Canada’s gross domestic product grew 4.5 percent in May because businesses reopened after unprecedented economic lockdowns due to the COVID-19 spread in March and April, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.
May saw rebounds across multiple industries with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, including retail trade that registered a 16.4 percent surge to mark its largest monthly increase since 1961.
May’s gains offset some of the March and April declines, economic activity remained 15 percent below February’s pre-pandemic level.
In May, 17 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases.
Both goods-producing industries rose 8 percent while the services-producing sector was up 3.4 percent.
Preliminary information indicates an approximate 5 percent increase in GDP for June and an approximate 12 percent decline in real GDP in the second quarter of 2020.
Owing to their preliminary nature, these estimates will be revised on Aug. 28 with the release of the official GDP for June and the second quarter.
COVID-19: Bayelsa schools ready, safe to re-open – Gov. Diri
Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa on Tuesday announced that the state had put in place measures to check the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) among students in exit classes billed to resume on Wednesday.
Diri gave the assurance at the ‘Safe School Reopening Train-the-Trainer’ programme in Yenagoa.
He said that the government had provided 10,000 face masks, temperature scanners, soap and water for all public and private schools in Bayelsa.
The governor inaugurated a 10-member Safe Schools Reopening Committee headed by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Peter Akpe, to monitor implementation of the safety protocols across the state.
Diri urged the committee to ensure compliance with the safety protocols to curb infection.
He noted that Bayelsa had 339 COVID-19 cases at the moment.
Diri also noted that Rivers had 1,842 cases and Delta 1,520, saying that Bayelsa was listed the 23rd out of 36 states in infection rate.
“Out of the responsibility for the health of our dear children, we decided to close schools on March 26 even before we recorded the index case in Bayless, on April 27, 2020.
“I commend the efforts of our healthcare professionals who I describe as generals in the battlefield.
“With the steps we have taken, teachers have joined in the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic.
“We seek the cooperation of parents, teachers and other stakeholders to prevent teacher-to-student transmission of the virus and vice versa,” Diri said.
In his remarks, Dr Nathaniel Apoku, Co-Chairman of Bayelsa COVID-19 Task Force, said that 90 per cent of the 339 positive cases out of 5,000 people screened for the virus had been discharged.
“We have so far tested 5,000, we have only 24 active cases under our care.
“Our isolation centres are virtually empty, this is due to the commitment, dexterity and funding support by the government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that other members of the Safe Schools Reopening Committee include Mr Freston Akpor, Permanent Secretary, Bayelsa Ministry of Information, and Mr Walter Liverpool, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Ebonyi govt pledges to promote breastfeeding, provides crèches, jingles
The Ebonyi Government has pledged to do everything possible to encourage breastfeeding among young mothers in the state to improve child and maternal survival.
The Commissioner for Health in Ebonyi, Dr Daniel Umezurike disclosed this on Tuesday during a press briefing to mark 2020 World Breastfeeding Week in Abakaliki.
Umezurike revealed that the state government considered the feeding critical by creating public awareness campaigns and jingles with support from partners to advocate breastfeeding in the state.
The commissioner also disclosed that civil servants who were nursing mothers in the state had been observing four months paid maternity leave to encourage breastfeeding.
He said that wife of the Governor, Mrs Rachael Umahi had established creches in the women development centre and strategic locations to enhance appropriate feeding.
“This is for mother to get close to their children, even at work so that they can breastfeed intermittently.
He added that they were also allowed after the leave resumption to close at mid-day to enable them return home to their babies to feed them appropriately.
“Breastfeeding is most important way of improving child and maternal survival. We take this very seriously.
“We do all these to encourage, protect and support breastfeeding in the state,” Umezurike said.
According to him, malnutrition is a challenge that reduces production of breast milk, when nursing mother are not properly fed.
Umezurike added that such families to include the downtrodden and widows were supported by Mrs Umahi to ensure family health were protected in the state.
He further stated that COVID-19 pandemic had affected activities, food production, consumption practices degrading land and ecosystems among others, thus every steps taken across life cycle to mitigate environmental degradation and climate crisis.
He stated that the pandemic had demonstrated that the global world interdepend and dependent on same planet, thus needs a healthy planet with support of breastfeeding.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner disclosed current situation report of COVID-19 in the state, saying that total confirmed cases is 871, deaths 25, discharged 804 and active cases is 36.
“We have three isolation centers and some on home isolation,” Umezurike said.
The Baby Friendly Initiative Coordinator in the ministry of Health, Mrs Beatrice Ojinkama described breastfeeding as foundation of live.
Ojinkama gave advantages of initiating breastfeeding to include serving as first immunization for a child to survive, help remove reserved placenta, help in family planning among others processes.
She called on the media to assist partners and the ministry in achieving the scheme.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)
FG to resume Digital Switch Over roll out – Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government says it will “very soon’ resume the roll out of Digital Switch Over (DSO) – a transition from analogue to digital television broadcasting – across the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this on Tuesday in Lagos at a ceremony to unveil the new amendment to the 6th Edition of the Broadcasting Code.
Fielding questions from stakeholders at the ceremony, the minister said the DSO suffered some set back which led to a hold after it was launched in six states.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to spread the massive benefits of digital television to the people, stressing that it was the fastest way to create jobs.
The minister assured the stakeholders that they would hear from the government on the resumption of the DSO roll out in the coming weeks.
Mohammed also told the stakeholders that government had been implementing policies and programmes to reposition the creative industry.
He said one of the major recommendations of the Post COVID-19 Initiative Committee on the Creative Industry chaired by ace comedian, Ali Baba was a restructure of the industry.
The minister reassured that the government would soon set up a committee on the implementation of the recommendations to move the industry forward.
The Minister also reiterated government’s commitment to assist the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria in securing the N10 billion Nigeria Media Intervention Fund from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)
Digital economy: Nigeria must shift focus from certificate to skills – Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has advocated for shifting of focus from certificate to skills education for the actualisation of Nigeria’s digital economic drive.
Pantami made the call at the Graduation Lecture of the National Defence Collage Course 28, titled; “Digital Economy and National Development in Nigeria”, on Tuesday in Abuja.
The minister added that emphasis on certificate must be reduced in engaging labour force, urging that focus should be shifted to skills if the nation must catch up with development.
He said that many developed and developing countries such as China, United States and Morocco had shifted attention to skills rather than certificate, adding that many of them had established skills centres.
According to him, certificate is important but secondary to skill and that is why we must pay attention to skills in our journey to digital economy.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy. It will support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and digitally skilled citizens.
“We recently provided a platform, the DigitalNigeria.gov.ng platform, to enable Nigerians receive training in diverse digital skills. Over 36,000 Nigerians have enrolled on the platform since the 2nd of April, 2020.
“We are championing a paradigm change that lays emphasis on skills, in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
“The National Defence College is an institution that supports the development of skills and there are many digital techniques that can support the great work that you are doing here,’’ he said.
Pantami stated that the digital economy was a prime catalyst for development, adding that in less than one year, government’s modest efforts had already yielded remarkable results.
According to him, the recent first quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT contributed an unprecedented 14.07 per cent to Nigeria’s total real GDP.
He explained that emerging technologies came with different solutions to security challenges of every nation such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, robotic technology, drone and many more.
“These are some of the emerging technologies that will go a long way in promoting security of nations. The security officials are in better position to look into and see how to customize them and make use of them.”
Also, the Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi, said the Federal Government had taken steps to adopt, adapt and internalise the digital economy in a functional manner.
Magashi, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Sabiu Zakari, said it was important that security and defence establishments show more than a cursory interest in the digital economy.
He added that the adaptation of digital economy could result in increased cybercrimes thus undermining national security.
“I wish to commend the Commandant, staff and the entire College community for their collective efforts in pursuing the ideals of the College.
“In particular, I commend you for organising the graduation lecture, which was exciting, educative and would be helpful to the economic and security needs of the Nigerian nation,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Commandant of the collage, Rear Adm. Markson Kadiri, said the lecture had become a key component of the training programme of the College and a major highlight of its annual graduation ceremonies.
Kadiri said that a total of 107 participants had successfully completed the course comprising 67 officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, seven Senior Police Officers and 15 participants from key Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Others according to him, include 18 senior military officers from the Armed Forces of friendly nations.
“The Course was conducted under the theme “Economic Diversification and National Development in Nigeria”. Economic diversification is a broad based strategy designed to cause positive and multi-sectoral economic growth and development,’’ he said.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)