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Bill to establish Federal University of Technology passes 3rd reading

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A bill for an Act to provide for the establishment of Federal University of Technology Auchi, Edo, on Wednesday passed third reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill which was sponsored by Rep Johnson Oghuma (APC Edo) passed at Wednesday’s plenary presided over by the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on the provisions of the bill, the Oghuma said the piece of legislation is aimed at upgrading  Federal Polytechnic Auchi to a Federal University of Technology.

The Lawmaker expressed optimism that the bill will receive presidential assent before the 8th National Assembly winds up.

He said that one of the objective of the university was to encourage the advancement of learning among all persons without distinction of race, creed, sex, or political convention.

“The university will produce socially matured technologists with capabilities not only to understand the technology need of Nigeria as a nation but also to exploit existing technological infrastructure and improve on them to develop new ones,” Oghuma said.

The lawmaker said that the university would be supervised by the Federal Ministry of Education through the National University Commission (NUC)

The NUC, he said  “shall be responsible for approving and regulating all academic programmes ran by the university , to ensure compliance and provide funds for academic and research programmes, infrastructure and renumeration of employees.”

He said that the the institution will bring about quality change in Technology education as it would focus on practical teaching and learning innovations. (NAN

edited by Sadiya Hamza

Economy

NERC says 62.3% electricity consumers still on estimated billing

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), on Saturday said 62.3 per cent of electricity consumers in the country were still on estimated billing as at December 2019.

NERC made this known in its Fourth Quarter 2019 Report which was obtained from its website by News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

The commission said: “Inadequate metering remains a serious challenge in the industry, with only 3,918,322 (37.77 per cent) of the total customer population of 10,374,597

metered.

With 62.37 per cent of the end-use customers on estimated billing, huge collection losses due to customer apathy have posed a serious challenge to the viability and sustainability of the industry.”

It said  in comparison to the third quarter of 2019, the  numbers of registered and metered customers increased by 699,850 (7.23 per cent) and 22,825 (0.59 per cent) respectively.

NERC said the increase in the number of registered customers was attributable to the on-going enumeration exercise by DisCos while the increase in metered customers was due to the roll-out of meters under the Meter Asset Provider (MAP) schemes.

It said: “The commission notes with concern that the additional 22,825 end-use customers’ meters installed during the fourth quarter fell significantly from the 83,768 meters installed during the third quarter.

“This poses risk to the Commission’s goal of closing the metering gap in Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) by Dec. 31, 2021.

 “Although some MAPs have not fully commenced meter deployments, the low metering recorded during the quarter was partly due to the increase of 35 per cent in import duty on meter components.

NERC said it was  already working with the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning toward addressing those issues in order to fast-track meters roll-out.

It said during the period under review, only Abuja, Eko, Enugu, Ikeja, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt DisCos metered additional customers.

According to NERC,  the metering status of the DisCos as at December 2019 is: Benin DisCo, 53.71 per cent;  Abuja,  52.39 per cent; Eko,  46.67 per cent; Ikeja, 40.38 per cent and Jos,  31.71 per cent.

Others are: Port Harcourt, 38.34 per cent; Ibadan, 32.21 per cent; Kaduna,  22.2 per cent; Kano, 18.36 per cent; Enugu , 41.26 per cent and Yola, 18.75 per cent.

The commission said it would continue to monitor the DisCos to ensure total compliance with the MAP regulations.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Entertainment

Not a billionaire, but Kylie Jenner is highest-paid celebrity, Forbes says

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Kylie Jenner and Kanye West on Thursday topped the annual Forbes list of the highest paid celebrities, but sports stars, including Roger Federer and Lionel Messi, dominated the top 10.

Forbes estimated that Jenner earned $590 million in the last 12 months, mostly from the sale of a 51 per cent stake in her Kylie Cosmetics line to Coty in 2019.

Jenner, 22, the half-sister of Kim Kardashian, made headlines a week ago when Forbes said that after reviewing data from the Coty sale, it no longer believed she was a billionaire as it had declared a year ago.

Jenner responded saying that the original Forbes estimate was based on “a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions.”

West, who is married to Kardashian, followed with an estimated $170 million in earnings, much of it from his deal with Adidas for his Yeezy sneaker brand.

West was also the top-earning musician, followed by Elton John who raked in most of his estimated $81 million from a lengthy farewell tour.

Forbes said the Celebrity Top 100 earned a combined $6.1 billion before taxes and fees, a $200 million drop from 2019, after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered stadiums and sports arenas.

Tennis champion Federer took third place with an estimated $106.3 million, mostly from endorsement deals with the likes of Japanese clothing company Uniqlo and watch maker Rolex, followed by soccer stars Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.

Forbes compiled the list by estimating pre-tax earnings from June 2019-June 2020, before deducting fees for managers, based on data from Nielsen, touring trade publication Pollstar, movie database IMDB, as well as interviews with industry experts and many of the celebrities themselves.

Newcomers this year included “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda ($45.5 million) and musician Billie Eilish ($53 million), who at age 18,was the youngest of the Celebrity 100.

Taylor Swift, who took the top spot a year ago, slid to 25th place after the conclusion of her “Reputation” world tour.


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara (NAN)
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Legislative, Judiciary Funds bills will promote democratic ideals – Ogun lawmakers 

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Ogun lawmakers on Thursday said that the bills on Legislative and Judiciary Funds Management remained veritable legislations aimed at promoting democratic ideals, self-independence and accountability.

The lawmakers took turns to lend their voice in support of the bills during the second reading at plenary in Abeokuta.

They unanimously noted that the passage of the bills was essential to the successful take-off of the Executive Order 10 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

The bills include a bill for a law to make provision for the Ogun State House of Assembly Legislative Funds Management and other matters connected therewith.

There is also a bill for a law to make provision for the Ogun State Judiciary Funds Management and other matters connected therewith.

Mr Solomon Osho (APC-Remo North) explained that the bills were aimed at promoting separation of powers among the three arms of government.

Osho, who is the Chairman, House Committee on Justice and Public Petitions, noted that the bills were also aimed at strengthening the judiciary and legislature in the discharge of their respective duties.

Mr Abayomi Fasuwa (APC-Ijebu North East) and Kemi Oduwole (APC-Ijebu Ode) said that the implementation of the bills would make the state retained her leading position in the comity of states in the nation.

They said that the bills would improve the activities of the legislative and judiciary arms, with a view to achieving efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of quality service to the people.

Other lawmakers commended President Buhari for the issuance of the Executive Order 10, which they noted would reposition the system of governance in the nation.

The lawmakers added that the two bills would speed up the financial autonomy of the two arms of government and curb undue interference to bring about efficiency in the principle of check and balances through unhindered oversight function.

The Speaker, Mr Olakunle Oluomo (APC-Ifo1), noted that the bills which remained instrumental to the implementation of the Executive Order would rather promote harmonious relationship among the three arms of government as spelt out in the constitution.

Oluomo gave an assurance that the bill would bring about rapid development of the state’s economy, while putting the state in its pride of place among the progressive states in the country.

He, however, committed the bills to the Committee on Rules and Businesses for further legislative actions.

The Assembly, also passed a resolution calling on the state government to compel all companies and corporate organisations operating in the state to effect not less than 30 per cent local content in all categories of their staff composition.


Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Ogun assembly passes mortgages bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Thursday passed the bill establishing the Ogun Mortgages and Foreclosure Authority to regulate mortgages in the state.

Mr Damilola Soneye, the Chairman, House Committee on Lands and Housing, presented the committee’s report to the Assembly during plenary in Abeokuta.

Soneye (APC -Obafemi Owode) moved the motion for the adoption of the report and this was seconded by Wahab Haruna (ADC -Yewa North 11).

Mr Yusuf Sherif, the Majority Leader, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill and it was seconded by the Deputy Speaker, Dare Kadiri.

Mr Deji Adeyemo, the Clerk of the House, read the bill for the third time before the members of the assembly.

The Speaker of the House, Olakunle Oluomo, thereafter ordered that a clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

Speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview on the importance of the bill, Soneye explained that the law would regulate mortgage banking and related businesses in the state.

The lawmaker said that the mortgage institutions would be better empowered to meet the demands of modern day housing development.

“The law will allow for proper mode of operations in managing our mortgages and foreclosure and ensuring the management of the expanding mortgage industry in the state,” he said.

(
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo (NAN)
)

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General news

Ogun Assembly passes Health Insurance bill, another into law 

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Thursday passed into law a bill to amend the state Health Insurance Scheme.

Mr Adegoke Adeyanju (ADC -Yewa North 1) and Chairman, House Committee on Health, read the committee’s report on the bill during plenary in Abeokuta.

Adeyanju moved the motion for the adoption of the report, which was seconded by Mrs Atinuke Bello (APC-Odogbolu), who is also the Chief Whip of the house.

Mr Yusuf Sherif (APC-Ado Odo Ota 1), the Majority Leader, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill which was seconded by Ganiyu Oyedeji (APM-Ifo 11), the Minority Leader.

The Clerk of the House, Mr Adedeji Adeyemo, read the bill for the third time before the members.

Also during plenary,  the assembly passed into law a bill to prescribe approval of regulation by resolution of the Ogun House of Assembly and for connected purposes.

Mrs Modupe Mujota (APM-Abeokuta North) presented the committee report on the bill.

Mujota also moved the motion for the adoption of the report which was seconded by Abayomi Fasuwa (APC-Ijebu North East).

Sherif thereafter moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, which was seconded by Sola Adams (APC-Ijebu East).

Adeyemo, the clerk of the House, also read the bill for the third time for adoption by members.

Consequently, Mr Olakunle Oluomo (APC-Ifo1), the Speaker, ordered that the clean copies of the two bills be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.


Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Ugandan cabinet approves human organ donation, trade bill

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Uganda’s cabinet has approved a bill that, if enacted by parliament, will regulate human organ donation and trade in the east African country, a top official said here on Thursday.

Judith Nabakooba, minister of ICT and national guidance said in a statement issued here that the bill dubbed ‘Uganda Human Organ Donation and Tissue Transplant Bill‘ would soon be presented before parliament for approval.

“The bill seeks to establish a legal framework for human organs, cells and tissue transplant in Uganda and also regulate donations and trade in human organs, cells and tissue for safety and security of Ugandans,” Nabakooba said.

Non-governmental organizations and civil society argue that there is an increase in illicit human organ trade in Africa, partly because of weak laws and enforcement, poverty and human trafficking.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Germany unveils 130-billion-euro stimulus package to boost virus-hit economy

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Germany has agreed on an economic stimulus package worth 130 billion euros (146 billion U.S. dollars) to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Angela Merkel said late Wednesday.

“The size of the package will amount to 130 billion euros for the years 2020/2021, 120 billion of which will be spent by the federal government,” Merkel said during a news conference after coalition meetings over stimulus measures to boost the severely-hit economy.

“We have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future, and in addition, we’re now dealing with our responsibility for Europe and the international dimension,” she noted.

The comprehensive economic stimulus measures include billions in aid for struggling industries, additional funding to deal with unemployment and lost tax revenue, and a one-time 300-euro per child bonus.

Merkel said the main value-added tax (VAT) rate will be temporarily reduced from 19 percent to 16 percent for six months, starting from July 1. The usual VAT rate for hospitality of 7 percent will be reduced to 5 percent over the same period.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that an additional supplementary budget will need to be passed for the stimulus, without naming any figures.

The stimulus programme follows a 750-billion-euro rescue package agreed by the German government in late March to mitigate the damage of the pandemic.

(XINHUA)

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General news

FEC approves N8.1 billion for completion of dam in Nasarawa State

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N8.1 billion for the completion of the construction of Farin-Ruwa multipurpose dam in Nasarawa State.

The Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, disclosed this when he briefed State House correspondents at the end of the third virtual meeting of the Council.

The meeting was presided over by President Muhamamdu Buhari at the Council Chamber of the State House, Abuja.

He said the project was started by the Nasarawa State Government in 2013 but the state government in 2018, requested the federal government to take over for completion of the project.

He said: “President Buhari approved the project, a multipurpose dam project with provision for water supply, irrigation and 20 megawatts hydropower station.

“All we intend to do at the federal level is to complete the dam and then hope that we can get a concessionaire to take over the component of the hydropower, which includes the construction of the power house, the turbines and the transmission lines.

“The contract sum is N8.14 billion inclusive of all taxes with the completion period of 24 months.

“It comprises of the completion of the dam embankment, spring lay and outlet works for the water supply and hydropower component, 20 kilometres of access road and rehabilitation of some service quarters.’’

In his contribution, the Minister of Defence, retired Maj. Gen Bashir Magashi, said his ministry made presentation to the Council on its achievements and challenges in the last one year.

He said: “We spoke about our short comings. We talked about manpower shortage, inadequate funding for the Ministry of Defence. We talked about all the operations we have been conducting, the successes and failures of each of the operations right from Operation Lafia Dole to Operation Tawase.

“The shortcomings of each of the operations were discussed and God so kind contributions were made by members of the council and I think in no distant time there will be a change in the conduct of our affairs in the Ministry of Defence.’’


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Plateau anti-land grabbing, kidnapping bill passes second reading

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A bill to provide for anti-land grabbing, kidnapping, cultism, anti-violence and other related matters has passed the second reading at the Plateau House of Assembly.

Mr Philip Dasun (APC, Pankshin North), who presented the bill before the House, said that the bill, which had six parts and 57 clauses, was presented to curtail incessant crises in the state.

“The detailed activities the law seeks to achieve include but not limited to protecting landed properties against violence.

“Dealing with attempts to commit offences and criminal conspiracies as well as prohibition of secret cults.

“The bill is also aimed at dealing with all forms of kidnappings”, Dasun, who is the Deputy Majority Leader, said.

The Speaker, Mr Abok Ayuba, who presided over the plenary, said that two other bills that had to do with anti-land grabbing and kidnapping as presented by some members would be harmonized into one.

Ayuba, after inputs from members, directed that the bill be sent to the Committee on Judiciary for a more detail assessment.

According to the Speaker, the committee is to report back to the House on June 16 for further legislative action.


Edited By: Joe Idika and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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