Aso Villa Reads for 30/09/2020
Every day, we bring you the best stories that the Media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria
Nigeria’s Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite said minerals mined in the country should be processed and exported ahead of exportation of raw materials to drive wealth creation,saying that Nigeria must not repeat the mistakes made in oil and gas in mining by exporting raw ore. He made this known recently during his familiarization tour of some media houses in the South Western States. Adegbite in a statement late by the Federal Minister Monday noted that mining, before independence, was the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy as resources from mining was used to develop infrastructure in oil and gas sector. “The moment we found oil, we turned our focus away from mining and it died, so we are trying to revive it, Nigeria was once quoted on the London metal exchange, we were the highest exporter of columbite in the world, importing tin from Jos, exporting coal from Enugu to the world, we can bring back that era”, he further explained. Adegbite said the Ministry is currently working a downstream policy that would make exportation of raw ore illegal. “We don’t want to export raw ore in Nigeria anymore, we want to do beneficiation and that is the downstream policy the Ministry is working on and when it comes on stream, nobody can export raw ore in Nigeria again, whatever you mine, you must process locally” This, he said would bring about job creation. As part of the downstream policy, he said the Ministry would introduce what is called pre-shipment inspectors for mineral export. Pre-Shipment inspectors according to him, are people who have the knowledge, equipment and can confirm the value of what is being exported and ensure payments of appropriate royalties to government. The Minister acknowledged that mining in Nigeria is mostly artisanal based. He said the government would not criminalise the artisanal miners but encourage them to come into the fold and support them.[Business Day]
Hadiza Bala-usman, managing director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said the promoters of the multi-billion dollars Badagry Deep Seaport Project, has finally made payment of $500,000 commitment deposit into an escrow account to signify their commitment towards the port project. The project is being developed through a public private partnership (PPP) overseen by the Federal Government, Federal Ministry of Transport, Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment and Lagos state government. It is also being overseen by a private consortium of APM Terminals, Orlean Invest, Oando, Terminal Investment Limited (TIL) and Macquarie. Giving an update into the project, Usman said the promoters made the payments into the escrow account a month ago, and the authority is now perfecting arrangement to conclude on the final business case of the port project. The new port is expected to have an annual throughput capacity of 1.8 million Twenty- foot Equivalent Units (TEUS). The proposal for the project was announced in 2012. Feasibility studies have been completed and construction works yet to start. The project will be implemented in four phases, with the overall project cost estimated to range between $2bn and $3bn. The proposed site is located 55km west of Apapa and the port of Lagos, along the 55km long Lagos-badagry Expressway, that is being upgraded from a four-lane to a ten-lane expressway. It is expected that the new port will primarily ease pressure on the existing port of Lagos, which handles approximately 85 percent of the country’s non-oil throughput. It will further alleviate the country’s ports, which are on the verge of exceeding their cargo handling capacities, and address the country’s annual container traffic, which is expected to grow to 10 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units by 2030.[Business Day]
Ministries of Transportation and Finance are working at rolling out tax incentives for operators in the maritime sector to spur growth in the industry. The move which is in response to the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, is the Federal Government’s efforts to stimulate investment and boost activities in the maritime industry and other sectors of the nation’s economy. Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, who disclosed this in Abuja during a visit to Minister of Finance, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, said that the minister of Federal Ministry of Transportation is seeking a package of tax incentives for the maritime sector. Jamoh said the proposed incentives included zero import duty for brand new vessels imported by Nigerians or Nigerian shipping companies for use in foreign or domestic trade; 0.5 per cent only import duty for vessels aged between one and five years intended for use in foreign or domestic trade; and one per cent only import duty for vessels aged between five and eight years intended for use in foreign or domestic trade. There was also a proposal for zero import duty for parts or components imported by Nigerian shipyards for local shipbuilding, which will be for an initial period of four years after which it can be reviewed by government. All these are expected to give the sector the vibrancy it needs for growth. He said the incentives were being proposed because of the importance of the Nigerian maritime sector to the entire sub-Saharan African region. He emphasised that Nigeria accounted for more than 65 per cent of the entire shipping trade of the sub-African continent. Nigeria is also the largest producer and exporter of oil and gas in the continent and Africa’s largest economy.[Vanguard]
As part of activities commemorating the 60th Independence Anniversary of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari will address the nation from the Eagle Square, Abuja, on Thursday, October 1, 2020. This was made known in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Chief Femi Adesina in Abuja on Wednesday. According to the statement, “The live address will commence after the Anniversary Parade beginning at 10am which will be covered by major television and radio stations especially the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN). Please note that in view of the open-air live address, the traditional early morning October 1 Presidential Broadcast will not feature on Thursday.”[Vanguard]
In furtherance of its capacity-building efforts to tackle various internal security challenges in the country, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has graduated another set of 6 pilots in tactical and basic flying. The combined graduation ceremony, which took place on Tuesday, 29 September 2020, comprised 2 pilots of the Tactical Flying Course 24 (Batch B), and 4 student pilots of the Basic Flying Course 19 (Batch A). Among the graduands awarded Limited Combat Rating Certificate after completing the Tactical Flying Course on the Alpha Jet aircraft during was the first female fixed-wing fighter pilot in the history of the NAF, Flying Officer Kafayat Sanni. In his remarks at the graduation ceremony, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar noted that human capacity development, being one of the Key Drivers of his Vision, has received much attention since he assumed office as the Twentieth Chief of the Air Staff. He said, “This is evident in the number of personnel that have been trained in various courses, both locally and overseas. Indeed, today’s graduation brings the total number of new pilots winged since 2015 to 118, and by the end of 2020, the NAF would have completed the training and winging of 139 pilots, which is a glowing testament to the efficacy of our capacity building initiatives. These pilots have continued to add value to the efforts of the Service in dealing with security challenges in the North East, North West and other parts of the country”. The CAS further stated that, while a good number of NAF officers were undergoing various pilot training courses outside the country, the indigenous training institutions had continued to play a crucial role towards the attainment of the NAF’s capacity building initiatives.[Vanguard]
The Federal Government says it is set to commence mangrove restoration in the Niger Delta region. This is just as FG has handed over seven remediated sites in the Ogoni clean-up to National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency, NOSDRA, for due verification and certification. The Minister of Environment, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar after a meeting in Port Harcourt said his ministry is in talks with key stakeholders in the Niger Delta region on devising a blueprint for alternative ways to preserve, conserve and restore mangrove in the region. Abubakar, who said the destruction of mangrove is catastrophic to the economy of the nation, noted that the resolution of the meeting in Port Harcourt was to focus on starting with short term goals of seeking alternative means of making people stay away from mangrove destruction. However, the Minister at the official hand-over ceremony of completed lots in Alode, Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers state, noted that 280,300 cubic metres of soil was treated from the seven lots using the bio-remediation option, adding that the project was the largest environmental remediation project going on in the world. Abubakar assured Ogoni people that FG sustains the progress of the clean-up, saying it was committed to adhering to the recommendations of the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) report.[Vanguard]
As a further victory for Nigeria over Process and Industrial Development Limited, the Commercial Court in London has ordered the return of the $200 million, which it asked Nigeria to deposit as a condition for the country to file appeal against the award of $9.6 billion in favour of the shadowy company, which claimed the huge amount for a failed gas processing contract against Nigeria. The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who confirmed the refund of the money to Nigeria, expressed appreciation to the English court for the action, which has gone a long way to prove Nigeria’s position in the matter that the award claimed by P&ID was unjustified. This is contained in a statement from Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice made available to Vanguard on Tuesday. It will be recalled that since the case started, the Federal Government has secured a stay of execution order against P&ID, stopped the deposit of $200 million as a condition to file the appeal, secured the extension of time to file its brief against P&ID, secured the payment of €1.5 legal cost against the company and another €70,000 legal cost in favour of Nigeria.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, on Tuesday, said it is focusing on growing the nation’s domestic gas utilization for balanced economic growth. In a statement in Abuja, Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, restated the NNPC’s commitment to the aggressive implementation of the Nigerian Gas Master Plan as a way of stimulating massive and sustainable economic development using natural gas which the nation has in abundance. Kyari noted that apart from the Corporation’s commitment to delivering key gas infrastructural projects such as the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System, ELPS, II; the Obiafu-Obrikom-Oben, OB3, gas pipeline; the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano, AKK, gas pipeline, and Central Gas Processing Facilities, CGPF, NNPC was working on growing domestic gas utilization to five billion standard cubic feet of gas per day, scf/d, and developing five gigawatts, GW, of power generation by 2022. “At the NNPC, we are aggressively pursuing other gas development initiatives with the aim of improving Nigeria’s economy using the appropriate fuels. In terms of Gas and Power, we are developing and integrating gas and power infrastructure networks, increase interconnectivity, as well as stimulating gas demand (power generation, feedstock, and transport, among others,” he said. Kyari explained that the NNPC was also exploring partnerships and investments in transmission to unlock evacuation and improve power distribution across the country, stressing that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, Train 7 would be delivered by 2024.[Vanguard]
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), said on Tuesday that the Federal Government was planning to embark on second phase of prison decongestion exercise which would focus on juvenile inmates. The minister who spoke during a virtual interactive session with the Attorneys-General and Commissioners of Justice and heads of courts, said 3,751 inmates were released in a nationwide decongestion exercise shortly after the outbreak of COVID-19. He said, “I am glad to inform you that by way of leveraging on the achievements recorded during the said exercise, the Ministry has articulated plans for the second phase of the Nationwide Custodial Decongestion which will this time, focus on implementing amnesty and decongestion for juveniles deprived of their liberty during the COVID-19 Pandemic and beyond and will entail the collaborative efforts of the State Attorneys-General, heads of Court of the 36 states and the FCT, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Nigerian Correctional Service, Non-Government Organizations like the United Nations Children’s Funds as well as, other relevant cum critical justice sector stakeholders.” The Tuesday’s event was co-organised by the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion and the United Nations Children’s Funds.[Punch]
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