Nigerian press focuses on the economy, restructuring of ailing power sector

The efforts of the Nigerian government to contain COVID-19 pandemic and the N2.3 trillion economic stimulus plan to reposition the…

The efforts of the Nigerian government to contain COVID-19 pandemic and the N2.3 trillion economic stimulus plan to reposition the economy on a sustainable part of rapid recovery dominate the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed said that the current coordinated efforts of the Federal Government to contain COVID-19 pandemic and especially the N2.3 trillion economic stimulus plan would reposition the economy on a sustainable part of rapid recovery.

The minister, represented by Director-General, Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, said that the reforms being initiated by the Federal Government to address the challenges the country was facing as well as provide some perspective on the micro-economic outlook on the economy.

She said: “The key message is that the Nigerian economy is currently facing serious challenges, with the macro-economic environment significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“And globally, it has been a very challenging time for economies. The global economy is in recession currently.”

The Punch says that the Federal Government on Thursday commenced moves towards the restructuring of the Federal Ministry of Power. It said the initiative would ensure better service delivery and the execution of government’s vision for the power sector.

To achieve this, the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, inaugurated the Committee on the Restructuring of the Federal Ministry of Power and Oversight of its Agencies at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja on Thursday.

Mamman said the power sector was in the process of undergoing long term structural market reforms and had gone through the first phase of privatisation, with the hope of unlocking investments and improving service delivery.

“However, it must be said that the exercise has not delivered the benefits envisaged as the sector is still struggling with a number of critical challenges,” the minister stated. He outlined these challenges to include market inefficiency, structural misalignment, central coordination issues, abandoned or stagnated projects and a host of others.

Mamman said these issues prompted the initiative to restructure the power ministry, which, he said, was the implementation arm of the Federal Government’s overall strategy in the power sector.

The newspaper reports that the Nigerian Government on Thursday shifted the resumption date for the commencement of international flights into and out of Nigeria from August 29 to September 5.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had announced on August 17 that international flights would resume on August 29 following pressures from the public for the resumption of the flights.

But at Thursday’s briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja, the Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, declared that international flights would not resume as earlier announced.

He said September 5 was picked as the new date for international flights resumption, stressing that there were still issues to be sorted out before allowing international carriers to operate into and out of Nigeria.

The Nation says that the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) would ensure that the nation’s abundant natural gas resources are used to promote national development.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Energy Industry Transformation Summit (NEITS), he added that, in collaboration with stakeholders, the Ministry would promote domestic utilisation of gas resources to create jobs for the teeming youth.

Also, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) urged stakeholders in the oil and gas industry to come up with innovative ways to reposition the sector for sustainability as the COVID-19 ravages the world. Its Group Managing Director, Mallam Mele Kyari, said industry players needed to set their eyes on a strategy that focuses on people, partnerships, profit and posterity.

Kyari explained that the new normal era brought about by the virus has more than ever, reinforced the need to upskill the human capacity within the industry for the next phase, and develop the capacity to attract, train and retain people in the sector. He spoke on the theme: “Changing Global energy landscape:

ThisDay reports that Customs agents in the country have called on the federal government to urgently review the valuation method on imported vehicles in line with customs law and articles VII of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) General Agreement of Tariff and Trade (GATT) domesticated under Customs and Excise Management (Amendment) Act 20 of 2003.

The agents stated this in a petition to President Muhammadu Buhari, signed by the President, National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Lucky Amiwero.

They stressed that the present motor vehicle data base that is in use, has not been reviewed since its inception and not been subject to adjustment in line with legal and commercial realities of international pricing on motor vehicles.

The Sun reports that as part of its effort to increase foreign exchange liquidity in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed all non-oil exporters to process dollar proceeds through domestic lenders.

This is even as the apex bank said that exporters who fail to remit dollar proceeds through the lenders will be denied access to official currency markets.

The statement signed by the Bank’s Director of Trade and Exchange, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji, had also explained that the directive was aimed at ensuring prudent use of Nigeria’s foreign exchange resources and the elimination of incidences of over-invoicing, transfer pricing, double handling charges and avoidable costs that are ultimately passed to the average Nigerian consumer.

The CBN, had in the past, warned exporters conducting export activity against diverting foreign exchange from the export proceeds, instead of repatriating the same home.