Aso Villa Reads for 7/2/18
Every day, we bring you the best stories the media is reporting about the Government of Nigeria.
PUNCH reports that the Nigerian Army “will begin Exercise Ayem Akpatuma covering Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states in order to tackle the cases of kidnappings, herdsmen/farmers’ clashes among others. The Chief of Training and Operations, Maj Gen David Ahmadu, who announced this in Abuja on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, said the exercise would run from February 15 to March 31, 2018. According to the army, Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, which is said to be the Tiv language for Cat race, will involve raids, cordon and search operations, road blocks, show of force and checkpoints”.
The Federal Government has expressed hope that the expansion and re-modernisation of on-going rail projects in the country will contribute immensely towards furthering Nigeria’s economic development. Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, renewed this optimism during his monthly inspection tour of ongoing rail projects in Lagos. According to him, the railway development will increase economic activities and well-being of Nigerians. He added that the infrastructural development will build economy, create employment and put wealth in people’s pockets. This is according to Business Day (February 7 2018 page 7).
In a bid to boost agriculture in Ogun State by ensuring farmers depend less on rain-fed agriculture, the Ministry of Water Resources and the Ogun State government have partnered on the establishment of two irrigation dams to be located at the Ikenne and Ijebu-Idode Farm Settlements. Adepeju Adebajo, Ogun state commissioner for Agriculture, disclosed this while receiving the management of Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, during a courtesy visit to her office in Abeokuta. So says Agro Nigeria.
“The Niger Delta Power Holding Company, a firm owned by the three tiers of government, commenced the construction of a N5.53bn power transmission and transformation substation on Tuesday.” According to the company, “the station, which is being constructed in Lafia, Nasarawa State, would be completed, tested and inaugurated before the end of this year”. Its Managing Director Chiedu Ugbo, “told journalists at the ground-breaking that the substation would help improve power supply across the country, particularly in Abuja, Nasarawa and neighbouring states. He said the 330KV high voltage transmission and transformation substation would cost the NDPHC about $18m (N5.53bn at the official exchange rate of N307 to one dollar), adding that a German contractor, AK AY Elecktrik, was handling the project”. This is according to Punch.
According to Business Day (February 7 2018, page 4), a new directive issued by the insurance industry regulator, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), will ensure that the Federal Government and her employees who are supposed to be beneficiaries of insurance protection under different contracts, will begin to enjoy more value additions, with prompt payment claims. The directive requires insurance companies to stop engaging in “blind cover’. It also requires insurers to get details of employees or assets covered in any insurance contract with government or its agencies, otherwise such contract will not be approved by NAICOM, and affected companies will be sanctioned.
The United States has revealed that there are currently private investments belonging to their citizens in Nigeria worth more than $8.1bn. “The United States Consul-General in Lagos, Mr. John Bray stated this in Lagos on Tuesday during the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Security Meets Business Dialogue”, writes Punch.“According to him, in spite of the security challenges in the country, some American companies have thrived, while some that cannot cope have left the country. He said that to address the issue, the US Department of Commerce, Ministry of Trade and Industry and its Nigerian counterpart would hold dialogue sessions to identify impediments in the business environment. The consul-general stated that the dialogue sessions would forge collaboration between the public and private sectors to improve on security in the country”.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Lagos, Mr Chao Xiaoliang, says trade between China and Nigeria in 2017 amounted to about N4.97 trillion (13.78 billion dollars). Chao made the announcement at the celebration of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival in Lagos by hundreds of Chinese nationals, with their Nigerian and non-Nigerian friends. According to him, the year 2017 also promoted more fruitful people-to-people friendships between Chinese and Nigerians. “The cooperation between the two countries is flourishing, especially in the fields of politics, trade, infrastructure development, IT, agriculture and culture”, he added.
The Nigerian Ports Authority has declared total revenue of N299.56bn for the 2017 fiscal year. Punch reports that “the 2017 revenue exceeded the previous year’s N162.20bn by 84.65 per cent and was the highest generated by the agency in the past five years.” A statement by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communications (NPA), Mr. Abdullahi Goje, provided “a breakdown of the revenue generation in the past five years, with the NPA making the sum of N154.50bn in 2013. This increased to N159.30bn and N180.50bn in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The agency’s revenue, however, dropped to N162.20bn in 2016. It noted that the 2017 figure was made up of revenues from traffic, harbours, administrative and other sources in the sums of N136.04bn, N66.80bn, N86.06bn and N10.75bn, respectively.”
Daily Post reports that the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has begun making plans to work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to tackle exams malpractices in this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). The JAMB Registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, disclosed this yesterday while receiving the acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
The Federal Government says that it is committed to investing about N1.3 trillion annually on capital projects to bridge the infrastructure gap needed to attract investments into the country. Premium Times reports that the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, disclosed that the government’s commitment to solving the infrastructure development challenges in the economy is firm. “Government invested about N1.3 trillion on capital projects last year (2016) to develop roads, rail, power, housing and all the infrastructure government thinks would be needed to unlock this huge economy,” she said. “Hopefully, the figure would be around the same for 2017 and 2018.”
30 former Niger Delta militants, who are beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s Amnesty Programme, have commenced training in agribusiness at the Federal College of Agriculture Akure (FECA), Ondo State. According to Leadership the exercise which is part of plans by the Federal Government to reintegrate the beneficiaries into the society, will have them trained in different agribusiness to make them self-reliant after the training period. Addressing the participants at the opening ceremony of a 3-week Amnesty Empowerment Programme, the Provost of the College, Dr. Samson Adeola Odedina, said the ex-militant youths from the Niger Delta will be trained in various agriculture business skills as a means of engaging them in the sector. Odedina urged them to redirect their zeal and doggedness to revolutionize agriculture in the country.
The Federal Government has said that it does not owe any contractors involved in the construction of federal road projects across Nigeria. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola disclosed that since no contractor is being owed by the government “none of them should delay construction and rehabilitation works on any federal road that is assigned to them”. Punch that “about two years ago, contractors who handled various federal road projects had complained of being owed billions of naira by the Federal Government, a development that made many of them to abandon their respective project sites. But in a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday by Fashola’s Communications Adviser, Hakeem Bello, the minister stated that government had paid all the contractors now engaged in road projects across the country. Fashola was quoted as saying, “No contractor has any excuse to delay our work. For any contractor that does not perform, we have our remedies. It promises to be a profitable dry season that heralds a motorable rainy season”.