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Economy

Local council pledges to empower unemployed youths in Ekiti

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The Oye Local Government in Ekiti State on Wednesday said that it had commenced a proposal to empower unemployed youths in its communities.

The Coordinating Director of the Local Government, Mr Ayodeji Aluko, disclosed this during an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Oye-Ekiti.

Aluko said ‎it was quite unfortunate that graduate youths were yet to get jobs, while most of them had joined the motorcycling business to survive.

He said that part of the plan was to partner with some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) who could help teach the youths ways they could use their talents to create wealth and become employers of labour.

” I wish to say that we are trying to partner with some NGOs who will empowers our unemployed youths, ‎but we are yet to finalise the arrangements because of the ongoing house numbering in the local government.

” Why we decided to embark on this empowerment programme is to curb all forms of social vices among the unemployed youths in the communities.

” But hopefully, as soon as the house numbering scheme is concluded, we will finalise our partnership with the NGOs to engage our youths in various skills acquisition programmes,” he said.

The coordinating director appealed to the unemployed youths in the state ‎to be patient with the government, adding that all of them would soon be engaged in various businesses.

Foreign

“Love Our Locals Fiji” campaign launched in Fiji to promote tourism

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Fiji launched on Friday the “Love Our Locals Fiji” campaign to help the tourism industry ease the impact of COVID-19.

Speaking at the launching ceremony here on Friday, Fiji’s Minister for Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport Faiyaz Siddiq Koya said that the purpose of the campaign is to boost bookings and keep Fijians working during these difficult times.

“Tourism is for everybody and through the campaign, Fijians are called to become greater ambassadors of the Fijian tourism industry by immersing in some of Fiji’s unique experiences. As Fiji enters Stage Two of its market re-entry strategy, we remind the world, ‘Our Bula Spirit awaits you’, in anticipation of welcoming back international visitors to our shores,” he said.

Supported by the tourism industry stakeholders, the “Love Our Locals Fiji” campaign will play out primarily on social media and include the creation of a Facebook group where industry operators can communicate with Fiji residents.

As the backbone of the Fijian economy, tourism is the most important industry with the biggest foreign exchange earner.

Some 40 percent of Fiji’s gross domestic product (GDP) is dependent on tourism which employs around 150,000 people directly and indirectly.

The island nation has in recent years received more than 800,000 visitors per year. The Fijian government had also set a goal of developing the tourism industry to a 2.2 billion Fijian dollars (about 1 billion U.S. dollar) industry by 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic has serious impact on Fiji’s tourism, and with travel restrictions to stop the spread of the deadly virus, the industry, which has already laid off about 40,000 people, has been at a standstill for three months now.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Lebanon to create fund to support local SMEs with financial problems

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Lebanon will create a fund to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) amid the current economic deterioration and the lay-off of more than 100,000 employees in the country, LBCI local TV channel reported on Thursday.

Ibrahim Kanaan, a member of the parliament and also head of the Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee, said after a meeting of the committee that the ministries have approved such suggestion since the current situation is very dangerous.

The labor and economy ministries agreed to prepare statistics about the institutions that were heavily impacted by nationwide protests that started on Oct. 17, 2019, and COVID-19 outbreak.

The fund will be financed by international institutions and the Lebanese expats who are willing to help local businesses.

Lebanon has been going through a tough economic and financial situation amid severe shortage in U.S. currency which led to the bankruptcy of thousands of businesses and the lay-off of thousands of employees.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Association to manufacture basic orthopaedic hardware locally by 2021 – Official

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The Nigerian Orthopaedic Association (NOA) will begin to manufacture basic hardware used in orthopaedics, locally by 2021, according to its Vice-President, Dr Mohammed Salihu.

Salihu told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday, that the association was working with the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mills and some engineers to achieve this feat.

He said importation of basic hardware in the practice of orthopaedic made it very expensive.

“Manufacturing it locally will make it cheaper,’’ he said.

Salihu, also a medical director at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala in Kano (NOHD) said the association had developed the prototype of the hardware.

“We do have the picture of the first one that has been designed and we are test-running it.

“But we will need a lot of money, rules and regulations in the process.

“We are hoping that after the initial test-run, between now and the next one year, we should be proud to have the first phase.

“We should be proud to say that we are now manufacturing the hardware that we use in orthopaedic practice in this country,’’ Salihu said.

He said that producing the hardware locally was one of the ways to address the challenge of heavy duty equipment used in the practice.

“As a country, we need to come together to ensure we manufacture some of these hardware locally.

“If we do that, we are going to get jobs for the young people and it will improve the economy as well.’’

The director, however, urged the private sector operators and individual investors to partner with manufacturers for production of these things locally.

“It is definitely going to help the country and it will reduce the cost of service, rather than continuing to buy from the United States, Europe and Asia.

“The main challenge in orthopaedic and trauma practice is that it is not cheap.

“It is not cheap because we use loads of heavy duty equipment, we use hardware that are not manufactured in Nigeria.

“The equipment and hardware are manufactured in the United States and Europe; so we needed to buy these materials with euros, dollars and pound sterling.

“The challenge of funding; the challenge of heavy duty equipment are real issues,’’ he said.

According to him, due to advancement in medicine through technology, some surgeries are done with some of the technology without necessarily using conventional method of opening the bones.

“So, we need money to buy this equipment and it is only when we are able to buy them that we can move to a higher level of practice,” he added.

Salihu, therefore, appealed to the government and all willing Nigerians to come to the aid of the various departments in orthopaedic hospitals to procure modern equipment.

“In today’s orthopaedic and trauma practice, somebody can have a fracture today and he can walk the following day if we have all these gadgets.’’


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Economy

SON begins harmonising locally produced ventilators to meet global standards

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The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) says it has begun harmonising the production of ventilators developed across the country to conform with the international standards toward containing COVID-19 pandemic.

Its Director-General, Osita Aboloma, made this known in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos, following the unveiling of locally manufactured ventilators produced by Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro in Ogun.

Aboloma was represented by SON Coordinator, Ogun Office 1, Mr Jerome Umoru, at the unveiling.

The SON director-general urged various inventors to ensure compliance with ISO 5080601/2/12/3020 and Medical Electrical Equipment part 11 for clinical care.

According to him, adherence to the standard will ensure ease during the process of conformity assessment and product certification.

He added that the certification of locally produced ventilators, air purifiers and hand sanitiser machines would put the nation in its pride of place globally.

“We are partnering with the institute in ensuring that various machines produced in the country meet the required standards so as not to end up in the shelves,” Aboloma said.

He said the standards body of the unification was also aimed at saving the nation’s foreign exchange spent on importation of ventilators to fights against COVID-19.

Aboloma advised private sector investment in such innovations to enable inventors to go through the next stages of clinical trials and obtain the Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) mark.

He reiterated SON’s support toward sustaining local production of essential materials to fight the COVID-19 pandemic through quality assurance.

“In our efforts to address the ongoing pandemic, we have diligently assigned officers to inspect the ventilators and alcohol-based hand sanitisers under production.

“We have one common standard for each product. We want to ensure that what we are producing meets the standard and once it does, we will certify it.

“We will also continue to monitor activities so that they do not rest on their oars in producing quality goods.

“I have presented a copy of the Standard to the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, and it is the ‘golden rule,” he said.

Aboloma promised that the moment the institute was able to meet the basic parameter on requirements, certification of the innovations would be fast tracked.

SON is ready to partner with all technical institutions, especially those involved in the production of life saving equipment and materials at this time.

“This is so that their products will meet minimum requirements of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS), and undergo certification under the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) scheme,” he said.

The SON director-general revealed that in no distant time, consumers would be empowered through product authentication scheme to determine the quality and conformance of products at the point of purchase.

He said that those without necessary certifications would be rejected.

Responding, the Rector, Olusegun Aluko, said that possible partnership with private sector could help boost the production of ventilators against the high cost of importation.

Aluko explained that the institution had also designed a disinfectant cubicle (just like the security screening cubicles at points of entry in banks).

He said this would disinfect anyone passing through it within a space of 20 seconds.

Aluko said that the invention was critical at a time when the government was planning to open up the economy.

He further showcased a handling room disinfecting machine produced by the institute.

The rector said it could conveniently be used to disinfect classrooms, offices, and banking halls.

He solicited for more government supports on the innovations to fight COVID-19 as well as boost the investors’ confidence.

“We also invented a multiple outlet of handwashing and sanitising machine.

“This will be useful in supermarkets, schools and other public places that accommodate crowds.

“We want patronage from different sectors to deploy the machines to the wellness of Nigerians,” the rector added.

Aluko noted that the materials for manufacturing the ventilators were sourced locally.

He said it would support the noble innovation and make it more accessible and cheaper compared to imported one’s which were scarce, costly and took longer to deliver.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Pentagon approves S. Korea’s funding plan for local workforce at United States bases

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The Pentagon said Tuesday that it had accepted South Korea‘s proposal to provide over 200 million U.S. dollars to fund the labor costs for all South Korean employees at U.S. military bases there through the end of this year.

The two allies, however, still failed to reach the broader burden-sharing agreement, which is known as the Special Measure Agreement (SMA).

“We strongly encourage our Ally to reach a fair agreement as quickly as possible,” the United States Department of Defense said in a statement.

The 10th SMA, which was struck in March last year, expired at the end of 2019. trillion won (860 million U.S. dollars) last year, up 8.2 percent from the previous year.

Since September last year, the two countries held multiple rounds of negotiations on the 11th SMA, but they failed to reach an agreement following Washington’s demand for a sharp increase in Seoul’s contribution.

More than 4,000 South Korean employees were furloughed due to the lapse of the 10th SMA, according to the statement.

USFK (United States Forces Korea) expects all KN (Korean National) employees to return to work no later than mid-June,” the statement also said.

Since 1991, South Korea has shared the defense cost for U.S. forces here, including costs for South Korean civilians hired by the USFK, construction of military installations, and logistics support.

Around 28,500 U.S. troops are currently stationed in South Korea.

(XINHUA)

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Defence/Security

Buratai inspects local construction of combat vehicles in Maiduguri

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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has inspected ongoing manufacture and repairs/overhaul of combat vehicles including Armoured Personnel Carriers and mine resistant anti Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs) by Army Engineers in Maiduguri.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, said this in a statement on Saturday.
Musa said that the work was being carried out at the 107 Division Equipment Support in Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri.
He said that Buratai has been in the North East Theatre of Operation since April leading the fight against terrorism.
He said That Buratai was accompanied by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Chief of Logistics (Army), Chief of Military Intelligence and Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division among others.

Edited By: Shuaib Sadiq/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)

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Foreign

China-Laos railway starts recruiting local employees

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The China-Laos railway project has started interviewing local job applicants for future operation since Thursday.

At the Confucius Institute of the National University of Laos in capital Vientiane, 330 Lao young talents attended the interview for the recruitment of trainees for the railway’s operation period on Thursday, organized by the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd.(LCRC), a joint venture based in Vientiane, in charge of the railway’s construction and operation.

The LCRC told Xinhua on Friday that, the company will maximize the recruitment of local staff to increase local employment. The company is to recruit over 600 trainees to assume the positions of locomotive drivers, locomotive maintenance personnel, infrastructure maintenance personnel, station attendants and train crews, etc.

After passing the interview, the trainees will receive Chinese language education and professional railway theory training, and will be sent to China‘s Kunming for on-site practical training and expected to return to Laos in August, 2021 for pre-job skills training to prepare for the opening of the China-Laos Railway in December 2021.

The company has selected 450 from 1,340 Lao candidates for interview at the end of May, with 330 in Vientiane and 120 in Luang Prabang, and plans to recruit 310 of them.

According to Xiao Qianwen, general manager of the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd., the recruitment and training of Lao employees is a key step for the railway’s sustainable development, which has been attached great importance by the Lao government and the company.

Xiao also said, by now, the construction of the railway project is steadily advancing, shifting from offline civil engineering to online engineering and station building; by the end of 2020, the company will gradually switch from engineering construction to operation management. The recruitment of the Lao employees is laying a sound foundation for the coming operation period.

The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos‘ strategy to convert from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.

The 414-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.

The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards.

The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and open to traffic in December 2021.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Hungary reopens border with Slovenia for local citizens

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Hungary and Slovenia eased coronavirus border restrictions on Thursday afternoon, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said on his Facebook page.

“Citizens of both countries will be able to cross the border without quarantine and other restrictions from today afternoon,” he said in a video message following a joint press conference held at the Dolga Vas-Redics border crossing with Slovenian Foreign Minister Anze Logar.

“The pandemic showed how closely interdependent we, the nations of central Europe, Slovenes and Hungarians are,” Szijjarto said.

“During this difficult period, the two countries strengthened their friendship, strategic alliance and cooperation.”

The fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic has been successful in both Hungary and Slovenia, according to Szijarto.

The move came two days after the opening of Hungary’s borders to citizens of Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Last week, the border crossings between Hungary and Romania were also reopened.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Lagos to supports local production of metres to boost power supply

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The Lagos State Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Olalere Odusote, says the state is supporting local production of metres to enhance power capacity in the state.

Odusote made this known on Wednesday, while discussing Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration plans for Energy and Power supply on an online show tagged: ”Covinspiration”.

It was moderated by Mr Dayo Israel, the Special Representative to the United Nations, and British Council Global Change-maker.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the event was to keep the public abreast of the administration’s activities in the last one year.

The commissioner said: “As a state government, we are working with the metre providers to see how we can enhance their capacity.

“We would also be engaging and working with the Federal Government to look at what is stopping us from bringing in metres.”

Odusote said that the state government would ensure that people were adequately metered.

He said that when everybody was adequately metered by the distribution company, there would be no problem or argument on “Estimated Billing”.

According to him, everyone that needs power should get it.

He, however, urged all to always pay their bills as and when due in order to enjoy constant power supply and to avoid being disconnected.

Odusote also said that the administration was currently working on expanding supply of power to the hospitals.

He noted that the present government had invested in infrastructure, saying that Discos need to give constant power supply in addition to the IPP they were running.

“The hospital is a critical infrastructure; therefore, we cannot give room for power cuts.

“We are also discussing with Discos to supply Premium power to Alausa Campus of LASUTH (Lagos State University Teaching Hospital).

“The government is in talks with Ikeja Discos to give hospitals premium power which would start soon.

“We are working closely with the Discos to ensure power supply in all the neighborhoods,” he said.

On street lighting in Lagos, the commissioner said that it was of importance to the administration because it has to do with safety and security of people.

According to him, one of the projects we are embarking on before the end of the year is the optimisation of street lighting so that Lagos can be much brighter.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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