Aso Villa Reads for 31/10/2018

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

“The Federal Government has said the ongoing rail modernisation project is being delayed by the contractor handling the project. The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this in Lagos yesterday, said there was delay by the contractor handling the train stations in the ongoing Nigeria Rail Modernisation Project. Amaechi disclosed that the contractor, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), has not made much progress in the past three months. While inspecting the Ebute Meta train station in Lagos, Amaechi said not much has been achieved since he inspected the site three months ago. According to him, the contractor should start from areas that have no challenges to make the progress faster on the stations. “The work is very slow, three months without doing anything. You are terribly delaying us, why can’t you start building stations in the areas that there is no problem,” he said.” Daily Trust reported this.

“The National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) launched by the Buhari-led government, is perhaps one of the most deliberate, and a departure from previous government policies on social protection, especially its cash transfer element. As the strategic framework of the programme suggests, it aims to drive down poverty through capacity building, investment, and direct cash support. But it is the element of direct cash support that is clearly a departure from previous government, and provides the clearest indication of this administration’s policies towards the notion of the expansion of the State, and the capacity of the State to allocate resources.” Read more here on Business Day.

“President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said perpetrators of the latest crisis in Kaduna State where 77 persons were killed would be severely punished. Speaking during a meeting with traditional, religious and political leaders at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Sports Complex in Kaduna, Buhari said wanton killings in the state must stop. “If in the past they got away scot-free, we shall now hold everyone to account for these latest killings,” he said. The occasion was attended by the Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai, National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris and Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, among others.” Daily Trust reports that “while the dust raised by the crisis which erupted in Kasuwan Magani was settling down, the killing of the Agom Adara, Maiwada Galadima by his abductors ignited another round of violence. The president said “Kaduna, which was once the home of the premier and home of the New Nigerian must not earn itself a new name — home of violence.”

“Indorama Eleme Petrochemical is seen to have more than doubled its Urea sales in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other countries, as its total transaction rose by 126.92 percent in 2017. Urea total sales in these regions and countries stood at 645,560 million tons in 2017 compared to 284,485 million tons in 2017, data from the Presidency, Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE), reveal.” Business Day writes that “in the first half of 2018, Indorama, which stands as a success testimony of the privatization programme, made a total sale of 403, 319 million tons. Consequently, Nigeria is replacing the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine in the Latin America Urea markets.”

Daily Trust reports that “the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has dispelled rumour of an impending review of pump prices of petroleum products, especially Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise called petrol. NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, confirmed that contrary to the misinformation trending in the social media, the Federal Government has no plan to review prices of white products either downwards or upwards. Ughamadu stated this in a statement, yesterday, adding that though NNPC, since October 2017, had been the sole importer of PMS into the country, as the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) could not import due to the Open Market price being much higher than the N145/litre official selling price, government has no plan to review the market prices of products either upwards or downwards now. The statement cautioned rumourmongers to be wary of the impact their ignoble act could cause on prices of petroleum products, especially petrol, as the festive period draws near. He said if not checked, the insinuation of unsubstantiated price review can lead to artificial scarcity, hoarding of products by consumers which in turn may result in unwarranted queues and suffering of Nigerians at fuel stations.” The report said that “the NNPC spokesman disclosed that members of the public should report any station which sells PMS above the N145 recommended price to the offices of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) nationwide, saying the department is authorised to monitor and regulate the industry’s activities.”

“The Federal Government yesterday said that it would boost the operations of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA), with N250 billion to enable it to grant credit access to farmers.” Director- General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) Alex Okoh said “the recapitalisation of BOA became imperative, as current capitalisation is negative. Okoh explained that equity holding in the recapitalised bank will be in the ratio of 40 per cent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), and Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI); 20 per cent to the private sector, and the remaining 40 per cent to active farmers. He added that the recapitalisation, which is in line with current restructuring/commercialisation efforts, will also “lead to the emergence of an Agriculture Micro Finance Bank that will provide capital for small scale farmers thereby boosting productivity in the sector,” just as “the process of appointing a Transaction Adviser to superintend the process is nearing completion.” Guardian reports that “this comes as the Bureau admitted that it would not be able to meet its share of about N300billion contribution to the N8.612 trillion 2018 National Budget before year end as expected. The sum was expected to have been generated from the sale of some power plants in Nigeria, including Afam, Geregu, Calabar, and Omotosho, which process should have been completed this year.”

Business Day reported that the “Head of Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, says the ongoing reforms in the civil service will boost revenue generation for government. According to Oyo-Ita, the reforms are aimed at developing entrepreneurial culture and commercial orientation in the service making it compulsory for Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs to explore commercial opportunities to generate revenue for government.” She “stressed that as implementers of government policies and programmes, civil service has to be reformed for effective and efficient service delivery. She said the Nigerian civil service was being reformed in line with global best practice of integrity, openness, capability and innovations and make the civil servants meet with the demands of their jobs in the 21st Century where service delivery is technology driven.”

“The Federal Government has set up two committees to tackle the scourge of drug abuse especially among youths. The committees, according to the Minister for Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, include a presidential Advisory Committee and Ministerial Committee on drug abuse. Adewole said the government was worried by the issue of drug abuse and it is determined to frontally address the menace”. According to Daily Trust,”the Minister expressed delight that the PSN had taken up the battle against drug abuse and assured the Federal Government would collaborate with the society to stem the tide. He disclosed that the committees would soon be inaugurated and would immediately swing into action. The minister, who noted that the PSN has a great role to play in stemming the tide of drug abuse, said the government would continue to support the society. According to him, the pharmaceutical sector revolves around the lives of every Nigerian and the government has to be concerned about development in the industry.”