The Federal Executive Council(FEC) on Wednesday approved the sum of N970.2 million for the proving of residential accommodation for the Nigeria Customs Service(NCS).
Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after the FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The meeting lasted late into in the night.
Ahmed said that the accommodation was important because the NCS, being a para-military organisation, was trying to ensure that its members of staff were kept in barracks.
“The Nigeria Customs got approval today for acquisition of residential accommodation for the staff of the service.
“What the Customs is acquiring is an estate that has a total of 42 flats and the total cost is N152 million per block of six units.
“The approval that we got today is in the total sum of N970.2 million inclusive of VAT.”
She said that the NCS, in its desire to upgrade its services to international best practice in information and communication, also got an approval to procure modern communication gadgets.
She listed some of the gadgets as HF radios, BHF radios, walkie takies, cable towers and accessories.
The minister said that the gadgets were necessary for the Nigeria Customs to enhance its end to end encryption of messages delivery to avoid tapping by unscrupulous elements, smugglers and their cohorts.
“The need has become necessary because of increased onslaught by the service on smuggling and other illegal economic activities.
“The contract that was approved is in the total sum of N247.907 million inclusive of five per cent VAT and the equipment will be delivered within a period of eight weeks.’’
Ahmed said that the third paper that was approved for the ministry was an automation project that it had been working on for a very long time.
According to her, the Project Lighthouse is an initiative of Ministry of Finance—a data warehousing system that is integrating different tax related data for the purpose of accurate and effective revenue assessment.
She said the project would also serve in the determination of assets and income status for both corporate and individual tax payers.
“It will help us improve on our tax revenue collection efforts both at the federal and states level.
“The total project cost is in the sum of N710 million,’’ she said.
On his part, FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, said that FEC approved the award of contract for the construction of a secondary road linking the town of Dangara to Yaba within Kwali Area Council of FCT.
He said that the road was a continuation of the administration’s infrastructure development which covered the city itself and the surrounding satellite towns.
Bello said that the contract was awarded in the sum of N1.8 billion inclusive of five per cent VAT and timeline of 18 months.
The minister said that contracts were also awarded for supply of equipment and purchase of water tanker for some agencies under the FCT.
“The second projects is a project for the supply of heavy duty equipment for use by the Development Control Department of FCT under the Abuja Metropolitan Management Council.
“These equipment are used by the Development Control to effect needed adjustments to buildings and structures that have contravened set regulations particularly the Abuja MasterPlan which we all know is something that we guard jealously.
“The contract is at the cost of N147.2 million
“The third approval was for the purchase of water tanker and water tenders-four each for the FCT Fire Service.
“ It is meant to improve of the complement of equipment and facilities that they have so that they will be in a better position to react to fire incidences so that there will minimal loss of life and damage to property,’’ he said.
Bello said that third approval was for the sum of N725 million.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
COVID-19 : NNPC commences construction of N21 bn Infectious Disease Hospital in Katsina
The Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, on Saturday laid the foundation for the construction of a 200-bed Emergency and Infectious Disease Hospital in Kaita, Katsina State.
It is one of the 12 hospitals being constructed by the NNPC across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Kyari explained that the project, being executed by the NNPC, Total and other oil and Gas companies operating in the country, would be completed in 18 months.
“We are doing this kind of project in 12 states in the six geopolitical zones of the country and these projects were practically funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria through the NNPC,” he said.
Kyari stated that that in addition to the project, NNPC had donated one Toyota ambulance, 10,000 pieces of face masks and full set of ventilator kits to the Katsina State Government to support its ongoing war against COVID-19.
Earlier, Katsina State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mannir Yakubu, said the construction of the infectious disease hospital would complement the effort of the state government in providing quality healthcare services to the people.
Yakubu thanked the NNPC for the intervention and prayed that the project would be completed on schedule.
1,700 new COVID-19 infections detected in Qatar, 67,195 in total
Some 1,592 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 42,527, while two died, raising the fatalities up to 51, the official Qatar News Agency reported, quoting a statement by the ministry.
The ministry said that the infections increased due to people’s gatherings and visits, and ignoring of preventive measures recommended by the government, the most important of which is staying at home and maintaining social distancing.
A total of 251,391 people in Qatar have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far, it added.
NCDC announces 328 new COVID-19 cases, total infections now 11,844
News Agency of Nigeria reports that no new state has reported a case in the last 24 hours.
The health agency said that till date, 11844 cases had been confirmed, 7815 active cases, 3696 cases have been treated and discharged and 333 deaths have been recorded in 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory.
It stated that the 328 new cases were reported from 14 states- Lagos(121), FCT(70),Bauchi(25), Rivers(18), Oyo(16), Kaduna(15), Gombe(14), Edo(13),Ogun(13), Jigawa(8), Enugu(6), Kano(5), Osun(2), Ondo(2).
The NCDC said that there is no cure yet for COVID-19, but, its supportive management of cases involve: management of symptoms , management of pre-existing conditions, Supplemental oxygen therapy, treatment of bacterial infection, and ensuring patients that were well-nourished and hydrated.
The NCDC, however, called on Nigerians not to pull down their mask down their chin.
“You can speak, cough or sneeze inside your mask, then wash or dispose properly,” it said.
NAN reports that one of the ways Africa Center for Disease Control is supporting the COVID-19 response in Nigeria was by deploying epidemiologists and volunteers to work with national and state level staff in carrying out outbreak investigation, contact tracing and other response activities.
Abolishing agreements with Israel not to affect ICC’s probe in Palestinian territories: official
A senior Palestinian official said on Friday that the abolition of agreements reached with Israel will not affect the investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Palestinian territories.
Palestine has explained this to the judges of the ICC Pretrial Chamber in reply to a letter they wrote to the Palestinian side 10 days ago, noted Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki in an emailed press statement.
In their letter, the ICC judges asked the Palestinian side whether the court has jurisdiction to open a criminal investigation into suspected war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories.
“The termination of the agreements doesn’t change the position of the occupied Palestinian territories and reiterates the fact that Israel, as an occupying power, is responsible under Geneva Conventions and the international law,” said al-Maliki.
The Palestinian decision to end all agreements with Israel “won’t have any political consequences,” he stressed.
Hong Kong’s status as int’l financial center not to be affected: HKEX chief
Chief Executive of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) Charles Li said on Friday that Hong Kong‘s status as an international financial center will not be affected by the national security legislation for Hong Kong or the sanctions threatened by the United States.
Hong Kong‘s success is largely hinged upon the unique construct known as “one country, two systems,” which remains unequivocally in line with China‘s developmental interests, he said, pointing out that the national security legislation aims at safeguarding Hong Kong‘s long-term stability and “one country, two systems.”
Li pointed out that Hong Kong is “unfortunately being used as a political football” by the United States against China and the national security legislation for Hong Kong is just a “convenient pretext.”
However, he noted that preliminary consensus is emerging that the impact of the United States revoking Hong Kong‘s special trade status would actually be quite manageable.
As stated by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan in his blog last week, the annual amount of local manufactured goods exported to the United States accounts for less than 2 percent of Hong Kong‘s manufacturing output and less than 0.1 percent of total export value, Li said.
“It may be that the United States is actually hurt harder than Hong Kong as the United States‘s trade surplus with Hong Kong in the last decade has been among the biggest of all its trading partners, totaling almost 300 billion United States dollars,” he added.
Hong Kong has the most critical elements for any international financial center, including the free flow of capital and information, an established and trusted rule of law, internationally accepted language and cultural norms, proximity to large economies and abundant capital, Li said.
“In this regard, it is hard to see that the United States has the real motivation, or the appropriate tools to systematically undermine Hong Kong without also creating serious collateral damage for its own shores and its allies’ interests.”
Looking beyond the current challenges, Hong Kong will continue to play a major role, anchored in the mainland, in connecting with the world and meeting the needs of those in both the East and West, he said. “This is not the end of Hong Kong as some may fear, (but) only another of its many reinventions.”
Lebanon’s number of COVID-19 infections rises to 1,312
Lebanon continues to test people randomly all over the country to follow up on new infections.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Hamad Hassan met with the ministerial committee for infectious diseases to discuss the steps that must be taken to reopen Beirut’s airport and the measures that need to be taken by passengers whether they are traveling to or arriving in Lebanon.
Lebanon has extended its general mobilization measures till July 5.
1,754 new COVID-19 infections detected in Qatar, 65,495 in total
“Some 1,467 people recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 40,935, while four others died, raising the fatalities up to 49,” the official Qatar News Agency reported, quoting a statement by the ministry.
It revealed that infections had doubled due to people’s gatherings and visits, and ignoring of preventive measures recommended by the government, the most important of which is staying at home and maintaining social distancing.
A total of 246,362 persons in Qatar have undergone lab tests for COVID-19 so far, it added.
COVID-19: Partial lockdown in Plateau very effective against virus spread – Commissioner C
Plateau Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mr Dan Manjang, has said that the partial lockdown imposed on the state has been very effective in the fight against the novel Coronavirus.
Manjang said this in an interview with newsmen in Jos on Friday in the wake of perceptions among residents of the state that the lockdown was needless since there were normal movements of people for four days in a week.
He said the partial lockdown had curtailed the number of infected people from escalating as compared to other states which did not have lockdown imposed on them.
“I can tell you that the lockdown has been very effective as far as government is concerned.
“We have cases in other places where there is no lockdown and they have been recording alarming numbers.
“Who knows what would be happening in Plateau if we did not take the right steps; the number may have been more than what we are seeing today,” he said.
On the rumours that the government would totally lift the lockdown in the state, Manjang stated that the executive order remained in force until when it was reviewed.
He also noted that the public continued to defy the stay-at-home order during the lockdown as heavy vehicular and human movements were being experienced in the state.
“The executive order by the governor remained; it has not been reviewed yet, we are going into a meeting to review the situation and make sure we don’t kill the economy.
“If I tell you that the lockdown would be removed totally I will be jumping the gun, if the governor says so, I am just a megaphone, I will relay the information to you.
“The lockdown is temporary, our human nature is such that we don’t want to be locked in one place, it is not deliberate that we want to keep people in one place.
“The lockdown is mandatory for our own good, it is all over the world, we should obey government’s order for out own good,” the commissioner said.
He advised the people to always wash their hands and maintain social distancing, stating that hand washing was a more effective way of self protection against the disease than the use of masks and sanitisers.
Floods kill 29, affect over 1 mln others in Somalia: UN
At least 29 people have died while more than 1 million others have been affected by heavy rains and riverine floods since the Gu (April-June) heavy rains started in Somalia in April, a United Nations agency said on Friday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 418,000 people have been displaced in 29 districts across Somalia as humanitarian agencies ramp up responses to reach those affected by the flooding.
“The rains have washed away thousands of hectares of crops, exacerbating food insecurity in affected areas,” OCHA said in a report.
The rains could escalate the current outbreak of water-borne diseases, particularly acute watery diarrhea and cholera, especially among internally displaced people living in crowded settlements across the country, the report said.
The UN agency said humanitarian agencies have ramped up efforts to mitigate the devastating effects of the rains and have reached more than 255,000 people with life-saving assistance.
“This includes food, clean water, emergency shelter, nutrition and medical supplies for people who were affected by the floods,” it said.
The UN agency said most of Somalia’s annual rainfall (75 percent) is recorded during the Gu (April-June) season, and the performance of the season is critical for communities dependent on crops and livestock.
“On a positive note, the current heavy rainfall is expected to replenish the water catchments and subsequently boost water availability and pasture regenerations for livestock,” OCHA said.
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