The Federal Government says it will invest and focus attention on natural gas exploitation in the country.
Addressing the 6th Gas Exporting Countries Forum GECF Summit in Doha, Qatar, President Muhammadu Buhari said enactment of Petroleum Industry Act PIA was designed to enable Nigeria to derive more value from natural gas.
President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by Chief Timipre Sylva, Minister of State, Petroleum Resources.
A statement by Senior Adviser to the Minister on Media and Communications Horatius Egua, quoted President Muhammadu Buhari as saying the recent enactment of the of Petroleum Industry Act is an indication of government’s commitment to derive more value from natural gas.
This is by providing required governance, regulatory and fiscal framework to support the industry’s growth.
The President said government, which is committed to sustainable growth of natural gas exploitation and utilisation, listed some of the gas initiatives Nigeria is currently embarking upon to include the National Gas Expansion Program NGEP.
NIGERIA ECONOMIC SUMMIT 2022 OUTLOOK
The Nigeria Economic Summit Group NESG says that Nigeria needs to achieve a paradigm shift in governance and policy design to sustain and accelerate economic growth in 2022.
Chief Executive Officer of the NESG, Mr Laoye Jaiyeola, who made the suggestion in the group’s Macroeconomic Outlook for 2022, said that the year presented opportunities to initiate critical reforms to achieve the shift.
He warned that failure by the Federal Government to embark on the reforms could worsen challenges the country encountered in 2021.
The role of government he pointed out is to ensure that reforms translate to a friendly business environment and better welfare conditions for households.
Loaye Jaiyeola said Nigeria is rapidly consolidating its recovery from COVID-19 pandemic, noting, however, that the recovery had not been all-inclusive.
In spite of a GDP growth of 3.2 per cent in the first three quarters of 2021 he noted data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that average prices of goods and services were high, Trade balance remained in deficit and foreign investment inflow was constrained.
The NESG boss also said although Nigeria had enormous potentials, job creation across sectors was lagging, resulting in an increase in unemployed individuals.
The challenges associated with insecurity, rising prices, unemployment, and lower investments he added intensified the need for reforms that will lead the country to substantial economic progress and improved social inclusion.
He specifically called for deregulation of the country’s oil sector to boost investments and also save huge government revenue expended on fuel importation.
REGULATING THE TELECOM ECOSYSTEM
The Nigerian Communications Commission NCC says it is irrevocably committed to the implementation of the regulatory initiatives and programmes in collaboration with all stakeholders in the telecom ecosystem.
This, the NCC says is towards bridging identified gaps and shortages in critical telecom infrastructure in the country.
The executive vice chairman and chief executive officer EVC/CEO of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, stated this during an in-house interview at the Commission’s Head Office in Abuja.
Prof Danbatta says the Commission’s main mandate is to support extant and emergent policies and strategies of the Federal Government focused on providing accessible and affordable broadband services in Nigeria.
STANDARD FOR ENGINEERS
The Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers NIEEE is calling on Standards Organisation of Nigeria SON to develop curriculum for the teaching of standards in schools.
The National Chairman of NIEEE, Michael Akan, made the call in a statement at his investiture as the 20th national chairman of the institute in Abuja.
Nigeria, he said is lagging in standards development, hence, the need to speed up the process by encouraging the teaching of standards in schools.
The National Chairman noted that no country can grow economically without technology and technological engagement in the development of engineering standards.
Michael Akan pointed out that Nigeria is only represented in two technical committees on the International Electrotechnical Commission IEC, while countries like China dominate with over 1000 technical committees.
Also speaking Assistant Director, Management Systems Certification at Standard Organisation Of Nigeria SON, Mr Richard Adewumi, decried the poor attitude of professionals towards standards development.
He said there was a need to market SON and its activities and called on NIEEE members to join the technical committees and workgroups to be part of standards developments.
CUSTOMS E-MODERNISATION PROJECT
The public hearing of the Joint Committees on Customs and Excise, Finance and Banking and Currency of the House of Representatives probing the delay in the take off of Nigeria Customs Services E-Customs modernisation project held recently.
The project when completed is expected to automate the activities of the service, streamline the finances and stop revenue leakages from the system.
The committee said Nigeria is currently losing about $8.810 billion annually from non-implementation of the project.
The project is generated about $176.2 billion within the 20 years concession period.
The presentation to the committee was jointly chaired by Chairman, House Committee on Customs and Excise Leke Abejide; Chairman, Committee on Banking and Currency Victor Nwokolo and Chairman, House Committee on Finance James Faleke, and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who was represented at the hearing by the Director, Home Finance, Stephen Okon.
The finance minister said there were three pending court cases, which delayed the project.
The pending suits are undoubtedly impeding the commencement of the E-Customs project.
To pave way for the Project, Mrs Zainab Ahmed said the Ministry is liaising with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to ensure the arbitration is speedily concluded.
In his speech at the hearing, the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col.Hameed Ali retd, who was represented by the Assistant Comptroller-General, ICT, Galadima Saidu, said the matter had been previously heard and dispensed with by the House.
He said the contractor, who was supposed to execute the project, had been relieved of it.
NIGERIA CUSTOMS VIN
Economic activities are crippled at the Lagos seaports, Tin-Can Island and Ports and Terminal Multiservice Limited PTML as clearing agents protested the Vehicle Identification Number VIN, Valuation policy recently introduced by the Nigeria Customs Service NCS on imported vehicles.
The Protest led to shutdown of the two seaports which followed the expiration of the 72 hours strike notice issued by all registered freight forwarding associations operating at the PTML Terminal and Tin Can Island port to the Comptroller General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali.
Reports say imported vehicles valuation rose by almost 300 per cent making the agents seal off the popular Car Park C at the Tin Can Island Port.
The clearing agents said despite their appeal to the Customs management to address the issue, cars are stranded at various port terminals due to failure of the new customs valuation system to generate accurate value payable on imported car
The Nigerian Railway Corporation NRC is raising concern over the persistent vandalization of rail tracks across the country.
The Corporation’s Managing Director Fidet Okhiria made the observation while speaking to Newsmen at the corporation’s headquarters in Lagos.
Fidet Okhiria, who observed that the removal of the rail tracks was hitherto restricted to the narrow gauge, said the hoodlums are now attacking the standard gauge.
The NRC boss noted that sabotaging the rail and the fixed infrastructure is not in the best interest of Nigeria.
He said it would be better to keep the nation’s infrastructure working for generations to come to appreciate what today’s citizens collectively suffered for.
Fidet Okhiria said the Corporation has issues between Papalanto and Abeokuta and close to Ajaokuta, of people trying to vandalise the tracks and even the coaches.
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CURBING RITUALSM IN NIGERIAN MOVIES
The Federal Government is directing filmmakers to eschew money ritual contents in their movies.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja.
The minister said the confession of some money ritual suspects that they learnt the heinous act on social media boosted the resolve of the Federal Government to sanitise social media.
Alhaji Mohammed said government will not allow the social media space to be dominated by dangerous content
The Minister appealed to religious, traditional and political leaders to be part of efforts to reorientate youths to realise that success comes through hard work, not money rituals.
FCTA tomatoes processing training
The Federal Capital Territory Administration FCTA is training selected rural women on improved skills in processing and preservation of tomatoes to enhance food security in the territory.
Agency reports say the training programme which is an outcome of the collaboration between the FCT Administration, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency JICA on nutrition improvement involves three hundred rural women.
The Mandate Secretary for FCT Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim, said the training was in line with the ongoing global campaign to promote the practice of organic agriculture for its nutritional and health benefits.
He noted that the Hot bottle technique lays emphasis on the use of organic products in the processing and preservation processes.
The secretary, Malam Abubakar Ibrahim therefore, enjoined the participants to take advantage of the training to improve their family’s food and nutrition security.
Earlier, the Director, Planning Research and Statistics of the Agriculture Secretariat, Yahaya Husseini, said the training which was apt is the obligation and collective responsibility of managers of public institutions and key stakeholders in the industry to change the business of agriculture, mostly left to peasant farmers.
SARAH OCHEPE JAILED
A Federal High Court in Jos sentences former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe and two others to three months imprisonment for a N450 million fraud.
The court also sentenced Raymond Dabo and 6Leo Jitung to three months imprisonment each.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC charged them in 2018 with conspiracy and money laundering.
Delivering ruling, Justice Musa Kurna, gave the convicts an option of a fine of N1 Million.
Ochekpe, Dabo and Jitung entered a plea of no case submission.
Sentencing the convicts, the judge held that after withdrawing the said amount from the bank, they did not withhold the money to themselves but delivered same to a governorship candidate, as such were not guilty of retaining the sum for themselves.
Kurna however said they were guilty of withdrawing the N450 million which he said was above the threshold of an individual withdrawal.
He said, the offence, which contravened the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2013 as amended, carried a minimum of three years imprisonment or a N10 million fine.
The judge however, in his discretion sentenced them to three months imprisonment each or an option N1 million naira each.
APC picks March 26 for convention
The Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee CECPC of the All-Progressives Congress APC is picking the 26th of March 2022, for its convention.
The exercise was initially scheduled for February 26, 2022 but was postponed indefinitely.
Addressing newsmen at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja after a closed-door meeting, which lasted several hours, Secretary of the Caretaker Committee, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe, said the preparation for the convention will commence on 24th of February 2022.
He said the zonal congresses will hold before the national convention slated for 26 of March 2022.
The zonal congresses are scheduled for Thursday 24th February, 2022, Saturday 26th February, 2022 and Monday 28th February among other activities.
USE OF SPECIAL PLATE NUMBER
The Federal Road Safety Corps FRSC, Akwa Ibom Command is warning Nigerians, especially politicians against covering and use of special number plates on their vehicles without authorisation.
The Sector Commander in the state, Matthew Olonisaye gave the warning while speaking to Newsmen in Uyo.
He said that it was illegal to cover or use special number plates without proper registration and approval.
People wanting to use special number plates should apply through the State Board of Internal Revenue and government will then give the FRSC the directive to produce the special number plate.
He appealed to those using such number plates to desist adding that defaulters will be apprehended.
NDLEA’S CONTINUED DETENTION OF ABBA KYARI
The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court grants an application filled by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for permission to further detain the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari and six others, for 14 days.
The agency, told the court that those it applied to further detain in its custody, are currently the subject of an ongoing investigation into their alleged complicity in drug trafficking.
The Director, Prosecution and Legal Services at the NDLEA, Mr. Joseph Sunday, who moved the ex-parte application, said the order was needed to enable the agency to conclude its investigations and possibly file charges against the individuals involved.
After she listened to the ex-parte applications and perused through the accompanying affidavit, Justice Zainab Abubakar, granted the order as prayed.
The court said the agency was at liberty to apply for an extension of the order, upon the expiration of the 14 days period.
TRADE BETWEEN NIGERIA AND MOROCCO
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Sidie Tunis is talking on the need to boost trade relations between West African nations and the Kingdom of Morocco to boost economic growth.
The speaker made the call while addressing the Moroccan House of Councillors at the opening of the 6th International Parliamentary Forum on Social Justice, in Rabat, Morocco.
The details of the forum titled Social Dialogue and the Stakes of the Social State was made known in a statement issued by the Communications Department of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja.
Sidie Tunis noted that the trade relations between Morocco and West Africa is currently low calling for a scale up of such relations.
Commenting on the event, Sidie Tunis lauded the proclamation of the UN General Assembly’s proclamation, declaring Feb. 20 as World Day of Social Justice which has challengeed states to promoting national activities on social Development.
Also highlighted at the meetings was the appeal by Morocco to move from an observer status to become a permanent member of the sub-regional body, ECOWAS.
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