Nigeria says working hard to resolve gasoline crisis

In a chat with Nigerians from all walks of life on Sunday evening during the stopover, the Vice President noted that the Federal Government was moving as quickly as it could to solve the fuel crisis and reduce the difficulties Nigerians were facing as a result.

How Jonathan’s officials, cousin shared 27bln proceeds of PHCN sale -EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has narrated how top government officials under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan shared 27 billion, part of the proceeds of the sale of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) in 2014.

- Nigeria unemployment rate climbs up

Four out of every ten people in Nigeria's workforce were unemployed or underemployed by the end of September, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday.

Why is Jerusalem important, what makes Donald Trump's intervention so toxic

What is the status of Jerusalem? Israel set up its parliament in West Jerusalem when the state of Israel was proclaimed in 1948. The move followed the United Nations’ vote to partition Palestine on the basis of the British pledge known as the Balfour Declaration that paved the way for a homeland for the Jewish people.

- Nigeria's dollar reserves at $34.53 bln as of Nov. 24

Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $34.53 billion as of Nov. 24, up nearly 3 percent from a month earlier, central bank data showed on Thursday. The bank did not provide a reason for the increase in reserves, which stood at $33.58 billion at the same date last month.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Nigerian Army Accuses NGO Of Aiding terrorists, Forces It To Close Office

The Nigerian Army has forced a non-profit Action Against Hunger to close its office in the Northeastern region of the country, accusing it on Thursday of aiding terrorist groups such as Boko Haram and Islamic State.
The international aid agency said it was ordered by soldiers to close its main office in Maiduguri, Borno state, on Wednesday.
Colonel Ado Isa, the deputy director of army public relations, said Action Against Hunger was warned several times that it was “aiding and abetting terrorists” by supplying food and drugs.
“Consequently, the AAH has been declared persona (non) grata,” Isa said.
The humanitarian group, which focuses on providing water, food and healthcare, particularly in areas plagued by conflict and famine, called on “competent authorities” to let it continue its work.
“This decision, without notice and without any explanation, jeopardizes the assistance Action Against Hunger provides to the most vulnerable people in Borno State and halts, with immediate effect, the assistance Action Against Hunger provides to millions of people in Maiduguri, Monguno, and Damasak,” the group said in a statement.
In July, an Action Against Hunger staff member and five others traveling with her were kidnapped by Islamic State’s West Africa branch.
In total, around 30,000 people have been killed, and more than two million forced to flee their homes, in the decade-long insurgency led by Islamist militant group Boko Haram. Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) split from Boko Haram in 2016.
The United Nations has said that 7.1 million people still need humanitarian assistance in the region.

Nigeria Lost $1.35 Bln To Oil Theft In Six Months~ Report

Nigeria lost $1.35 billion to oil theft in the first six months of this year and needs a legal task force with special courts to tackle it, a government committee said on Thursday.
The committee, set up to investigate theft from the miles of pipelines that snake through the country’s swampy, oil-rich Delta region, said the theft will only grow if the government does not take special action to combat it.
In addition to a legal task force, with dedicated courts, prosecution teams and specially trained judges, it also said oil pipeline maintenance and ownership needed to be restructured.
“The governance structure of the pipeline(s) is such today that no one is held accountable...when these losses occur,” the committee, chaired by Edo state governor Godwin Obaseki, said in its report.
The four primary pipelines lost 22.5 million barrels of oil in six months - roughly 6 percent of Nigeria’s nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd).
The committee also cited a lack of fuel stations in most of the oil-producing communities around the Niger Delta, which it said made them resort to oil theft and illegal refining.
The recommendations will go to President Muhammadu Buhari, who control’s the country’s petroleum portfolio.

Oyo-Ita Hands Over To New Acting Head of Service Yemi-Esan

The Acting Head of Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, has assumed office on Thursday.
In a statement issued by Olawunmi Ogunmosunle, the Director, Information office of HCSF, said Yemi-Esan assumed duty at about 6.40 p.m. after she was received by the members of staff of the office.
According to Ogunmosunle, Yemi–Esan in her remarks acknowledged the hard work and dedication to duty of her predecessor and promised to build on Winifred Oyo–Ita’s achievements.
“There is no reinventing the will. I will only build on the sound foundation and structure which she has left behind because government is a continuum,” the statement quoted the new HoS saying.
The acting HCSF solicited for sustained cooperation and support given to the outgoing HCSF.
Ogunmosunle said Mrs Winifred Oyo–Ita, the outgoing HCSF, in her handing over speech, said her almost four years as the HCSF has been interesting and eventful.
Oyo-Ita predented a 153-page handing over note with an annexure; signifying the depth of work in the office of the HCSF.
The director of information said Oyo–Ita thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the opportunity to serve.
She said further that Oyo-Ita had acknowledged that government was a continuum and encouraged the incoming HCSF to build on what she had done.
The handing over ceremony was witnessed by Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other management staff in the office of HCSF.
It would be recalled that the president had on Sept. 18, approved the appointment of Yemi-Esan as the Acting HCSF with immediate effect.
The development followed the directive given to Oyo-Ita to proceed on an indefinite leave to allow conclusion of the investigation being carried out by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Nigeria's Central Bank Disburses 30 Bln Naira To Boost Oil-Palm Production

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has committed about 30 billion naira to boost oil-palm production in its quest to wane the country of importation of the commodity and ensure self-sufficiency in its production.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the bank disclosed this at a meeting with some states governors in Abuja on Thursday.
Emefiele noted that the fund was disbursed through deposit money banks to six oil palm companies to support their expansion programmes.
He said that the companies were PZ Wimar, Biase oil company ltd, Eyop, Okomu Oil company, Presco oil company and SIAT Ltd adding that application for Ada Palm Imo State, was being expected.
He disclosed that about 40 applications from investors across the country for the cultivation of 126,694 hectares were being considered.
Emefiele noted that the annual demand for palm oil in the country stood at 2.5 million metric tons of which only 1.25 million metric tons was produced locally leaving a gap of 1.25 million metric tones per annum.
“This gap is currently being met through imports.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria oil palm initiative is aimed at closing the gap and also positioning Nigeria to incrementally export oil palm products to neighboring African countries and beyond.
“Closing the identified gap would require bringing about 312,500 hectares under modern cultivation at an estimated yield of four metric tons per hectare.
“Our target is to ensure that a minimum of 1.4 million hectares of land is put under oil palm cultivation in three years.
“As a step in this direction, the bank had met with 14 State Governors who pledged to make available 100,000 hectares of land in each state.
“We currently have a total of 904,624 hectares which are available in the states for allocation and investors have been matched with the States of interest to process necessary documentation and titling requirement.
“The investors are to be funded from the bank’s intervention programme and some of the states are however slow in making the land available to these investors,” he said.
According to him, NIFOR being the flagship oil palm research institute in Nigeria, is being rejuvenated in collaboration with the leading oil palm major companies to meet the seedling needs of investors in the sub-sector.
Meanwhile, the governor further said to meet the tomato needs of the country and domesticate production, he had held held meetings with key Tomato Processing and Packaging Companies in June, July and August this year.
He said it was resolution of the apex bank to ensure that paste and puree smugglers were decisively dealt with using tools legally available to CBN in order to make local production competitive.
Emefiele said it was agreed that the bank should support their efforts in the acquisition of land in the states to establish tomato turn key projects in states with huge potential for production.
He disclosed that in Jigawa, Sonia Foods Ltd was allocated 2,380 hectares of land at Birniwa for its project.
He said the Bank was currently funding about 18,000 farmers under the Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) to produce hybrid tomatoes for processing by Sonia foods Ltd in the State.
“Sonia Foods is setting up a 1,000 metric tons per day processing and packaging plant in the state. This project is expected to create 110,000 jobs.
“Dangote Tomato has a 1,200-tons-per-day tomato processing plant in Kadawa, Kano state.
“We are funding about 40,000 farmers to meet the tomato needs of the processing plant under the ABP. Inputs worth N4.18 billion were procured for the initiative.
“The tomato processing plant owned by Savanna Integrated Farms in Gombe is being reactivated and set to commence operation very soon.
“About 18,000 farmers were cleared to participate as out-growers under the ABP to supply raw materials to the factory.

Nigeria Seeks $2.5 Bln Fresh World Bank Credit Facility

Nigeria is in talks with the World Bank for a fresh credit facility of about $2.5 billion, the bank has said, the second of such loan from the international financial institution in a space of two years.
Nigeria had secured a $2.4 billion loan from the World Bank Nigeria in 2018 to fund some projects in the country.
The Vice-President for the African division of the World Bank, Hafez Ghanem, said this during an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.
“We’re talking about a new set of programmes of about the same amount, it should be around $2.5 billion,” said Ghanem.
Faced with revenue shortfalls as the output and price of oil, Nigeria’s main export, fell in the past five years, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has increased borrowing to finance government spending, with domestic debt at $55.6bn and foreign loans at $25.6bn.
To ease the mounting debt burden, Nigeria has sought more credit with low interest and long repayment periods from institutions including the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Nigeria, which vies with South Africa for Africa’s biggest economy, has made a sluggish recovery since a 2016 contraction, with gross domestic product expanding only 1.9 per cent in the three months through June, slowing for the third consecutive quarter. 
The World Bank in April lowered its 2019 growth forecast for Nigeria to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.
“The current economic performance of Nigeria is not enough to reduce poverty,” said Ghanem. “We need to accelerate growth.”
The World Bank’s focus in Nigeria is to lift about 100 million Nigerians, half of the population, out of poverty, with special emphasis on women’s education, expanding digital opportunities and solving a power crisis that hobbles economic activities.
“It’s important to resolve the problems of the power sector in Nigeria to bring in more investments,” he said. “Because you need to bring down the cost of power to make the economy more competitive for the development of industries.”
The World Bank is supporting digital transformation in Nigeria because of its potential ability to transform other areas of the economy including industry, agriculture and services, according to Ghanem.
“Nigeria has a comparative advantage in that area because of the youth, a majority of the population is young,” he said. “So if we want to create jobs, we need to invest much more in the digital economy.”
Billionaire philanthropist, Bill Gates, had said recently that Nigeria’s domestic revenue which was six per cent of GDP was one of the lowest in the world.
This, he said, was one of the reasons Nigeria could not invest in health and educational infrastructure in the country.
The Federal Government has in recent times announced plans to increase taxes, a move which has been opposed by the organised labour.

National Population Policy Will Boost Economic Growth – NPoPC

The National Population Commission (NPoPC) says the implementation of the 2018 National Population Policy (NPP) would engender accelerated economic growth and prosperity to the country’s advantage.
Ghajji Bello, the Director General of NPoPC made the assertion in his keynote address at a two- day workshop on National Population Policy in Abuja on Thursday.
Bello, who was represented by Vincent Anyakora, DG procurement of the Commission said that implementing the policy would result to responsible parenthood in Nigeria.
“The policy, if implemented, will result in improved maternal health and that of the newborn children,” he said.
Bello said that government was responsible, accountable and central to providing individuals with adequate quality information to enable voluntary exercising of population policy.
He called for a synergy between implementing partners aimed at giving account of the achievement in their respective MDAs.
Also, Rhoda Mundi a professor at the University of Abuja, in her lecture entitled: “The National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development” , said NPP was key to improved quality of life.
Mundi said that the population policy if implemented would achieve even urban and rural population distribution.
The university don explained that the policy would address the prevailing humanitarian emergencies and other emerging issues threatening peace and security and sustainable development of Nigeria.
According to her, the policy will moderate population increase by voluntary fertility regulation methods.
The two- day seminar on National Population Policy (NPP) was organised by the Population Technical Working Group (PTWG) at the instance of the National Population Commission (NPoPC).

Buhari Challenges Security Chiefs On Crude Oil Theft

President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja challenged security chiefs on the need to bring an end to cases of crude oil theft in the country.
The Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, said the president gave the challenge when he met behind closed doors with security chiefs, at the State House, Abuja.
Adamu said the president specifically enjoined the security agencies to intensify security along the petroleum pipelines and other facilities to check the menace.
“Sequel to the improvement in the general security situation in the country, we have been charged by the President to ensure there is a near zero crime society in all geo-political zones; in fact, the whole of the country.
“So, we’ve also been charged to increase security along the pipelines, to make sure that crude oil theft is stopped completely because the loss that the country is facing in that regard is not tolerated,’’ he said.
The IGP also noted that the country had witnessed a significant drop in the activities of bandits and kidnappers following an improvement in security situation across the country.
“We have noticed within this quarter that the security situation in the country is stable. We made comparison of what happened in the previous quarters and this last quarter and we saw that there is tremendous decrease in kidnappings, banditry, armed robbery and even acts of cultism.
“You can see from the situation in the North-West zone of the country that banditry and kidnapping has reduced tremendously and we have statistics to back what we are saying,’’ he said
Adamu also revealed that a good number of bandits and kidnappers had been apprehended along Kaduna – Abuja and Kaduna – Birnin Gwari roads.