Aso Villa Reads for Thurs. 03/12/2020

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

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC), presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, approved N120, 717, 387, 596 to facilitate sundry projects and purchases for effective service delivery. Of the amount, N117, 485, 081, 325 billion is for construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges in across the federation. Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting in Abuja, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola said FEC equally approved the procurement of a core banking application software for the use of the Federal Mortgage Bank in the sum of N487.394, 285.71 million by Messers FINTAX. [NIPC]

The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for skills acquisition and empowerment of 23,310 Nigerian youth in the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja in 21 trade areas. The trade areas of collaboration include Agro-Allied, catering (Hospitality), Autotonics, Welding, Masonry, Carpentry, Plumbing, Tiling/POP, Painting, Electrical Installation, Information and Communication Technology, Facility Management Technology and Electrical Electronics Technology, among others. [Leadership]

The Federal Government has said it will sanction any electricity distribution company or its representatives selling meters or asking Nigerians to pay money to get the item. The Special Adviser to the President on Infrastructure, Mr Ahmed Zakari, gave the warning at a stakeholders’ engagement on electricity tariff, organised by the FGN/NLC-TUC Ad-hoc Committee. According to him, the presidential directive is that meters should be made available to Nigeria free of charge and that they must be produced locally in order to create jobs and revive our industry. [Punch]

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Wednesday said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has agreed to address Nigerians, through the federal lawmakers, on the security challenges confronting the nation. He said Buhari would address the lawmakers on the floor of the House of Representatives “in the nearest future.” Gbajabiamila disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after he led leaders of the House of Representatives to a meeting with Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. [Punch]

The Federal Government on Tuesday expressed optimism that COVID-19 would soon be a thing of the past in Nigeria as two vaccines under trial have more than 90 per cent efficacy to end the disease. The government also charged states to fully implement Social Health Insurance Schemes with the integration of HIV prevention and treatment services. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation and chairman of the Presidential Task Force on COVID — 19, Boss Mustapha, stated this during an event held in Abuja to commemorate the 2020 World AIDS Day with the theme, ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility.’ [Punch]

The roll out of five million new solar power connections in off-grid communities is to generate an additional N7bn in tax revenues annually to Nigeria, the Federal Government has declared. According to the government, the programme is also expected to generate $10m in annual import substitution for the country. The Managing Director of the Federal Government-owned Rural Electrification Agency, Ahmad Salihijo, told journalists on Tuesday that the solar connection scheme would expand energy access to 25 million individuals through the provision of Solar Home Systems or connection to a mini-grid. [Punch]

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has urged Nigerians to be weary of festivities such as Christmas carols as the year winds down. It also warned against non-essential travels just as it asked Nigerians abroad to remain wherever they are or stand the risk of being stranded in the country in the event that the government takes a decision on international travels. Speaking on vaccines, the PTF chairman said while it was a significant achievement, it was however, important for the citizens to continue to comply with the non-pharmaceutical interventions before the vaccines would become available. [Punch]

Nigeria is one of the first countries to develop cheaper and faster COVID-19 test kits, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. Osinbajo said on Tuesday in Abuja that such test kits would enable testing to be carried out in places experiencing kit shortages. The vice president, who was represented by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Adeola Ipaye, said this in Abuja at the opening ceremony of i-FAIR Israel-Nigeria 2020/21 Innovation Programme. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the centre was created to provide a platform for Nigerian innovators to use in channeling their creativity into smart solutions, products, and prototypes. [Vanguard]

As part of measures to give economic stimulus palliatives during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), provide N1 trillion loans to boost local manufacturing and production across critical sectors. The apex bank also made provision for N100 billion credit support for the healthcare industry particularly pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and health practitioners, that want to start new or expand existing drug manufacturing or healthcare facilities. The Director-General, National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) Abubakar Sulaiman stated this at Webinar hosted by the Institute on the assessment of Federal Government policy on the distribution of COVID-19 palliatives and other humanitarian. [Business Day]

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