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Press focuses on clarification on listing of Nigeria among high-debt risk nations, others

The clarification by the Debt Management Office on listing of Nigeria as a high-debt risk nation and the plight of…

The clarification by the Debt Management Office on listing of Nigeria as a high-debt risk nation and the plight of Nigerian youths as the world observes International Youth Day today are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Vanguard reports that the Debt Management Office (DMO) yesterday, flayed media reports listing Nigeria as a “high-debt risk nation.”

The agency said such publications claiming that the classification came from the International Development Association (IDA) Audited Financial Statement for the Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021) were a misinterpretation of the report.

DMO stated: “The World Bank’s report was an assessment of the performance of IDA and not the performance of the IDA loans nor the debt repayment capacity of the beneficiaries of IDA loans.

“By way of explanation, the World Bank, through IDA, gives concessional loans to poor and developing countries to help them achieve improvements in growth, job creation, poverty reduction, governance, the environment, climate adaptation and resilience, human capital, infrastructure, and debt transparency. Nigeria is a beneficiary of IDA loans.

“It is important to re-emphasize that the World Bank’s report, which was misrepresented, focused only on the composition of IDA’s Loan Portfolio and did not make any reference to the debt sustainability of the top ten (10) beneficiary countries of IDA loans, such as India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana.

“IDA loans are typically for tenors of 30 – 40 years, grace period (moratorium on principal repayment) of 7 – 10 years and service fee of only 0.75%.”

The Guardian says that as the country joins the rest of the world to observe International Youth Day today, an increasing number of Nigerian youths continue to face economic uncertainty and social exclusion, forcing the majority of them into gambling and crimes, while the rest languish in penury and deprivation.

Whereas the number of youths entering the labour market yearly, earlier estimated at 1.8 million, has continued to increase, the economy’s job-creating capacity is on the decline, economists have suggested.

This is coming a day after Nigeria was ranked 161st out of 181 countries on the 2020 global youth development index, which measures the status of young people around the world. In 2016, Nigeria ranked 141.

According to the triennial report released by the Commonwealth Secretariat on Tuesday, Singapore ranked top for the first time, followed by Slovenia, Norway, Malta and Denmark. Chad, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Niger took the last five positions, respectively.

The index ranks countries according to development in youth education, employment, health, equality and inclusion, peace and security and political and civic participation. It looks at 27 indicators, including literacy and voting, to showcase the state of the world’s 1.8 billion people between the ages of 15 and 29.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, yesterday said this year’s International Youth Day celebration offers the world an opportunity to implement timely policies that will harness the innovative talents of the youth for development.

He noted that with the increasing uptake of technology as an enabler by a huge number in the younger generation, the innovative minds and skills of the youth will serve as the fuel for development.

The Punch reports that the Federal Executive Council has approved the reintroduction of toll collections on some selected dual carriageways across the country.

This is as it exempted diplomatic, military, para-military vehicles, tricycles, motorcycles from the scheme. Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, disclosed these on Wednesday while briefing the State House correspondents at the end of the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The decision was made almost two decades after the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration dismantled all toll plazas on federal roads across the country in 2003.

Fashola said his ministry presented a memo which the council approved to reintroduce tollgates on dual carriageways of the 35,000km federal roads.

These roads, he explained, amounted to only 14.3 per cent of the entire 35,000km stretch of federal roads that were dual carriageways and would be eligible for tolling with vehicles paying between N200 and N500 toll per trip, depending on their brand while diplomatic, military, para-military as well as tricycles and motorcycles would be exempted.

The minister added that dual carriageways represented only 5,050km out of the total 35,000km.

The Sun reports that Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has concluded plans to pay N45.9 billion as compensation to the people of Ogoni in Rivers State as compensation for oil spills in their communities which occurred in 2010.

Lawyer to Shell, A. O Ejelamo, while addressing Ahmed Mohammed, Judge of a Federal High Court in Abuja, said the company has resolved to pay the monetary compensation awarded in 2010.

But a spokesperson for The SPDC in response to Daily Sun inquiry said: ‘‘The order for the payment of N45.9 billion to the claimants is for full and final satisfaction of the judgement in the suit, Chief Agbara and Others v. SPDC, in respect of the spills which we maintain were caused by third parties during the Nigerian Civil War, a challenging period which resulted in significant damage to oil and gas infrastructure in the Niger Delta region.

While the SPDC Joint Venture does not accept responsibility or liability for these spills, the affected sites in the Ebubu community were fully remediated.” In 2001, 10 representatives of the Ogoni people instituted the suit against the oil company for the losses allegedly caused by the oil spills.

ThisDay says that the federal government has approved a total sum of $2.54 million and N498.23 million for four power projects across the country.

This is just as it also okay the interim report on greenhouse emission reduction for the nation. Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, and his Environment counterpart, Mohammed Abubakar, made these known Wednesday after the weekly virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja.

Giving details of the power projects, Mamman said the FEC meeting approved four power projects including the supply and installation of motorised portable hydraulic compressor for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in favour of Messrs Intern Equipment Nigeria Limited in the sum of US$502,950 plus N15,800,000.

“The second approval was also received for the award of the contract for the supply and delivery of three sets of online partial discharge measurement and monitoring equipment for the TCN in favour of Messrs T and D Technology Limited in the sum of US$ 874,800 offshore plus N240,100,000 onshore with a delivery period of nine months.

“The third approval was the award of the contract for the repairs of 100 MVA and four sets of 60 MVA 132 33 power transformers for TCN in favour of GT Engineering Limited in the sum of US$ 661,220 offshore and N127,758,781 onshore with a delivery period of 12 months.

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