Nigerian press focuses on over $3bn credit to farmers by nation’s apex bank, others

The release of N635.39 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to farmers under its Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme…

The release of N635.39 billion by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to farmers under its Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) and the reason given by the government for exporting power to some neighbouring countries are some of the trending stories in the Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.ThisDay reports that the total amount released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to farmers under its Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS) since inception stood at N635.39 billion as at the end of the first quarter 2020.

The CBN disclosed this in its first quarter 2020 economic report. In all, a total of 608 projects benefitted from the project, while the total amount repaid under the CACS since inception stood at N406.29 billion as at the end of March 2020.

According to the report, a total of N539.8 million loans was also guaranteed to 3,161 farmers under the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS) in the first quarter of 2020.

This represented a decrease of 53.9 percent and 34.8 percent below the levels in the preceding quarter and the corresponding period of 2019, respectively.

The Sun newspaper says that the Presidency has explained that Nigeria sold electricity to neighbouring countries to prevent them from damming River Niger that feeds the nation’s dams.

It was reacting to a national daily report that the country exported $81.48 billion worth of power on credit to Niger Republic, Togo and Benin Republics amid energy shortages within the country.

In a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the Presidency explained that only N1.2 trillion ($4 billion) worth of electricity was produced between 2018-2019 reported in the report.
It explained that power exported to the three neighboring countries is based on Multilateral Energy Sales Agreement between them and Nigeria so that they will not dam the waters feeding the three major hydro power plants in Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba.

The Punch reports that the House of Representatives has raised the alarm over loan agreements being entered into by the Federal Government with China.

According to the lawmakers, Nigeria will concede some of its sovereignty if the country defaults in the repayment plan.
The House Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreements, which raised the alarm in Abuja on Tuesday, expressed its resolve to review loan facilities already taken by the country from China and other countries.

The Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, who appeared before the committee on the $500m loan taken on the Abuja-Kaduna and other rail line projects, however, warned the lawmakers against sending a wrong signal to China. He said this might lead to abandonment of ongoing projects if the Asian country calls off the agreement.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Government on Tuesday announced that it saved N21bn by implementing the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System across ministries, departments and agencies.

It also stated the government was saving about N4bn daily as a result of the deployment of IPPIS across 602 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, explained that with the introduction of IPPIS, the government had reduced its spending on manual accounting operations across its MDAs.
Idris disclosed this when the Senate Committee on Information Communication, Technology and Cybercrime visited his office as part of its oversight functions.

On cyber security, Idris told his guests that his agency was collaborating with the Office of the National Security Adviser to protect critical national information infrastructure from cyber-criminals.

The Punch also reports that liquidity crisis in the Nigerian  power sector has taken a turn for the worse as payment to generation companies for the electricity produced and fed into the national grid has slumped to 14.55 percent.

The Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc failed to pay the Egbin and 24 other power stations a total of N181.39bn from January to April this year, data obtained from NBET on Monday showed.

The government-owned NBET buys electricity in bulk from Gencos through Power Purchase Agreements and sells through vesting contracts to the distribution companies, which then supply it to the consumers.

The NBET received a total invoice of N226.12bn from the Gencos in the four-month period, but paid only N44.73bn, representing 14.55 percent of the invoice. In January, the bulk trader paid 30.11 percent (N15.61bn) of the N51.85bn invoice from the Gencos but the payment fell to 25.46 percent (N13.09bn out of N51.42bn) in February.