the Federal Executive Council, at a meeting on June 3, 2020, approved the reimbursement.

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has said that President Muhammadu Buhari would next week present the 2021 budget estimates to a joint sitting of the National Assembly. Lawan made this known on Tuesday during plenary in a speech delivered to welcome lawmakers back from the Senate’s annual recess. The Senate President while commending the Joint Committee on Finance and National Planning for carrying out comprehensive legislative work on the 2020–2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, stated that consideration of its report by the upper chamber would precede presentation of the 2021 budget estimates next week by the President. “The Joint committee will present it’s report to the Senate today for consideration. This is a precursor to the presentation of the 2021 Budget Estimates by the Executive Arm of Government soon. I am aware that the Executive will be presenting the 2021 Budget Estimates by next week,” Lawan said. The Senate President also announced that the upper chamber will provide a one month window for Budget defense by Ministries, Departments and Agencies morning of government.[Vanguard]

The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary. The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country. This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah. According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others. It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.” [Punch]

The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Limited has said it is set to achieve the production of 350,000 metric tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from a paltry of 75,000mt it was when it started some years ago. The company jointly owned by the federal government, operating through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Shell Gas B.V, Total LNG and Eni International, noted that the target was achievable, given its current production levels. Speaking during a webinar organised by ADIPEC Energy Dialogue, General Manager, Production at the company, Mr. Adeleye Falade, said Nigeria has a huge gas reserves which it must take advantage of for quick industrialisation and cleaner energy. “When we first started pushing Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) which is cooking gas into the Nigerian market, we were only doing 75,000 tons per annum. Today, as at last year, we did 275, 000 tons that we pushed into the market. This year our target is 350,000 tons and we are very much on our way to achieving it. The more we push cooking gas, the more we fight deforestation and deal with emission, especially harmful ones,” he said. While describing the opportunities in the gas sector as huge, he said that rather than being addressed as an oil nation, the Nigeria is actually a gas nation, which has some quantity of oil in it.[This Day]

President Muhammadu Buhari has stressed the need for all arms of government to deploy resources to address the common needs of all citizens rather than the greed of a callous few. The president made the call at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), in Abuja on Monday. The summit has the theme: “Together Against Corruption’’. According to him, the National Ethics and Integrity Policy projects government’s aspiration for rediscovery of cherished traditional ethical values of honesty, integrity, hard-work, truth, justice, unity, faith and consideration for one another, irrespective of status or background. He reiterated his earlier call on the judiciary to undertake reforms that would fast-rack delivery of justice for the common good, adding that the nation needed a corruption-free public sector to achieve meaningful transformation. He expressed delight over the recognition and participation of young Nigerians and non-state actors, especially the media and civil society, at the ICPC event, saying that nobody must be left behind and all hands must be on deck in the fight against corruption. He also reiterated the role of preventive measures and public education and enlightenment against corruption. According to him, the federal government, through the Open Treasury initiative, TSA, GIFMIS, BVN and many more, is implementing different corruption prevention measures to track and retain government revenue for the use of the people. He commended the ICPC for its enforcement and prevention measures, including system review of capital and personnel budget, regular analysis of the open treasury platform, enforcement action against diversion and mismanagement of public funds.[Daily Times]

The federal government has begun the process of drafting policies and instruments to assist in the urgent diversification of the Niger Delta economy into agriculture. The plan is in collaboration with technocrats and development partners and backed by the Rome-based Agencies (RBAs): the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Declaring the stakeholders’ meeting open in Abuja, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, said the region has more than oil to offer the country. He said that the initiative seeks to launch emergency agricultural intervention projects to quickly diversify the region and create jobs for the vast majority of youths who are without jobs. According to Agba, the move is also expected to shield the country from the negative consequences occasioned by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be accommodated in the proposed successor national development plans which are currently being drafted by stakeholders. Also on the initiative, Agba noted that the agricultural projects is designed to benefit the Niger Delta as well as the nation’s non-oil economy especially in the production of food in appreciable abundance and the attendant creation of additional industries, reduction in the unparalleled economic shock due to the ongoing pandemic, reduction in security issues in the area thereby improving security for all along with others. He called for the support and cooperation of the states and local governments, private sector, domestic and foreign investors, development partners, traditional institutions, farmers associations as well as host communities and all well-meaning Nigerians to enable the project to succeed in repositioning the economy to the sustainable path of growth.[Vanguard]

The Energy Commission of Nigeria, ECN, Tuesday, disclosed that the Federal Government has adopted strategies aimed at making investments in the renewable energy sector, especially for electricity generation, attractive and profitable for investors and the private sector. This was even as the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed that the government was planning to generate electricity from smaller rivers across the country, and also produce solar cells from sand available in large quantity across the country. Speaking in Abuja, at a ‘National Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum on Scaling up Inter-Connected Mini-Grids Development in Nigeria: Current Status, Challenges and Prospects,’ Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of the ECN, Professor Eli Bala, said the strategy the Federal Government has adopted was the de-risking of the electricity industry. He noted that the Federal Government had realized the fact that the country needs constant power supply to drive economic growth and development, especially as power from the electricity grid was inadequate. According to Vanguard, Bala stated that the government was concerned with-de-risking the power sector, so as make electricity affordable, encourage consumers to pay for consumption, boost the cashflow profile of the industry and attract banks to mobilise the much-needed funding required to grow the sector.

The Federal Government on Monday said its interventions in the rice value chain led to an increase in rice production in Nigeria by 1.2 million metric tonnes within three years. Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, said this while assessing the Federal Government rice farms/mills in Omor and Umerum at Ayamelum Local Government Area, Anambra State, under the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme-1. Shehuri also stated that government would revitalise its rice farm in Anambra to boost rice production, create jobs and improve the living standard of people in the state and the region. He was quoted in a statement issued in Abuja by the agriculture ministry’s Chief Information Officer, Ezeaja Ikemefuna, as saying, “The present administration has provided various interventions to promote investment in the rice sector. As a result of these interventions, the country has increased its production from 4.8 million metric tonnes of milled rice in 2015 to over six million metric tonnes by 2019 with huge reduction in the nation’s deficit.” He said the government was also pursuing and implementing programmes to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production because of its strategic importance as a major staple food crop.[Punch]

The National Bureau of Statistics will begin a national economic census across the country from October 12. It stated on Monday that it had been more than 20 years that the exercise was conducted in Nigeria. Statistician-General, NBS, Yemi Kale, who announced this at the Training of Trainers for the National Business Sample Census in Abuja said the census would last for two months. He explained that the business census, also known as an economic census, was a statistical exercise that involved the enumeration of formal and informal business establishments across the country. He stated that during the process, commercial and industrial business operations in fixed locations would be listed with valuable information. Kale said information collected during the exercise include the nature of the economic activity of the establishments, the number of employees they engage, their contact details, among other things. He said, “The information emanating from this census activity is primarily useful in understanding the nature and structure of the economy, as well as providing a sound business frame for the conduct of economic surveys in the country. Conventionally, it is conducted every five years as recommended by the United Nations Statistical Commission. However, in Nigeria, the census has not been conducted for over two decades, mainly due to funding challenges.” Asked to state when the census would commence, while speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the training, Kale replied, “It is starting on the 12th of October and it will last for two months.” [Punch]

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, virtually inaugurated the 326 Km Itakpe-Ajaokuta-Warri rail line for commercial operation and directed the Ministry of Transportation to ensure that all the nation’s ports are linked to the rail line. He listed the ports of origin and destination to be linked to the rail network to include Apapa, Tin Can, Warri, Onne, and Calabar Ports. The presidential aide also quoted the President as saying that he had approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes in the country. He also directed that the Itakpe-Warri rail line should be extended to the northern region of the country before the expiration of his tenure in 2023. The President said, “Accordingly, I have approved the prioritisation of viable railway routes for either new rail lines or the reconstruction and rehabilitation of some, to achieve effective and efficient train services supporting the country’s trade and commerce. The railway Infrastructure that I have the honour to commission today is the rail line from Itakpe via the steel town complex of Ajaokuta to Warri, and is an important link for the country’s economy as the central rail line. This government has also approved to link this line further from Itakpe to Abuja, thereby, connecting the Northern Zone of the country and also extending southwards to link the Warri Ports.” [Punch]

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