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Coy trains stakeholders on environmental analysis software



GEObjects Ltd., in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Environment, has trained stakeholders in the environmental sector on how to apply environmental analysis software, “Sphere,’’ to stimulate carbon flows in industries.

The Managing Director of GEObjects Ltd., Mr Mike Wood, said this in Abuja on Wednesday at the Environmental Innovation Symposium on Application of Environmental Analytic Software for Nigeria.

Wood said that the purpose of the training was to bring the sophisticated environmental analytic software to everyone who needs to use it.

“The key product of GEObjects is Sphere, which is a carbon simulator and analysis system – a tool that can simulate carbon flows in industrial, agricultural, land management, and urban scenarios and model outcomes.

“These results are useful for understanding greenhouse gas performance as well as carbon outcomes, and forming environmental, economic, industrial and energy policy.

“Businesses may report carbon performance, and government can perform greenhouse gas reporting and manage commercial compliance or form regulatory mechanisms,’’ the managing director said.

Dr Peter Tarfa, the Director of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, said that environmental innovation symposium was organised for stakeholders to discuss how the software tool could serve as carbon simulator and analysis system in the country.


Over 110 Hand sanitisers production Coys registered in Nigeria- NAFDAC



The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says over 110 hand sanitisers production companies are currently operating in Nigeria following the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.

Its Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, made this known on Wednesday during a virtual meeting organised by the Lagos Business School Sustainability Centre.

The focus was: “LBS Sustainability Centre: COVID-19 in Africa and the Impact on Medical Products and Technologies: What We Know and What We should Be Doing.”

Adeyeye said when the pandemic started, it was a wild wind for the regulatory agency, because they were caught by surprise and everything stopped as they had to focus on COVID-19 pandemic.

She said: “There was complete lockdown in selected states of Lagos, Ogun and FCT; so, we had to quickly start using adaptive regulatory activities with only essential workers.

“There were too many things happening at the same time, but we had to expedite approval processes.

“We actually cut it down to 10 days instead of months that we had before.

“For alcohol-based hand sanitisers, there was intensification of submissions and approvals.

In January 2020, we had about 21 hand sanitising companies in Nigeria before COVID-19, now we have over 110 hand sanitising companies registered in our data base.’’

According to her, 55 brands of hand sanitisers were issued emergency approval for use during the four weeks COVID-19 countrywide lockdown.

Adeyeye said that expedited approvals were being given, and NAFDAC could not inspect the sites because of lockdown, and because it was just at the beginning of the pandemic.

“We weren’t even prepared to get all the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed.

“However, we went into the market on surveillance, we had to go to open markets.

We started in Lagos, then spread across the country, because with the pandemic came unregistered hand sanitisers, falsified hand sanitisers.

“But, we did our due diligence in terms of both market surveillance which included mopping of many sanitisers from the market, doing laboratory testing to know the level of alcohol.

“There were some that had low levels of alcohol, and we mopped them from the market,’’ the NAFDAC director-general said.

Edited By: Vivian Ihechu/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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COVID-19: Security coy donates AI machine to FCTA



Kougar Solutions and Allied Services Ltd, in partnership with Hikvision has donated a thermal and artificial intelligence (AI) machine to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to curb the spread of Coronavirus pandemic.

The Group Managing Director of Kougar Solutions and Allied Services, Mr Rony Melhem, presented the machine to the FCT administration on Wednesday in Abuja.

Melhem explained that the AI detects normal and abnormal temperature of an individual as he walks through the machine.

He further stated that the thermal and facial recognition features captures the facial image of the person as well as detects those not wearing facial masks and also detect the temperature.

“Anyone with high fever passing through the machine or not wearing a face mask, there is a prompter pointing out those defects, thus making detection of symptoms of COVID-19 earlier than required.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic has become a global challenge, we all should be allies in this battle against the pandemic.

“There is need for all to partner to end the disease, and to defeat the virus, while solidarity and cooperation are the most potent weapon needed.

COVID-19 should be seen as a joint battle that required all of us to come together to fight, in the spirit of cooperation and brotherhood to overcome,” he said.

Melhem lauded the rapid response of the Federal Government, the Presidential Task Force (PTF), medical personnel and other frontline workers in the ongoing fight against the virus.

According to him, collective efforts of all stakeholders has contributed to the recovery of many COVID-19 patients across the country.

Unveiling the machine, FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, thanked the firm for the donation, which she said would assist the administration contain the spread of the virus.

Aliyu noted that the machine would in no small measure assist the administration to detect the number of people to be tested for coronavirus.

She stressed the need for all hands to be on deck in the battle against the dreaded disease.

Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Ismail Abdulaziz (NAN)

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Multinational port coy donates N100m to FG’s COVID-19 relief fund



The Tin Can Island Container Terminal (TICT) has donated N100 million to the Federal Government’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Mr Etienne Rocher, TICT’s Managing Director who disclosed the donation in statement in Lagos on Wednesday, said the gesture was in support of federal government’s plan for the vulnerable.

“As a company, we have made the contribution to support the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria.

“The donation is in line with the company’s policy of effective collaboration as a proactive agent of change that is keen to contribute towards the well-being of Nigerians,” he said.

Rocher urged Nigerians to strictly observe all precautionary measures prescribed by the World Health Organisation and the National Centre for Disease Control.

The managing director said the TICT had taken steps to orientate port users and workers on the need to adhere to guidelines aimed at preventing the spread of CIVID-19.

He stated that the terminal had made significant investments in infrastructure and equipment to support port development in the country.

“We are committed towards investing in port development in Nigeria, we are poised to take prominent position as a recognized industry player within the African continent.

“The TICT  employs no fewer than 625 people, our goal is to make the terminal the most efficient in Nigeria’s economic capital,” he said.

NAN reports that the TICT is a multinational port operating company with its terminal located at the Tin Can Island Port Complex Lagos.

Edited By: Azubuike Okeh/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

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Northern Governors lauds FG’s plans to revamp Ajaokuta steel coy



The Northern Governors Forum (NGF) has commended the Federal Government over its plans to resuscitate the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company, in Kogi.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau and Chairman of the forum made the commendation in a statement by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Makut Macham on Tuesday in Jos.
Lalong expressed satisfaction with the commitment of the federal government towards ensuring that the complex, that had been in comatose for over four decades become functional.
He described the inauguration of the Ajaokuta Presidential Project Inauguration Team (APPIT) by Secretary to the Federal Government Mr Boss Mustapha, towards revamping the company in line with the agreement reached with Russia as a step in the right direction.
The chairman commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for remaining focused in fulfilling his desire to see that the complex bounce back to life.
“We note with great delight the unwavering resolve of Mr President to see that this complex which has been in comatose for decades becomes productive again.
“This move will help in the industrialisation of the country and boosting manufacturing.
“This dream when realised will not only create jobs, but also assist the nation to add value to its abundant raw materials for domestic use and export,” he said.
Lalong said that the forum noted with delight that in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, Buhari remained committed to the realisation of the aspirations of Nigerians by ensuring that this national project was finally completed and put to use for the development of the nation.
He assured the President of the maximum support and cooperation of Northern Governors in seeing to the actualisation of this national priority, which to them, defied previous attempts.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the inauguration of the APPIT was part of the implementation of the agreement reached between Buhari and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during the Russia-Africa Summit in 2019 in Sochi.

Both leaders agreed on the resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Plant through a Government-to-Government agreement with funding from the Afreximbank and the Russian Export Centre.

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Lockdown: Enugu Transport coy threatens to sanction erring drivers



The management of Enugu State Transport Company (ENTRACO) says it will henceforth sanction any erring driver that violates the state government’s ban on inter-state transport.

The Managing Director of the company, Mr Bob Itanyi, gave the warning in a statement made available to News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Enugu.

Itanyi also warned all drivers in the company to adhere strictly to passengers’ physical distancing order in their vehicles.

“The management of ENTRACO has warned operators of its vehicles and registered contract ones to strictly adhere to the directive of the state government banning Inter-state transportation in the state.

“The management reminds the company’s vehicle operators that the state government’s directives on passengers’ conveyance as well as all other precautionary measures are still in force.

“Any vehicle bearing ENTRACO colour and name found violating these orders will be dealt with and your contract with us will be terminated,’’ he warned.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/ Felix Ajide (NAN)



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Tackling COVID-19: AU urges collaboration between CSOs, indigenous coys



The African Union (AU) Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC), has called for collaboration between civil society organisations (CSOs) and indigenous companies aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Tunji Asaolu, 1st Nigerian Representative of the AUECOSOCC Nigeria, gave the advice in a statement on Saturday.

Asaolu released the statement against the backdrop of the outcome of the situation room on the fight against the pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ECOSOCC is an advisory body of the AU, set up to give civil society organisations a voice within AU institutions and decision-making processes.

He said that Mr Dennis Kodhe, Presiding Officer of the 3rd Permanent General Assembly of AUAU ECOSOCC, had called for coordination and mobilisation of CSOs to contain the spread of the pandemic.

“There is the need to work closely with CSOs and relevant stakeholders in the fight against COVID-19.

“There is also need to support African home grown medication for the treatment of COVID-19 infected patients.

“Africa must take this opportunity to start looking inward as a continent whose development is people-driven and which relies on potential of the African people to become united and an influential player in the global arena.”

Asaolu added that concerted efforts could not be under estimated as the situation room would not just drum specific solutions for Nigeria to tackle postCOVID-19 challenges but promote such cause.

According to him, Pastor Osamede Ekhator of the Living Proof Chemicals/Pharmaceuticals Industry Ltd, has reiterated calls for African home grown medication for the treatment of persons infected with COVID-19.

“Our company has experts with requisite skills and competence to treat COVID-19 infected patients, if relevant medical and pharmaceutical regulatory agencies give us a trial test of drugs to stop COVID-19,” he said.

He also said that Mr Chris Anonre had urged government at all levels to explore agricultural revolution in dealing with the psychological impact of COVID-19 to forestall hunger.

Meanwhile, Mr Opeyemi Aderinto, Executive Director of African Centre for Human Advancement, Social and Community Development has urged governments to invest more on screening and testing of people to help tackle the pandemic.

“Governments must increase capacity of screening, testing, and tracing of COVID-19 patients to avoid impending dangers,” he said.

He quoted Mr Carly Ikpe, Media and Youth Advocate as calling for strategic measures to tackle crime occasioned by job lose and the global financial meltdown in the aftermath of COVID-19.

Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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NECA worries over FIRS’ call for advance tax payment by coys



The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has faulted the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)’s request asking companies to pay their taxes in advance.

Its Director-General, Mr Timothy Olawale, who expressed the concern in a statement on Friday in Lagos, said that it would impose additional pressure on businesses.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the FIRS recently issued a circular calling on corporate organisations to commence payment of their annual returns, earlier than their due dates, apart from their normal monthly obligations.

The circular was dated April 22, 2020, entitled: “Update on Palliative Measures to Cushion Effect of COVID-19 on Taxpayers,” .

The Federal tax collector said that this appeal “has become necessary in order to ease some of the cash flow gaps being experienced by governments at this critical time”.

Responding, Olawale described the pronouncement as ‘ill-timed’, saying it was against a situation when companies were virtually closed due to the lockdown occasioned by the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

FIRS has not taken into consideration the holistic nature of industries operating within the global context, the constraints imposed by COVID-19, and its attendant collateral damages on businesses and economies.

“This is a time when governments globally are finding ways to support businesses to ease their burdens, and our country should not be an exception.

“It is noteworthy that corporate organisations know when to file their annual returns according to the relevant tax laws.

“They should only be reminded, and not be harassed by such circular, not even minding the current predicament that endangers livelihoods and businesses, wherein sectors were clamouring for further palliatives to support sustainability of businesses,” he said.

The NECA director-general also faulted the service’s assumption that some companies were experiencing a boom during this time of economic lockdown.

According to him, all the sectors of the economy have felt the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown and some companies are at the verge of closing shop.

“The FIRS is not well informed or aware of the practicality in the private sector, as there are zero operations for businesses, which has to obey the lockdown directives of the Federal Government.

“Businesses in Lagos State have experienced about five weeks lockdown as directed by both Federal and State Governments.

“There were zero operations in several sectors, such as the Iron, Metal and Steel, Hospitality, Aviation, Tourism, Transportation, among others.

“For example, supermarkets operated at 30 per cent capacity, which created problems for the supply chain of the organisation.

“Sales dropped by 70 per cent due to lack of supplies, few hours of working and controlled social distancing,” he said.

Olawale therefore, urged governments to emulate its counterpart in other countries, and put in place more palliative measures to cushion the effects of the pandemic on corporate Nigeria, rather than putting more pressure on them.

“The FIRS will do well to focus on supporting the real sector to be sustainable into the post Covid-19 era.

“This will prevent loss of jobs, which would in turn, contribute toward economic growth through payment of appropriate taxes,” he said.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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German coys sign up record 10.1m for state salary scheme



German companies on Thursday applied for state aid to cover the salaries of a record 10.1 million people in the coronavirus crisis, the Federal Employment Agency reported.
According to the agency, the soars was beyond the levels seen during the financial crisis of over a decade ago, when the German Government last turned to its work scheme.
This, development the agency said, was o enables employers swap workers for shorter hours, in a bid to prevent mass lay-offs.
However, by comparison, over the course of 2009, in the midst of that crisis, 3.3 million applications for the aid programme were filed.
The figures this time around were far higher than experts’ predictions of 3-7 million short-time workers.
“But the safety net was not able to prevent all job losses, as the agency reported 308,000 more unemployed people in April than the previous month.
“Bringing the total to 2.644 million, in the first such data to reflect the sweeping closures and restrictions introduced to combat the pandemic.
“With that, Germany’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8 per cent, up from 5.1 per cent in March. It increased by 0.9 percentage points compared to April 2019.
According to Detlef Scheele, chairman of the Federal Employment Agency, the coronavirus pandemic is to lead to the worst recession in post-war history. As a result, the labour market is also coming under immense pressure.
Scheele said that it was the first time the agency had noted a rise in unemployment and underemployment for the month of April, with the spring usually handing a boost to industries.
Meanwhile, demand for new employees had also plummeted.
In April 2020, there were only 626,000 registered vacancies in Germany, 169,000 fewer than the same period in 2019.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the number was down by 66,000 year on year.
On Wednesday, cabinet ministers signed off on plans to expand the short-time work scheme, with the state now covering 80 per cent of salaries under the scheme. Parents with children at home will get 87 per cent.
Meanwhile, the state aid had previously covered 60 per cent of pay or 67 per cent for parents.
The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), while lamenting the astronomical strain that the pandemic had on employment in Germany, said the short-time work scheme was doing its job in preventing what could be a far worse situation.
German Labour Minister Hubertus Heil, said millions of jobs would have been lost if it was not for the government’s scheme.
He pointed to the U.S., where over 26 million people have lost their jobs in the past three months.
“We may not be able to guarantee every job in our country, but we will fight for every job,” he said.

Edited By: Yahaya Isah (NAN)

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Pharmaceutical coy donates anti-malaria drug worth N40m to Kaduna Govt. 



A coalition of 300 NGOs, under the auspices of the Nigeria Humanitarian Action (NIHA), has commended a Kaduna-based pharmaceutical company, Tradomed, for donating an anti-malaria drug worth N40 million to the state.

Mr Kleisaint Akor, National Convener of the NGO, who made the commendation in a statement issued on Saturday in Abuja, said the company donated 60,000 packs of the drug known as Tradomal.

Akor admonished other pharmaceutical companies to emulate Tradomed, whose gesture would go a long way in addressing some of the country’s vulnerable groups’ health challenges.

He described the donation as ‘necessary and valued’ if it met the needs of those intended for.

According to Akor, malaria is no doubt the most common sickness in Nigeria and most times not affordable to many.

He said in some cases, it was often difficult to get a drug that was very effective and affordable for malaria treatment like tradamol, which was made in form of tea for easy consumption.

The convener of the NGO explained that the drug was delivered to the Kaduna State Government by Tradomed officials, led by Alhaji Abba Goji, Vice Chairman and Mr Charles Ihenacho, Managing Director.

He also said the drug was received by Mr Mohammed Shuaibu, Permanent Secretary Kaduna State Ministry of Health, who expressed appreciation to he company for the donation.

Akor said that during the presentation of the drug, Goji said the world was currently focusing on the COVID-19 pandemic and paying less attention to other diseases, such as malaria, that were equally killing a large number of people.

“’So in this battle for good health, Tradomed is taking it upon itself to donate its products as a corporate social responsibility and to assist the people,” he said.

Goji said that the gesture would be replicated across the 36 states of the federation.

Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)

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