Press focuses on new infections of COVID-19 in Nigeria, others

The new infections of the Coronavirus outbreak reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in the country and the…

The new infections of the Coronavirus outbreak reported by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in the country and the rising food prices are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers of Monday.The Guardian reports that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), has reported 501 new infections of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak in the country.

According to the NCDC’s website on Sunday, since the beginning of the outbreak in February, more than 874,617 samples have been tested by the NCDC, out of which 78,434 were positive.

The agency said that the country sadly recorded three additional deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the overall total in the nation since the start of the pandemic to 1,221.

The NCDC also disclosed that 519 patients have been discharged after testing negative from the virus.

It added that the new infections were reported from 14 states and the Federal Capital Territory, in the last 24 hours.

The Punch says that the prices of most food items increased in November this year, while the incomes for many households are still in precarious situations, the National Bureau of Statistics has said. 

In its Selected Food Prices Watch for November 2020, the NBS stated that selected food price watch data in the review month reflected that the average price of one dozen of agric eggs, medium size, increased year-on-year by 6.64 per cent.

It said the commodity also increased month-on-month by 1.42 per cent to N494.72 in November from N487.81 in October.

The bureau stated that the average price of a piece of agric egg, medium size, (price of one) increased year-on-year by 8.68 per cent and month-on-month by 2.36 per cent to N44.75 in November from N43.72 in October.

It further stated that the average price of 1kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 25.86 per cent. The NBS stated that 1kg of tomato increased month-on-month by 2.77 per cent to N316.16 in November from N307.63 in October. For rice, it said the average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) increased year-on-year by 23.46 per cent and month-on-month by 3.71 per cent to N549.98 in November from N530.32 in October.

The newspaper reports that the Central Bank of Nigeria has revoked the operating licences of 42 microfinance banks in the country.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation disclosed this on Friday in an announcement on its website titled ‘Notice of closure of 42 microfinance banks’. It stated,

“This is to inform the depositors, creditors, shareholders and the general public that the operating licences of the under listed 42 microfinance banks have been revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria effective 12th November, 2020.

“The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, the official liquidator of the banks whose licences were recently revoked, is in the process of closing the listed banks and pay their insured depositors.

“We therefore request that all depositors of these banks should visit the closed banks’ addresses and meet NDIC officials for the verification of their claims, commencing from Monday, 21st December, 2020 till Thursday, 24th December, 2020.”

The Nation says that the Nigerian Automobile Manufacturers Association (NAMA) has said the planned tariff reduction on imported vehicles by the Federal Government is not in the interest of private investors and the country as at large.

Rather, NAMA challenged the government to revive the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) 2013 for the growth of the automobile industry in Nigeria, stressing that policy inconsistency was the bane of growth of the country.

NAMA’s Executive Director, Mr. Remi Olaofe, at the Capacity Training organised by Nigeria Automobile Journalists Association (NAJA), in Lagos, wondered why the Federal Government would reverse itself on a policy that was meant to reduce foreign exchange, create more jobs for qualified personnel and make the country less dependent on importation.

The Federal Government had recently at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) announced the plan to reduce the import duties and levies on buses, tractors and other motor vehicles as contained in the recent 2020 Finance Bill.

The government had said it would reduce tariff on tractors from its present 35 percent to 10 per cent; reduction of duties on motor vehicles for the transportation of goods from 35 percent to 10 percent; reduction of levy on motor vehicles for the transportation of persons from 35 percent to five percent.

The newspaper reports that with the land borders opened, the Chief Executive, Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute (ARMTI), Dr. Olufemi Oladunmi, has called for legislative  amendments to remove barriers to investment in agriculture that will lead to improved technology transfer, higher-quality job creation and greater tax revenue.

He said a lot has to be done to enable agriculture to bring more foreign investment. With Nigeria’s great agricultural potential, Oladunmi said many foreign firms were hunting for opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector.

To this end, he said measures have to be taken to see a strongly growing agricultural sector. At present, he said foreign direct investment (FDI) in the agricultural sector accounts for a smaller per cent of the country’s total FDI attraction.

He noted there was a need to review procedures and propose simplifying them, as incentives for agricultural and rural investments, and for increased financial to build infrastructure systems for transport, electricity, water, and food processing.

Oladunmi said the economy needed a wide range of reforms that will go a long way towards making it easier for potential investors to successfully do business in Nigeria.

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