“At the same time KWS has given a one-year moratorium to lodge owners in its parks and reserves for rent payment starting July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021,” said KWS in a statement issued in Nairobi.
Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife made the announcement on the reduction of park entry fees to ease financial burden on local and foreign visitors affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
Balala urged owners of lodges inside wildlife sanctuaries to leverage on savings from the rent moratorium to improve on visitors’ experience and grow their businesses.
“He also called on Kenyans to take advantage of the affordable park entry fees to sample the beauty of Kenya’s flora and fauna,” said KWS.
He also announced a 50 percent discount on filming fees for both local and international producers filming in parks and reserves and challenged them to market Kenya as an ideal tourist destination.
Local and foreign tourists who visit premium wildlife sanctuaries like Nairobi, Amboseli, Lake Nakuru, Tsavo East and West National Parks, will benefit from a 47 percent reduction on entry fees in line with the new changes.
Balala urged investors in the KWS managed parks and reserves to refurbish their facilities and adhere to the Ministry of Health protocols aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
Kenya’s tourism sector is reeling from an unprecedented downturn as hotel bookings and visits to world-famous destinations like wildlife parks and beaches hit an all-time low due to COVID-19.
The Cabinet Secretary for Tourism said on June 29 that the sector has incurred losses amounting to 85 billion shillings (about 800 million United States dollars) due to the negative impacts of the pandemic.
Buhari congratulates new NMA President, Prof. Innocent Ujah on election
President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Prof. Innocent Ujah on his election as President of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
The president, in a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in Abuja on Tuesday also congratulated all the Executive Members for the zeal and diligence brought into the organisation within a short period.
According to him, the elected officers of the NMA have admirable profiles that will take the organisation to greater heights.
He particularly acknowledged that Prof. Ujah has worked extensively with national and international institutions, and progressively contributed to the shaping of national policies on health in the country in different capacities.
He affirmed that the NMA played a strategic role in the growth of the country through counselling of leaders on health and development issues, and staying on the frontline during emergencies and pandemics to keep everyone safe like the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
He commended the former President of the NMA, Dr Francis Faduyile and Executive Members for their investments of time and resources to improve the welfare of doctors, and their working conditions by consistently negotiating and counselling governments.
The president assured Ujah and the Executive Members of the government’s full cooperation to help them succeed in their leadership positions, and improve health services in the country.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
UN, United States commiserate with Lebanon over deadly explosions
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has commiserated with the people and government of Lebanon over Tuesday’s explosions in the capital, Beirut.
No fewer than 70 people died while 2,700 others were injured in the massive blasts at the city’s port, the Minister of Health, Hamad Hassan, said.
Officials said the two blasts originated from highly explosive materials stored in a warehouse although investigations were ongoing to determine the exact cause.
The UN chief’s reaction came in a statement by his deputy spokesman, Mr Farhan Haq.
“The Secretary-General expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people and government of Lebanon following the horrific explosions in Beirut today.
“He wishes a speedy recovery to the injured, including several United Nations personnel working in Lebanon.
“The United Nations remains committed to supporting Lebanon at this difficult time, and is actively assisting in the response to this incident,” Haq said.
United States Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea, also reacted to the incident with a condolence message, in which she described the explosions as horrific.
“Having witnessed the horrific explosions at the port this evening, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the victims and their families.
“We mourn each loss from this terrible tragedy alongside the Lebanese people,” the embassy quoted her as saying in a tweet.
Edited By: Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)
Nadal to skip United States Open due to COVID-19 concerns, as organisers announce entries
World number two Rafa Nadal confirmed on Tuesday that he would not defend his United States Open crown this year at Flushing Meadows.
His announcement came as organisers released the singles entry list for the Grand Slam.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play (at) this year’s United States Open,” Nadal said on Twitter.
”The situation is very complicated worldwide, and the COVID-19 cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play.
”I understand and thank (everyone) for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.
“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”
The United States has the highest tally in the world with more than 4.7 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases and nearly 156,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a three-times champion in New York, headlines the men’s list along with last year’s runner-up Daniil Medvedev.
There are other top 10 players, including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Swiss Roger Federer, a five-times United States Open champion, will also be absent after the 38-year-old was forced to undergo knee surgery in June which prematurely ended his 2020 season.
Nine of the top 10 women’s players, including 23-times Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and holder Bianca Andreescu, are on the entry list along with 2018 champion Naomi Osaka.
As many as 13 Grand Slam champions are in the women’s draw.
These include Romania’s Simona Halep, the reigning Wimbledon champion and 2018 French Open winner, and this year’s Australian Open champion American Sofia Kenin.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) said eight additional wildcard entries would be selected in both the men’s and women’s fields.
Organisers said the seedings would be announced closer to the start of the tournament which is scheduled for Aug. 31.
A number of players are also set to take part in the Aug. 20 to Aug. 28 Western & Southern Open in New York, which serves as a warm-up event for the United States Open.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi) (NAN)
Food sufficiency: Osun commissioner inaugurates ‘Wave City’ project
Osun Commissioner for Agriculture, Mr Adewole Adedayo, on Tuesday inaugurated an agricultural project, ‘Wave City,’ sited by FarmKonnect Agribusiness Nigeria Ltd at Wasimi to promote food sufficiency.
Speaking at the inauguration, Adedayo, who described the project as the first of its kind in the state and the South-West region, said it was aimed at promoting food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
According to him, every responsible government must create an enabling environment for farmers.
“Today, I believe FarmKonnect is now realising a dream that started in 2017. Today, having FarmKonnect in Osun State is another dream.
“Today, having these facilities on ground to develop agriculture in the south-west is a dream realised. So FarmKonnect has realised a dream.
“Like I keep saying, agriculture has the highest potentials to create jobs, both for skilled and unskilled labour. So, I will like to thank FarmKonnect for bringing this project to Osun State,” he said.
According to the commissioner, agriculture is top on the agenda of the state government.
The commissioner, who highlighted the various initiatives of the government to support agricultural development, pledged the administration’s readiness to welcome investors like FarmKonnect to the state.
“We are looking for investors like this, people who will empower our youths and also create jobs for farmers,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that FarmKonnect was founded by Lt.-Col. Oluwole Azeez who voluntarily resigned from the Nigerian Army to invest in agriculture real estate business.
Azeez said that his organisation’s mission was to take agriculture beyond just planting crops and making money to a business which promotes food sufficiency, national development and agricultural inclusion.
“In FarmKonnect, we run a model we call agricultural real estate and we are the first to do that. This allows multiple people to own a portion of the farm and they don’t necessarily have to step on the farm.
“All they just need to do is engage their money and we take all the performances around. The greenhouses you are seeing here are specifically designed for the tropics.
“The vision is to build one million square metres of greenhouses, a controlled farming environment technology using greenhouses and net houses to produce fruits and leafy vegetables from tomatoes to pepper.
“This is the first of its kind in Nigeria. This is specifically designed for minimal electricity as well as to expand our yield,” he said.
Azeez said he was grateful to the Osun government for its tremendous support to the project and assured it of greater benefits in terms of food sufficiency and job creation.
Also speaking, Dr Bosade Ogunlana, the Founder of Entrepreneurship Initiative, commended FarmKonnect for the project, saying it would help in empowering the youths.
According to her, Africa has more youths to engage in land cultivation in order to boost food sufficiency and security.
“Africa is the biggest gun of the world because over 60 per cent of arable land in the entire world resides in Africa. I know with something like this happening here today, there is hope for Nigeria.
“It can help us to engage the youths. It can help us to ensure there is no scarcity of food,” she said.
Ogunlana thanked the Osun government for its support to FarmKonnect, urging it to ensure adequate security for the project.
The event was also attended by Mr Yemi Lawal, the Commissioner for Youth and Sports in Osun, as well as representatives of the various partners of FarmKonnect.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)