Nigerian press focuses on daily highest COVID-19 cases in Africa, others

The report that Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting daily highest COVID-19 cases on the continent and the reaction…

The report that Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting daily highest COVID-19 cases on the continent and the reaction of analysts, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), labour to the review of the electricity tariffs are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that Nigeria has joined South Africa in reporting daily highest COVID-19 cases on the continent.

This comes as the most populous black nation posted 57 deaths for week 53, the maximum in a single week since the outbreak of the disease in the country.

In the interim, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved immediate establishment of at least one oxygen plant in every state of the federation.

The Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the briefing of the body yesterday in Abuja, added that approval had also been given to rehabilitate five others across the tertiary health institutions in Abuja.

The SGF said the private sector-led CACOVID had pledged distribution of 100 oxygen cylinders daily to critical care centres in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) from now till March 31, adding that the task force was making progress regarding getting vaccines for Nigerians.

The Punch says that the Federal Government has again increased the electricity tariff payable by power consumers across the country.

Approval for the hike in tariff was given by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, as the increase which varies, based on different consumer classes, took effect from January 1, 2021.

A few hours after the news of the tariff hike broke, the NERC issued a statement, denying a 50 percent hike as had been reported in some circles (excluding THE PUNCH).

The regulatory agency blamed N2 to N4 adjustment in tariff on inflation and movement in foreign exchange rates. However, the Trade Union Congress issued a stern warning, asking the Federal Government to revert to old electricity tariff or face the consequences of its action.

The NERC had announced the tariff hike in its December 2020 minor review of the Multi Year Tariff Order and Minimum Remittance Order obtained by our correspondent in Abuja on Tuesday.

The tariff increase is taking effect just two months after the government through NERC implemented a hike in November 2020, which saw widespread opposition.

The MYTO order containing the latest tariff hike, Order NERC/225/2020, was signed by the new Chairman of NERC, Sanusi Garba, and it supersedes the previous Order NERC/2028/2020.

The newspaper reports that foreign exchange inflow through the Central Bank of Nigeria in the third quarter of 2020 stood at $6.97bn.
The CBN disclosed this in the third quarter economic report. It said, “Foreign exchange inflow through the Central Bank of Nigeria decreased in the third quarter of 2020, largely due to a reduction in non-oil inflow.

“During the review period, aggregate foreign exchange inflow through the CBN stood at $6.97bn, a decrease of 30.7 percent and 43.6 percent below the levels in the second quarter of 2020 and the corresponding quarter of 2019, respectively.

“The development was attributed to a decline in both oil and non-oil receipts by 9.7 percent and 44.7 percent, respectively, below the levels in the preceding quarter and corresponding quarter of 2019.”

The CBN said the decrease in non-oil receipts followed reversion to normal trend after the one-off IMF facility in the previous quarter, while that of oil receipts was as a result of the weak global demand for crude oil, owing to fragile global economic recovery.

The Punch also says that the Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has said the Badagry Deep Seaport project in Lagos is strategic to the development of the country as a global maritime hub.
Jamoh spoke in Lagos when he paid a courtesy visit to the Akran of Badagry, De-Wheno Aholu Menu Toyi 1.

He said the visit was meant to honour the traditional ruler and his kingdom for allocating land to NIMASA to establish its presence in the community, as Nigeria’s maritime regulatory authority before the take-off of the deep seaport project.

“Nigeria is strategically located at a significant point in the Atlantic Ocean, with about 853km coastline, which gives us a geographic advantage to become a maritime hub for not only the West and Central African region, but also the entire maritime trading world. “And with over 70 per cent of cargo bound for West and Central Africa destined for Nigeria, we also have a huge commercial advantage.

“The Badagry Deep Seaport, planned to be Africa’s biggest and most advanced seaport when it becomes operational, will help to maximise this extraordinary maritime potential. This is more so given the strategic place of Badagry in the region,” he said.

The Sun reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria injected $4.37 billion into the foreign exchange market in the third quarter of 2020 as part of efforts to ensure the stability of the naira.

The CBN disclosed this in its third-quarter economic report. The bank said through its periodic interventions in the forex market, it continued to boost the supply side of the market, as COVID-19 crisis weakened the private sector supply chain segment of the market.

Part of the report read, “During the third quarter of 2020, total foreign exchange sales to authorised dealers by the bank amounted to $4.37 billon, a decline of 2.3 percent from the level in the preceding quarter.

“This was attributed largely to the decrease in wholesale forward intervention and interbank sales. The total foreign exchange sales represented a decrease of 56.4 percent, compared with the corresponding quarter of 2019.”