Nigerian press focuses on rejection of slash in budgets for education, health sectors, others

The rejection of the slash in the budgetary provisions for education and health sectors in the reviewed 2020 budget by…

The rejection of the slash in the budgetary provisions for education and health sectors in the reviewed 2020 budget by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on ThursdayThe Guardian reports that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the Federal Government’s slashing of the 2020 budgetary allocations for basic health care from N44.4 billion to N25.5billion, and for Universal Basic Education (UBE) from N111.7 billion to N51.1 billion.

The opposition party described those reductions as the height of insensitivity to the plights of Nigerians.

In a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP alleged that in slashing the budget for the primary health need of the people to N25.5 billion (a 42 percent cut) and UBE budget to N51.1 billion (a 54 percent cut), in a country of over 200 million people, who are already economically overburdened, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its administration had further exposed the fact that they never had the welfare of Nigerians at heart.

ThisDay reports that the Nigerian government on Wednesday lamented that COVID-19 has attacked all sources of Nigeria’s revenues.

Answering questions from State House correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council meeting, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the disease had adversely affected global economy with $1 trillion lost in aviation industry alone.

According to him, with the lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja for several weeks and crude oil being sold at $18 per barrel, Nigeria’s losses are monumental. We were very hopeful that this year, we will be able to achieve a lot.

The newspaper says that the federal government of Nigeria has put the country’s total gas reserves as of January 1, 2020, at 203.16 trillion cubic feet (TCF), representing a marginal increase of 1.16tcf or 0.57 percent from the 202tcf recorded in 2019.

The reserves are made up of 100.69tcf of Associated Gas (AG) and 102.47TCF of Non-Associated Gas (NAG). Also as of January 1, 2020, Nigeria’s crude oil reserves dropped to 36.89 billion barrels, representing a decline of 82 million barrels and 0.22 percent of what was recorded in 2019.

The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Mr. Sarki Auwalu, announced this yesterday at a virtual conversation between DPR and journalists on topical issues in the Nigerian oil and gas industry.

The Punch reports that global oil commodities gained in prices on Wednesday as Brent crude, the benchmark against which Nigeria’s crude is priced, rose to $40 per barrel for the time since March.

Brent crude rose by 43 cents, or 1.1 per cent, to $40 per barrel, as of 02:52 GMT. This came as Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, declared that Nigeria’s compliance to the crude oil production cut that was agreed by members and non-members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had reached 52 percent.

In a tweet via his official Twitter handle, Sylva said Nigeria joined its other OPEC+ counterparts in April 2020 to bring into effect the agreement to cut 9.7 million barrels of crude daily. This, he said, was to ameliorate the current situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The newspaper also reported that the Nigerian government may generate at least N3.17 billion from the payment of fees for the marginal fields put on offer for bidding, data obtained from the Department of Petroleum Resources have shown.

The report added that indigenous oil firms and other investors willing to bid for any of the 57 marginal fields are expected to pay fees amounting to N55.6m per field.

It explained that the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, had said last month that the government would accelerate marginal fields licensing and renewal of expiring oil mining licences as part of measures to augment revenues.