Aso Villa Reads for Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021

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

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, has said the 1 billion syndicated term loan secured by the Bank of Industry (BoI) will be used to provide affordable credit to small businesses. Adebayo, in a statement made available to The Guardian by his media aide, Ifedayo Sayo, at the Quantum Mechanics Limited MSME Survival Fund Capacity Building Programme in Abuja, also said there is an ongoing discussion with Dunn & Bradstreet to establish an SME risk rating agency — the SME Rating Agency of Nigeria (SMERAN) — to provide an empirical basis towards analysing the eligibility of SMEs to access credit.[Guardian]

The Federal Government has launched the National Policy on Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) Core Skills aimed at equipping Nigerians with the requisite digital skills for a globally-competitive digital economy. About 600 Nigerian youths are currently undergoing the first phase of the training across the country. Launching the policy on Monday, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, noted that the policy was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s digital skills, job creation and economic development agenda, and the United Nations’ recent global policy on capacity building for citizens in the area of VSAT installation core skill.[Guardian]

The Federal Government has stepped up activities towards mobilizing Nigerians to take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement which the implementation measures are already in top gear. Disclosing this to the media in Lagos, Mr. Francis Anatogu, Senior Special Adviser to the President on Public Sector Matters, said that while over 5000 eligible products for the scheme has been agreed amongst the countries, the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS, is now working on the administrative protocols for the implementation.[Vanguard]

The federal government has declared opened an e-portal to mark the actual commencement of the procurement process for the concession of 12 federal highways being used as a pilot project under its already launched Highway Development and Management Initiative (HDMI).Minister of Works and Housing Minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), stated that the e-portal was launched in order to ensure competitiveness and guarantee transparency as it would serve as the interface with the public in the management of the HDMI from Procurement to Implementation. Fashola, who disclosed that the portal will be opened from next week Monday, said, “Let me repeat that all our transactions will be done through this portal and we will not entertain any personal inquiries through me or to any of our staff who have correspondingly been mandated not to entertain such requests.[Leadership]

Following its effort to add value to each agricultural value chain, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has trained women on youth on value addition for yam. Speaking at the training held at National Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI), Umudike, Abia State, the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Mrs Karima Babaginda, said the workshop aims to build the capacity of women and youth in the modern techniques for the processing of yam into different products.[Tribune]

The federal government has inaugurated the Combined National Project Steering Committees to consider the approval of the 2021 Annual Work plan and Budget of the three projects under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, inaugurated the committees, made of 24 members who were picked from the Agric Ministry, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Agriculture, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and among others.[Daily Times]

As the world scrambles for the limited quantity of COVID-19 vaccines on offer, Nigeria has produced two vaccines against the virus, which are set to undergo clinical trials and possible certification. Chairman of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on COVID-19 and Secretary to the Government of the Federation SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha, disclosed this at yesterday’s briefing of the PTF in Abuja.[Vanguard]

The National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA) said on Monday that a total of 122, 410 Nigerians have been vaccinated with the Oxford/ Astrazeneca vaccine since the exercise kicked off on March 5, 2021. Faisal Shuaib, executive director/CEO, NPHCDA, who gave this update during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, said no Nigerian have developed any known severe side effects as a result of the vaccination.[Business Day]

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi to reintroduce Cargo Tracking Note (CTN) in order to curb the proliferation of arms and rising insecurity in the country.As a result, Amaechi has further directed the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) to introduce and administer CTN in a way that shouldn’t add to the cost of doing business at the ports, but to reduce importation of arms.[Business Day

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