Aso Villa Reads for 29/10/2018

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

“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, at the weekend said two modular refineries would be commissioned in Delta and Rivers states in December. Speaking at the 2018 graduation of the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) Effurun, he added that government had issued licences for 38 of the facilities currently at different stages of completion. Represented by a director in the ministry, Mr. Idang Alibi, the minister stated: “As I mentioned during my last visit, the Federal Government is very much interested in constructing modular refineries. Their development would help to address the perennial shortage of domestic supply of petroleum products, create jobs and stop illegal refining of crude oil and the attendant deleterious impact on the environment.” reported that the Minister’s rep “also disclosed that government was poised to end flaring by utilising and monetising the abundant gas resources in the country. Kachikwu added that the current administration had redoubled efforts to drive utilisation and commercialisation hence its investment in the nation’s seven critical gas development projects to deliver about 3.4 billion standard cubic feet of the product yearly to bridge the medium-term supply gap by 2020. He noted that the approval of the Nigeria National Gas Policy last year by the President Muhammadu Buhari government was to ensure the product play its full role to the growth of the national economy. The policy, according to the minister, is key to the realisation of a full-blown domestic gas market in the country in the future.”

“President Muhammadu Buhari is impressed with reforms in the agricultural sector under the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh. The President said that the reforms had led to food security and creation of jobs for Nigerian youths. Buhari gave the commendation when he hosted young political appointees to a dinner at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. He said that Ogbeh had justified his appointment as agriculture minister. The President said that Nigeria could not have had a better person as minister of agriculture than Ogbeh whom he said had invested so much in agriculture and had also suffered huge losses. According to the President, “Ogbeh went to the bank and borrowed money and invested in agriculture.” The Authority NGR reports “that he suffered but eventually he repaid the money. “So you cannot have a better person than somebody who has suffered in the sector,” he said The President particularly commended the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for its “Go back to the land” programme, saying that it had cut down the importation of rice to at least 90 per cent. Buhari observed that many Nigerians were abandoning white collar jobs and embracing farming because of the reforms in the sector which had led to food security in the country”.

“Nigeria is confident of resolving a $10.1 billion dispute with telecoms firm MTN and sending a positive signal to foreign investors worried about the country’s demand for the money, its trade and investment minister told Reuters.” Reuters reports that “the Nigeria’s central bank on Aug. 29 ordered the South African firm and its lenders to bring $8.1 billion back into Nigeria that it alleges the company sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations. MTN also faces a $2 billion tax demand from the country’s attorney general. MTN denies any wrongdoing. Okechukwu Enelamah, a former private equity executive, said the government was talking to all parties involved and aiming to resolve the disputes soon to boost investor confidence. “We have had discussions in government and we have engaged MTN. I’m sure that the issue would be resolved,” he said in an interview in the capital Abuja. “We want to deal with it … in a way that would be responsive to investors.” Enelamah said investors had welcomed the government’s feedback on the disputes after officials met fund managers on the sidelines of the United Nations summit in New York last month.”

Business Day reports “that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has partnered the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) to checkmate the menace at the point of entry. Osita Aboloma, director-general, SON, said ANLCA was one of its strongest allies that could help to reduce the preponderance of fake and substandard goods in the country, explaining that SON would intensify its engagement with operators in the maritime industry through sensitisation programme in a bid to combat the menace of substandard goods. Aboloma, at a stakeholders meeting with members of ANLCA in Lagos, said this move, the agency would also be creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive while also protecting the lives of the unsuspecting Nigerian consumers. He, however, stated that the agency was working relentlessly to fully automate its process to reduce the level of human interface, stressing that this would help to eradicate the use of touts to get access to its service while also ensuring seamless port operations for stakeholders in the maritime industry”.

“Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo is to flag off the 2018 National Risk Management Conference under the aegis of Risk Management Society in Nigeria (RIMSON). The two-day conference themed “Risk Management and Nation Building: Transforming National Challenges to Opportunities” is scheduled for October 31, 2018 and November 1, 2018. The conference, according to the organisers, is a convergence of risk managers across the different facets of the national economy.” Guardian explains that “the risk management practitioners comprise risk management professionals in government agencies and parastatals, the oil & gas sector, insurance, banking & finance, agriculture, manufacturing sector, telecoms sector, state and national disaster management agencies as well as pension and health management organisations, amongst others”.

“The Federal Government says it pumped $461million into the rehabilitation of the Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa, Rivers State, which in 2017 was rated the world’s third worst airport. President Muhammadu Buhari in Port Harcourt Thursday, October 25, 2018, said the Federal Government’s removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) from domestic air travels would reduce air fares, enable speedy movement of more people and spur business activities that would stimulate the economy.” According to Business Day, “the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in his remarks, said the Federal Government injected $461million into the airport projects to enable construction. The project was started by the past administration but lingered so long that it was part of the points of anger in the oil region during the 2015 presidential election which the then president, Goodluck Jonathan, a son of the Niger Delta, lost. Now, the pumping of funds and the rescue effort is said to have altered the poor rating by Sleep in Airports in 2017. Speaking at the commissioning of the new terminal of Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, President Buhari said the decision by the Federal Government to remove VAT from domestic air transportation was in line with global best practices of making air transportation affordable, which will subsequently lead to the creation of more jobs by the air transport service value chain.”

“A critical meeting chaired by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is ongoing at the State House Villa, Abuja on the National Minimum Wage”, Daily Trust online reports. “In attendance at the closed doors meeting are the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state, Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Rauf Aragbesola (Osun) and Simon Lalong (Plateau). Also in attendance are: Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed and Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma. The Head of Service to the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, the Director General, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Chief Richard Egbule and Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris are also attending the meeting. Ngige had on Friday told reporters that the Federal and State governments would take a final position on the national minimum wage today after the meeting. While the the Organized Labour is insisting on N30,000, Federal government wants to pay N24,000 and state governments want to pay N20,000.”

“The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) says the 2.8 million barrel per day (mbpd) crude oil production target of the Federal Government is achieveable. The Warri zonal operations controller, DPR, Antai Asuquo, gave this assurance weekend during the 2018 Annual Tripartite Conference of Regulators, Rig owners, and Oil and Gas Operators in Warri. Asuquo who coordinated the programme, told newsmen shortly after the event that, “ it is realistic in the sense that all investors are expected to channel more resources into oil expoloration and production activities with the increase in prices. The controller advised the stakeholders to take advantage of the increase in price of crude oil at the international market and inject more resources into their businesses. He noted that the gesture would help to boost their operations and by implication attained the national goal as pertained to production”. Business Day (October 29, 2018, page 9) reported this.



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