Nigerian press focuses on billions of naira spent on petrol subsidy by the government, others

The N101 billion spent on petrol subsidy in the first three months of this year and the warning by the…

The N101 billion spent on petrol subsidy in the first three months of this year and the warning by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) that the Nigerian economy cannot grow if industries continue to rely on electricity generators for power supply are the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Punch reports that petrol subsidy consumed over N101bn in the first three months of this year, as stakeholders want the scheme to be fully halted. The latest figures released by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation have shown that petrol subsidy gulped N101.65bn in the first three months of the year.

In its Monthly Financial and Operations for March 2020 report, the national oil firm, however, described the subsidy spending as under-recovery.

It had consistently argued that only the National Assembly was empowered to approve petrol subsidy, despite the fact that NNPC’s monthly under-recoveries were due to subsidy on petrol.

An analysis of the latest report on Sunday showed that the corporation spent N43.31bn as subsidy on petrol in January this year. In February, it incurred N20.68bn as under-recovery, while in March the oil firm spent N37.66bn as subsidy.

The newspaper also says that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has said the Nigerian economy cannot grow if industries continue to rely on electricity generators for power supply.

The Chairman, Rivers/Bayelsa States Branch of MAN, Senator Adawari Pepple, explained that an economy that had been generator-driven for a long time would not be able to compete with other economies with regular power supply.

Pepple, who spoke in a telephone chat with our correspondent on Saturday, explained that members of the association were always facing the challenge of irregular power supply and had always relied on generators.

He pointed out that the situation had always affected the cost of production, adding that the power distribution and generation companies must raise their game and help to improve the economy.

ThisDay reports that Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, has said that his ministry will within two weeks transmit the revised Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to the National Assembly for passage into law.

He also put the value of the recently inaugurated Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) gas pipelines and the Train 7 Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) projects at $50 billion.

Sylva, in an interview on ARISE NEWS Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, added that 2020 remains “the year of gas” and with the expected passage of the PIB, the industry would attract more investment.

He said: “It (the PIB) has not been watered down. I don’t know who has seen the bill. It’s still in draft. It has gone through several modifications. That’s the whole idea. You can’t change the laws very easily.

The newspaper also says that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee yesterday unveiled plans to spend about N25 billion as initial funding on the development of Nigeria Creative Centre at the National Theatre, Lagos and three other major cities in Nigeria.

The other cities are Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu. The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, spoke on the initiative in Lagos yesterday, during the official handing over of the National Theatre in Lagos to the Bankers’ Committee for renovation and upgrade.

Emefiele thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the handing over of the edifice and its adjoining land to the Bankers’ Committee.

According to him, by his action, the president has demonstrated that he recognises that a renovated National Theatre and the complementary facilities that will be built along with it will help in unleashing the creative talents of Nigeria’s youths across multiple sectors and in supporting Buhari’s objective of creating new employment opportunities for Nigerians.

The Sun says that the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, has assured members of the Organised Private Sector (OPSN) of stimulus packages which would be made available soon to assist operators in the sector in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ministry noted that under some of these interventions which include a N50 billion survival funds for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and a N15 billion guaranteed uptake scheme to save 500,000 jobs, 40 per cent of the funds will be reserved for women-owned businesses.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo, gave the assurance at a virtual meeting with the OPSN leaders, comprising the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), the Nigerian Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) and the Nigerian Association of Small Scale Industrialists (NASSI).

A statement by the Director General of NACCIMA, Mr. Ayoola Olukanni, disclosed that in the meeting, which was attended by NACCIMA President, who is also the OPSN President, Mrs. Saratu Iya Aliyu; the President of MAN, Mr. Ahmed Mansur; the President of NECA, Mr. Taiwo Adeniyi and the President of NASME, Mr. Orimadegun Agboade, the minister affirmed that the private sector has an important role to play in the effort to restart the economy and assured the OPSN of his readiness, and that of his ministry, to work closely with the private sector in this regard.

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