The Punch reports that Nigeria and other countries in Africa on Wednesday opposed the much-touted proposal to impose vaccine passports for air travellers, describing it as unacceptable.
African Ministers of Aviation said the proposal was tantamount to discrimination against certain groups of population, especially on the African continent, which still had considerable number of its citizens who are yet to receive the vaccines.
They also described the proposal as going against the intent of the Chicago Convention on the need to preserve friendship and understanding, reduce threat to general security and establish international air transport based on equal opportunity.
The African ministers made this known in a presentation delivered virtually by Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation High Level Conference on COVID-19 in Canada.
The African delegation, in a statement issued in Abuja by Nigeria’s aviation ministry, argued that rather than impose vaccine passports, state parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation should continue to minimise the risks during travel.
He stressed that such states should refrain from the practice and instead take measures that would facilitate the reopening and reconnection of the world.
The minister said, “There is a clear onus on both public and private stakeholders to take full measure of the dire circumstances now facing the air transport sector and to ensure sufficient operational sustainability.
“These actions are critical to make sure that the world is adequately reconnected, as aviation plays a critical role in the global economic recovery and to achieve the realisation of the goals of both AU Agenda 2063 and UN Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.”
The newspaper says that the House of Representatives on Wednesday began the second reading of the 2022 Appropriation Bill during which members debated the general principles of the national budget.
The lawmakers took turns to criticise the internal and external borrowings by the Federal Government, the huge budget deficit and failure by the ministries, departments and agencies to generate adequate revenue to finance the budget.
The budget is titled ‘A Bill for an Act to Authorise the issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation, the total sum of N16,391,023,917,692 only, of which N768,276,616,043 only is for Statutory Transfers, N3,901,952,981,550 only is for Debt Service, N6,829,015,483,446 only is for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure while the sum of N4,891,778,836,654 only is for Contribution to the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending 31 December, 2022.’
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Thursday, laid the money bill before a joint session of the National Assembly. The budget has a total estimate of N16.39tn, the biggest that the Federal Government would ever have.
The Sun reports that the Federal Government says it has through the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support project (APPEALS), set aside N600 billion as loans to support 2.4 million farmers across the country. President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed this at the opening of the National Agricultural Show/Exhibition of the 2021 World Food Day on Wednesday, in Abuja.
The theme of the 2021 edition of the Agricultural Show is: “Our Actions are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life”.
Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammed Abubakar, said his administration was not resting on its oars in addressing the challenges of the country’s agricultural sector.
“The Federal Government, through the Agro-Processing Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support project (APPEALS), has set aside N600 billion as loan support to farmers across the country.
“No fewer than 2.4 million farmers are expected to benefit from the loan which has zero interest. The gesture will support farmers in the country, to improve their productivity aimed at boosting the country’s food security, improving farmers’ production and increasing exports.”
The newspaper says that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, has approved the Tax Appeal Tribunal (TAT) (Procedure) Rules, 2021 which replaces the defunct TAT (Procedure) Rules, 2010.
Issued pursuant to her powers under Section 61 of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act, 2007 (as amended), the Rules replace the 2010 Rules and are intended to guide the practice and procedure of Tax Appeal Tribunal (“TAT”) proceedings.
Under the new rules, the TAT has a six-month time frame from the date of commencement of trial to conclude and provide a decision.
It also provides for hearing of ex-parte and non-contentious applications in Chambers as well as summary appeal procedure for liquidated money demands and requires taxpayers to pay 50 per cent of any disputed amount into a designated account of the TAT as security for prosecuting an appeal, prior to commencement of appeals.
Some of the new innovations in the Rules include Electronic filing [Order 3 Rule 5] and service, Order 7 Rule 5. Under the Rules, all processes/documents which may be filed at the secretariat of the TAT may be filed electronically as directed by the TAT.
The Guardian reports that the Federal Government says its target is to add at least $150 billion to the nation’s foreign reserves cumulatively from non-oil exports over the next 10 years.
The government also hopes to create about 500,000 additional export linked jobs annually through an increase in productive export activities.
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja, at a press conference on Nigerian Industrialisation Summit and Expo scheduled for next month.
He said the summit is one of the activities meant to create food security and diversify the Nigerian economy which he said aligns with the present administration’s drive on economic diversification, job creation and enhanced agro value chains with the ultimate objective of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
Agba said the Federal Government, in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), is setting up Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to drive the industrialisation of the country.
ThisDay says that in recognition of the impact of the advocacy activities of the National Association of Chambers Of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Business Women Group (NAWORG), in promoting gender equality and economic empowerment of women since 2004, the federal government through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), has awarded the group with N25 million to conduct advocacy activities to support the allocation of a dedicated quota for women owned businesses in public procurement, under the Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP).
The government, through the Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), deployed a one-year Export Expansion Facility Programme aimed at providing emergency stimulus and intervention to revive economic activity, using the export value chain and its associated services as key economic drivers.
While signing the Beneficiary Charter Grant in Abuja, the Chairperson of NACCIMA Business Women Group, Aisha Abubakar pledged the group’s commitment to work with the federal government to increase advocacy for women in business, particularly to ameliorate the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on women-owned businesses as well as to create new opportunities for strengthening the Nigerian economy for sustainable and inclusive growth.