Nigerian press focuses on rising inflation rate, planned resumption of international flights

The high inflation rate of 12.82 percent recorded in July and the planned resumption of international flights on August 29…

The high inflation rate of 12.82 percent recorded in July and the planned resumption of international flights on August 29 by the Nigerian government are the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.

The Vanguard reports that Nigeria’s inflation rate rose year-on-year (YoY) by 0.26 percentage point to 12.82 percent in July this year from 12.56 percent in June.

This represents the 11th consecutive monthly rise in inflation rate since October 2019. Similarly, food inflation rose by 0.3 percentage point to 15.48 percent in July from 15.18 the previous month.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed this in its Consumer Price Index (CPI) Report for July 2020.

”Increases were recorded in all Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose, COICOP divisions that yielded the Headline index. “On month-on-month basis, the Headline index increased by 1.25 percent in July 2020. This is 0.04 percent rate higher than the rate recorded in June 2020 (1.21) percent,” the report said.

ThisDay says that the Nigerian government yesterday fixed August 29 for the resumption of international flights, suspended in March in the wake of the introduction of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has indicated that it will probe the allegations that its officials were collecting bribes to test samples.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the media briefing by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, however, said all evacuation flights, which were introduced in the country in the wake of the ban on international flights occasioned by the outbreak of the pandemic, would stop on August 25.

The minister said Nigeria’s international airports had reached advanced stages of preparedness for the resumption of international flights.

The Punch reports that there are indications that the lingering foreign exchange scarcity in the country is slowing down banks’ ability to meet their payment obligations that are denominated in dollar.

Sources said that banks have been having long waits to access dollars from the Central Bank of Nigeria to meet their payments needs, such as foreign payments and Global Depository Receipts.

GDR is a means by which foreign investors invest in shares in other countries without trading in the stock exchange of the company’s home country.

Among entities experiencing forex challenge are banks that raised capital abroad and telecommunications and international oil companies that repatriate funds to their home countries to settle shareholders.

The Nation newspaper says that Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Garba Abubakar yesterday said the commission’s internally generated revenue (IGR) for 2017, 2018 and 2019 has hit N36billion.

In a chat with The Nation in Abuja, he said reports by the some media houses that CAC made N56billion in two years is not true.

Garba said having a revenue target does not mean that it is realised, that CAC cannot be charged for an income that is not earned, adding that the financial statement for 2018 was submitted to the relevant agencies, but based on the financial statement, there was actually nothing to pay as there were expectations from service-oriented agencies, the commission needed money, infrastructure and staff to work.

He noted that Commission had done reconciliation with the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for 2014-2017 and that at the end of it, N485million was accessed as outstanding from the Commission.

The newspaper also reports that an investigative hearing into the $100 million premium allegedly paid by Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Joint Ventures (JVs) for non-existing assets overseas as well as the implementation of insurance policies of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) began yesterday.

Rep. Darlington Nwokocha, Chairman, House Committee on Insurance & Actuarial Matters, flagged off and presided over the 10-day investigative hearing/pre-forensic Audit meeting.

He explained that the exercise was necessitated by alleged breaches on insurance by insurance business by practitioners; low retention capacity of dollar-denominated insurance business and the effect on the economy; and under-utilisation of capacity of insurance policy, the practice and effects of domiciling insurance ventures abroad.

According to him, others are issues and prospects of ineffective regulation of foreign placements of insurances; alleged loss of billions of naira by the nation through insurances of moribund assets, non-existent assets and high premium rates; alleged huge unsettled life insurance claims, poor handling of Group Life insurance schemes, its effects on the motivation and productivity of working class citizens and non-payment/un-allowed deductions on entitlements of the surviving families.

The Guardian says that in efforts to improve broadband services in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is in the process of issuing licences to last mile satellite operators to provide broadband services.

The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, gave this hint at the ATCON sectoral virtual forum, saying this has become necessary to ensure ubiquitous broadband in the country.

Already, the June subscriber statistics from the NCC showed that there are over 70 million broadband subscribers in the country with about 40 percent penetration.

Danbatta revealed that last year, the Commission provided licences for commercial satellite space segment, with 55 operators empowered with landing permits. He also said the Nigeria telecom regulator is in the process of reviewing the Infrastructure Company (InfraCo) framework as mandated by the New National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, to align with the new broadband plan.

He said that the licensing of Infracos was meant to cascade capacities to the hinterland through fibre infrastructure investments.