Nigerian press zooms in on a letter criticising Buhari’s skewed appointments, others

The letter by a former military governor of Kaduna State, retired Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging…

The letter by a former military governor of Kaduna State, retired Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to belong to all Nigerians and not a section or a particular tribe of the country is the trending story in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Vanguard reports that a former military governor of Kaduna State, retired Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari to belong to all Nigerians and not a section or a particular tribe of the country.

Col. Umar, who lampooned President Buhari on what he described as his skewed appointments into the offices of the Federal Government, said the President favoured some and frustrated others.

He also said the action of the President would bring ruin and destruction to the nation, adding that the country’s political history was replete with great acts of exemplary leadership which, at critical moments, managed to pull the nation back from the precipice and assured its continued existence.

The Punch reports that the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency has announced a new pump price band of N121.50 to N123.50 per litre for petrol.

The PPPRA, which is an agency of the Federal Government, disclosed this in a circular to fuel marketers dated May 31, 2020, said that the sharp drop in crude oil prices on the back of the spread of coronavirus saw the landing cost of petrol hitting a record low in March, wiping off subsidy on the product.

The pump price of petrol, which is still being regulated by the Nigerian government, was reduced to N125 per litre from N145 per litre on March 18, 2020, effective March 19.

The PPPRA further announced on March 31 a price band of N123.50 to N125 per litre, effective April 1.

The newspaper also said that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed N10.5bn out of the N100bn credit intervention for the healthcare industry, which it recently introduced as part of the measures to cushion the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy. 

The CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this in Abuja at the end of the MPC 273th meeting held virtually. 

He said, “The committee recognised that under the N100bn healthcare sector intervention fund, the bank has approved and disbursed N10.15bn for some projects for the establishment of advanced diagnostic and health centres and the expansion of some pharmaceutical plants for essential drugs and intravenous fluids.”

ThisDay says that the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 has recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari to allow states to decide on the reopening of schools, businesses and worship centres shut since March as part of the efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The recommendation was among a raft of others, the PTF made to the president at a meeting yesterday at the State House ahead of his decision today on the next phase of action to take as the two-week extension of the easing of restrictions on socio-economic activities, which expires today.

 The president had on May 18, extended the easing of the lockdown on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Ogun States as well as extending the 8 pm-6 am curfew imposed nationwide, the ban on interstate movements and the lockdown of Kano State.

The newspaper also said that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, has stated that the disruption caused COVID-19 has strengthened federal government’s resolve to focus on digitalisation as a means of diversifying the country’s economy.

Pantami, said this during a webinar organised by the Nigeria Economic Society Group (NESG) on the topic: “Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 on the Nigerian Digital Economy and Post Pandemic Strategies.”

He said the importance attached to digitalisation by the federal government was demonstrated recently, by President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive that the protection of the country’s digital infrastructures would now be the collective responsibility of all the security formations in Nigeria.

The Nation newspaper newspaper reports that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) says Nigerians will pay stamp duties on WhatsApp messages, SMS, and messages via any electronic platform acknowledging receipt of funds.

The revenue service, according to a report by TheCable, also stated that stamp duties would be paid on “POS receipts, fiscalised device receipts, Automated Teller Machine (ATM) print-outs”.

According to a circular published by the agency, Nigerians will also be required to pay stamp duties on SMS acknowledging receipt of funds.

The Sun says that fresh debate on Nigeria’s debt sustainability erupted across the country last week following indications that the Federal Government has received the National Assembly’s nod to borrow another $5.5 billion from multilateral institutions as part of measures to finance its widening deficit currently put at N3 trillion.

While not a few commentators condemned the government’ unmitigated external borrowing binge, others say it has become inevitable given the collateral damage done the economy by COVID -19 pandemic.

But one very central argument in the current debate is the fact that the country’s debt sustainability profile against government’s revenue shortfalls from crude oil and taxes have added to concerns about its ability to utilise the loans for the purpose intended against the backdrop of rising public sector profligacy under the administration.