Press spotlights World Bank’s commitment of over $8bn to Nigeria, others

APA – Lagos (Nigeria)

The commitment of $8.5 billion to Nigeria to fund critical issues ranging from agriculture to education by the World Bank and the plans by the Nigerian Government to generate about N160.46bn from excise duty on telecommunication services in 2023 are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.

The Punch reports that the World Bank has committed $8.5 billion to Nigeria to fund critical issues ranging from agriculture to education.

Disclosing this on Thursday in Abuja during a summit organised by the Emergency Coordination Center, the World Bank Country Director to Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, noted that the amount was the largest of any country.

He noted that it was still infinitesimal compared with the needs of Nigeria, stressing, however, that around $2.5 billion to $3 billion of the fund had been channelled towards education.

“Half of the population of Nigeria itself is less than 17 years old. This means there is a need to invest in human capital development,” he said.

He noted that the future of Nigeria depended on the ability of the young people to go to school , stressing that it was important to make schools safe to ensure that fewer children were out of school.

He further said it was Nigeria’s call to determine how it would mobilise its financial resources to enable young Nigerians to go to school or whether its scarce resources would be used to subsidise petrol with over N6.5 trillion.

Africa’s most populous nation is mobilising N6.7 trillion for petrol subsidies at the expense of education and health. About 10.1 million children are out of school, according to the education ministry, but a report suggests it is up to 18.5 million.

Analysts have described Nigeria’s insistence on subsidies as financial indiscipline, noting that it would have adverse consequences on the Nigerian economy.

The newspaper says that the Nigerian Government will generate about N160.46bn from excise duty on telecommunication services in 2023.

According to the Nigerian Communications Commission, the combined revenue of operators in the GSM, Fixed Wired, and Internet Service Providers was N3.21tn in 2021. If the government implements its five per cent excise duty on telecom services, it will generate about N160.46bn.

The amount, however, assumes that the revenue of the telcos would be static. But in real terms, it could either be higher or lower depending on economic fundamentals in 2022.

Recently, the Federal Government disclosed a plan to implement a 5 per cent excise duty on telecom services in the nation.

This was revealed by the Minister of Finance Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, during a stakeholders’ forum on the implementation of excise duty on telecommunications services in Nigeria.

Ahmed, who spoke through the Assistant Chief Officer of the Ministry, Mr Frank Oshanipin, said the implementation of the excise duty was in a bid to increase the government’s revenue.

But the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, on Monday, said that he was against the tax and would do everything to stop its implementation.

The Guardian reports that the Nigerian Government yesterday inaugurated the National Cocoa Management Committee (NCMC) to see to the re-establishment of the Nigeria Cocoa Board and also ensure Cocoa farmers benefit from the Living Income Differential (LID) of $400 per tonne to improve their living standards.

Cocoa exporters in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have been enjoying the LID introduced by the two countries as a premium on their cocoa and as a tool to complement the prices of the cash crop in the international market.

Unconfirmed reports have it that exporters have been taking cocoa of Nigerian origin to either Ghana or Cote d’Ivoire for them to enjoy the $400 per ton LDI premium.

Inaugurating the Cocoa Management Committee in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Abubakar stated that the purpose of the committee is to work out modalities for Nigerian cocoa farmers to start benefiting from this initiative like their counterparts in Ghana and Cote d’ Ivoire ports.

Abubakar tasked the committee members saying, “One of your immediate tasks is to come up with an urgent draft charter for the operations of NCMC which will enable an Executive Bill to be forwarded to the National Assembly for legal backing so as to meet the demand of joining the Ghana/Cote d’Ivoire initiative to deliver Living Income Differential (LID) of $400/ ton, which will, in turn, improve the livelihood of our smallholder cocoa farmers in the country”.

The committee chaired by the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, Garuba Abubakar has the following terms of reference: “develop a framework for the regulation and monitoring of the activities of the Cocoa sector to make the industry more transparent and also develop a strategic plan towards the establishment of a Nigerian Cocoa Board.

Being an important regulatory body in the Nigerian Cocoa sector, they are to upscale their activities to all cocoa-producing states and also develop Local, State and Federal Government strategic implementation plans for the National Cocoa Management Committee.

The committee is also expected to establish a data bank for all Multinational Companies and Exporters of Cocoa Beans from Nigerian Ports.

The newspaper says that Technology firm, MTN has launched home broadband services targeting 43 million households and 40 million medium and small-scale enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria.

Besides, MTN said this service is also in line to accelerate broadband penetration in alignment with the Federal Government’s plan to achieve over 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025.

At the unveiling in Lagos on Wednesday, the telecommunications company noted that with over 200 million people, Nigeria currently boasts of approximately 44.3 per cent Internet connectivity, whereas other African countries, such as South Africa, Egypt, and Kenya, are at 68, 74, and 48 per cent Internet penetration, respectively.

It added that global technology statistics closely link Internet connectivity to sustainable economic growth rates. According to it, on average, the Internet accounts for almost four per cent of GDP across the large economies that make up 70 per cent of global GDP.

MTN said UNICEF also projects that nations with low broadband connectivity have the potential to realise up to 20 per cent GDP growth by connecting schools to the Internet.

The telecoms firm currently connects over 70 million Nigerians (over seven per cent 4G population and 89.8 per cent coverage nationwide).

The Nation reports that the Nigerian Government and technology giant, Google, yesterday agreed to collaborate in preventing the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and live streams by proscribed groups, especially terrorist organisations.

The decision was reached when a Google team visited Information and Culture, Minister Lai Mohammed in Abuja yesterday.

Mohammed, in his welcome address, requested from the Google officials that channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should be disallowed on Google platforms.

He listed Biafra Digest TV, Umu Biafra TV, Biafra Digest, Asa Biafra TV as examples of channels that spread subversive information/ contents.

Some of the channels, according to him, use local languages during their broadcast to evade being censored.

His words: ”We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations. Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms..

“Your platform is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group.


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