Copy of Nigerian engineers, I respect you all – Buhari ◉ Buhari administration wants to use data price hike to control social media – Nigerians ◉ Desperate robbers! Police kill three, foil attack on plane ◉ Buzz off! Egypt cancels friendly match with Nigeria ◉ Notorious MMM pushes Bitcoin value in Nigeria – Syracuse researcher ◉ Why you should never go to bed angry ◉ It’s tax clearance or no intn’l passport ◉ Year end results for Buhari are in; and they’re woeful

 

  • How Nigeria Spent a Billion Dollars on Kerosene Subsidy in 2015 – VP Osinbajo Reveals

  • Nigerian engineers, I respect you all – Buhari

  • Buhari administration wants to use data price hike to control social media – Nigerians

  • Desperate robbers! Police kill three, foil attack on plane

  • Buzz off! Egypt cancels friendly match with Nigeria

  • Notorious MMM pushes Bitcoin value in Nigeria – Syracuse researcher

  • Why you should never go to bed angry

  • Year end results for Buhari are in; and they’re woeful

The Tribune: Nigeria to begin rice exportation by 2017 — CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) on Tuesday said it’s Anchor Borrowers Programme for the promotion of Agriculture had set the country to begin exportation of rice by 2017.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Anchor Borrowers Programme of the CBN and the Presidential Committee on Rice Production launched in July had jointly set the target.
The Acting Director of Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Mr Isaac Okorafor, said this in Yenagoa at a sensitisation workshop for farmers.
The theme of the workshop is entitled: “Promoting Stability and Economic Development’’.

According to him, farmers in Kebbi, Jigawa, Ebonyi, Sokoto and Cross River states, among others, have already keyed into the programme, resulting in massive rice cultivation.

He said the country would achieve self-sustenance in rice production if the momentum was sustained, adding that the country should commence exportation of locally produced rice by 2017.

Okorafor said Kebbi State had already harvested one million tons of rice, adding that Ebonyi’s harvest had outstripped the earmarked production for the year.

“The development is encouraging and by the end of 2017, we will not only meet our national demand which is between six and seven million tons but have surplus to export.

“We must rid ourselves of eating foreign rice that has been stored for over nine years in Thailand, Vietnam and India. Nigerian rice is fresh and healthier.

“We should eat Nigerian rice provided for by the CBN Anchor Programme; 50 Kg of local rice is now 8,000 Naira in Ebonyi. Already, the Abia Government has ordered rice from Ebonyi for Christmas,’’ he said.

He further said: “What we have done with this programme so far is to create jobs through farming, especially for the unemployed youths.

“Nigerian youths must wake up, dust themselves up and join this worthy campaign.

“Remember that the status of our farmers is now better due to the support they are receiving as a result of government’s policy.

“Our currency is weak because we engaged in needless importation of all kinds of food stuffs, including tooth picks; the government is determined to stop this.’’

The Branch Controller, CBN, Yenagoa, Mr. Oke Nwajah, said the state was blessed with rich wet soil that supported rice cultivation.

He therefore, urged the farmers to take pride in farming, adding that the Anchor Borrowers Programme was an intervention to reduce their burden.

Tribune: Nigerian Academy of Engineering appoints Buhari Grand Patron

The Nigerian Academy of Engineering on Tuesday appointed President Muhammadu Buhari as its Grand Patron, and applauded his administration’s desire to address the country’s infrastructural deficit.

Speaking at the investiture of the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the

President of the Academy, Mrs Joanna Maduka, said Buhari’s appointment was in line with Article 7.0 of the academy’s constitution.

According to her, the constitution provides for the appointment of a Grand Patron to promote, support and protect the activities of the academy.

She said the academy was convinced that the Buhari administration had the capacity to raise Nigeria’s standing amongst the comity of developed nations through the funding and exploitation of the gains of science and technology.

“We are highly delighted at the desire of your administration to address the infrastructural deficit in our country.

“This effort is very germane to the development of our nation. For this to be done effectively and efficiently, inputs are required from all cadres of engineering disciplines,’’ she said.

She observed that the anti-corruption posture of the Federal Government was a move in the right direction as it would ensure economic transformation of the country.

She stressed the need for Nigerian engineers to be adequately engaged in planning, policy formulation, consultancy and construction as well as industrial processes of production and manufacturing.

Maduka thanked the President for accepting the appointment and for appointing one of them, Ogbonnaya Onu, as a member of the Federal Executive Council.

In his remarks, President Buhari frowned at the sophistication deployed in the blowing up of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area.

According to him, going 70 kilometres into the sea to blow up oil pipelines with ease, suggests that some “professional associations with high competences must talk to their members to ensure they are not deploying their skills in a negative way to the detriment of the country.’’

“How can ordinary Nigerians go into the deep sea – almost 70 kilometers, to blow up installations.

“They are not ordinary Nigerians. So you have to talk to your members.’’

President Buhari stated that it is not true that Nigerian engineers are under-sued.

He recalled that 99 per cent of those that constructed the four refineries in the country were Nigerian engineers.

He, therefore, described Nigerian engineers as those “whose capacity to learn is unparalleled’’, adding that the government has always taken engineers seriously in the task of nation building.

President Buhari said it was unfortunate that none of the four refineries in the currently working.

He blamed the country’s past leadership, and not engineers, for the current status of the refineries.

“Nigerian engineers are competent and cost-effective. I respect you all.

“It takes a lot to be a competent engineers,’’ he stated.

He thanked the academy for appointing him as Grand Patron.

And a Plane carrying 72 including Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia

A plane 72 passengers including a top flight Brazilian football team has crashed in Colombia.
Brazilian side Chapecoense were on their way from Bolivia to Medellin International Airport in Colombia to play in the Copa Sudamerica final when the plane came down, reports said.
Just six people are believed to have survived, according to Officials at Medellin airport.
The plane with nine crew members crashed at about 10.15pm after suffering power failures while flying through the mountainous Antioquia Department.

“Tonight it was reported that a plane coming from Viru Viru airport in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, which should have landed at Jose Maria Cordova, airport had gone off course,” a Colombian rescue official, Mauricio Parodi, told reporters.

Rescue teams, from firefighters to disaster management officials, have been pressed into the search for survivors, added Parodi, the director of disaster management for the province of Antioquia.

Poor weather conditions made the crash site accessible only by road, airport authorities at Medellin, where the plane was scheduled to land, said on social network Twitter.

Reuters said they confirmed the plane was carrying the soccer team, who had been due to face Atletico Nacional of Medellin in the first leg of Wednesday’s Sudamericana final, South America’s equivalent of the Europa League.
It was the first time the small club from Chapeco had ever reached the final of a major South American club competition but they were underdogs against a club going for a rare double after winning the Copa Libertadores in July.

Chapecoense were the 21st biggest club in Brazil in terms of revenue, bringing in 46 million reais ($13.5 million) in 2015, according to an annual rich list compiled by Brazilian bank Itau BBA.

From the Vanguard,

In response to a proposed tariff hike by the Nigerian Communication Commission and Telecommunication companies in Nigeria, a group known as Wailing Wailers has called on the President Buhari led government to consider the plight of Nigerians in the present economic hardship before making decisions. A statement signed by its Acting National Publicity secretary, Usman Abubakar sees the decision as the plot by the Federal Government to stop Nigerians from airing their opinion.

Punch: Police kill three, foil attack on plane

THREE suspected armed robbers were on Monday shot dead by the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force during a shootout at the busy UTC Junction in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

One of the hoodlums, who escaped being killed by a special intelligence team from the Inspector General of Police, said they had planned to attack a plane belonging to a popular airline in the country.

It was also learnt that the suspects were forced to stop by the traffic light as they queued behind other vehicles waiting for their turn to get the green light to move.

One of the suspects, according to the eyewitness, alighted from the car and opened fire on some policemen at the junction.

It was gathered that attempts made by the armed robbers to escape after noticing the superior fire power of the policemen proved futile as three of them were gunned down while the fourth sustained gunshot injuries.

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident, adding that the IGP Intelligence Team intercepted the armed robbers following a tip-off.

Omoni said, “On interrogation, the suspect said they were on a mission to attack an Arik plane.”

Identifying the injured suspect as Peter James, Omoni said the suspect confessed to being one of the members of a gang that killed a police corporal during the All Progressives Congress rally in Okrika in 2015.

“Today, November 28, 2016, the IGP Intelligence Response Team, working on credible intelligence, intercepted this gang of armed robbers, who were heading to Arik Airline.

“Then there was an exchange of fire at the end of which three of them were killed and one was arrested. The arrested suspect, who gave his name as Peter James, 30 year old, and a native of Bayelsa State, is currently helping us with our investigation,” Omoni said.

Starr FM: Ghana’s opponents Egypt cancel friendly with Nigeria

Ghana’s World Cup and AFCON opponents, Egypt, have cancelled a proposed friendly match with the Super Eagles of Nigeria in January.

The decision follows alleged disagreement with the Nigerian authorities on match expenses.

According to Starr Sports sources, the Egypt FA is not willing to bear all the expenses for the game as was demanded by Nigeria and have even gone ahead to fix another game with Tunisia about the same time.

The friendly between Egypt and Nigeria was billed to be played on January 9 in Dubai to prepare the Pharaohs for the AFCON in Gabon.

“It has now been revealed that the Egypt vs. Nigeria clash may have fallen through because the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) are demanding their Egyptian counterparts bear their entire expenses and also because the Super Eagles will not be at full strength for this match.

“It has not yet been officially confirmed but it is looking very likely that the friendly against Egypt in Dubai in January will no longer hold,” a top official informed Starr Sports.

Another business is groaning under the strain of the economy.

The Punch reports, Recession: Nigeria’s biggest pipe factory may be shut

After several months of staying idle, the country’s biggest pipe factory owned by SCC Nigeria Limited may be shut down soon as it grapples with lack of patronage amid the recession rocking the country.

The company had in October last year inaugurated the 280,000-tonne ultra-modern steel pipe manufacturing mill in Ushafa, Abuja, with President Muhammadu Buhari represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, on the occasion.

The Project Co-ordinator, SCC Nigeria, Mr. Festus Onyenenue, spoke with Punch correspondent on the sidelines of a tour of the facility by some participants of the sixth Practical Content Conference.

Onyenenue said the last production the factory carried out was for the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, with the delivery completed in September.

He said, “In this factory, we have a production capacity of 280,000 tonnes for helical submerged arc welded pipes. And then, we also have a brand new coating plant for three-layer polyethylene coating. But now, we are idle. Since June, we have no job to do here and we are still keeping our staff and paying salaries.

“Today, you met the factory in this way because we have a need to produce some pipes for our own internal use. At the completion of this project, this factory may be shut down in the next three or four months, and the whole members of staff will be asked to go home. But we hope that before then, something new will come in.”

The project co-ordinator decried the situation in which a huge facility that could bring money into the country had been idle because of lack of jobs, saying, “The recession has worsened the situation.”

Onyenenue added that as of the time the company was producing, it had about 300 employees working at the factory.

He said, “Right now, as we speak, I am not sure they are up to 100. And as time goes on, we will continue to reduce the number. So, it is as bad as that.

“To the best of my knowledge, there is no other factory like this in the country.”

Asked what could be done to salvage the situation, Onyenenue stated, “What the government needs to do is to channel a large chunk of the pipeline jobs to this factory; the manpower here will remain and then the money will come into the country.”

Nigeria loses 3 trillion Naira to Niger Delta militancy in 10 months – Businessday

Nigeria lost 130 million barrels of crude oil worth about N3trillion or almost half the 2016 budget, using estimates of $50 per barrel and exchange rate of N470/$ between January and October 2016 BusinessDay has learnt.

Shina Bankole, general manager, security, Chevron Nigeria Limited, stated this in a speech on addressing the burden of securing the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry at the plenary session of an oil and gas health and safety conference that took place in Lagos on November 28.

“As at today, 58 incidents of sabotage have been recorded in the Niger Delta wherein assets and facilities belonging to oil and gas companies have been vandalised, and about 130million barrels of crude have been lost due to inability of oil and gas companies to produce, as a result of attacks,” Bankole said.

He further said “No fewer than 32 militants groups have emerged in the Niger Delta in the last one year alone.”
As a result of the upsurge of militancy, Bankole said that facilities have been vandalised, crude production has been shut-in, personnel have been abducted and environment have been subjected to degradation.

A panel session including representatives from the security forces, oil and gas companies and the government, were tasked with recommending pragmatic actions to curtail the problem but it soon morphed into discussing their challenges in resolving the issue.

“We do not get the resources to match the mandate we have been given,” said Rear Admiral Joseph Okogie, Commander JTF (Operation Delta Safe) who was on the panel, “Why is it difficult to get a drone? We lack swamp boogies and other resources needed to go after these elements.”

Kingsley Otuaro, deputy governor of Delta state, who moderated the panel, took issues with the security officers on the panel that included representative of the Navy and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence, who he said had poor community relations and were bombing barges laden with stolen or illegal refined crude, increasing environmental degradation.

“We want to have better relations with the community and we can carry out our job better if the community help us identify the sponsors of these vandals so we can go after them,” said Rear Admiral Fergusson Ducas Bobai, who represented Vice-Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, chief of naval staff, Nigerian Navy.

He said the swampy nature of locations around Mosimi and Arepo makes it impossible to come in with large boats and coming in with canoes coveying few personnel is exposing them to attacks by vandals.

Edmund Daukoru, traditional ruler of Nembe Kingdom, had strong words for the Niger Delta, saying that the sympathy of the rest of Nigeria will soon run out unless the senseless bombings were stopped.

“For the people of the Niger Delta, the Federal Government has created 13 percent derivation, the state governments get some of the highest allocations, there is the ministry of Niger Delta and the Niger Delta Development Commission, with billions allocated to them, why are we not asking questions about what they are doing with them?” asked Daukoru.

The panel members agree that a military solution was out of the question, as Nigeria’s over 6,000 kilometres cannot be successfully manned by the security agencies. They called for deep efforts beyond tokenism from oil and gas companies as necessary steps to curb militancy.

TechZim: A Bitcoin is worth 70% more in Nigeria than in America, and here is why…

As I write this article a Bitcoin in Nigeria is trading at $1280 (440,000 naira ), $550 more than the price of a Bitcoin in the United States ($730 USD) or 70% above its premium. Bitcoin in Nigeria has experienced a rapid surge in pricing characterized by high trading volumes on the Nigerian exchange, BitX.

So why is the price rising?

The Bitcoin press attributes the 70% rise in premium in Nigeria primarily to a lack of liquidity , capital controls and investors’ desire to hedge against financial uncertainty. I, however, suspect that the notorious Ponzi scheme MMM is the root cause of Nigeria’s bitcoin bubble.

My evidence for this theory are the parallels between what is now happening with MMM Nigeria and what I observed during the rise and fall of MMM Zimbabwe.

The Zimbabwe Case

I use the local exchange BitcoinFundi to remit money to relatives in Zimbabwe. This past July and August—as MMM Zimbabwe peaked in popularity—I could sell bitcoin for up to 25% more than what I paid in the United States. MMM Zimbabwe incentivized people to transact in bitcoin by offering them a 50% monthly interest rate compared to a 30% return when using mainstream channels. Thus, the spike in Zimbabwe’s bitcoin price was probably due to MMM participants who wanted to chase the bitcoin bonus.
A few weeks later, when MMM Zimbabwe collapsed, the price of bitcoin in Zimbabwe briefly dipped below international prices before stabilizing at a 5% to 10% premium.

The selloff was the result of MMM participants who desperately sought to liquidate all investments associated with the scam. These sellers might have thought that bitcoin was under the control of MMM.

However, bitcoin is completely separate from MMM and continues to gain traction around the world. There are now lightly regulated exchanges like BitcoinFundi in many countries, where bitcoin can be legally bought and sold.

Thus, I suspect that the growing ease of converting between bitcoin and forex actually enabled MMM’s overseas operators to externalize value from the scheme. Capital controls make it very difficult to send money out of Zimbabwe and EcoCash only circulates within the country (though there are exceptions).

Contrarily, bitcoin is an internet-based currency which effortlessly crosses borders. I believe that MMM’s operators routed many bitcoin transactions directly to themselves while allowing mobile money and bank transfers within Zimbabwe to keep the system afloat.

The Nigeria Case

The MMM Nigeria case has many parallels to MMM Zimbabwe. Most significantly, bitcoin is at an all-time high in Nigeria at the same time that the popularity of MMM Nigeria’s website surpassed Facebook by some measures. As in Zimbabwe, MMM Nigeria incentivizes participation in bitcoin:

From now on, there is an opportunity for all of the participants of MMM Nigeria to acquire Mavro-50% when you provide help in Bitcoin. Mavro-50% work under the same rules as Mavro-30%. For example, all bonuses are rewarding to them according to the normal procedure.

Where is it headed?

My conclusion is that the soaring price of bitcoin in Nigeria is linked to the peaking popularity of MMM. I suspect that this premium will come crashing down when the pyramid crumbles and participants desperately try to cash out.

Until then, Sergei Mavrodi and his cronies will continue pushing bitcoin to help them siphon money out of the pocketbooks of not only Nigerians but participants around the world. So much money is sloshing around within MMM that sizable returns can probably be generated even if only a small fraction of transactions use bitcoin.

Mobile money and bitcoin are often optimistically touted as forms of “financial inclusion” which help marginalized people access to mainstream banking services or engage the global economy.

MMM’s implementation of both technologies demonstrates that there is much truth in such claims. However, it also demonstrates that financial inclusion can just as easily involve exploitation as empowerment.

William Suk is a PhD candidate at Syracuse University

Quartz Africa: MTN’s plan to list its shares in Nigeria is picking up pace

MTN, Africa’s largest mobile network, is closing in on listing its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
With a set target of launching its initial public offering (IPO) in 2017, subject to market conditions, the South African company has met with officials of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Nigeria’s securities regulator, Reuters reports.
The meeting, according to Mounir Gwarzo, SEC director general, was to discuss the IPO and the structure of the share sales. MTN could issue three different share classes targeting various investor groups although the company is yet to submit a formal application to the SEC, Gwarzo says.
MTN’s possible IPO in Nigeria is part of an agreement with the government to settle a protracted sim card dispute. In addition to paying a reduced fine of $1.7 billion (the fine was initially set at $5.1 billion), MTN also said it would “take immediate steps to ensure listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as soon as is commercially and legally possible.” Nigeria’s stock market closed last week with a market cap value of $27.6 billion (pdf), almost double of MTN’s $15.5 billion market cap on the Johannesburg stock exchange.
A listing on the local stock exchange could ease strong sentiments from Nigerian government insiders who feel South Africa’s MTN has made profits at the expense of ordinary Nigerians, even though the company has paid billions of dollars in taxes and levies in its 15 years of operations in Nigeria. That sentiment likely underlined a recent claim by federal lawmakers who accused MTN of “illegally repatriating” $14 billion of its profits, a claim the company has denied.
MTN’s listing could also be a boost for the Nigerian stock exchange which has steadily lost value this year. But the signs came early: within the first two weeks of 2016, the market lost nearly as much value as it did in 2015, falling to a three year low.

The Guardian, Uk: Never go to bed angry – study finds evidence for age-old advice

Never go to bed angry, the old saying goes, or bad feeling will harden into resentment. Now scientists have found evidence to support the idea that negative emotional memories are harder to reverse after a night’s sleep.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, suggests that during sleep, the brain reorganises the way negative memories are stored, making these associations harder to suppress in the future.

“In our opinion, yes, there is certain merit in this age-old advice,” said Yunzhe Liu, who led the research at Beijing Normal University and is now based at University College London. “We would suggest to first resolve argument before going to bed; don’t sleep on your anger.”

The findings could also have implications for the treatment of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the authors said.

The study, conducted over two days, used a psychological technique known as the “think/no-think” task to test how successfully 73 male students suppressed memories.

First, the men learnt to associate pairs of neutral faces and unsettling images, such as injured people, crying children or corpses. Next, they were shown the faces again and told to either actively think of the associated picture or to consciously avoid thinking of it. When this session was conducted just 30 minutes after the initial learning, the participants were 9% less likely to remember the images that they had avoided thinking about compared to control image pairs – the suppression had been effective.

However, when the suppression session was carried out 24 hours after the initial learning, after a good night’s sleep, they were only 3% less likely to recall the image.

Brain scans offered a clue to why memories may be more difficult to unpick once they have been consolidated by sleep. Functional MRI scans of the participants revealed that newly acquired memories were represented by brain activity tightly centred on the hippocampus, the brain’s memory centre, but the overnight memories had become more distributed across the cortex.

The authors caution that the findings were in healthy participants and are not immediately applicable to conditions like PTSD – and expecting people who have undergone a traumatic experience to start working on suppressing the memory on the same day is “probably not realistic advice”, Liu said. However the research could help design evidence-based treatments for PTSD in the future, he said.

“We think the “re-consolidation” technique may be useful, so that we first evoke this piece of memory, and then try to suppress that,” Liu said, referring to a treatment strategy in which old information is called to mind with the aim of modifying the memory either with drugs or through behavioural interventions.

Vanguard: Troops advancing into Sambisa

Nigerian troops have commenced advancing into Sambisa Forest, one of the major enclaves of Boko Haram terrorists. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, said in Abuja on Tuesday the advancement was an onslaught to finally flush out remnants of insurgents from the forest and rescue all those abducted in that area.
Buratai unveiled the operation at the launch of packs of bottle water provided through private initiative in appreciation of troops fighting the terrorists in the region. “This year (2016), the whole Army Headquarters will be moving into the North East to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our troops, ’’ he said. Buratai described the bottle water initiative for free distribution to troops as “quite historic and the first of its kind.’’ “The scheme involves branding 50cl bottle water with the image of the Nigerian soldier. “It has the Nigerian army logo and that of stakeholders and partners from the private sector with the words: Thank you for your service.’’ According to him, the initiative seeks to appreciate the efforts of Nigerian troops actively engaged in the defence of our dear nation. “This will no doubt go a long way in boosting the morale of the troops to show that their labour is being recognized and applauded by Nigerians. “This initiative is quite timely, coming at a critical stage of the operations, when the troops have embarked on `Operation Rescue Finale.’ “It will surely add vigour, impetus and stimulate the troops in this phase of the operation,’’ Buratai said. Several corporate and public sector organisations, as well as state governments graced the unveiling of the troops’ bottle water. NAN also reports that the troops’ bottle water initiative was supported by Enugu State Government (10 million naira), Ebonyi Government (5 million naira) and the Nigeria Customs Service (1.5 million naira), among others.

Nation: Religious Bill: Pentecostal churches drag Kaduna government to court

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has instituted a case before Justice Hajara Gwadah of Kaduna State High Court against Governor Nasir El-Rufai and two others asking the court to declare as null and void an executive bill before Kaduna State House of Assembly (KDHA) which sought to strengthen the 1984 Kaduna State law that regulates preaching in the state.

Premium Times: U.S. expresses concern over violence in Cameroon

The United States Government on Tuesday expressed concern over protests in Bamenda and Buea communities of Cameroon that later resulted in peoples’ deaths, injuries and destruction of property.
John Kirby, U.S. Department of State’s Assistant Secretary and spokesperson said in a statement that his government would want the Cameroonian Government to protect and defend the peoples’ rights.
“The United States is deeply concerned by the loss of life, injuries and damage as a result of protests that turned violent in Bamenda and Buea, in Cameroon.
“We are also concerned over the recent Cameroonian government’s actions to restrict free expression and peaceful assembly.
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from further violence, and engage in dialogue, for a peaceful resolution to the current protests.
“The United States also urges the Government of Cameroon to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, ensure that all voices are heard and respected,” he said.
The U.S. official also said that his government was also worried over the ten-year prison sentences for persons who exchanged texts referencing Boko Haram.
Mr. Kirby also said the U.S. was concerned about the arrest of 54 members of the opposition Cameroon People’s Party, while they were peacefully holding their party’s meeting.

National Mirror: Nigeria spent $1bn on kerosene subsidy in 2015 – Osinbajo

Nigeria spent a whopping sum of $1bn as subsidy on kerosene last year, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said.

According to the Vice President, the massive dependence on kerosene and firewood by millions of households across the country made the Federal Government to spend such huge funds subsidising the commodity.

Osinbajo, who spoke at the Domestic Liquified Petroleum Gas Stakeholders’ Forum in Abuja on Tuesday, explained that the low level consumption of LPG by Nigerians was a major reason for the high demand of kerosene and firewood.

He said, “The low LPG consumption in Nigeria has resulted in heavy dependence on kerosene and firewood as primary domestic cooking fuel. The government has undertaken huge subsidy of over $1bn spent in 2015 on kerosene subsidy.”

Nigerian Guardian: Reps want petrol sold at 70 Naira per litre

The House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Petroleum Products Prices Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to review the current price template for Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with a view to reducing the price to 70 Naira.

This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by Rep Abubakar Fulata titled “Urgent Need to Review the Petroleum Price Template”.

Moving the motion, Fulata expressed dismay over the circulating rumour of a possible hike in the price of petrol in the country.Although the rumour was denied by the Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Fulata said it was coming at a time when the nation is going through difficult times.
According to him, the hard times are occasioned by dwindling revenues, high inflation rate, unemployment and general fall in the standard of living of many Nigerians.
The lawmaker noted that the current template for the price of PMS could be reviewed downwards without affecting the profit margin of marketers and transporters.

The review would also contribute to reducing the current inflationary trend in the economy.

Daily Trust: Govt to Ban Tomato Paste Imports

The Federal Government will soon ban importation of foreign tomato pastes into the country, the minister of agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has said.

Ogbeh said based on a report by the National Agency for Food and Administration and Control (NAFDAC), foreign tomato pastes imported into Nigeria are not good.

He spoke during the oversight visit of the House of Representatives Committee on Agricultural Production and Services, chaired by Rep Mohammed Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno) to the ministry yesterday in Abuja.

“The Chinese are the ones messing us up on tomato paste. Each time Dangote tries to produce, they lower their prices. There’s a report by NAFDAC on the quality of foreign tomato pastes. The report is very bad.

“We think we have every reason in that report to ban foreign tomato pastes into the country. If you don’t ban it on health ground, you have to ban it on any other ground,” he said.

When members of the committee demanded to know the measures government was taking to avert food crisis next year in view of the influx of foreigners buying Nigerian grains, the minister said “It’s time to fill our silos.

“The export is huge now, but if you stop it, farmers will get very angry. When you go round, they tell you they get so rich now. But if you stop it and the prices fall, you discourage farmers. We’re in the market now buying and storing.”

Punch: UNN suicide note: ‘My fellow gamblers, I am sorry’

The Enugu Police Command on Tuesday commenced an investigation on alleged suicide by a University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) student.

In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer, Mr Ebere Amarizu, the command said that the deceased, identified as Mr Tobechukwu Okeke, was a final year student of Agriculture Economics and a native of Awgu in Enugu State.

It said that Okeke was seen in his room lifeless with a blue rope on his neck hung on the ceiling fan’s hook on Nov. 27.

The command said that a note written by the deceased to his friends and relations was found at the scene of the alleged suicide.
“Some of the excerpts from the note read as follows: “I got it all wrong when I rejected Jesus. God gave me wisdom, God gave me all I needed to succeed. I rejected Him.

“My fellow gamblers, I am sorry; my fellow lions, I am sorry; my family, I let you all down,” it said.

The command noted that the body of the late student had been deposited at the Bishop Shanahan Hospital Mortuary, Nsukka.

Quartz: The end-of-year reports are in for Nigeria’s president Buhari—and they’re all bad

Nearing the end of his first full calendar year in office, Nigeria’s president Buhari is coming in for strong criticism.
In the space of a week, several international media outlets have published scathing reports on Buhari’s handling of the economy and general tenure as president. In fairness, some allow that Buhari faced an uphill task upon taking office. The Financial Times says the president inherited “dire straits” while Bloomberg also acknowledged “Buhari faced ugly circumstances” when he became president. But it is the president’s response to the economic crisis which has been heavily criticized. AFP, the French news agency, writes that the president’s ineffective policies have lead many to believe he “doesn’t have what it takes to rescue Nigeria from recession.”
The criticism from international media for Buhari is noteworthy as, since taking office, Buhari has shown a preference to speak with foreign media over local reporters, perhaps with a view to reach much needed global investors. Yet, plenty of the criticism aimed at the president is linked to policies which have seen the economy slip into a first recession in decades and is now on course for a full year of negative growth.
To reverse the trend, Bloomberg advocates visionary leadership from Buhari and “more flexibility” stating that “Buhari’s rigid leadership style has made the economic problems of Africa’s largest economy harder to solve.” The lack of flexibility is mainly in regard to stiff currency controls which have triggered a foreign exchange crisis, hobbling businesses and denting investor confidence. Buhari’s tactics of currency controls have included arresting local foreign exchange dealers accused of hiking the black market rates. AFP points out that Buhari’s stand-off with lawmakers has resulted in “policy paralysis” with little or no progress made in stopping the economic slide. Typifying the discord, Buhari’s proposal to borrow $30 billion to boost the economy was rejected by the Senate at the start of the month.
Foreign Policy describes Buhari’s decisions as “eccentric” but also spotlights his run-ins with democratic conventions, branding him the “same old authoritarian showman” who led Nigeria as military head of state in the early 1980s. Buhari’s democratic values were questioned after state security agents conducted midnight raids on the homes of federal judges. Drawing similarities between present-day realities and Buhari’s first stint in power, Foreign Policy says: “Now, as before, Buhari’s legitimacy was built on empty showmanship, a hyped-up claim of superior morality and discipline coupled with a healthy dose of disdain for elitism, all quickly overshadowed by an economic crisis that he wasn’t equipped to tackle.”
The criticism of Buhari’s presidency less than two years in is in stark contrast to the vast goodwill he enjoyed, at home and abroad, after historically unseating an incumbent president. Instead, most Nigerians worry about a struggling economy once touted as one of the world’s fastest growing. “Optimism that swelled after last year’s election has largely disappeared,” writes the FT. “It has been replaced by concern that an economic turnaround is not yet in sight.”

The Breaking Times: Show Evidence Of Tax Payment Before Issuance Of International Passports – FIRS

The Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) on Monday said soon, Nigerians might begin to show evidence of tax payment before obtaining their passports.

Mr Tunde Fowler said this at the 136th meeting of the Joint Tax Board which had the theme: “Increased Inter-Agency Co-operation to Enhance Tax Compliance and Optimise Revenue Collection” in Abuja.

“We did take a position and I believe it would be implemented in the very near future that before you get any services from the immigration department: renewal of passports etc, you’d have to show that you are a tax payer.

“These things are normal all over the world, in an effort to serve Nigerians and Nigeria better.

“People believe that payment of tax is a burden and I’ll repeat that you only pay tax on income and profits.

“So if you reside in Nigeria and you are benefiting from being a Nigerian resident, it is only fair that you contribute to the system that makes you enjoy that standard of living.’’

He said the FIRS set a target to increase the individual taxpayer data base by 10 million by December 31.

“I’m glad with our co-operation; we’ve been able to attain 30 per cent of that. We’ve been able to get three million individual taxpayers across the nation.

“I’d like to congratulate Kano State for leading the pack by increasing the database by 944,000 followed by Lagos with 306,000 then Kaduna and Plateau,” he said.

The Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, lamented that the FRSC was being owed 700 million Naira for number plates production.

He also decried the high rate of fake documentation at ports, saying “if we can strengthen inter-agency collaboration, we’ll get more results now that the focus is on IGR”.

The Chairman of the Abia State Board of Internal Revenue, Mr Udochukwu Ogbonna, urged the revenue generating agencies to co-operate digitally to ensure success and curb corruption.

Also, the Chairman of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service, Mr Oseni Elamah, said “the FIRS should have a digital one-stop-shop accessible to all partners”.

Some revenue generating agencies on Monday met in Abuja to curtail loss, stop corruption and increase proceeds to government coffers in 2017.

The event brought together all states internal revenue service chairmen and the bosses of the Nigeria Customs Service, and the Nigeria Immigration Service.