Nigerian Press spotlights result of state governorship poll, others

The conclusion of the Anambra State governorship election on Wednesday morning and the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission…

The conclusion of the Anambra State governorship election on Wednesday morning and the announcement by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, as winner of the poll dominate the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.The Guardian reports that the Anambra State governorship election was eventually concluded this morning as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced former Central Bank governor and candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, as winner of the poll that began on Saturday.

INEC had declared the election inconclusive on Sunday after no votes were cast in Ihiala Council, hence the supplementary election.

After taking a comfortable lead in Saturday’s election, winning 18 of 20 councils declared, Soludo led the poll with 103,946 votes, while the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Valentine Ozigbo, had 51,322 votes.

Presenting the final poll result at 1:52a.m. at the State Collation Centre, Awka, INEC Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi, declared Soludo winner of the election after winning Ihiala to take his tally to 19 councils out of 21, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Youths Progressives Party (YPP) both have one local government area each. APC failed to win any council in the election.

The supplementary election got underway after about two hours of delay. Some early birds who thronged the council to witness the distribution of materials were barred by security operatives.

The newspaper says that the Debt Management Office (DMO) has stressed the need for issuers and investors to key into funds mobilisation geared towards promoting green financing and sustainability drive in Nigeria.

The Director-General of DMO, Patience Oniha, while speaking at FMDQ Green Exchange Launch and partnership deal with the Luxembourg Green Exchange (LGX) in Lagos on Monday, stated that the current trend suggests that there will be an increase in the demand for funds to support such projects and finance infrastructure.

She said: “As there is more awareness and more pressure on the government to look at those projects, it means we have to raise funds in our own case. Revenues will be there but we may also need to borrow to finance those projects and this means that we will be issuing securities that comply with those requirements.

“It means that our initial activity, the domestic green bond market, should increase. While we have a total of N25.69 billion outstanding, we still plan to be in the market, sometime, next year.

“Going forward, the Federal Government would be an active issuer in the FMDQ green exchange and what we need to do is to do a lot of sensitization to make those projects approved and the funding arrangement,” Oniha said.

The Punch reports that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday said about $450bn worth of new refinery projects and expansion of existing units would be invested in Nigeria and other developing nations.

It said the investments were part of the estimated $1.5tn that would be invested in the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry from this year till 2045.

The Secretary-General, OPEC, Sanusi Barkindo, disclosed this at the African Energy Week in Cape Town, South Africa. Our correspondent obtained his address in Abuja.

Barkindo said, “In terms of downstream investment, we estimate a total of roughly $1.5tn will be spent during the period 2021-2045. “$450bn of this will be invested in new refinery projects and expansions of existing units. Most of these projects will be located in developing countries, including Africa.”

He added, “Indeed, the importance of creating an investment-enabling environment is a further key conclusion from the World Oil Outlook. Cumulative oil-related investment requirements amount to $11.8tn in the 2021-2045 period.

“Of this, 80 per cent, or $9.2tn is in the upstream, with another $1.5 and $1.1tn needed in the downstream and midstream, respectively.”

The newspaper says that farmers who subscribed to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme owed the apex bank N463bn as of the end of March 2021, data from the CBN Economic Report for April have shown.

The ABP was launched on November 17, 2015, by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to reverse the country’s negative balance of payments, especially in the area of food.

Beneficiaries of the programme include farmers cultivating cereals (rice, maize, wheat, etc.), cotton, roots and tubers, sugarcane, tree crops, legumes, tomato and livestock.

Loans are disbursed to the beneficiaries through deposit money banks, development finance institutions and microfinance banks, which the programme recognises as participating financial institutions.

The CBN report revealed that from the inception of the ABP in November 2015 to March 31 this year, the sum of N615.4bn had been disbursed to 3.04 million farmers.

The report, however, showed that only N152.3bn had been repaid by the beneficiaries while the outstanding loans stood at N463bn. “For the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the sum of N615.4bn had been disbursed to 3,038,899 beneficiaries, out of which N152.3bn was repaid,” it said.

The Sun reports that the proposed re-introduction of excise duty collection on non-alcoholic drinks would see producers of the items lose up to N1.9 trillion in revenue and sales between 2022 and 2025.

The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) disclosed this yesterday at MMS Business Discourse with the theme: “X-raying the Proposed Excise Duty Regime for Carbonated Beverages in a Recovering Economy.”

Speaking at the event, the Chairman of Fruit Juice Producers branch of MAN, Mr. Fred Chiazor, said that the losses indicate a 39.5 per cent loss due to imposition of the new taxes with concomitant impact on jobs and supply chain businesses.

The group called for a suspension of the fiscal policy, even as it noted that the proposed excise duty collection would shrink the sector’s contribution to the GDP, which currently stands at 35 per cent.

“Government could lose up to N197 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT), EIT fund and Collective Investment Trust (CIT) revenues occasioned by the drop in industry performance,” the MAN representative said.

He argued that the tough economic situation in the nation should see the government introduce fiscal palliatives and tax rebate, instead of introducing excise duty collection.

The newspaper says that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, unveiled its wheat value chain intervention programme captured under the Nigerian Brown Revolution, which seeks to save $2 billion spent on importing five million metric tons of wheat annually.

The scheme involves over 150,000 farmers cultivating 180,000 hectares of land in about 15 states and targeting 60 per cent first year import substitution and ultimately saving $2 billion per annum.

Speaking at the event held in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Lamtek Adamu, revealed that the brown revolution was an offshoot of the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP).

According to him, the ABP has recorded successes in supporting smallholder farmers to increase the cultivation of different commodities across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Through the programme, N788.035 billion has been disbursed to about four million farmers through 23 Participating Financial Institutions (PFI). So far, 4.796 million hectares of farmlands have been cultivated under the programme covering 21 commodities.