Aso Villa Reads for Fri. 06/11/2020

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

The Federal Government on Thursday signed a share sale and purchase agreement with Transcorp Power Consortium in relation to Afam Power Plc and Afam III Fast Power Ltd. The agreement, which is expected to lead to the addition of 966MW to the national grid, was signed at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Alex Okoh, signed on behalf of the Federal Government while the Chairman of Transcorp Group, Tony Elumelu, signed for the firm. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is the chairman of the National Council on Privatisation, witnessed the ceremony. The NCP had approved the privatisation of the Afam Power Plant at its meeting held on August 22 and 23, 2017. Transcorp Power Consortium emerged the preferred bidder with a combined offer of N105bn . At the brief ceremony, Osinbajo described the signing of the agreement as a milestone in the Federal Government’s continued effort to accelerate reforms in the power sector. He further described the acquisition of the two power plants as the first in the many new investments in the sector across value chain from generation to distribution. He said, “The Buhari administration’s goal is to eliminate the challenges in the power sector by improving liquidity in the market through a host of measures, including the recently announced national mass metering programme and the transition to a service-based tariff. We need a power sector that can provide quality service to Nigerian consumers and sustain itself. The Afam Power PLC and the Afam III Fast Power Ltd have a combined capacity of almost 1000MW.” He assured stakeholders that the present regime would continue to work on its ease of doing business reforms to drive foreign investment, noting that local investors ‘are always the great litmus test for the investment environment’. [Punch]

The Federal Government has signed the Share Sale and Purchase Agreements for the Privatization of Afam Power Plc and Afam 3 Fast Power Limited with Transcorp Plc. This was disclosed by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo via the Presidency Twitter handle on Thursday. According to the tweet, the Signing Ceremony of the Share Sale and Purchase Agreements for the Privatization of Afam Power Plc and Afam 3 Fast Power Limited took place at the State House, Abuja. Commenting on the rationale behind the deal, Osinbajo said: “We expect that under @TranscorpPLC’s ownership the operational capacity of the facility will be raised to its full capacity.”
What you should know:
· The aforementioned power plants were sold to Transcorp Plc
· The Afam Power Plc and Afam 3 Fast Power Limited plants have a combined capacity of almost 1,000MW, with a current usable (operational) capacity of 240MW from Afam III and about 100MW from Afam Plc. [Nairametrics]

The Federal Government plans to establish solid mineral processing hubs in the six geopolitical zones of the country. While speaking at the 2020 Nigeria Mining Week, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, said the hubs would be cited close to the locations of artisanal miners. He made this known while addressing the topic ‘Formalising Artisanal and small scale mining: The urgent need to formulate adequate policies’. According to him, the ministry will consult with artisanal miner groups to understand their needs and reach a consensus on the type of processing hub they require. “We have some interventions around mining on a regional basis. We are looking at bringing a processing centre for the artisanal miners in a particular region. There will be hubs in the six geopolitical zones across the country. We will consult with them before deciding on the kind of processing centre they will need.” He noted that small scale mining in Nigeria constituted between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of the mining activities in the country. He stated that artisanal miners needed to be encouraged to create employment and wealth for the country. Rather than classifying them as illegal, the minister said it would be better to bring them together and provide incentives for them to thrive. [Punch]

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says it has so far made a total of N3.5trillion disbursements to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy. This is contained in a review of the 132nd communique of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting obtained from the apex bank’s website, and signed by its Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele. Emefiele said that interventions were largely in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, electricity and gas, solar power and housing constructions among others. “Recent interventions are largely in the areas of manufacturing, agriculture, electricity and gas, solar power and housing constructions among others. Real sector funds, (N216.87 billion); COVID-19 Targeted Credit Facility (TCF), (N73.69 billion); AGSMEIS, (N54.66 billion); Pharmaceutical and Health Care Support Fund, (N44.47 billion); and Creative Industry Financing Initiative (N2.93 billion). Under the Real Sector Funds, a total of 87 projects that included 53 Manufacturing, 21 Agriculture and 13 Services projects were funded. In the Health Care sector, 41 projects which included 16 pharmaceuticals and 25 hospital and health care services are funded. Under the Targeted Credit Facility, 120,074 applicants have received financial support for investment capital. The Agri-Business/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) intervention has been extended to a total of 14,638 applicants, while 250 SME businesses, predominantly the youths, have benefited from the Creative Industry Financing Initiative,’’ he said. He added that, the CBN was also set to contribute over N1.8 trillion of the total sum of N2.30 trillion needed for the Federal Government’s one-year Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP). He said that the bank’s policy on loan to deposit ratio also resulted in a significant growth in credit to various sectors from N15.57 trillion to N19.33 trillion between May 2019 and August 2020. “This growth in credit was mainly to manufacturing (N866.27 billion), consumer credit (N527.65 billion), oil and gas (N477.65 billion), agriculture (N287.11 billion) and construction (N270.97 billion),’’ he said. [Vanguard]

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the ministry’s focus in the 2021 budget is the completion of some priority road projects, especially those on routes A1-A9. Mr Fashola spoke during the 2021 budget defence of his ministry before the House of Representatives Committee on Works, on Thursday in Abuja. Mrs Boade Akinola, Director, Press and Public Relations of the ministry, quoted the minister as telling the committee that the disparity between the liabilities in unpaid certificates and the budgetary provisions over the years, compel the ministry to prioritise its 2021 Capital Proposals in order to make appreciable impact. “Mr President had during the presentation of the 2021 budget proposals repeatedly emphasised the necessity to focus the budget on completion of projects. Therefore, the ministry has given priority first to 18 roads/bridges projects that have already attained some appreciable physical achievement for completion within a 12–15 month period by (December, 2021),” he said. Fashola stated that, among the prioritised road projects, are roads and bridges that lead to ports and major agricultural hubs across the six geo-political zones, pointing out that focus is also made on roads that attained 70 percent completion in order to achieve substantial completion levels. In the same vein, the minister told the committee that the ministry had categorised the total of the 711 highway projects currently being undertaken over the six geo-political zones of the country according to funding mechanism. He listed the funding mechanism as: projects financed with Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF), Highway Projects financed with Sovereign Sukuk Fund, Highway Projects financed under Tax Credit and Highway Projects funded from Multilateral Loans. [Vanguard]

The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says Nigeria plans to generate over six billion dollars through blockchain technology by 2030. NITDA Director-General, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, said this at a stakeholders’ engagement for the review of the National Blockchain Adoption Strategy Framework in Abuja on Thursday. Inuwa said that the blockchain was among emerging technologies that had contributed to the growth of economies globally, saying that Nigeria will not be left out. “In Nigeria, looking at our youthful population, which is mainly digitally native and with our position in Africa, we are looking at how we can get at least around six to 10 billion dollars by the year 2030,” he said. Inuwa said that the target was achievable because Nigeria’s payment and financial services were huge, while the country had been located as a hotspot for FinTech in Africa. He added that blockchain technology could be achieved through provincial services, payment services, digital identity, customer engagement, contract and dispute resolution applications, among other strategies. The director-general said that it was important for Nigeria to discover its competences and adopt the application that could generate income. He also said that blockchain technology interfaced with the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Strategy and Policy towards building a digital economy. Inuwa called on stakeholders to fashion out flexible and implementable strategies for immediate execution that government can leverage on for job creation. [Vanguard]

The Federal government said it will soon commence oil exploration in the Lake Chad Basin. Minister of State Petroleum Resources Mr Timipre Sylva stated this while briefing journalists shortly after a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai at the headquarters Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri on Thursday. Recall that in the recent past, the federal government had deployed oil explorers around Kukawa, Magumeri, Baga communities and the shores of the lake chad basin, but such efforts did not see the light of the day due to activities of insurgents. However, Mr. Sylvia explained that the current relative peace in Borno state and the Lake Chad area informed the decision for the exploration and drilling activities. “As you may well know, we have found oil in Gombe and we believe that there is a lot of oil to be found in the Lake Chad Basin. we have seen a lot of prospects in the Chad Basin and we want to commence exploration and drilling activities and that’s why we are collaborating with the Nigerian Army to ensure that security is provided for activities to commence very soon”. The Minister commended the sacrifice and galantry of the Nigerian Army in the fight against insurgency in the Northeast. He also seek the collaboration of the Chief of Army Staff in providing enough security to secure the installations and workers on the field. [Vanguard]

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