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Press focuses on appeal against court order to call off strike by medical doctors, others

The appeal by striking doctors against a court order directing them to resume duties and President Buhari’s directive for NNPC Ltd’s incorporation and constitution of the new board of the Corporation are some of the leading stories in Nigerian newspapers on Monday.The Guardian reports that having appealed against the National Industrial Court’s judgment ordering members to resume duties, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) is sustaining its seven-week-old nationwide strike.

This is even as it would elect a new president this Friday at its ongoing Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Bauchi, Bauchi State.

In a telephone chat with The Guardian, yesterday, NARD President, Dr. Okhuaihesuyi Uyilawa, said: “We are in Bauchi for our AGM. I am going to hand over to a new president by Friday. The National Executive Committee is working very hard to ensure the success of the meeting. It is very likely that the new president will be from the zone holding the AGM.”

On the raging industrial action, he stated: “We have appealed (against) the judgment of the National Industrial Court that we should go back to work. We don’t have any date yet for the hearing, but we are optimistic that justice will be served. We are insisting that the Federal Government withdraws the ‘no work no play’ policy and the court cases against the association, as well as meet our basic demands.”

When asked if government could hijack the election, he submitted: “No, No at all. We have processes that must be followed. The important thing is that resident doctors are gathered in Bauchi today (yesterday) for the AGM and a democratically elected president will emerge by Friday.”

With over 16,000 members, NARD on August 2, 2021 downed tools to demand implementation of agreements reached with the government on payment of owed salaries, hazard allowance, residency programme and life insurance benefits to families of members that died of COVID-19, among others.

The Punch says that President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited.

Buhari, who is also Minister of Petroleum Resources, gave the directive in consonance with Section 53 (1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this in a statement titled, ‘President Buhari directs incorporation of NNPC Ltd., appoints board’.

The statement said, “The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, has, therefore, been directed to take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.

“Also, by the power vested in him under Section 59 (2) of the PIA 2021, President Buhari has approved the appointment of the Board and Management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the Company.

The newspaper reports that the Federal Government has said that it expects Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product per capita to rise to $2,300 by the end of the year.

According to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Niyi Adebayo, the country’s GDP which currently hovers around $500bn is experiencing steady growth, hence the projection.

The minister disclosed this at the United States-Nigeria Investment Summit held in New York. A copy of his speech was made available to journalists by the ministry on Sunday.

While highlighting the efforts of the government to boost the investment climate, Adebayo said that Nigeria was ready and open for business and investments. He said that foreign investment announcements in the first half of the year grew to $10.1bn, representing an increase of 100 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2020, adding that the government was working to ensure that those announcements were converted to actual investments.

“As the majority of you are aware, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa, with a steadily growing GDP of over $500bn. “GDP per capita is expected to reach $2,300 by the end of 2021, this is over 84% higher than the African average.

ThisDay says that former Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Private Sector Advocate, Dr. Muda Yusuf, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to suspend the pegging of exchange rate so that the market would determine the value of the naira.

Speaking on ARISE News Channel, the broadcast arm of THISDAY Newspapers, Yusuf said CBN’s intervention was discouraging suppliers of foreign currency, and had become a disincentive to export as well as hurting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Yusuf said for CBN to stem the free fall of the naira, it has to deal with the fundamentals of the market, which has to do with supply and demand, but currently, instead of treating the ailment, it is rather concentrating on the symptoms by trying to control the demand of forex.

He said the major challenge forex is facing is inappropriate pricing of the exchange rate and the gap in the window between the parallel market and the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Rate Fixing (NAFEX), which officially pegged the dollar at N420.

According to the economist, “You don’t have to fix a rate in the market which cannot be supported by demand and supply. The gap between the parallel market and NAFEX window is about 30 per cent, which is big.

The Sun reports that with barely two days to the deadline of remittance of August’s Value Added Tax (VAT), members of the Organised Private Sector of Nigeria (OPSN) are presently in dilemma as where to make the payment to as the battle on collection rages between the Federal Government, Rivers and Lagos states.

Its President, Taiwo Adeniyi, at a media briefing in Lagos on Friday said that, as an umbrella body representing the interests of organised businesses in Nigeria, the consortium are seriously concerned at the consequences of the ongoing controversy.

He recalled that the Federal Government, through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) – by the Value Added Tax (VAT) Act 1993 has been the collecting authority for VAT throughout the country.

But this, he noted, was prior to the case of Attorney-General of Rivers State vs. Federal Inland Revenue Service & Attorney-General of the Federation, where the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Port Harcourt Division, favoured the position of Rivers State government and paved the way for the state to collect VAT.

“Rivers State has since enacted a Value Added Tax Law, which mandates all VAT paying entities within Rivers State to deduct, collect and remit VAT within the state to the Rivers State government through the Rivers State Inland Revenue Service.

The newspaper says that Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) has said it would continue to explore opportunities for collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders to enhance in-country capabilities in research and development.

The oil giant noted that its research and development strategy is aligned with Nigeria’s 10-year strategic roadmap for local content being implemented by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).

Managing Director of the deep-water business of Shell in Nigeria, Mrs. Elohor Aiboni, who spoke at the just- concluded second edition of the NCDMB Research and Development Opportunity Fair in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State said: “Research and Development have always been very important activity in our industry and, it is a business imperative for SNEPCo both for solving problems – whether technical or operational – and for the potential for import substitution.”

She said: “Collaboration is particularly significant because without an effective and sustainable collaboration framework that keeps all stakeholders well connected, it will be near impossible to deliver results from R&D, particularly sustainable results.” Aiboni noted that for over 40 years, Shell companies in Nigeria deliberately and strategically established strong relationship and partnership with the academia for building and growing in-country R&D.



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Published on 10.02.2021

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