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Press focuses on passage of Petroleum Industry Bill by lawmakers, others

The passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the two chambers of the National Assembly after about 13 years of…

The passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill by the two chambers of the National Assembly after about 13 years of legislative fireworks dominates the headlines of Nigerian newspapers on Friday.ThisDay reports that the two chambers of the National Assembly yesterday passed the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), after about 13 years of legislative fireworks.

Although the House of Representatives apparently skipped certain parliamentary procedures to pass the bill as witnessed by journalists at plenary, the Chairman of the House Ad-hoc Committee on the PIB, Hon. Mohammed Monguno, later told reporters that what transpired at the plenary did not actually mean that they passed it as widely reported.

The President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, said the demons behind the non-passage of the bill for many years had been defeated.

Also, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Senator Babajide Omoworare said the federal lawmakers had broken the jinx.

However, there was uproar at the Senate as the senators disagreed on the profit share percentage to be allocated to the host communities in the PIB, before finally settling for three percent.

The newspaper says that the Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has stated that the failure of many International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in the country to remit the two percent statutory surcharge to the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund (CVFF), has forestalled the growth of the fund and by implication, the growth and development of indigenous shipping business in Nigeria.

The Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act 2003 requires every shipping line trading within the coastal region to pay two percent of the value of every contract awarded to it into the CVFF.

The fund was set up to enable indigenous shipping operators acquire ships as part of efforts to develop indigenous shipping business and curtail foreign domination.

However, many IOCs had relied on the cabotage waiver clause in the Coastal and Inland Shipping Cabotage Act 2003 to cheat the Nigerian government.

It was learnt that the fund, which is made up of two components of naira and U.S. dollar, has N32billion and $209million respectively, bringing it to a total of N136.5billion as at March 2020.

The Guardian reports that the Federal Government has vowed to expose and prosecute those backing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, who issued the threat yesterday while speaking on Kanu’s re-arrest in Abuja, insisted that the full wrath of the law would be visited on those collaborating with the separatist leader to undermine Nigeria’s sovereignty and unity.

According to him, none of the collaborators, irrespective of social status, would be spared, stressing that no individual or group is bigger than a country.

The Biafra chief activist was first arrested and charged in 2015 on an 11-count revolving around treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms.

He later jumped bail in 2017 and left the country following an alleged raid on his Abia State country home by the military.

Ever since his whereabouts have been subjecting to conjecture prior to his re-arraignment earlier in the week and consequent remand in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) pending resumption of proceedings on July 26.

“We can tell you that the forensic investigation carried out so far has revealed a treasure trove of information on the proscribed IPOB leader and his collaborators. This was made possible through the collaboration of Nigerian security and intelligence agencies,” the minister stated.

In a similar vein, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom has charged the Presidency to apply the same treatment on leaders of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore that have reportedly been terrorising Nigerians.

The governor, while throwing the challenge yesterday in Makurdi, argued: “If the Nigerian government has the capacity to arrest Kanu, then why are they not exhibiting the same energy to apprehend Fulani leaders responsible for killing many people in the country?”

The newspaper says that the government’s new travel restrictions, sanctions take effect today – In lieu of the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government has reviewed in-country safety protocol, with restrictions of passengers from some countries taking effect from July 2 (today).

The ‘provisional quarantine protocol for travellers arriving Nigeria’, dated June 30, 2021, prohibits travelers from the quartet of Brazil, Turkey, India and South Africa. Contrary to airlines and some countries’ advocacy for vaccination and antigen test as entry requirements, the Federal Government has stuck to mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, quarantine and self-isolation for all arriving passengers.

While evaders of any of these conditions shall be prosecuted, defaulting airlines are liable to fines in excess of $3,500 per illegal entrant or default. Amid the apprehension of the fourth wave of coronavirus, driven by the Delta variant that began in India, countries are beginning to take fresh safety measures.

The local protocol, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, stated that non-Nigerian passport holders and non-residents, who visited Brazil, India, Turkey or South Africa within 14 days preceding travel to Nigeria, shall be denied entry into Nigeria.

The Punch reports that Nigeria’s external reserves maintained a downward trend as it lost $905.5m in June, figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria showed on Thursday.

According to the CBN’s data on the movement of reserves, the reserves fell to $33.32bn as of the end of June 30 from $34.23bn on May 31. The reserves stood at $34.88bn at the end of April 30.

Financial experts have expressed the need for the government to attract more foreign direct investment into the country and stimulate domestic production to attract more foreign exchange and reduce the demand on forex for importation.

At the last Monetary Policy Committee meeting, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, while speaking on the decline in external reserves, said,

“This reflects sales to the foreign exchange market and third-party payments.” The CBN, in its January economic report, said, “As a consequence of the lower foreign exchange receipts, the official external reserves declined.

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