Aso Villa Reads for Wed. 11/11/2020

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

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The Federal Government has said Nigerians will be part of the early beneficiaries of COVID-19 vaccine when developed in commercial quantity. Minister for Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said in Abuja on Tuesday that anytime a potent vaccine is found or developed as a solution to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians will not be left out. Ehanire, said this at two-day multi-sectoral conference on the COVID-19, noting that there are arrangements by the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure that Nigerians get the vaccine immediately it comes out. A vaccine jointly developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was 90 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19 infections in ongoing Phase 3 trials, the companies had announced on Monday. [Punch]

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Tuesday, sought the involvement of more Nigerian youths in agriculture. He urged agencies involved in agriculture to further streamline their priorities in the inclusion of the youth in driving modern methods of farming. According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke at the inauguration of the National Young Farmers Scheme designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority. Buhari was quoted as assuring those interested that an enabling environment would be created for full participation. He described agriculture as the backbone of the Nigerian economy, being the largest contributor to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. [Punch]

Investments in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector increased by $32bn in the last five years, the Nigerian Communications Commission, announced on Monday. According to NCC, investments in the industry rose from $38bn to $70bn within the five-year period. The statement read in part, “In the last five years, telecoms investment grew from around $38bn to over $70bn currently, with appreciable remittances in spectrum fees and operating surplus by the NCC into the Federal Government Consolidated Revenue Fund.” The commission also stated that broadband penetration increased from six per cent in 2015 to 45.43 per cent in September 2020. It said basic active internet subscription grew from 90 million to 143.7 million, while active voice subscription increased from 151 million to 205.25 million during the same period with tele-density also reaching 107.53 per cent as of the end of September. [Punch]

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has directed the National Youth Service Corps to ensure the enrolment of corps members in the National Health Insurance Scheme, the Director-General of the NYSC, Brigadier-General Shuaibu Ibrahim, said on Monday. He added, “The scheme has concluded arrangement with the NHIS for the enrolment of corps members into the NHIS in line with a presidential directive. We have also expended huge resources on critical health needs of corps members, including footing of medical bills. As of last Thursday, a total of 66,000 eligible graduates had been mobilised for the 2020 Batch B service year, resuming on Tuesday, November 10. They will participate in the orientation exercise, which has been planned in three streams for ease of compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.” [Punch]

Banks have guaranteed 26,830 loans worth N3.6 billion to farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme Fund (ACGSF) in ten months (January to October) 2020. Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has just rolled out guidelines for private sector in agriculture to access loans on the federal government’s Accelerated Agriculture Development Scheme (AADS). The apex bank, in its latest report on the activities of ACGSF covering January to October 2020 said:
- 1,923 loans worth N572.3 million was guaranteed for livestock farmers,
- 531 loans worth N135.5 million for fishery,
- 5,925 loans worth N541.6 million were guaranteed for mixed farming,
- 16,976 loans worth N1.9 billion for food crops farming,
- 1,942 loans worth N345.5 million for cash crops farming, while
- 333 loans worth N69.9 million was guaranteed for other types of farming. [Vanguard]

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on Tuesday Tuesdaysaid that it was currently training no fewer than 200 personnel in nine different countries to further enhance capacity of its officials in air combat. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said this when he appeared at the 2021 budget defence session of the Senate Committee on Air Force. Abubakar said that the training of the personnel was part of capacity building measures of the current management of NAF. He said that the training of NAF crew had greatly improved, adding that the measure was resulting in efficiency in air combat operations of NAF. He also disclosed that enhancement in training of NAF aircraft engineers and technicians had also increased the visibility status of Nigerian Air Force from an average of 35 per cent to 85 per cent as at date. [Vanguard]

The Federal Government has said that it welcomes the initiative by the United Nations, UN, in collaboration with some development partners to complement Nigeria’s COVID-19 economic recovery efforts under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who appreciated the UN gesture to mobilize $250 million to support Nigeria’s ESP, said it was a fitting acknowledgement of the country’s effort in addressing the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Prof. Osinbajo stated this at the launch of the United Nations Plus Offer for Socio-Economic Recovery attended by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs Amina Mohammed, and top officials of the world body, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Earlier in her remark, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs. Amina Mohammed said the launch of the initiative is a demonstration of an effective partnership between the UN system and the Buhari administration. [Vanguard]

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