Diversification now urgent amid depressing revenue, says Buhari
• Unveils Nigeria’s five-year broadband plan, emergency line
• Marketers laud fuel price slash, seek compensation
• PPPRA rolls out new pricing template April 1
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday said the diversification of Nigeria’s economy had become urgent in the face of the falling oil prices at the international market.
He observed that digital technologies had become useful tools in this regard, adding that a knowledge economy would boost his administration’s anti-corruption crusade.
Besides, the president has directed the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, to liaise with relevant agencies for the protection of critical national infrastructure.
He gave the order at the unveiling of the National Broadband Plan 2020–2025; Communications and Digital Economy Complex; Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training; Abuja Emergency Communication Centre and the National Emergency Toll-Free line, 112, in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Buhari said government had taken advantage of digital technologies to increase access by Nigerians in time of distress nationwide, adding: “This will go a long way in supporting our efforts to improve the security of lives and property.”
He challenged mobile network operators on the actualisation of the national broadband plan by giving special attention to un-served and under-served areas.
Bemoaning the vandalisation of telecommunications equipment, Buhari assured the players of government’s commitment to enthroning a conducive environment for the successful implementation of the broadband plan that seeks to boost penetration and deployment of 4G across the federation.
On the Digital Nigeria Programme, the Nigerian leader explained that it was one of government’s key initiatives to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.
Meanwhile, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has welcomed government’s decision to reduce the pump price of petrol from N145 to N125 per litre.
In a statement yesterday in Lagos by its state chairman, Akin Akinrinade, the union however appealed to the Buhari administration to compensate all oil marketers that loaded product between Monday and Wednesday this week, “because they would be losing a minimum of N20 per litre of fuel they have already loaded depending on the distance or destination of delivery.”
In same vein, the South West zonal chairman of the association, Dele Tajudeen, demanded credit notes to cushion the effect on their profit margin.
He told reporters in Lagos the price review had been received with mixed feelings, as it “comes with both positive and negative impacts on the economy.”
Crude had tumbled at the international market from $65 to $24 last Thursday.The Federal Government had also predicated its 2020 budget on $57 per barrel of oil.
In a related development, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) has cautioned fillings stations against selling fuel above the official price.
The Executive Secretary, Saidu Abdulkadir, during a monitoring exercise in Abuja, explained that though the agency was not sealing erring stations yesterday, he nevertheless said action would be taken against any from today.
He disclosed that the PPPRA would meet marketers and relevant stakeholders for the immediate implementation of the new pump price by retail outlets nationwide. Abdulkadir added that a new pricing template would take effect from the April 1 in conformity with international market fundamentals.
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