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Develop creative industry for stronger economy, Chinese envoy advises FG 

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A Chinese envoy to Nigeria, Mr Li Xuda, told the Federal Government on Saturday to focus more on developing the creative industry to fortify Nigeria’s economy.

Xuda, who is the Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, gave the advice at a zoom meeting, organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture in Lagos.

The theme of the meeting was: “COVID-19: Cultural Dynamism, Which Way Forward”.

The envoy, who is also the Director of the China Cultural Centre in Nigeria, noted that Nigeria had huge potential in its creative industry.

According to him, the creative industry can be developed fully by adequately funding cultural outfits to enable them groom the industry.

He said that considering the impact of the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria must begin to develop other sectors of its economy and diversify from oil.

The diplomat advised Nigeria to focus on fashion, film production as well as arts and culture, describing the sectors as money-spinners in the creative space.

“Nigeria has very rich creative industry.  The nation is known to have the biggest economy in Africa but this can be bigger if it can develop the creative industry.

“The industry has great potential of creating employment opportunities for youths,” he said.

The counsellor said that the creative industry was capable of saving Nigeria from going into recession, advising government to formulate policies for the ease of developing its creative industry.

An Art Consultant, Jahman Anikulapo, called for the formulation of policies that would make Nigeria’s art and culture industry to compete favourably with those in other climes.

The former Editor (On Sunday) of The Guardian Newspapers, said that in view of COVID-19 pandemic, endowment funds ought to be established for practitioners in the creative industry.

Also, the President of the Society of Nigerian Artists, Mr Oliver Enwonwu, told government to put policies in place to support intellectual property right, noting that most artists now exhibited their works online.

He said there was need to guide against intellectual theft in arts, where people duplicated art works and that there was also need to create reliable payment platforms and structures to transact businesses online.

On his part, Venezuela’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr David Velasquez, pleaded with world leaders to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that Venezuela had produced a series of videos and books to help enlighten citizens on preventive measures to adopt, noting that the fight against COVID-19 was a fight for all.

Earlier, the convener of the meeting, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said that all the suggestions and observations were noted and that steps would be taken to solve most of the problems.

He reiterated that a compendium that would capture stakeholder’s suggestions and contributions toward the growth of the creative industry after the coronavirus crisis would be produced.

Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

Sport

AbdulRasaq’s one year in office shows well in sports development – SWAN

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The Kwara chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), on Sunday said that Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq had within his one year in office  demonstrated interest in sports development.

The  association’s state Secretary, Olayinka Owolewa, made the observation  in congratulatory message on the governor’s one year in office anniversary.

“He has demonstrated that his victory at the 2019 polls was not a fluke but the wish of the people because of his campaign promises and he has not let us down.

The Governor has shown that he loves sports and he demonstrated it by prioritising the payment of Kwara United’s salaries at this critical time.

“As stakeholders, we are happy with this development and we urge him to extend this to other sports so that sports can thrive again in the state,” he said.

Owolewa said in statement that Gov. AbdulRasaq  had within the last one year demonstrated the qualities of  a good leader and honesty in serving the people.

The association’s secretary, who thanked the governor for raising the bar of sports development in the state, also commended him for reviving the state sports festival  after 15 years.

He said that the governor had within the period rehabilitated the Adewole baseball court, first of its kind in Africa, decades after it was abandoned.

Owolewa also expressed the association’s  commendation to the governor for  organising various capacity building  and enlightenment programmes for the youth in the state.

According to him,the association also thanks the governor for the prompt payment of salaries of Kwara United FC  players at a time when his counterparts are using COVID-19 as excuse to avoid paying their teams.

“We received the news and confirmation of the payment of May salary of the team with delight when some other clubs in the country are complaining about backlog of salaries owed them,” he  said.

The association urged the team’s management and players to  reposition themselves to do the governor and their fans proud in their next competitions.

Edited /Donald Ugwu

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Delta has witnessed unprecedented development under Okowa – Lawmakers

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Some members of the Delta House of Assembly have commended Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for delivering good governance to the people of the state.
They also assured the people of the state of more dividends of democracy in years ahead.
Speaking in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday in Asaba, the lawmakers said that the five years of Okowa as governor of the state had witnessed unprecedented development.
They attributed such development to the governor’s desire for good governance and excellence.
The Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Christopher Ochor, said that the nickname of the governor as the ‘Road Master’ was not just for the fun of it.
He noted that it was in recognition of the strides recorded by his administration in road infrastructure, even in riverine communities.
Ochor called for more support of citizens for the Okowa-led administration.
Also, Mr Festus Okoh, Majority Whip of the Assembly, representing Ika South constituency, said that there was no local government area in the state without, at least, one development project executed by the present administration.
”Despite the economic recession and the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor never stopped initiating programmes, geared toward enhancing the quality of lives in the state.
The lawmaker expressed optimism that greater development would be provided by the governor in the years ahead.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr Anthony Elekeokuri, described the five years of the Okowa-led administrationt as commendable.
Elekeokuri, representing Ika North East constituency, noted that the primary function of any government was to ensure the welfare and security of the people.
He said that the governor had done well in the two areas, and more importantly, in the area of poverty alleviation.
The lawmaker urged the people of the state to remain resolute in their confidence and prayers for the governor and his administration.
Elekeokuri, however, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to open up the economy for more meaningful development to thrive.

Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Foreign

World Bank says COVID-19 epidemic poses greatest threat to Cambodia’s development

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia’s economy in 2020 is expected to register its slowest growth since 1994, contracting by between -1 percent and –2.9 percent, according to the World Bank‘s latest Economic Update for Cambodia released on Friday.

Titled Cambodia in the Time of COVID-19, the biannual report said the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting Cambodia’s main drivers of economic growth — tourism, manufacturing exports, and construction — which together account for more than 70 percent of the country’s growth and almost 40 percent of paid employment.

Poverty in 2020 could increase among households involved in key sectors like tourism, construction, trade, manufacturing and the garment industry by between 3 to 11 percentage points higher than at baseline, or in the absence of COVID-19, the report said, adding that the fiscal deficit could reach its highest level in 22 years.

It said the collapse of growth drivers has hurt economic growth and put at least 1.76 million jobs at risks.

The report also warns that capital inflows are tapering off, which in turn is triggering the easing of real estate market prices, likely ending the construction boom.

It added that with the current large outstanding credit to the construction, real estate, and mortgage sector, nonperforming loans could rise.

In response to the COVID-19 shock, the report recommends policy options that aim at providing urgent economic relief and public health protection in the immediate term, underpinning an economic recovery in the short term, and fostering macro-fiscal and social resilience in the medium term.

“The global shock triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Cambodia’s economy,” Inguna Dobraja, World Bank country manager for Cambodia, said in a press release.

The World Bank is committed to helping Cambodia deal effectively with the COVID-19 crisis and strengthen the economy for recovery and future resilience,” she added.

The report also includes a special focus section on the importance of quality of education as a key to human development and sustainable growth in Cambodia.

The special focus also highlighted key policy recommendations to improve the quality of education in Cambodia such as strengthening accountability in public schools, linking salary increase and promotion to performance, and further upgrading the capacity and quality of teachers.

(XINHUA)

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General news

Extension workers backbone of agricultural development says AATF

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Dr Issoufou Kollo, the Regional Director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), West Africa says extension workers remain the hub on which the agricultural development revolves.

Kollo said this in a statement on Friday in Abuja by Alex Abutu, West Africa Communication Officer of AATF.

”As long as the extension workers are in the dark, you don’t have agricultural development, extension is very important for agricultural development.

”It is not only about research but how the research enhances the lives of the people. Agricultural development has two legs – research and extension.

”When researchers finish their work in the laboratory and conduct their on-station and on-farm trials, extension worker or agents will now take over and take the new variety or technology to farmers.

”These agents understand the language of the farmers and are in a better position to introduce them to new varieties of crops,’’ he said.

Kollo said that AATF and the National Agricultural Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS), Ahmadu Bello University had entered into a strategic partnership that would ensure Nigerian farmers take advantages of the PBR Cowpea.

According him, NAERLS can reach all the extension workers in Nigeria and millions of farmers, so it is very good to have collaboration with them.

”Public education is very important as you know. Scientists cannot explain everything to the public, there are other people who have such knowledge.

”So, we choose NAERLS because of their very good network to reach thousands of people at the same time, especially farmers and extension workers,” he added.

Kollo said it was important that smallholder farmers in the country have unhindered access to the PBR Cowpea considering its potential.

He made reference to an ex-ante study conducted by the U. S.-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on the PBR Cowpea which showed that Nigeria would record a revenue increase of more than N48 billion (132 million dollars) annually from the planting of the PBR cowpea.

”The study added that PBR cowpea will benefit Nigerian farmers and consumers, PBR can generate annual benefits equivalent to N26.2 billion for producers N9.2 billion for consumers. PBR cowpea will have an impact on the overall economy.

“We have the data, we didn’t fabricate these data, the data came from farmers managed trials during the National Variety Performance Trials, many farmers have been able to test on their own and compared it to other varieties.

”We have two sets of trials, one is on-station across Nigeria and across different local governments which has been selected by the extension people.

”When you look at the trials, the yield difference between the PBR cowpea and the other varieties of cowpea was about 70 per cent.

The PBR cowpea yielded about 70 per cent higher, then when you look at the farmers managed trials, the yield of PBR cowpea is about 154 per cent superior compared to the yield of the other cowpea varieties,” he said.

Kollo said that Nigeria had about three million hectares of land under cowpea cultivation, adding that if one has 20 per cent yield increase on the three million hectares, imagine the amount of money it could give.

”It is even underestimated on our side of what PBR cowpea can produce in a year.

Annually, about 12 to 15 million hectares of land is cultivated with cowpea worldwide with the Sub Saharan Africa accounting for the bulk of the total area of production (about 12 million hectares).

And Nigeria responsible for about four to five million hectares of total world production area,” she said.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Buhari has put Nigeria on irreversible road to sustainable development – Lai Mohammed

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, says President Muhammadu Buhari has put Nigeria on an irreversible road to sustainable development in the past one year of his re-election.

The minister, who made the call at a news conference on Friday in Abuja to mark the first anniversary of the second term of Buhari, said the president recorded the feat by some actions “mostly bold and highly visionary” taken.

Mohammed said that the past one year had been momentous, adding that never in the history of Nigeria had so many positive steps being taken in so short a time.

President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in 2015 on the strength of his promise of change.

“Nigerians are satisfied with his performance, especially in the cardinal areas of fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and revamping the economy, overwhelmingly re-elected the President in 2019.

“One year later, the President is taking Nigeria to the Next Level of irreversible change for the better,” he said.

Specifically, the minister said that the intractable power problem was finally being tackled in a way that would end poor power supply that had stunted Nigeria’s socio-economic.
development.

He said the days of unbridled massive importation of food were coming to an end as Nigeria moved to become self-sufficient in major staples, especially rice.

Mohammed said with the provision of many platforms and improved welfare, the Nigerian military was living up to the task of tackling insurgency.

“With the bold and courageous leadership provided by President Buhari, Nigeria is marching surely and steadily to join the comity of great nations.

“Change is never easy, and the birth of a new nation comes with pain.

“We thank Nigerians for their support and perseverance, and hereby reassure them of the administration’s unrelenting commitment to making life more meaningful for the citizenry,” he said.

Mohammed assured that the second year of the second and last tenure of the president
would witness agricultural revolution.

“I want to inform Nigerians that the stage is set for the implementation of the greatest agricultural revolution in the history of Nigeria.

“The unprecedented recent approval by the Buhari administration to inject 1.2 billion dollars loan into the agriculture sector will revolutionise our agriculture at scale,” he said.

He said the fund was secured through the government-to-government bilateral loan from Brazil with support from Deutsche Bank and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit of the Islamic Development Bank.

Mohammed said he would be briefing Nigerians together with the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, in the days ahead.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Foreign

China stresses fulfilling economic, social development goals for 2020

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A State Council executive meeting on Friday stressed the implementation of policies and work to reach the economic and social development goals for 2020.

The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, noted that the government work report approved at the closing meeting of the third session of the 13th National People‘s Congress on Thursday set goals for economic and social development and major works for this year, urging governments at all levels to fully implement the work and finish their tasks.

(XINHUA)

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Environment

ECTDA partners town planners for rapid infrastructural development in Enugu

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The Enugu Capital Territory Development Authority (ECTDA) says it will partner town planners to increase speed of development of infrastructure in Enugu metropolis and its environs.

The Chairman of ECTDA, Mr Joseph Onoh disclosed this on Thursday in Enugu when professionals in the built environment paid him a courtesy visit in his office.

The built environment professionals comprises Nigerian Institute of Town planners (NITP), Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA) and Nigerian Institution of Surveyor (NIS) among other.

Onoh decried the delay in approval of developers’ plan by the council chairmen, and urged council engineers and town planners to send their scheduled plan to ECTDA for approval and create effective working environment.

He said that the agency would work with all the professional bodies to ensure that anybody given an approval, actually fulfilled all the provisions of the law, adding that such would avert building collapse in the city.

“The delay in approval is human error, which could have been restored and handled immediately.

“The essence of this meeting is for ECTDA in accordance with the stipulated provision of law establishing it to have a harmonious existence with the town planners and be able to have a schedule of all submitted plans from the various local governments areas of the state.

“And also, if we have the specific numbers of these schedules; we will be able to anticipate when the approval will be given.

“We wish to do this to create effective environment where as we take the approval and move forward to check development in the various construction/building sites.

“We believe this will help increase the speedy development of infrastructure in the state.

“We work with all professional bodies to ensure that once we give you an approval, you have actually fulfilled all the provisions of the law and we will make it possible that there will be no more building collapse in the city,’’ Onoh said.

The ECTDA boss, who attributed collapse of structure to developers’ disobedient to government order, however, warned that any structure illegally built, would be demolished.

“We also wish to cut down on the building collapses and structure defects in the town during the process of execution but the coronavirus pandemic has delayed our enforcement,’’ he said.

Earlier, Chairman, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners, Enugu chapter, Mr Emmanuel Asadu, who spoke on behalf of other planning associations, commended the  ECTDA chairman for his unrelenting effort to return Enugu city to its original glory and avert building collapses.

Asadu said that the professionals’ were committed to work with the plans of ECTDA to make Enugu state enviable and a comfort city for developers.

ECTDA has its own agenda and plans in its best way to move the building/environment development plan forward.

“The building/environment planning professional will key into it because all we are looking for is to get the approval of plans done within two weeks to make our developer comfortable with everything.

“The challenge of delay in approving plan is not the problem of town planners because we have so many masters that we are serving.

Master A will tell you to do this; while Master B will tell you do not do this, at the end of the day, even when you receive a plan, work on it quickly and send for approval, it will get stocked there,’’ he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Grace Yussuf (NAN)

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Sport

Senate President appoints Fema Special Assistant on Sports Development

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The President of the Senate, Sen. Ahmad Lawan, has appointed Sani Fema, a former member of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Executive Committee, as his Special Assistant on Sports Development.

Fema’s appointment was conveyed in a letter dated May 14 and signed by the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori.

The Clerk of the National Assembly congratulated Fema on his appointment, adding that it was a testimony of the Senate President’s confidence and trust in him.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Fema was the Special Adviser  to the Governor of Yobe on Special Duties from 2005 to 2007.

He was also the Executive Chairman of Yobe State Sports Commission from 2007 to 2015.

Fema had served as Chairman of Yobe Desert Stars Football Club from 2001 to 2015, and was elected NFF Executive Committee member in 2014.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)

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May 29: PMB, Gov. Sule addressing developmental challenges – Speaker 

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The Speaker, Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, has lauded President  Muhammadu Buhari and Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State for addressing developmental challenges towards improving the standard of living of Nigerians.

The speaker stated this while fielding questions from newsmen in Lafia as Buhari marks five years in office and Sule clocks one year on the saddle.

Abdullahi emphasised that the last five years of President Buhari was eventful and worth celebrating considering the achievements recorded across all sectors.

He also acknowledged the proactive steps taken by the president since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country, noting that it has helped greatly in containing the spread of the dreaded virus.

Mr President deserves commendation for taking proactive steps toward curtailing the spread of this dreaded virus.

“Some of the measures taken included lockdown of specified high burden areas, travel ban, nationwide curfew and provision of palliatives among others,” he said.

The speaker also underscored the pragmatic feet so far made by Sule in the last one year of his administration, noting that the governor is consolidating on achievements of the foundation laid by past  governors in the state and urged him to sustain the tempo.

“One thing I appreciate with the government of Engineer A. A. Sule is that he did not want wastages, he gives prority to the completion of projects he inherited from previous government.

“Which are life touching and is also initiating new onesl; honestly I appreciate him for that sense of leadership and continuity,” he said.

The speaker listed construction of classroom blocks across schools in the state, installation of solar power projects across the local government areas in the state, provision of free medical treatment to the people,

“Seeing to the completion of Lafia Airport, youths and women empowerment, open up of rural roads, bringing in investors as well as the presentation of vehicles to security agencies and other support to tackle security challenges, among other achievements,” he added

He equally gave the governor a pat on the back for the proactive measures put in place in tackling coronavirus pandemic in the state, which he said has gone a long way in curtailing the spread of the disease.

The speaker, who is also the National Vice Chairman, North Central Nigerian Conference of Speakers of State legislators, called on the people of the state and Nigerians to adhere strictly to all safety measures against COVID-19 pandemic in order to remain safe.

“We should continue adhering strictly to all the safety  protocols against COVID-19 as advised by the government and health experts such as frequent washing of our hands, embrace social/physical distancing, use of face masks as well as maintain personal and environmental hygienes at all times,” he said.

The speaker also commended the governor for providing palliatives to the people of the state in order to cushion the effect occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The number three citizen called on the entire people of the state to give governments at all levels all the necessary support to succeed for the overall development of the state and the country at large.

He reaffirmed the sixth assembly’s determination to continue to partner the executive through legislation and other available windows that will better the lots of the people of the state.

Abdullahi emphasised the need for citizens to always pray and support their leaders to enable them deliver on their mandates.

Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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