Press focuses on report of 330,000 Nigerian refugees in neighboring countries, others

The report by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development that 330,000 Nigerian refugees are currently residing…

The report by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development that 330,000 Nigerian refugees are currently residing in neighboring countries due to protracted insurgency and banditry in the North East and North West, communal crises and farmers/herdsmen clashes in the Middle Belt and the Southern region is one of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Vanguard reports that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, has said 330,000 Nigerian refugees were currently residing in neighboring countries due to protracted insurgency and banditry in the North East and North West, communal crises and farmers/herdsmen clashes in the Middle Belt and the Southern region.

The minister disclosed this yesterday when she was hosted in a Chatham House Webinar to discuss Nigeria’s humanitarian challenges and worsening food crises in Nigeria.

The breakdown of the 330,000 Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries, according to her, include 16,634 in Chad, 118,409 in Cameroon, while Niger Republic has 186,957.

It would be recalled that the World Food Programme, WFP, estimated that 3.4 million people were currently facing acute hunger in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, and that another 4.3 million were entirely dependent on food assistance from the government or multilateral organisations across the country.

Sadiya Umar Farouq, however, disclosed that her ministry had launched two key frameworks aimed at boosting humanitarian actions and making them more practicable and impactful.

She said: “The first is the Humanitarian Development Peace Nexus Framework, which is derived from the UN Triple Nexus principles that believes development causes peace and that humanitarian actions can bring about development.

“Second is the localization framework, an initiative adopted after the commitment of stakeholders at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit to re-energize the concept of localization of aid.”

The Guardian says that the Federal Government flagged off the Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) revitalisation programme in January 2017, under which it committed to refurbishing 10,000 PHCs across the country with at least one Centre in each of Nigeria’s 109 senatorial districts.

But four years on, PHC facilities across the country are still begging for attention.

The Guardian investigation revealed that despite all past and ongoing efforts by the Federal Government, the implementation of PHC in Nigeria has been plagued by several challenges: poor governance, inadequate financing, poor human resources for health and under-utilisation of the PHC facilities by individuals and communities.

Medical experts, who spoke to The Guardian, agreed that the Nigeria PHC system suffers from fragmented services, weak referral systems and poor infrastructure. They insist that there are serious gaps in access to basic health services.

They also said the multiplicity of vertical disease control programmes, with poor integration of services at suboptimal levels, result in low coverage of high-impact, cost-effective interventions. It was found that there is poor linkage between different levels of care, materials and equipment for service delivery at the PHC facilities.

The Guardian investigation revealed that most health centres no longer have functional drug revolving schemes, resulting in shortage of essential and critical medicines and commodities at point of service delivery.

The Sun reports that the Nigerian Government has introduced a two per cent annual increase on price based royalty for crude oil and condensates in the controversial Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

The PIA, which tortuous journey into becoming a law started in 2007, targets the revamp of the oil and gas sector by ensuring optimal levels of transparency and accountability through strengthening of governance institutions and attracting the much-needed capital with changes to the administrative, fiscal and regulatory frameworks, was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, on August 26, 2021.

According to the PIA, additional price based royalty shall apply to crude oil and condensates, which crystallises only when crude oil prices exceeds $50 ($100 shall attract 5 per cent and above $150 shall attract 10 percent).

The rates apply to the 2020 fiscal year and shall be increased by 2 per cent yearly as provided in the PIA. The price-based royalty shall be credited to the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund.

The PIA had retained production-based royalty rates but added price-based royalty rates. Production-based royalty is between 5 per cent-15 per cent for crude oil and condensates and 5 per cent for gas although, for local gas supplies, the rate is lower at 2.5 per cent.

The Punch says that stakeholders including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Association of Small Business Owners on Sunday lamented the worsening scarcity of forex in the country, saying they were already cutting costs as their profits were shrinking.

MAN, ASBON and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and industrialists in separate interviews with The PUNCH said the free fall of naira and the attendant forex scarcity had worsened Nigeria’s harsh business environment in the past two months. Some stakeholders, especially small business owners, told our correspondents that they were reducing their staff strength, warning that there would be massive job losses if forex scarcity continued.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had in July stopped selling forex to Bureau De Change operators on the grounds that they defeated their purpose of existence through illegally dealing in wholesale trading of forex beyond the statutory benchmark allowed by the law.

The CBN directed businessmen and others to source forex from commercial banks. Since the apex bank gave the directive, naira has been on a free fall and accessing forex has been difficult for firms. As of Sunday the dollar exchanged for N580 while pounds sold for N780.

The newspaper reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has said that Nigeria needs over $400bn to fund its critical energy needs.

Buhari said that $300bn would be needed for electricity generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure while $116bn would fund buildings, industry and transport facilities in a statement quoted by Bloomberg.

The report also said Buhari did not include a timeframe for the spending plan but said Nigeria would need support from developed nations to bridge the funding gap, an amount Buhari said exceeds Nigeria’s energy budget for the next 30 years.

Buhari, who addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, is under pressure to show how Nigeria would ultimately transition away from fossil fuels, the report said.

With the funding needs almost matching the size of Nigeria’s gross domestic product in 2020, his statement amounted to one of indefinite goals, unachievable to him without massive outside assistance, the report added. Buhari was quoted as saying,

The Leadership newspaper says that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has assured the Committee of e-Business Industry Heads (CeBIH) of its strong partnership and commitment to facilitate a seamless integration towards achieving a digital Nigeria.

This, it said, was in line with the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).

The director general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, gave the assurance when he received a team of CeBIH, led by their Chairman Mr Adeyemi Atanda on a familiarisation visit to NITDA’s corporate headquarters in Abuja recently.

Abdullahi said: “Collaboration with CeBIH is critical, we cannot do it alone, our mandate is so huge, so we are glad to partner with you to deliver service to Nigerians.”

He identified three things that drive digital economy as; broad band penetration, digital identity, and the payment system.

He explained that using digital devices to do financial transactions, makes work and life less stressful, increase productivity and creates opportunities to maximise time and energy.

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