African press review 5 October 2016

President Buhari offloads two luxury jets as Presidential fleet is hit by biting Nigerian recession. Did Boko Haram demand 5 billion euros as ransom to release the Chibok girls? And South Africa unveils plans to raise drinking age to 21 as the country squanders 2.4 billion euros on alcohol abuse. 


Presidential Jets for Sale

We begin in Nigeria where the press highlights fresh evidence of how severe the recession has become. President Muhammadu Buhari has decided to sell two luxury jets from the executive fleet.

Vanguard reports that on Tuesday Buhari gave approval for the sale of a Falcon 7x executive jet and Hawker 4000. The paper reports that more aircraft from the 10-plane Presidential Air Fleet are also to be sold in the coming days.

The Sun underlines that Nigeria’s economy is forecast to shrink 1.7 percent in 2016, citing IMF projections, after the country recorded a 0.36 and 2.06 percent contraction in the first and second quarter of 2016 respectively, plunging into its worst recession in 29 years.

The Tribune reports that Nigeria's economy has been hampered after a plunge in oil revenues, which makes up 70 per cent of national income and currency reserves needed to fund imports.

The Nigerian-born President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina speaks to the paper about what needs to be done to overcome the recession. He advises the Federal government to increase taxes and lift hard currency curbs to ease the dollar shortages choking the economy.

Boko Haram/ Chibok Girls' ransom

Also in Nigeria, the Nation newspaper publishes stunning revelations that Boko Haram insurgents demanded a 5 billion euro ransom from the Federal government in exchange for the Chibok Girls. The details of the botched secret deal are contained in a new book titled “Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria”, by a renown academic Prof. John Paden, which was presented to the public in Abuja on Monday.

According to the paper, in the book, the author gives detailed accounts of how the hostages were on several occasions, taken to Maiduguri to facilitate an exchange, and then taken back to the terrorists’ lair after President Buhari's government refused to cede to Boko Haram's extraordinary demand.

South Africa to crackdown on "booze"

City Press takes up the latest move by the government to tackle the abuse of alcohol in the country, after Pretoria unveiled plans to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. According to the newspaper, under the bill presented to the press by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davis on Tuesday, distributors will be "legally liable if they deal irresponsibly".

City Press quotes the minister as saying that South Africa's average annual consumption of alcohol stands at 12.4 litres per person, as opposed to as 6.2 litres per person globally.

The Johannesburg publication also associates 41.6 percent of all injures treated in hospitals to alsohol use, citing the minister as the source of the statistics.

Alcohol abuse cost the country an estimated  2.4 billion euros a year due to hospitalisation and accidents, among others, according to City Press.

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