Nigerian press focuses on slash in crude oil benchmark, others

The slash of crude oil benchmark and the demand for 50% cut in interest rates dominate the headlines of Nigerian…

The slash of crude oil benchmark and the demand for 50% cut in interest rates dominate the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Punch reports that the Nigerian government on Tuesday revealed plans to cut the oil price benchmark for the current budget to $20 per barrel from $30 per barrel. The development would make it the second time the government is slashing the oil benchmark for the 2020 budget.

The newspaper also said that the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry stated that 54 percent of business owners in the country want commercial banks to reduce their interest rates by at least 50 percent. The LCCI said the business owners demanded this, among other incentives, in order to keep their business afloat in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which had disrupted many businesses and supply chains.

The Vanguard reported that Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, yesterday told the House of Representatives that President Muhammadu Buhari’s government was open to the possibility of using local herbs to fight COVID-19 pandemic, but insisted that the Nigeria Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development must first certify any such remedy.

The Nation said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has handed the $3.4 billion emergency fund the Nigerian government requested from the IMF. The emergency fund, which was approved by the IMF Board on April 28, comes under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to assist Nigeria’s fight against COVID-19 and resolve urgent balance of payment needs.

The newspaper also reported that the Nigerian government has directed the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to give a waiver of import duties for medical equipment and supplies, as part of its efforts to curtail the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

The Guardian reported that the Senate has asked the Nigerian government to suspend the planned deployment of the fifth-generation (5G) network in Nigeria pending the resolution of all issues thrown up by the new technology.

Adopting a motion sponsored by Senator Uche Ekwenife (PDP, Anambra Central) at plenary yesterday in Abuja, the upper legislative chamber mandated four of its standing committees, Communications; Science and Technology; ICT, and Cybercrimes, to wholly investigation the newest advancement.

In her debate, Ekwunife drew attention to the fact that “the uncertainty on whether or not the 5G network has been launched in Nigeria will continue to fuel speculations concerning the deployment of the 5G network and its effects on the citizens of Nigeria.”