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Press focuses on deferred implementation of new petroleum industry law, others

The embargo placed on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) till August 2022 and the victory of Team…

The embargo placed on the implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) till August 2022 and the victory of Team Nigeria in the 4x400m mixed relay team, wining gold medal in a new championship record time of 3:19.70 are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Thursday.The Guardian reports that the Nigerian Government has embargoed implementation of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) till August 2022. President Muhammadu Buhari gave this hint when he inaugurated a steering committee to oversee the process yesterday.

Unveiling members of the steering committee, President Buhari said it has 12 months duration for the assignment, while he expects periodic updates to be given to him.

While directing immediate implementation of the framework for the PIA, he urged relevant stakeholders to comply and reposition for full activation within 12 months.

The steering committee is headed by the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva. Other members include Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum Resources; Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS); representative of the Ministry of Justice; representative of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; and Senior Special Assistant to the President on Natural Resources, Olufemi Lijadu as External Legal Adviser.

The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, will serve as Head of the Coordinating Secretariat and the Implementation Working Group.

The primary responsibility of the steering committee will be to guide the effective and timely implementation of the PIA in the course of transition to the petroleum industry envisaged in the reform programme, and ensure that the new institutions created have the full capability to deliver on their mandate under the new legislation.

The newspaper says that Team Nigeria lived up to pre-race billings as the 4x400m mixed relay team won the gold medal in a new championship record time of 3:19.70.

The quartet of Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke and Bamidele Ajayi also made history as the first winners of the event at the World Athletics U20 Championship, beating Poland (3:19.80) and India (3:20.60) to second and third spots, respectively.

Team Nigeria made one change to the quartet that ran a then championship record of 3:21.66 in the semi-final by bringing in Uko, the fastest girl in the 400 metres heading into the championships, and the 17-year-old didn’t disappoint as she handed over the baton to third leg runner, Oke in first position.

Uko has also qualified for the individual 400m final scheduled for Saturday and stands as the favourite to restore Nigeria as World Athletics U20 Championships 400m champions since Bisi Afolabi succeeded Fatimah Yusuf as queen of the quartermile in 1994 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Meanwhile the duo of Godson Oghenebrume and Praise Ofokwu qualified for the 100m men and women’s final.

The Punch reports that the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved N21,107,212,510, for various projects in the education and aviation ministries as well as a few other federal agencies.

The approvals were made at a meeting of the council presided over by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika; Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba; and the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, briefed State House correspondents of the outcome of the meeting.

Sirika told reporters that the council approved four memoranda for his ministry, which totalled N16.7bn.

According to the minister, the projects to be executed in the contracts include the construction of Wachakal Airport in Yobe State at N6.3bn; post construction services for the same airport at the cost of N219.8m; procurement of eight airport rescue and firefighting vehicles at the cost of N9.5bn; and a contract for the deployment of sniffer dogs to the Lagos and Abuja international airports at the cost of N658.8m.

He said, “FEC approved four memoranda from civil aviation. One of them is approval for the construction of Wachakal Airport in Yobe State and at the contract sum of N6,284,065,056.”

The newspaper says that the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria has called on policymakers to be consistent to aid ease of doing business in the economy.

The President of MAN, Mr Mansur Ahmed, made the call during a courtesy visit to The PUNCH on Wednesday. He stated that the lack of consistency in the enactment of policies was making it difficult for manufacturers to keep their costs low and operate profitably.

Ahmed said, “Inconsistent policies, power supply constraints and public infrastructure deficiency are some of the issues we have been facing in the industry.

“The multiplicity of taxies and levies, importation barriers both on the monetary angle and the infrastructural aspect also make it difficult to operate and keep costs low.

“We have been communicating this with the various regulators both at state and federal level.” The president also spoke about the activities of MAN as it commemorated its 50th anniversary this year.

He said the association had come a long way since it was registered in 1971 to engage policymakers and create an enabling environment for Nigerian manufacturers.

The Sun reports that the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has said that the inefficient use of Nigeria’s international airports and their low operating capacity informed government decision to concession them for optimal result.

His explanation came few day after a recent virtual stakeholders meeting, where he noted that the international airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano were not designed for international operation, assuring that prospective private handlers of the terminals and facilities will inject funds needed to improve the airports infrastructure.

Sirika also said that the Federal Government remained committed to upgrading the airports in the country and making them viable through concession.

He revealed that airport upgrade was part of his aviation masterplan and he seeks to revamp the industry through the active participation of the private sector and make it self-sustaining.

Some of the core objectives of the aviation master plan include establishing a national carrier; with ready maintenance, repair and overhaul centres; establish an aviation leasing company; establish five airport free zones; and the development of an agro-allied cargo terminal.

The Leadership says that Upperlink, a payment solution service provider (PSSP) licencee of the central bank of Nigeria (CBN) has secured the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) certificate ahead of its Payment Gateway deployment.

Through this payment gateway, the firm service retail markets across the five African countries where it operates.

The PCIDSS is a set of industry-mandated requirements for any business that handles, processes, or stores branded cards types from the major card schemes.

The managing director and chief executive officer, Upperlink, Mr. Segun Akano, said the firm has been a leading aggregator with the Nigeria Inter Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), relying fully on the security and solid infrastructure of NIBSS alone.

Having stabilised its services with NIBSS which focuses on account-to-account transfers through which the firm have built enterprise applications for government and corporate institutions in Nigeria, “we intend to do more for Nigerians and other Africa countries with card payments which can address the needs of the retail markets,” Akano said.

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