Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara, on Saturday in Ilorin, swore in 16 permanent secretaries, urging them to be prudent, disciplined and embrace team work.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the swearing of the permanent secretaries was the first since he was elected over a year ago.
Speaking after the swearing-in, AbdulRazaq said that the top civil servants joined the administration at a critical moment of the state when every kobo of public funds counted.
He commended the state House of Assembly for the ongoing oversight functions on government projects.
The governor said that no public servant or contractor indicted of mismanaging public funds would be protected.
“It is crunch time. Even so, I believe that the pandemic offers us a unique opportunity to be creative, reassess our priorities and readjust accordingly.
“I like to repeat that we are not perfect, but we will not be found wanting in sincerity and commitment in the service of our people. Similarly, we welcome feedbacks and criticisms that fully consider where Kwara is coming from.
“I want to add that every kobo of public funds matters. Anyone entrusted with same will have the burden of accounting for it.
“This is why I welcome the oversight functions that the House of Assembly has recently embarked upon.
“It is good for democracy, accountability, transparency and development. It is in line with the spirit of ‘O to ge’.
“Contractors, civil servants and public officials are to note, therefore, that we must do things differently.
“There will be no protection for anyone who messes with public resources,” AbdulRazaq declared.
Speaking at the occasion, the Head of Service (HoS), Susan Oluwole, commended the governor for his support for the civil service since he assumed office.
“This administration is, in all ramifications, civil service friendly.
“The prompt completion of secretariat IV, prompt payment of salaries, pension and gratuities and prompt release of monthly allocation for the effective running of the MDAs, among a host of others, vividly attest to this,” she said.
Oluwole said that such gestures had imposed on the civil servants, especially the permanent secretaries, to respond appropriately to the 21st century contemporary Nigerian challenges, as obtained in Kwara.
She urged the new permanent secretaries to justify the confidence reposed in them by the administration by being alive to their responsibilities.
One of the new permanent secretaries, Hajia Kikelomo Grillo, who responded on behalf of her colleagues, pledged their unalloyed sincerity, loyalty and dedication to duty.
She also commended the governor for the confidence reposed in them to serve the state, which informed their appointment.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the newly-sworn in permanent secretaries included Adenike Ibrahim (Ministry of Social Development); Shuaib Ahmed (Establishment), Goshiya Jiya (Civil Service Commission) and Musa Idris (Justice).
Others were Maryam Nurudeen-Mohammed (Agriculture); Halimat Eletu (Enterprise), Olayiwola Abubakar (Health); Kikelomo Grillo (Cabinet, Political and Special Services), Alabere Babatunde (Local Government) and Rabiat Mopelola (Communication).
The remaining permanent secretaries were Okanlawon Olanrewaju (Water Resources); Yusuf Abdullahi (Special Duties); Iyabo Banire (Sports); Bamigbe Williams (Energy); Adeosun Kemi (Education) and Olorukooba Yinka (Works).
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
LASG holds consultative forum for Y2021 Budget, adopts holistic approach to COVID-19
Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.
Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.
“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.
“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.
He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.
“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.
“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.
“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.
For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.
“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.
“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.
“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.
The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.
On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.
Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.
Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.
“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.
Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.
He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.
The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
Limit your speed on highways to avoid crashes, FRSC urges motorists
The Ogun Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has warned motorists to limit their speed while on the highways in order to avoid unnecessary road traffic crashes.
NAN reports that Umar was reacting to the accident that occurred on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, leading to the death of three persons, with seven others injured.
Umar said that the accident could have been averted, if the commercial bus had adhered strictly to the speed limit.
“The FRSC wants to appeal to motorists to install speed limit devices in their vehicles to regulate and prevent tragedy, when accidents occur,” he said.
The sector commander enjoined motorists to refrain from putting used tyres on their vehicles so as to avoid unnecessary mishaps on the road.
Umar, however, condoled with the families of the accident victims and prayed God to grant them the fortitude to bear the losses.
Edited by ‘Wale Sadeeq
Resumption: Lagos schools comply with COVID-19 protocols
Secondary Schools in Lagos State are complying with the COVID-19 prevention protocols, as students in exit classes resume.
The News Agency of Nigeria correspondents, who visited some schools in the state, report that water, soaps , alcohol-based hand sanitisers and infrared thermometer were provided by the schools.
Also, compulsory wearing of nose masks and social distancing in classrooms were observed by students and teachers.
A big banner displaying World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines was seen at the entrance of the Honeyland Schools, Ipaja.
At the Senior High School, Alimosho, students wore face masks or shields while receiving lectures in their classrooms.
Mr Oluyemi Faleke, Principal of Honeyland Schools, said that SS3, students of the school were ready for the West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Faleke said that during the COVID-19-induced lockdown, the school engaged its students through virtual learning.
He said that participation was compulsory.
“We do not just collect money from parents, we make sure students get good quality education.
“We have many classrooms for students to practise social distancing , it is possible for five students to sit per class during the examination,” he said.
Kehinde Fadaka, Head Boy of Honeyland Schools, said that he was ready to write the examination.
He said that he studied hard with the assistance of the school’s virtual learning and personal timetable.
“The classes we are having now are to help me revise all I have read and prepare me for further.
Miss Opeyemi Hamzat, SS3 students of Senior High School, Alimosho, said that she was very happy to resume.
Hamzat said that she read everyday during the lockdown and participated in the WAEC revision programme aired on television by Lagos State Government.
Mrs Betty Attah, Executive Director, Mandate Schools, Akerman in Alimosho said that the school followed the COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
”We have prepared our boarding facilities for all SS3 students, the arrangement will accommodate three students instead of 10.
“We have six students in each class in order to practise social distancing,” she said,”Attah said.
Mrs Grace Ikazan, Principal of Sophem High School, Ipaja – a private school, said that the school was doing revision for SS3 students.
Ikahan said that only SS3 students resumed, adding that the students’ temperatures were being checked regularly and social distancing observed.
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Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Robogarden set to empower education stakeholders on coding technology
A digitised educational platform, Robogarden, has urged the Federal Government to imbibe personalised learning on coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and skills in the Nigeria’s educational system.
Its President, Dr Mohamed Elhabiby, made the plea at a webinar on Tuesday, in Lagos, saying this would ensure future of the new economy was dependent on successful and sustainable digital transformation processes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar focussed on Personalised Learning, AI and Education Technology, Digital Transformation Skills, Challenges, Today and in the Future.
Its theme was: “Rights and Voices of Youth: Teach Coding for the Youth.”
Elhabiby said there was the need to prepare children from an early age for the new reality of professions and mastery of digital technology to address shortage of skill and enhance competitiveness in the future of jobs.
He said that Robogarden was created to engage and provide code execution support for persons of different races and culture, irrespective of language.
The founder of the garden also urged the government to stimulate plans to provide tools to enable individuals, communities and companies to become active innovators.
“The job market was already undergoing profound digital transformation, and so required professionals with an increasing knowledge of technology.
“Such qualifications would result in better income distribution, reduction of social inequality, unemployment and crime rates.
“Skills for the future in 2030 include: digital literacy and computational thinking, creative and innovative thinking, and cognitive flexibility.
“We are highly relying on technology and skills should be matching to them.
“It is important to be digitally literate to the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and data science.
“Today’s job vacancies may not be the same as tomorrow, and that is why humans should be able to adapt to the changes happening around them in the digital space.
“Currently, every country has issues with shortage of skills and high unemployment rates globally.
“Skills plus education is the new future, while the new literacy is coding,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Ngozi Ogoke, Chief Executive Officer, Ovana E-learning Limited, said her organisation, in collaboration with Robogarden, focussed on bringing transformation to the Nigerian digital economy and Africa as a whole.
According to her, the webinar serves to offer scholastically unique technology driven solutions that would lead to critical thinking and achievement of excellence in higher learning outcomes.
“We aim to create bright new opportunities for individuals and the entire community as we are in a new world of technology and
digitalisation,” Ogoke said.
Responding, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the country had opened its doors to technological training with regards to robotics.
Adamu, represented by Mrs Muna Onuzo-Iyanam, Special Adviser, Technical Planning, Research and Development, Ministry of Education, said he was committed to upscaling training of teachers and students toward achieving digital transformation in the education space.
“Our schools will become more compliant at introducing AI, robotics, coding and technological learning to prepare our children for the future and advance the future of jobs,” he said.
Also at the webinar, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, the President, National Association of Proprietors of Private School, pledged her support and commitment to ensuring public schools’ participation in technological personalised learning.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)