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Press focuses on President Buhari’s medical trip to UK, others

The trip of President Muhammadu Buhari to London to honour a medical appointment and return back to the country in…

The trip of President Muhammadu Buhari to London to honour a medical appointment and return back to the country in the second week of July is the trending story in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.The Guardian reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, will today, depart Abuja for London to honour a medical appointment.

A presidential statement said he would be back in the country in the second week of July.

Besides, the Nigerian leader has renewed his commitment to the development of the space sector, describing it as the foundation of cyber security and a vibrant digital economy.

He made the pledge yesterday during a meeting with members of the National Space Council of the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) at the State House, Abuja.

Consequently, the President ordered the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, to submit to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for consideration and approval “a revised 25-year roadmap for the implementation of the National Space Policy.”

The newspaper says that the financial boost of N2 million dangled on the relay tickets by the President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Tonobok Okowa, paid off yesterday as Nigerian women 4x400m squad took a massive leap into the top 16 of nations that qualified for the Tokyo Olympics relay event.

The team anchored by veteran, Patience Okon-George finished 3.26.33 seconds to land at the 13th position with four days left for qualification deadline of June 29.

“This is a massive race by our girls,” a member of the AFN, Commodore Omatseye Nesiama screamed as he joined other board members, including  President Okowa, his vice Rosa Collins, Southwest representative on the board Solomon Alao and immediate past President Solomon Ogba in celebration in the VIP stand of the Teslim Balogun stadium.

The women’s 4x400m team, which also had Favour Ofili, Knowledge Omovoh and Imeobong Nse Uko has joined the women’s 4x100m team, which had earlier booked their ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.

Earlier on, the men 4x100m failed to get the performance they wanted. They remain rooted to 18th position after running 38.55 seconds at the one-day Lagos Open Athletics Championship attended by Senegal, Zambia, Cote d’Ivoire and Benin Republic.

ThisDay reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed optimism that Nigeria will soon prevail over the current security challenges facing it.

He anchored his optimism on various efforts by the federal government to tackle insecurity, including the recent supplementary budget sent to the National Assembly for approval for the procurement of military hardware for the use of the military and other security agencies.

Osinbajo, while hosting the Oluyin of Iyin Ekiti, Oba Adeola Ajakaiye, yesterday in Abuja rallied Nigerians to support the security agencies to ensure that Nigeria is safe.

He said: “I can assure you that soon, the issue of insecurity will be a thing of the past, and that we will all live in peace and prosperity in this country.”

According to him, the supplementary budget seeking approval for funds to enhance the capacity of the military and other security agencies is part of the concerted efforts of the federal government to beef up its response to the nation’s security challenges.

The Sun says that President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, has received the highest civilian honour in Cameroon – the Commander of the National Order of Valour – from the President of the Republic, Mr Paul Biya.

According to President Biya, the landmark honour was conferred on Dangote in recognition of his efforts in infrastructural development of Cameroon and Africa through his cement plants.

The President, at a conferment ceremony held at the Unity Palace, Yaoundé expressed pride at Dangote’s various efforts to promote industrialisation across Africa through the building of cement plants in several countries.

He noted that these plants have provided thousands of direct and indirect employment at their various locations, to boost the economies of their host countries, just like in Cameroon.

He urged the leading African investor to consider more investments in the manufacturing sector in Cameroon, explaining that there are numerous business opportunities in the country.

The Punch reports that the World Bank has said Nigeria can generate N600bn annually by increasing the excise duties on tobacco and alcohol as recommended in the National Development Update report.

A Senior Tax Specialist of the bank, Rajul Awasthi, said this on Thursday at a virtual discussion on domestic revenue mobilisation.

According to him, Nigeria has one of the lowest excise duty rates on tobacco and alcohol in Africa, and the duty rate on cigarettes is lower than the standard set by the Economic Community of West African States.

He advised the Federal Government to either adopt the excise standards for tobacco and alcohol recommended by the ECOWAS or Kenya to boost the country’s revenue from tax.

He said this kind of tax increase would not impact the majority of the population or low income-earners but improve the ease of tax compliance monitoring.

The newspaper says that inflationary pressures and foreign exchange scarcity has significantly impacted the operating costs of businesses in Nigeria, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.

The President, LCCI, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, said this on Thursday in Lagos at a roundtable on the ease of doing business. She noted the efforts by the Federal Government, through the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, towards eliminating constraints and bottlenecks to doing business in the country, as well as the implementation of some regulatory reforms.

According to her, access to domestic and international financing opportunities, particularly among Small and Medium Enterprise, is still limited, despite the accommodative policy stance of the Central Bank of Nigeria. She said just a few SMEs benefited from the low-interest rate regime in the previous year.

According to her, the ease of doing business is a key consideration for local and international investments, and evidence has shown a strong correlation between ease of doing business and private investment flows. She said it would be almost impossible to attract and retain private investments without an enabling environment.

The Leadership reports that the Senate President Ahmed Lawan has said the legislature won’t be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the executive arm of government.

He disclosed this yesterday to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

According to him, whenever they have to approve any loan, the legislature would insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those by those loans.

He admitted that Nigeria doesn’t have the needed revenues, saying the country is poor. He said, “What I want to assure Nigerians here is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the executive arm of government.

“Whenever we have to approve any loan, we have to insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those by those loans,” he said.

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