Welcomes Digital Switch Over starting in Lagos, Kano & Rivers States

The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) has recorded a 343% growth in Total Comprehensive Income totaling N160.06 billion in 2020 compared to N36.15 billion in the previous year and 33% growth in Net Assets rising up to N772.75 billion from the previous N579.54 billion.

This was one of the major highlights in the NSIA report presented at today’s National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Today’s meeting of NEC which comprises the 36 State Governors, the Federal Capital Territory Minister, and Central Bank Governor besides other Federal Government officials, had a session devoted to holding the AGM of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, NSIA where reports and financial statements including the audit were presented.

In particular, the Chief Executive of the Authority, Mr Uche Orji submitted that NSIA achieved a core income of N109 billion compared to N33.07 billion in 2019 excluding forex gains of N51 billion in 2020 and N1.29 billion in 2019.

The NSIA presentation noted that despite the challenges of Covid-19, it had a favourable year owing to strong performance from its investments in international capital markets, improved contribution from associates as well as exchange rate gains from foreign currency positions.

In response to COVID-19, NSIA partnered with Global Citizen, a not-for-profit group to form the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF), acquired and distributed oxygen concentrators to 21 teaching hospitals as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility; in addition to staffing support to the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 towards combatting the pandemic.

Other major milestones reached by the NSIA were recorded across domestic infrastructure projects specifically in roads, agriculture, healthcare, technology, gas industrialization.

NEC also received a presentation on the Digital Switch Over (DSO) by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed. He stated that it was the International Telecommunications Union, ITU that decided on member states switching off analogue television transmission to ‘go digital’.

The DSO will be taking off first in Lagos, Kano and Rivers States, he stated.

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According to him, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission and the DSO Ministerial Task Force are tasked with ensuring that Nigeria ‘digitizes’ and developing a public information and awareness campaign to inform citizens about DSO/FreeTV.

The Minister disclosed that the switch-over has a revenue generation—the potential of N20 billion annually; and that the funds will enable to NBC support and upgrade DSO initiative and fund local producers.

Council also received an update on the COVID-19 pandemic by the Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu.

According to the DG, in the last two months, there has been a reduction in the number of cases globally, even India has also experienced a reduction in infection in the last five days.

In Nigeria, the total number of cases as of yesterday, May 19, 2021, is 165,809, while the number of cases tested is 2,002,653, and active Cases 7,323. It was also disclosed that discharged cases are now 156,419, while there have been 2,067 deaths.

According to the NCDC boss,  the “transmission rate in the country is low, adding that attention is now on tracking the new B1.167 variant from India.  He said there are only three such cases identified in Nigeria so far.

He said emphasis should remain on the protocols to stop the spread of the virus, while the health authorities and agencies will keep an eye on tracking the Indian variant. Governments and leaders in the society are also urged to discourage pandemic fatigue and stick to the Covid-19 safety protocols.

Earlier the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clem Agba gave the Council the monthly update on the under-listed accounts as follows:

1.   EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA)

Balance as at 18th May 2021 stands at

$72,413,574.70

2.   STABLIZATION ACCOUNT

Balance as at 18th May, 2021 stands at

N 24,741,213,941.88

3.  DEVELOPMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ACCOUNT

Balance as at 20th May, 2021 stands at

N23,650,579,140.23

On the Budget Support Facility, State Governors restated their request to defer the repayment of the loans, which was to have started this month. Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum reported interactions with the Finance Minister and the Central Bank Governor regarding the matter.

The Central Bank Governor also emphasized the importance of the timely repayment of the loans especially those owed to commercial banks indicating the challenges inherent in a further delay in payment including audit concerns. He said the repayment of the commercial loans should resume this month.

But the Vice President then stated that he will very soon be holding a meeting with representatives of the State Governors, the Finance Minister, and the Central Bank Governor to find a solution to the matter.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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