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ECO Currency: convergence criteria must be met for sustainability – Onyeama



ECO Currency: convergence criteria must be met for sustainability – Onyeama

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama says that the convergence criteria must be met by all ECOWAS Member states to ensure the sustainability and viability of ECO as a single currency.

Onyeama made this known when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria Ministerial Forum in Abuja.

He explained that the ECO implementation is guided by certain convergence criteria: such as a budget deficit below three per cent of GDP, public debt of not more than 70 per cent of GDP, inflation of five per cent or less, and a stable exchange rate.

“The ECOWAS Community believes that monetary union is a logical component of economic and regional integration, and to have full economic integration you also need single currency.

“The issue is the mechanisms of that, and a number of countries feel that there are certain criteria; what they call convergence criteria that have to be in place to enable that to happen.

“Such as, inflation rate, you have to harmonise your economic parameters of all the countries coming in, your reserves, certain levels and debt profile has to be below a certain level.

“So, these are indices that have been put in place and it is felt that if those can be maintained for a period of three years consecutively by the countries, it means they have attained those convergence criteria.

“When you have a critical mass of countries that has attained that, then it is ripe for union, so you don’t have structural deficiencies right at the start that would make it not very viable.

“We saw that in the European Union, when Greece was no longer able to, though the EU does have these mechanisms and criteria for people coming into their currencies,’’ he said.

Onyeama said that the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States would meet soon to resolve the divisions in the implementation of the single currency between the Francophone and Anglophone Member Countries.

According to him, some of the other countries already have a single currency, the CFA, as you know the French speaking countries of ECOWAS; they were ready to start immediately.

“But the situation now is that the non-CFA countries, which are those countries that have English colonies and one or two others like Guinea.

“So, this is the problem that we have had and it has been decided that the Heads of States will now meet again and decide how to proceed.

“So there is a bit of division, those who want to go immediately and those who feel we should wait,” he said.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari has urged the region to proceed on the implementation of ECO with caution and comply with the agreed convergence criteria, treating each other with utmost respect.

Buhari, however, expressed displeasure over the plans by francophone West Africa Countries (UEMOA) to adopt the new ECO currency over the CFA.

Edited By: Lydia Beshel/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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General news

Kwara Govt flags off Eco Clean Initiative project



The Kwara Government has launched an Eco Clean Project as part of efforts to ensure that the state achieved Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Ahman-Patigi, flagged off the project on Sunday at the palace of the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye ll.

According to her, in line with the mandate of Gov.  AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the project  will help the state achieve goals 3, 6, and 13 of the SDGs.

Ahman-Patigi explained that the project would create job opportunities for rural dwellers who would be employed as cleaners to implement the project.

She said the focus of the initiative would be on the 13 Local Government Areas of the state that were outside of Ilorin.

“We are currently faced with the problem of COVID-19 and emphasis has been on cleanliness.

“There is no better time to flag off a programme like this,” she added.

The commissioner emphasised that the governor had given them  marching orders to get all local government areas of the state, cleared and also promised to support all efforts to that effect.

The State Commissioner for Enterprise, Mr Agbaje Femi, also expressed appreciation to the team, particularly his colleague for local government and chieftaincy affairs for deeming Offa local government area worthy of launching the project.

“We want each local government area to be responsible for their environment. We want to take cleanliness to the grassroots.

“The scheme will also empower people at the local level,”  Femi noted.

Responding, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi, thanked the government for listening to the people of Offa.

The monarch emphasised the need for a clean environment across all levels.

He said that government should make provisions for the waste collection so that the refuse collected won’t find its way back into the surroundings.

He advised the newly employed cleaners to be dutiful and see the task as an opportunity to serve.

He prayed for the success of this administration.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event featured the presentation of the Kwara Eco Clean Initiative Jackets, face masks and working tools to the monarch by the commissioner.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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COVID-19: private sector donations hit N27.160bn — CBN



The update of the contribution as at April 23, was made known in a document released by Mr Isaac Okorafor, the Director, Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on behalf of the coalition in Abuja on Tuesday.

The document containing the list of contributors showed that the donations were made by institutions and individuals across the country.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that CBN and Aliko Dangote were so far the highest contributors of two billion naira each.

Abdul Samad Rabiu (BUA Sugar Refinery), Segun Agbaje (GTB), Tony Elumelu (UBA),  Oba Otudeko (First Bank),  Jim Ovia (Zenith Bank), Herbert Wigwe (Access Bank) and Femi Otedola of Amperion Power Distribution donated one billion naira each to the fund.

Also, Deji Adeleke of Pacific Holding Ltd made N500 million donation.

NAN also recalls that Union Bank Plc, Sterling Bank Plc, Standard Chartered Bank, Stanbic IBTC, Citi Bank Nigeria Ltd, FCMB, Fidelity and ECO Banks, African Steel Mills donated N250 million each and Multichoice Nigeria Limited contributed N200 million.

The list also indicated that some Nigerians made donation of N1,000, N500, N200, N100, N50 and as little as N1.0 to the contribution.

Okorafor said the coalition was grateful to all the institutions and individuals that had open handedly donated to the relief fund.

He urged others to consider contributing to this national solidarity to provide not only medical equipment and materials but also to render urgently needed palliatives to the poor and vulnerable segment of the society.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Nursing Now coordinator tasks nurses on repositioning for health challenges



Mr Josiah Jackson-Okesola, National Coordinator, `Nursing Now’ Nigeria has challenged nurses to be well educated, highly trained and be a dynamic thinker to enable them meet the 21st century health challenges.

Jackson-Okesola said this on Wednesday at the inauguration of `Nursing Now’ and the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, (the Mother of Nursing) in Asaba.

 “The ‘Nursing Now’ campaign is an initiative aimed at raising the profile and status of nursing worldwide.

He said the move became imperative as it would enable nurses make complex clinical decisions and work to their full potential by developing new ways of sharing good practice.

Jackson-Okesola said it would also create opportunity for them to collect and disseminate evidence of the impact of nursing on access, quality and costs, and ensure it is incorporated in policy and acted upon.

He said all hands must be on deck to empower the nurses because they were one of the major parts of the medical group with potentials to uphold the health sector.

He said it was in view of this that government at all levels placed the sector as part of the cornerstone of human development.

The coordinator said the role of the nurses and midwives in saving lives and uplifting the health of the Nation must be upheld and they must be given all the assistance to enable them to always respond positively to any emerging challenges.

“There is no doubt that, with the momentum, energy and zeal with which Delta State Nursing leaders are driving this campaign, a path that will leave an enduring trail in the path of Delta nursing is about being carved.

“Develop nursing to have a triple impact on health, gender equality and economies, by adapting development policy, programme and funding to simultaneously address Sustainable Development Goals focusing on health, gender equality,” he said.

Mrs Mabel Ugbanaka, Director, Nursing Services, Delta State Ministry of Health, urged nurses to be up and doing in the areas of quality healthcare delivery.

“Nurses should put in their best wherever they find themselves, not minding the challenges they encounter,” she said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that `Nursing Now’ is a global campaign to improve health by raising the status and profile of nursing.

The campaign focuses on ensuring that nurses and midwives have a more prominent voice in health policy-making; encouraging greater investment in the nursing workforce.

It also focuses on advocating for more nurses in leadership positions; encouraging research that helps determine where nurses can have the greatest impact, and sharing examples best nursing practice.


Edited By: Hawa Lawal/Isaac Aregbesola

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 JAMB revenue officer, boss stole N36.5m – EFCC witness alleges



 An EFCC witness, Stanley Ani, on Tuesday told an FCT High Court, N36.5 million was not remitted to the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) as revenue.

The EFCC charged Philomina Chieshe, a JAMB revenue officer who once claimed a snake swallowed the money in her custody and her boss, Samuel Umoru, the state coordinator in Makurdi office, with eight counts bordering on conspiracy, breach of trust and misappropriation.

They were accused of conspiring among themselves between August 2014 and July 2016 and misappropriated funds belonging to JAMB, an agency of the Federal Government contrary to Section 97 (2) of the Penal Code Law.

The anti graft agency alleged that the defendants committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the said properties and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable by Section 315 of the Penal Code Law.

They however, pleaded not guilty.

Testifying as the prosecution fourth witness  (PW2), Ani told the court in his evidence that the 2nd defendant’s accounts in Zenith and ECO banks were investigated.

He said an extraction was made on the inflows coming into these accounts.

“We discovered that a total of N29 million was credited to Chieshe’s account between January 2014 to February 2017.

“Out of it, N2 million came in as her legitimate earnings from JAMB as salaries,  allowances as well as dividends as a member of JAMB co-operative society.

“ We also discovered that N26.9 million came in from various agents who were contracted by her to sale e-facility cards and remit to the Zenith account.

” From her account we discovered that there were no remittance to JAMB rather,  almost all her withdrawals were through ATM,”  he said.

Ani told the court that Chieshe submitted copies of the original tellers showing where she deposited money into Umoru’s account on his instructions from the proceeds of the sale of the e- facility.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr Ekene Iheanocho, tendered the documents as evidence.

When cross-examined by  A.I. Ihejirika, Umoru ‘s counsel , the witness told the court that there was no outright statement written as money from the sale of e-facility .

He added that but ,Chieshe did explain to them that her boss (Umoru) usually collects money from the proceeds of e-facility as IOU.

After Ani’s testimony, Justice Peter Affen, adjourned until June 1 for continuation of trial.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza


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