Press highlights AfDB’s support for digital currencies, others

The endorsement of digital currencies by the African Development Bank and the declaration of no-fly-zone and ban of all mining…

The endorsement of digital currencies by the African Development Bank and the declaration of no-fly-zone and ban of all mining activities in Zamfara State by President Muhammadu Buhari to curb rising insecurity in the state are some of the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Wednesday.

The Guardian reports that the African Development Bank (AfDB) has thrown its weight behind digital currencies, putting in motion a machinery to build capacity particularly among the female gender in the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) countries, including Nigeria.

The African continental lender, yesterday, said its Board of Directors has already awarded a grant of $320, 535 to the West African Monetary Agency (WEMA) to mainstream gender in ECOWAS’ digital financial services (DFS) regulatory framework.

The funds, the Bank explained, will support a gender gap analysis of several WAMA strategies, including financial inclusion, gender disaggregation data analytics, digital payment services and infrastructure as well as digital identity.

The project, to be executed over three years, will potentially affect 350 million people in all 15 ECOWAS member states. The grant will be disbursed through the Africa Digital Financial Inclusion Facility (ADFI), a finance vehicle supported by the Bank.

“With a secretariat comprising all the 15 ECOWAS central banks, WAMA plays a pivotal role in the consolidation and implementation of strategic financial inclusion objectives. ADFI and WAMA project team will work closely with other ecosystem players in the region to ensure harmonisation of efforts for maximum impact,” said the ADFI Coordinator, Sheila Okiro.

The newspaper says that President Muhammadu Buhari has declared Zamfara State a no-fly-zone and banned all mining activities to curb rising insecurity in the state.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd.) disclosed this after a security council meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Monguno also stated that all non-state actors have been placed under strict surveillance, saying the Federal Government would not hesitate to use kinetic means to restore normalcy in the country.

He said the country’s defence and intelligence apparatuses have been put on alert and charged not to allow the country to slide into anarchy.

Monguno also said the President, directed the new service chiefs to reclaim all areas under the control of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists, adding: “We won’t be blackmailed as the government has the responsibility to assert its will.

The Sun reports that agricultural stakeholders have called for an urgent government intervention to resolve ongoing blockade of food and agricultural supplies to the South by northern trade unions last weekend.
Those who spoke to Daily Sun said the idea was not well thought out and will impact negatively on availability and prices of food items in the South regions, especially in a big city like Lagos and adjoining states.

Reacting to the development, the National President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Kabiru Ibrahim, said it is a bad development that should be nipped in the bud. Ibrahim said, ‘’the traders should know that the South is their market.

Once you stop people from delivering their goods, the goods will be lost and that’s not good for business. If on the other hand things that come from the South to the North are stopped, what happens?”

He said it is the poor people who are not responsible for leadership and security that will suffer, adding that, “the northerners and southerners all suffer the same fate when there’s failure in security management.” I

The Punch reports that petrol scarcity in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states persisted on Tuesday and provoked an over 100 percent rise in transport fares in many locations of the affected areas.

Also, hundreds of black marketers of petrol surfaced in various roads in Abuja and environs, as they sold the commodity at between N300 to N500 per litre.

The scarcity of petrol led to severe queues by motorists in front of the few filling stations that dispensed the commodity on Tuesday.
Transport fares were hiked by commercial transporters; for instance, the fare from Zuba, a border town between Abuja and Niger, to Berger, which used to be between N250 and N300, was raised to N600 on Tuesday.

Similarly, taxi drivers in Abuja city centre jerked up their rates by over 100 per cent, collecting over N1,000 for distances that they previously accepted between N500 and N700.

Reacting to the development, oil marketers stated that the supply of petrol by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had been distorted.
The newspaper says that over three million Nigerians have lost about N18bn through Ponzi schemes, the Securities and Exchange Commission stated on Tuesday.

The Director-General, SEC, Lamido Yuguda, said this during a webinar organised by the commission. Ponzi schemes are fraudulent investing scams which generate returns for early investors with money taken from later investors.

They are similar to pyramid schemes in that both are based on using new investors’ funds to pay the earlier backers. Speaking at the webinar, Yuguda said, “Ponzi schemes operate with unsustainable operating models that ultimately lead to huge losses for investors.
“Following the collapse of the MMM Ponzi scheme, the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation had estimated that over three million Nigerians lost about N18bn.”

ThisDay reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the ministry of power to collaborate with the Egyptian government on the effective implementation of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI), otherwise known, as the Siemens Project.

The president’s instruction will see a delegation from Nigeria visit Egypt to, according to the Minister of Power, Mr. Sale Mamman, understudy the country’s own success story with the German firm.

In July last year, the Federal Executive Council (FEC), approved the payment of €15.21 million (about N6.9 billion) offshore and N1.708 billion onshore as part of Nigeria’s counterpart funding for the deal, which has somehow stalled since then.

In three phases, the deal is expected to focus on essential and quick-win measures to increase the system’s operational capacity to 7000MW and to significantly reduce Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses.

ATC&C is the difference between the amount of electricity received by a Distribution Company (Disco) from the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the amount of electricity for which it invoices its customers.

Siemens is expected to provide general technical training on core competency areas as well as training for employees of Nigeria’s 11 electricity distribution companies, the TCN, and regulators, on all the equipment and software being provided by Siemens.