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Education minister solicits World Bank support for out-of- school children

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Education minister solicits World Bank support for out-of- school children


The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu,  has urged  the World Bank to assist Nigeria in reducing the number of Out- of- School children from 10 to 5 million by the year 2023.

The minister made this known in a statement signed by Mr Ben Goong, Director, Press and Public Relations of the ministry and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said this when a delegation of the World Bank, led by its Country Director, Mr Shubham Chawdry paid him a working visit.

Adamu said this was in line with the current administration’s goal of ensuring that Nigerian children had  access to qualitative education, irrespective of their economic backgrounds.

The minister who expressed discomfort at the number of out-of- School children in the country, said the Federal Government was keen on reducing the number in addition to improving the standard of education in the country.

He said the ministry was currently working with the World Bank on projects aimed at encouraging children back to school, particularly in the area of increased enrollment of the Girl-child.

While commending the bank on its commitment to the development of the nation’s  educational sector, Adamu expressed government’s readiness for better interventions that would tackle obstacles to the eradication of the out- of -school children phenomenon.

In his remarks, World Bank Director, Shubham Chawdry, reiterated his organisation’s commitment to the improvement of the nation’s education sector.

Chawdry, who emphasised that education was a sure way of eliminating poverty, pledged the readiness of his organisation to assisting in financing more projects that would foster the development of the country’s educational system.

The country director also declared World Bank’s interest in long-lasting projects, adding that the bank would no longer dictate developmental projects but leave the decision to governments as they were in the best position to ascertain the needs of their citizens.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

Funmilayo Adeyemi: 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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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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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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COVID-19

We’re working to ensure Nigerians have access to COVID-19 vaccines when available – NCDC

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Vaccines

Abuja, July 23, 2020 The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) says it is working hard to ensure that Nigerians have access to the coronavirus vaccines when available.

Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director-General of NCDC, gave the assurance during the Presidential Task Force (PTF) briefing on COVID-19 on Monday in Abuja.

Ihekweazu said that the centre was working with the global community to ensure this access.

He informed that data on research and development of a vaccine against COVID-19 by the global scientific community showed that results on a possible vaccine were expected in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The DG, while noting that a vaccine was the best weapon in taming the virus, however, stressed that equitable access was key.

He added that the health agency was working together with other colleagues around the continent, through the Africa CDC, to start advocating for some of the trials to be done with African institutions in the short term.

“To do this, we have to build capacity, gather sufficient data and include African institutions in these efforts.

“We have to start preparing Nigerian population for vaccine delivery when it becomes available.

“Access is a very key issue when it comes to vaccines; that a vaccine is developed do not necessarily translate to being available to those that need it the most.

“So, through the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, the World Health Organisation (WHO) is working with GAVI to ensure that vaccines are available to countries regardless of their ability to pay.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that GAVI is an international organisation – a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

“It’s a work in progress and we are all working with Africa CDC and GAVI to ensure that when a vaccine becomes available, Nigeria’s can have access to it,’’ NCDC boss said.

He also said that it was important to involve the private sector and academia in vaccination manufacturing.

Ihekweazu hinted that the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) would lead the distribution and planning.

The DG pointed out that campaign to enlighten Nigerians on the benefit of the vaccine was important.

This, according to him, is because a small part of the population resisted vaccines for different reasons.

“So, the time to start the risk communication about the benefits of the vaccine is now.

“As soon as a vaccine becomes available, it’s our collective responsibility to prepare Nigerians for the implementation of the vaccination campaign for whatever form they take.

“So, it’s important that we start thinking about this,’’ the DG said.

Ihekweazu stressed that a vaccine was the biggest weapon to get the virus under control and by far the most important medical tool known in history.

“Vaccine development normally takes 10-20 years, but we’ve made incredible development in the last six months,’’ he said.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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