Aso Villa Reads for 30/5/18

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

“To allay the fear entertained by the public that medical teams were not to hand at points of entry to screen and monitor movement into the country to keep the recent Ebola outbreak in DRC at bay”, Business Day (30 May 2018, page 6) reports that “Minister of Health Isaac Adewole paid an unscheduled visit to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Port- Health Services Stand Abuja, to confirm the screening exercise.” The Minister said that “the visit was part of the Federal Government’s effort to ensure that screening measures were heightened and health security infrastructures were strengthened, particularly at all ports of entry.”

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the nation’s foreign reserve presently stands at $48 billion, rising by 100 per cent in the last 12 months, just as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate improved to 1.95 per cent in the first quarter of 2018. The bank’s Deputy Governor, Mr Bayo Adelabu, who spoke at the official commissioning of the CBN Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Centre in Ibadan, Oyo State, lauded the Godwin Emefiele-led management of the apex bank for the drastic reforms. Daily Trust reported that the Deputy Governor “presented a graphic analysis of how CBN rescued the economy in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic recovery plan to safeguard the sinking exchange rate, inflation and recession. Adelabu noted that during the recession, inflation which was at single digit in 2012 and 2013 rose to 18.5 per cent — more than doubled. While the dollar exchange rate which was N160 went to N520 to a dollar. The reserve that was over $40 billion depleted to $24 billion, he said, adding that there was also negative growth of GDP for four consecutive quarters during the period”.

According to Business Day (30 May 2018, page 6), “Federal Government says it is committed to completing projects that have been abandoned by past administrations.” Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed made this promise, during the commissioning of three water supply schemes on Monday, in Sabke, Katsina State. The Minister said that “the commissioning of these projects fits into our on-going agenda to showcase the achievements of the Buhari Administration, especially in the area of infrastructure where the Administration has spent an unprecedented N2.7 trillion in just two years.”

Daily Trust reports that “the Acting Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC), Mr Victor Muruako, has said that over N650 billion has been remitted as operating surplus into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) in the last two years. He said it was part of the FRC’s mandate to ensure that scheduled corporations under the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007 remitted 80 per cent of their operating surplus into the CRF. According to him, through the commission’s intervention, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has complied with the FRA, and has within the first quarter of 2018 remitted about N49.7 billion to the CRF. He said under the present administration, there had been a lot of improvement in payment of operating surpluses, adding that more corporations were added to the schedule in 2016”.

“Ebonyi State government, South East Nigeria, has commenced the construction and installation of plant machinery and equipment towards enhancing the production capacity of the state- owned Ebonyi Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited, in order to take advantage of the soaring demand for various blends of NPK fertilizer produced in Nigeria.” Business Day (30 May 2018, page 7) reports that according to a statement, construction work “has already reached advanced stages at the new site, located behind the existing plant complex along the Abakaliki- Ogoja highway of the state capital.” Also, the plants and machinery installations are expected to be completed soon.

“President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has disclosed that his investments in agriculture and fertilizer production are geared towards complimenting the federal government’s economic recovery and growth plan. Dangote spoke at the event to mark the commencement of Dangote Cement Plc training of its newly engaged managers in order to sustain its leadership and competitiveness in the industry. He said a the decision of the Government at diversifying the economy away from oil only to an agriculture cantered one remains the viable solution to creating a healthy economy and that private sector has important roles to play which was why he has taken up the challenge to lead the way as a leading private sector operator.” According to Daily Trust, “he said Nigeria has wasted so much foreign exchange importing foods that ordinarily should be produced locally and even exported and that until a new approach at redirecting the economy from import dependent to an export one, which the present government is leading, no meaningful changes can happen”.

Business Day (30 May 2018, page 9) reports that the “Federal Government has restated its commitment to ensure that all project embarked upon by the administration are completed and put to effective use.” Minister of Mines and Steel Development Kayode Fayemi said this over the weekend, adding that “no project will suffer setback or abandonment because of its geographical location or any other considerations.”

“The Federal Government has said that the robust implantation of the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS0 has driven an increase in the number of tax payers in Nigeria.” Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun disclose that “the number of taxpayers increased from 13 million before the assumption of office by President Muhammadu Buhari administration to 14 million in 2016, and 19.3 million in 2018. This implies that an additional 6 million new taxpayers have been added to Nigeria’s tax bracket.” Business Day (30 May 2018, page 34) reports that the deadline for taxpayers to fully utilise the tax amnesty opportunity is on June 30, 2018, barely 30 days from now.

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