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BMO lauds President Buhari’s debt relief for television, radio stations

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BMO lauds President Buhari’s debt relief for television, radio stations


The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for granting 60 per cent debt relief to television and radio stations in the country.

The BMO Chairman, Mr Niyi Akinsiju, who gave the kudos in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday, said the President’s action was as a result of revenue loss by the media organisations during the COVID-19 lockdown.

According to Akinsiju, the gesture demonstrates the president’s disposition to encourage and sustain a free and vibrant media industry.

“The 30 per cent slash in licence fees for the broadcast stations by National Broadcasting Commission also shows Federal Government’s favourable disposition to their survival.

“President Muhammadu Buhari has consistently shown sensitivity towards the operations of the media,” he said.

The BMO chairman said that the president’s decision was in line with the economic sustainability plan of the current administration.

“While the COVID-19 lockdown lasted, the media, particularly the broadcast arm, suffered tremendous loss of revenue due to lack of advertisements and sponsorship programmes.

“So the gesture will enable them to stay afloat, retain their workforce and meet other obligations,” he said.

Akinsiju therefore urged the media to reciprocate the government’s gesture by partnering the Buhari-led administration in the task of nation building.

“The interests of the media and that of the government should be mutually inclusive, especially in advancing democracy and good governance.

“The media should avoid the temptation of being hostile to government policies in their duty as the watchdog of the society,” Akinsiju said.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Abdulwahab Deji: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

COVID-19

COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption

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COVID-19: SON, committee review safety guidelines for tourism sector resumption

Guidelines

Abuja, July 3, 2020 Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Mirror Committee on Tourism are reviewing standards on health and safety measures for  the industry post COVID-19.

Mrs Chika Balogun, Committee Chairperson and Director-General, National Institute for Hotels and Tourism, said via a webinar meeting on Monday in Abuja that the draft standards would help revive the tourism sector.

According to her, it will help the sector to pick up when the lockdown ends.

”The online meeting by the committee’s Working Group on Tourism and Related Services is aimed at mitigating harrowing effect of COVID-19 on the industry.

”It will find a common ground for post-COVID-19 way forward in reviving the industry.

”The draft standards on Health and Safety Measures for Tourism and Hospitality Establishments-Post Pandemic (COVID-19) Resumption Guidelines specified resumption requirements to comply with lives protection and business sustainability.

”The guidelines apply to Hotels, Restaurants, Fast Foods, Conferences, Meetings, Event Centres, Tour Operatives, Travel Agents, Tourist Information Centres, Airlines and Beaches, among others,” she said.

Balogun said at a difficult period like this, tourism stakeholders needed to put all hands-on deck to pull out of the pandemic challenges.

Balogun thanked the committee members for their commitment and dedication towards making Nigerian tourism sector at par with its counterparts on the global scene.

The Director, Standards Development, SON, Mrs Chinyere Egwuonwu, said tourism sector had been adversely affected by the pandemic within and outside Nigeria.

“National Mirror Committee is expected to oversee a comeback by the sector through deliberations on the draft standards and the eventual implementation,” she said.

Represented by SON Group Head, Service Standards, Mr Ayoola Ololade, Egwuonwu stated that SON was ready to work with stakeholders to revamp the sector to ensure that activities pick at the end of the lockdown.

Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Nigeria’s candidate for WTO chief prioritizes fixing dispute settlement system if selected

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Nigeria’s candidate for the top job of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said fixing the Geneva-based body’s dispute settlement system would be one of her priorities, if selected as the new chief of the WTO.


Okonjo-Iweala, who is competing with seven other nominees for the position of director-general of the WTO, told Xinhua in a recent interview that her top priorities if selected, would be preparing for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in 2021.

She also hoped to work on restoring the dispute settlement system and updating the WTO’s rule book.

The WTO’s dispute settlement body is currently paralysed.

The Appellate Body, considered as the Supreme Court for global trade disputes, is supposed to have seven judges and needs a minimum of three judges to function.

The United States administration has been blocking new appointments for more than two years, with United States officials claiming that the court had gone beyond its remit.

“I would be focusing, if I get the job, on the dispute settlement system because this is the fundamental pillar of the WTO,’’ Okonjo-Iweala said.

“If you have a rules-based organisation, you must have a place where rules are arbitrated and that’s what happens with the dispute settlement system.

“So, restoring that will be a top priority as well.’’

Nigeria nominated Okonjo-Iweala, an economist who twice, served as Nigeria’s finance minister and briefly acted as foreign minister, for the post of WTO director-general in June.

She also had a 25-year career at the World Bank, including as a managing director.

The candidate, who also sits on the board of Twitter and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, said she was confident to win the selection process and that she would be a listener-in-chief as well as a tough negotiator.

“I have strong political skills and negotiation skills.

“I think that’s very much needed; I am a consensus-builder and I’m a good listener too.’’

The candidate showed her confidence to “find a way to unlock the seeming division’’ on the trade side, between China and the United States, underlining that finding areas of mutual interest and to build trust within the WTO trading system would be important.

“Actually, if you listen to the two members, they have some things in common,’’ Okonjo-Iweala added.

“The dispute settlement system of the WTO is valued by both, they want it to reform, they don’t want it to disappear.’’

Okonjo-Iweala also noted that she hopes China will play the role of an economic growth engine in the current COVID-19 pandemic as it did during the 2008 global financial crisis.

“I think the best thing China can do is to recover quickly.

“Because it’s one of the engines of growth in the world and it’s almost a quarter of world trade,’ she told Xinhua.

“So, if it recovers quickly, it means that it can help the rest of the world recover.

“So, that’s the role I would see for China.’’

Roberto Azevedo, the incumbent WTO chief, announced in May that he will officially leave his post on Aug. 31, a year before his term expires.

The second phase of the selection process, in which the candidates “make themselves known to members’’, will end on Sept. 7 and then the General Council chairperson will consult with all WTO members before making the final decision.

AIB

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19

COVID-19 test no longer a requirement for resumption of students in Ogun — Abiodun

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The Ogun government had stepped down COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in the exit class in Senior Secondary schools in the state.


Gov. Dapo Abiodun announced the reversal in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abeokuta on Friday.

The government had on Sunday, through Mrs Ronke Soyombo, Special Assistant to the governor on Education, directed schools in the state to reopen for students in the SS3 classes on Tuesday.

It had also insisted that the returning students ran COVID-19 test before being admitted into the schools.

The government listed specific laboratory centres for the test which costs N50,000 had announced a 100 per cent subsidy for students in public schools and 50 per cent subsidy for students in the private schools.

Abiodun on Monday, however, reversed the decision and stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for the returning students .

The governor noted that the state had the highest number of secondary schools in the country with a total of 5,340 and 500 boarding students in private and public schools, respectively.

“After reviewing these developments, I have today immediately directed that the government laboratories carry out test for all returning SS3 boarding students at no cost.

“I have also directed that all those who have paid for tests be refunded.

“The health of our children remains our utmost priority.

“However, we have a total number of 5,340 boarding students in our private schools and 500 boarding students in our public schools.

“Our COVID-19 testing laboratory has an installed testing capacity of 500 tests per day.

“It may not, therefore, be feasible for all boarding students to get tested and get their results prior to resumption or even examinations which commences on August 17.

“Consequently the state government has, therefore, stepped down the COVID-19 test as a mandatory requirement for returning students in our exit classes.

“We, therefore, enjoin private school owners to their duty of care to their pupils.

“The admittance of students into boarding house in private secondary schools will be at the discretion of the management and the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of such private schools.

” We recommend that students who do not have to stay in the boarding house should attend school from home, especially those with underlying health conditions.

“I have also directed the provision of face masks for all students in both private and public schools.

“The inconvenience and confusion experienced on Sunday is highly regrettable and my sincere apologies to the parents and students so affected.

“The quality and standard of education and well being of our children are issues that are very dear to my heart.

“I appreciate the cooperation, support, resilience and understanding of all the people of Ogun State towards flattening the curve of COVID-19 in Ogun State.

“It is my prayer that this phase will end soonest,” he said.

——

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Buhari mourns Khalifa Tidiane Niass, Senegal-based Islamic leader

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the demise of Sheikh Ahmed Tidiane Niass, Grand Khalifa (leader) of Tijjaniyya Islamic movement in Africa.


The President’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Monday, said Buhari’s condolence message was addressed to President Macky Sall, government and people of Senegal as well as millions of members of the sect in Nigeria.

President Buhari said: “It is really sad news for all of us to learn that our beloved Khalifa, Sheikh Ahmed Niass, has passed away in Senegal.

“Sheikh Ahmed Niass, who took over from his father, Sheikh Ibrahim Niass, did not at all disappoint the large followers of his greatly adored father.

”He will be remembered for his impeccable service to Islam and passion towards the sect’s followers, which has a large body in Nigeria.”

The Nigerian leader recalled that June, 2018, Sheikh Ahmed Niass visited the State House, Abuja, accompanied by some eminent Nigerians including President of BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabi’u.

President Buhari, on behalf of government and people of Nigeria, prayed “for the eternal repose of his departed soul.”

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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