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LCCI proposes 9% interest rate for bank loan

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The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has urged the Federal Government to peg the maximum interest rate of commercial banks loan to a single digit of nine per cent.

Its President, Mr Babatunde Ruwase, speaking at the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, 2019 International Conference on

Accounting, Finance and Insurance, also called for a long term repayment schedule.

Ruwase spoke at the three days conference organised by the university’s Faculty of Management Sciences, Departments of Accounting, Banking and Finance and Insurance.

Theme of the conference is: “Financial Institutions and Sustainable Development; Perspective of Accounting, Finance and Insurance.”

Ruwase, represented by Mr Muda Yusuf, LCCI Director-General, said reduction of the interest rate would ensure an affordable credit for investors and would in turn facilitate a drive in the economy.

He said that there was a major disconnect between the banking institutions and the real economy as the focus of the banks was on profit making.

According to him, for as long as the banks continue to focus on profit making, development of other sectors of the economy in the country may not be possible.

He said that this was so because key projects such as Agriculture, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Transportation, Solid Minerals, among others that could drive development required low cost and long tenure funds.

“There is no way you can develop an economy, if you do not invest on infrastructure such as agriculture, manufacturing, real estate, education, healthcare and transportation.

“These are the sectors that drive development in a country, and the type of funding they need does not require short term fund that would be costing about 25 or 30 per cent interest rate.

“It is not ideal for banks to declare billions of naira yearly as profit, in a country where other sectors of the economy are collapsing.

“The banking system should be better aligned with real life challenges and be more supportive of the economy, as consumer credit is what drives the economy of developed countries.

“Some people have developed high blood pressure because they took bank loans and have been unable to repay due to the interest rate,” he said.

Ruwase said there was an infrastructure deficit of about N3.4 billion in the country, adding that only the private sectors, through access to affordable credit, could intervene to addressing it.

He said there was a need to develop the right model of policies in terms of fiscal and monetary to ensure the flow of resources from the financial systems to developmental projects and the real economy.

“We can have a framework of credit guarantee to minimise the risk of borrowing, because one of the reasons why banks do not lend money to the real sector and SMEs, is because of the high risk,’’ he said.

Ruwase, however, called for a better rewarding system for farmers at the agricultural sector, if the country was determined to reducing poverty as the current reward template for farmers was not commensurable to their inputs or efforts.

He said the regulatory and intervention role of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a credit guarantee scheme could ensure that the financial institutions supports the development processes better than what it was presently.

In his remarks, Prof. Taiwo Asaolu of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, called for an integration of the old or disruptive form of technology and the new technology to advance an improved course for finance and other sectors.

Asaolu, represented by Prof. Kolawole Subair of Global Research Fellow, Centre for Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Development, Indiana University, USA, said Nigeria was still backwards in several areas in terms of technology advancement.

“This is because some of the feats we have been able to achieve are still developing.

“I believe that the disruptive technology is not to destroy, but to improve and how we do this matter,” he said.

According to him, there should be an education in terms of training and research, augmentation of the digital automation and building of new business models within the disruptive technology.

Also, Prof. Olanrewaju Fagbohun, Vice-Chancellor of LASU, said theme of the conference was apt, because the seemingly overwhelming challenges of the private sector and financial institutions were taken toll on the economy.

Fagbohun said: “The threat of economic stability posed by the mass exodus of the manufacturing firms to neighbouring countries like Ghana, South Africa, among others on the account of poor or unfriendly economic, financial and social infrastructure.”

According to him, the multiplier implications of these humdrums could only be imagined.

Fagbohun said the conference would provide an opportunity to cross fertilise ideas on core issues like: Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms, Corporate Governance, Business Risk Management, the perfection and Implication of National Financial Intelligence Reform Policy, Forensic Accounting and Auditing.

The Vice-chancellor expressed optimism that the communique from the intellectual discourse would open a road map to ensuring not only the survival and growth of both the private and public sector.

He said it would also facilitate total re-engineering cum complete overhauling of the entire financial sector.

In his remarks, Prof. Babatunde Rahman Yusuf, Dean, Faculty of Management Sciences, said the conference was aimed at assessing the impact of financial institutions sustainability regulations on Nigeria economic development.

Yusuf said it would also show the gaps in the government financial framework with regard to the various policies put in place and discuss among other issues on how pragmatic financial regulations could be formulated and implemented.

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Education

Continuous training of teachers is our top priority — LASUBEB Chairman

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Mr Wahab Alawiye-King, Chairman, Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, has said that continuous training of teachers and investment in school infrastructure would optimally yield expected results.

Alawiye-King said in a statement on Tuesday that since the state government wanted teachers that were academically and professionally qualified, there was the need for the government to continuously train its workforce.

“We can have the best of infrastructure, if we don’t have the right sets of teachers, I don’t think the learning outcome we are going to get is going to be very encouraging.

“The world is changing, evolving on a daily basis and in order for us to survive in a competitive world, we need extra-ordinary skills.

“We need additional skills and that is why it is necessary for us to provide these skills for teachers,” the LASUBEB chairman said.

He said that the just concluded capacity building workshop for Early Child Care Development Education in Lagos was to enable the teachers be at par with their contemporaries globally.

‘Through the acquisition of necessary skill that is required of them to be competitive anywhere in the world,” he said.

He assured that LASUBEB remained committed to its promise of providing a better educational standard to the people of the state especially through its mantra of ‘leave no child behind’.

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Education

Sex-for-marks: UNN VC warns against sexual harassment on campus

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Prof. Charles Igwe, the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), has warned lecturers of the university to avoid  sexual harassment of their students or be prepared to face serious sanctions.

Igwe gave the warning on Tuesday at a symposium entitled, “Sexual harassment in tertiary institutions: Time for action is now”, organised by UNN Gender and Development Centre in collaboration with Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL).

He said his administration had zero tolerance for sexual harassment and would not hesitate to sanction any lecturer found guilty after thorough investigations.

“Under my watch in UNN as VC, the institution will maintain and respect the motto of the university, which is to ‘Restore the Dignity of Man’”.

The VC commended the organisers of the programme, saying that it came at a period sex-for -marks in tertiary institutions had become a national dicourse.

Igwe, who was represented by Prof. Pat Okpoko, the Deputy VC (Administration), also advised female students to avoid indecent dressing, with the intention to lure lecturers with low moral standard.

He said: “UNN has beamed its searchlight on both staff and students that will involve in sexual harassment.

“Female  students should dress well to avoid sexual harassment as provocative dressing most times lead to sexual harassment.

“The reason why your parents sent you to school is to read so as to graduate with good results and not to seduce men with indecent dressing.”

The Founder of WACOL, Prof. Joy Ezeilo, who spoke on the theme of the symposium, said that research by the group showed that in every three female students in any tertiary institution, one was sexually harassed.

She said that victims were not always ready to speak out because of the fear of victimisation or stigmatization.

“Female students are always more vulnerable when it comes to sexual harassment as recent research shows that one in every three female students, one is sexually harassed.

“The law, religion, tradition and morality are against sexual harassment, but unfortunately this has become a cankerworm in our tertiary institutions,” she said.

Ezeilo, who is also the Dean, Faculty of Law, UNN Enugu campus, therefore, challenged administrators of tertiary institutions to spearhead the fight against all vices in educational system particularly cultism, sorting and sexual harassments.

“Sexual harassments have devastating effect on learning and the capacity of persons graduating from tertiary institutions in the country.

“We must seek for effective ways to curb this menace and restore the dignity of men and women and build a conducive learning environment, where academic discipline and freedom reigns supreme,” she said.

Earlier, Prof. Anthonia Achike, Director Gender and Development Centre, UNN, expressed concern over the rising cases of sex-for-marks in tertiary institutions in the country.

Achike commended the National Assembly for its move to enact legislation against sexual harassment in tertiary institutions and society at large.

“It’s unfortunate that some victims have refused to report cases of sexual harassment for fear of losing their jobs as well as the public stigma it will bring to their image.

“When we talk of sexual harassment, it is not only men harassing female students but sometimes female lecturers also sexually harass male students.

“To tackle this societal menace that has become a serious hindrance and setback to academic excellence, all hands must on deck,” Achike said.

(Edited by Philip Dzeremo/Sam Oditah)

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LASG approves establishment of 173 private schools

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The Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Education, has given approval for the establishment of 173 private schools across the state’s five divisions.

The Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, made this known while issuing letters of approval to the beneficiaries in Ikeja.

Adefisayo said in a statement released on Tuesday that the approval for the private schools was part of efforts to entrench inclusiveness in the education sector.

She said that the present administration was willing to partner with critical stakeholders in the Private Education Sector, as a catalyst to take education in the state to the next level.

“Despite the fact that the number of schools in Lagos, especially in the private sector, has increased tremendously, the yawning gap between demand and supply clearly shows that more schools are needed to meet our educational target.

“We need more private schools to come on board for us to be able to cater to the ever-increasing educational needs of a fast-growing metropolis like ours,” the commissioner said.

Adefisayo urged all school owners to reflect excellence in their service delivery, integrate 21st century skills into their teaching methods and to make provision for special students.

She urged school owners to employ only qualified teachers, emphasise digital literacy and adhere to the recommended curriculum for teaching.

The Director, Private Education and Special Programmes, Mrs Adetutu Adebowale, said that there was the need for school owners to maintain the standard that earned them the approval of the state government.

Adebowale said that private school operators could not afford to fail in their complementary role needed to move the sector to greater heights.

Responding on behalf of the private nursery and primary schools, Mrs Chinyelu Anidebe, a school proprietor, urged the ministry to always make the new curriculum available on time.

Anidebe called on the ministry to update the current curriculum and initiate enlightenment programmes aimed at dissuading parents from encouraging their children to skip primary six.

In the same vein, another proprietor, Capt. Femi Olaiya, representing the secondary school subsector, encouraged the ministry to utilise all available media to disseminate information on the criteria for approval to school owners and to also hasten the process.

Editing by Oluyinka Fadare/Oluwole Sogunle

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Education

NPDC donates science books, e-library to 10 public schools in Edo

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Donation

Benin, Nov. 19, 2019 The Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), a subsidiary of NNPC on Tuesday donated science books, e-library, chairs and desks to 10 public schools  in its host communities in Edo

Mr Mansur Sambo, Managing Director of NPDC, while presenting the items on Tuesday to principals of the selected schools, said the gesture was part of the company’s cooperate social responsibility to its host communities.

The Nigeria News Agency NAN reports that Itohan Girls Grammar School, Oko Secondary School, Ohen primary school, lyekogba Secondary and Anglican Girls Grammar School were among beneficiaries of the items.

Sambo, represented by Mr Ugo Atugbokoh, the General Manager, Community Relations and Security, said the donation of the items was to encourage and support the students’ quest to acquire quality education.

“This is the second presentation, in 2018, we presented similar items to public schools in host communities in Edo, Delta and Imo.

“We have here chairs, desks, e-library and science books worth millions of naira to present to you, please allow the students to take advantage of them to enrich their knowledge.

“The science books were written by Nigerians and are domesticated and prescribed for schools. We know they are not enough, but we will still do more,” he promised.

Mr Dahiru Abubakar, the Manager Community Relations Department, said NPDC had a complete package to rehabilitate and donate the items to the selected schools.

“Because of the bureaucratic nature of government activities, we could not carry along the rehabilitation of the schools with the presentation of the items.

“Be rest assured that we will liaise with the selected schools to ensure that we carry out rehabilitation of the schools, to safeguard the books and the e-library presented to you,’’ Abubakar said.

Mr Paul Omorogbe, the Principal of Ozula Grammar School, commended the management of NPDC for the laudable initiative.

“Last year, we were here to collect our gift, it shows that NPDC’s generosity is progressive, thank you for what you are doing,” he said.

Omorogbe appealed to the management of NPDC to always get in touch with selected schools, to know areas of their priorities.

“I want to plead with you to help provide security in the schools.

“As we speak now, there are no doors and burglary proof to protect the gifts we are getting from you. The items you donated to us last year have been vandalised,’’ he said.

Mrs Matilda Temofeh, the Principal of Oba Eware Senior Secondary School, also lauded the management and staff of NPDC for the gesture.

“When things like this happen, we need to say thank you, so that more will come. We assure you that the students will gain a lot from the donation,” she said.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Dada Ahmed

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Education

Fire guts 12 bodies in OAU’s morgue

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Fire

Ile-Ife (Osun), Nov 19, 2019 (Osun) No fewer than 12 corpses at the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, were on early hours of Tuesday gutted by a midnight fire.

The incident which could have wreaked havoc at the department was averted by the combined efforts of the security and fire services unit of the institution.

Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, the Public Relations Officer of the University made the disclosure in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency , on Tuesday in Ile-Ife.

Olarewaju said that the fire, which broke out around 3:00 am, was allegedly caused by electricity surge which affected a section of the morgue where corpses are kept.

According to it, out of the 102 bodies that are kept in the morgue, 12 were affected by the fire outbreak.

“The department has made detailed arrangements to duly and adequately inform those who have kept bodies (corpses) in the morgue,” it stated.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede led other principal officers to the scene of the incident to assess the level of damage and instructed immediate repairs to the affected areas.

The vice chancellor had also constituted a three-member committee to look into the immediate and remote causes of the fire outbreak.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that normalcy of academic and administrative activities have since returned to the area.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Maureen Atuonwu

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Yabatech’s products remain worthy ambassadors – ICAN

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President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Chief Nnamdi Okwuadigbo, on Monday, congratulated Yaba College of Technology on its 33rd convocation, saying that its products had remained worthy ambassadors.

Okwuadigbo said that the leadership of the institute had done greatly in sustaining the institution’s legacy as the first higher college in the country.

According to him, the history of education and human capital development in the country will be grossly deficient without reference to Yabatech.

”Undeniably, this college has produced men and women of note, who are contributing to economic and social growth processes in the country.

”The products of this college have remained worthy ambassadors beyond the shores of the country,” Okwuadigbo said.

He added that his emergence as the 55th President of ICAN would not have been possible but for the foresight of one of the products of the old Yaba Higher College, Pa Akintola Williams.

”He is the doyen of Accounting in Nigeria; he co-founded ICAN with other visionary leaders.

”It is, therefore, a great delight for me to be part of this occasion, as I have benefitted, albeit indirectly, from Yabatech’s 72 years of making leaders.

According to the ICAN president, the theme of the convocation lecture, ‘Ethical Values, Good Governance and Nation Building’, speaks directly about the yearnings of Nigerians and other stakeholders in the economy.

”Even though the subject is global, the peculiarities of our political, social and economic structures make it particularly germane to us as a nation.

”Legitimate questions have been asked on why the challenges of the country remain intractable.

‘The theme of the convocation lecture is not just well-timed, but the organisers could not have chosen a better lecturer.

He enumerated the economic and infrastructural problems currently facing the country and questioned the leaders’ ethical disposition to governance as well as the roles of the followers in the entire situation.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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