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Political economist advises states to adopt skills based education policy



A political economist, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, has advised state governments to adopt all skills based education to step up development of the country.

Okonkwo made the call in a lecture at the International Youth Day  celebration  at Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Onitsha, Anambra, on Sunday.

Okonkwo, the Chairman, The Dome Entertainment Centre, Abuja, said the Anambra Government for instance could adopt skills based education whereby students at all levels could acquire skills in school.

“If Anambra Government adopts this policy, the state will turn to a spring board for development in the country as companies within and beyond will reckon with the state as  where every skill could be found,” he said.

Okonkwo ,who spoke on the topic: “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Their Impact on Youths”, said government should give more attention to the youth.

He said that any country that failed to give adequate attention to youths was bound to face numerous challenges.

Okonkwo, however, advised youths to be creative and imbibe positive lifestyles rather than get  involved in anti-social behaviours.

“Don’t get involved in secret cult, Yahoo, Yahoo, sports game betting, prostitution and drug addiction because such would damage your future.

“Emulate people like Mark Zuckerberg owner of Facebook and others who through hard work have made it in life,” he said.

Okonkwo said that the 17 SDGs were achievable and commended  President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent pronouncement that his administration would take 100 million youths out of the streets.

He said that Mr President’s pronouncement was achievable if the youth would adopt positive lifestyles and key into government policies and programmes.

Okonkwo urged state governments, especially Anambra, to invest in areas of comparative advantage rather than be “Jack of all trade and master of none”.

“In Ananmbra for instance, government should invest in technologies that would make her add value to agricultural products rather than compete with states that have vast lands in production of food products,” he said.

Mrs Chito Onuzulike, Anambra State Director, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, said the organisation had programmes to support youths who had genuine plans to excel in their areas of interest.

Mrs Ngozi Okeke-Ekpe, Desk Officer, SDGs, National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Anambra, said some members of the scheme in the area were already tapping into opportunities provided by SDGs to be self-reliant.

Mr Afam Mbanefo, Anambra State Commissioner for Youth Affairs, advised the youth to be proud of themselves and not be carried away by stories that life was better outside the country.

Mbanefo represented by Mr Ossy Onunkwo, urged the youth to think home as there were many untapped opportunities in Nigeria.

He also told the youth not to wait for government endlessly as opportunities were limited.

Mrs Cynthia Enweonwo-Arinze,  Official of Development Centre for  Orientation, Discovery and Empowerment, Anambra, Co-organiser of the programme, said  the event was to expose youths to opportunities in the SDGs.

She said that youths constituted more than half of the population of Nigeria and added  that if they embraced the opportunities in the SDGs, the country would be better.

The highpoint of event was a motivational presentation by a physically challenged person, Miss Uzoamaka Ike, a Mass Communication graduate, who through her NGO, Falcon’s Care Foundation, has assisted some students in their education in Ananmbra.


Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie


APC chieftain calls for ban on food importation



“Any community that cannot feed itself cannot stand up to be counted in a meeting of nations. Food security is same as national security. Any country that cannot feed itself is not safe.’’

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Google, SMEDAN train 80 youths on digital marketing



No fewer than 80 youths were trained by Google in collaboration with Small and Medium Scale Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) on digital marketing on Monday in Akure, Ondo state.

The Representative of Google, Mr Bola Kale-Aduloju, explained that the training focused on the use of ICT as an important tool in business marketing.

Kale-Aduloju stressed the need for entrepreneurs to go digital and move away from conventional ways of marketing.

He noted that the world had gone digital but that Africa was lagging behind, still doing most businesses in traditional ways of marketing.

“That is why Google is partnering with SMEDAN to create awareness and train people on how to put their businesses on internet to access its enormous advantage

“Whoever that does not move with the digital trend will be left behind.

“Though digital marketing may not totally wipe away traditional means, but it creates more sales and more accessibility,’’ he said.

Kale-Aduloju enjoined the authorities to continue to encourage people and collaborate more with partners in helping to create more awareness on e-marketing.

The state Coordinator of SMEDAN, Mr Abiodun Ayedun said the training was organised by the agency with Google to enable the youths know how to use social media to enhance their

skills and potentials.

“Most youths think that social media are only meant to post irrelevant things and things that do not profit them.

“That is why SMEDAN is partnering with Google to enlighten them that there are beneficial ways to use social media,” he said.

Ayedun advised the beneficiaries to take full advantage of the training and make good use of it.

He said, although the training was free, the beneficiaries must take cognizance of its value

The Youth President in the state, Mr Olarenwaju Longe, who commended Google and SMEDAN for the training said that it was a good initiative.

He said that the training would help boost economy and reduce unemployment in the society.

Longe asked the federal and states governments to make more opportunities for the youths and create more enabling environment.

One of the beneficiaries, Miss Serah Pelemo, described the training as an eye-opener on how business could be advertised and expanded through digital means.

Pelemo enjoined the government to make capital available for the young entrepreneurs for expansion of their skills.


Edited by Isaac Aregbesola, Rotimi Ijikanmi

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Manufacturer tasks incoming industry minister on workable policies



A manufacturer, Mr Muideen Ibrahim, on Monday, advised the incoming minister of industries to put in place policies that would attract investments across the entire value chain in the country.

Ibrahim, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BAMIB Resources and Investments Company Limited in Lagos, gave this advice in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency .

The pencil manufacturer, noted that e-governance and e-commerce should be introduced in the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and its agencies, to attract more investments into the country.

According to him, the minister should be up and doing with regard to improved power supply because of its importance to the development of the economy.

He identified such benefits associated with sound economic and investment policies of  a good minister at the helm to include self -reliance, massive job opportunities, and  technology.

Ibrahim highlighted other benefits emanating from sound investment policies as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), strengthening of local manufacturers, development of various components, skills acquisition, and creation of a wholesome industrial development.

According to him, the challenges before the incoming minister of industries are numerous but surmountable once the will power is there.

He, however, listed some challenges militating against investment in Nigeria to include erratic power supply, ill treatment of Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs), unclear cut policy for each sector group, non implementation of the Executive Order 3 and 5 and double taxation.

Ibrahim identified other problems facing the sector as bottlenecks at the sea ports, high cost of borrowing, nonchalant attitude of some government ministries and agencies including insecurity.

The manufacturer, who is also the Executive Secretary of Electricity Meters Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (EMMAN), opined that there was an improvement in the power sector in Nigeria.

He, however, called for improvement in power distributions.

“The distribution companies should tidy up their various networks and evacuate what is generated constantly. It is sad and disheartening that one of the greatest challenges confronting the power sector is distribution.

“Generation is to some extent, better, but what is generated in relation to our population is still too low. This presupposes that there is the need to scale up.

“However, the golden question is that if the generation improves, can it be effectively transmitted or distributed? The answer is No”.

According to him, South Africa is generating far more than what is generated in Nigeria whereas the population of South Africa is quite lower than that of Nigeria.

He said most big manufacturing plants and companies were reluctant to come to Nigeria because of the low level of power generated and transmitted, and the few ones in Nigeria were producing at a high cost due to erratic power supply.

“A lot of manufacturers rely on generating sets to power their production processes, hence the goods produced in Nigeria are far costlier than the imported goods and this is affecting a lot of manufacturers.

“Hence, companies fold up in droves in this country; and so the incoming minister and the president should address this matter once and for all,” he said.

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FG, DisCos committed to tackling challenges of retail electricity



The Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors (ANED), has restated the commitment of Distribution Companies (DisCos) and  the Federal Government to tackling challenges affecting retail electricity distribution in the country.

Mr Sunday Oduntan , the Executive Director, Research and Advocacy of ANED made this known in a statement in Abuja on Sunday.

Oduntan said the Federal Government and the DisCos remained committed to working together in order to address current challenges of retail electricity distribution.

He said commitment by the DisCos and Federal Government was demonstrated by the recent Siemens initiative and recent regulatory activities.

According to him, the ongoing Meter Asset Providers (MAP) programme is another collaborative effort of the Federal Government and the DisCos.

“The distribution franchise consultations, the present wrap-up of the minor electricity tariff reviews, among others to provide affordable and consistent power supply for electricity customers are such collaborative efforts.

“It is the hope and expectation of the DisCos that collectively, the aforementioned initiatives and activities in tandem with respect for sanctity of contracts, increased regulatory and policy certainty, will provide the enabling environment.

“That will result in a Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) that is commercially viable and sustainable, thereby, attracting the desperately needed investment that continues to be elusive in the sector,” he said.

Reacting to a recent  report on government trying to pay N736 billion to investors to repossess the DisCos, Oduntan described  it as sensational.

He said the report itself clarified that to do so within the provisions of the Share Sale Agreement would require a sum in the region of 2.4 billion dollars (about N736 billion), some of which would  be paid as compensation to the investors.

“This is not a desirable outcome. It is noteworthy that government is yet to pay the investor in Yola DisCo for its negotiated return to government,” ruling out the possibility of such a renationalisation.”

Oduntan said there were doubts about the document on which the report was based, adding that such sensationalism could scare future investors from the economy.

“We are troubled that a sector that is already bedeviled with multiple challenges now has to deal with sensationalism and irresponsible journalism rather than an informed discussion of how we can move the sector forward,” he said.


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16 ships discharging petroleum products, other commodities in Lagos – NPA



The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) says 16 ships are presently discharging petroleum products and other commodities at Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that two of the 16  vessels were discharging petrol while one other vessel was discharging diesel.

NPA explained on Sunday that 13 other ships were discharging buckwheat, steel products, frozen fish, container, empty containers, butane and general cargo.

The NPA also stated that 22 ships were carrying containers, general cargo, buckwheat and frozen fish, bulk sugar, bulk salt, bade oil, expected at the ports between Aug. 18 and Sept. 4.


NPA further said that 14 ships were waiting to berth with petrol,  general cargo and containers


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