Nigerian press focuses on deployment of 140 policemen to Guinea Bissau, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The approval for the deployment of 140 Policemen to Guinea Bissau for peacekeeping operations by Nigeria and the drop in the production of cocoa as cash crop has dropped due to inadequate financing are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.

The Vanguard reports that Nigeria has approved the deployment of 140 Policemen to Guinea Bissau for peacekeeping operations.

The report said that a statement by the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, yesterday, stated that the personnel were from the Formed Police Unit, FPU.

This came as the Joint Special Representative of Africa Union and United Nations, Professor Ibrahim Gambaria, called for equity in funding and troops contributions to peacekeeping operations.

The statement said: “The deployment is in fulfillment of Nigeria’s pledge and commitment to assist ECOWAS in restoring rule of law and general orderliness in Guinea Bissau and the ECOWAS sub-region.”

The Guardian says that the production of cocoa as cash crop has dropped due to inadequate financing, among other factors.

This is despite that cocoa is the nation’s leading cash crop in terms of export and second highest foreign exchange earner as indicated by the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) Top Products by Imports and Exports Q1, 2020.

Strikingly, as Nigeria faces regression in cocoa production, the crop in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, with less number of hectares, is enjoying boom and has overtaken Nigeria in productivity per hectare in several folds.

A number of factors account for the decline in Nigeria’s cocoa yield, among which is budgetary allocations.

The Punch reports that the Nigerian Government on Thursday flagged off two schemes to financially support about 1.7 million micro, small and medium enterprises across the country with N75bn.

At a briefing on the flag-off of the National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus Schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, said the schemes would impact positively on businesses.

The Economic Sustainability Plan was approved by the Federal Executive Council on June 24, 2020 following its initiation by the Economic Sustainability Committee that was established by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on March 30.

The committee, which is chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, comprises several ministers and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation as well as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The newspaper reports that the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mansur Ahmed, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic which created unprecedented challenges in global economies led to a near shut down of eight subsectors of the country’s manufacturing sector.

He also said that the manufacturers spent N67.38bn on self-generated electricity in the 2019 financial period. Ahmed spoke during the association’s 48th Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Thursday.

“For Nigeria, the outcomes include lockdown, near shut down of the operations of eight manufacturing sectoral groups, disruption in supply chain, inventory and inventory of unsold items and loss of jobs,” he said.

He added, “The manufacturing sector spent over N67.38bn on self-generated electricity with energy cost accounting for over 38 per cent of production cost in 2019.”

The Nation says that the Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Agba said the Nigerian Government plans to spend $2.3 billion in the first phase of the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) project, aimed at increasing the nation’s power transmission capacity to 7,000megawatts (Mw).

He spoke during the Nigerian Energy Forum (NEF 2020) Webinar in Lagos, tagged: Energy Solution for Sustainable Recovery yesterday.

According to Agba, the various interventions are grouped into phases with the near term objective being to increase the transmission capacity from the current level of just over 5,000Mw to 7,000Mw.

“The PPI is structured into various three phases, aimed at increasing power delivered to Nigerians to 7GW in first phase, 11GW in the second phase and 25GW in third phase.

The newspaper reports that the Federal Government yesterday said the country stood to rake in over N1 trillion annually from fuel subsidy removal. Minister of State, Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the cash would be deployed to fund other critical components of the economy.

He said: “I believe that this discussion around subsidy has been a vexed issue that has captured the imagination of this country for a long time now.

Successive administrations have attempted to deregulate. But sometimes, some administrations lacked the political will and at other times, the time was not good for it. And why did I say the time was not good for it? Does that imply the time is good for it now?

The problem around deregulation is that people must understand first, that the product we are talking about is a derivative of crude oil. It is refined from crude oil.

ThisDay reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to release “a kobo” from the country’s reserves for the importation of food items and fertilisers.

He said at the National Food Security Council meeting yesterday at the State House, Abuja, that he would soon communicate the directive, which he had previously issued orally to the CBN, in writing to the apex bank that ”nobody importing food should be given money.”

He also said the federal government averted food crisis despite the outbreak of COVID-19, which disrupted the global economy, including the agriculture value chain, through its proactive policy.

A statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, quoted the president as saying that instead of releasing fund from the foreign reserves for fertiliser importation, the government would rather empower local producers of the product.


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