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Next level: Nasarawa Assembly tasks LG legislature, executive on cordial relationship

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The Nasarawa State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs has advised the legislative and executive arms of local government councils to maintain robust working relationship to take their councils and the state to the next level of development.


Alhaji Mohammed Alkali, the Chairman of the committee, gave the advice on Tuesday when the committee paid an oversight visit to Karu Local Government Council of the state.


Alkali also urged the stakeholders and other citizens to support their chairmen in order to take their councils and the state to higher level of development.


The chairman added that every leader needs the support and prayers of his people to succeed, hence the need for his call.


“We are here to see things by ourselves as the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended has empowered us to do so.


“We are out to reposition the local government system and we will continue to do everything humanly possible to make the local government system work effectively.


“We are delighted that from four months now, the staff members of local government councils are enjoying 100 per cent of their salaries.


“This was a result of the staff screening exercise in which the House has directed all local government chairmen to conduct workers screening.


“This is to tackle the menace of ghost workers and illegal promotion, among other negative acts, affecting the local government system in the state,” he said.


He restated the assembly’s continued commitment to enact laws and pass resolutions that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people at the grassroots and the state at large.


Responding, Mr Samuel Akala, the Chairman of Karu Local Government Council, commended the committee for the visit while assuring them of his continued commitment to develop the area.


Akala told the committee that the problem of cultism and other security challenges have dropped drastically in the area.


He said that the council has embarked on providing infrastructure such as road construction and solar powered street lights in order to improve on the quality of lives of people in the area.


He however told the committee to address some of the challenges facing the council like the activities of land grabbers and poor infrastructure. (NAN)


AKW/MST


Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Foreign

Zambian higher learning institutions to reopen next week

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Authorities in Zambia on Friday announced the phased reopening of higher learning institutions starting next week after over two months of closure due to COVID-19.

Minister of Higher Education Brian Mushimba said the universities and colleges will reopen on June 8, starting with graduating students who are writing final examinations this year.

He said the rest of the students must continue with the e-learning platforms as the government continues to assess the COVID-19 situation.

He told reporters during a press briefing that the decision applies to both public and private universities and colleges but added that reopening will depend on how prepared respective institutions were.

The institutions will be required to observe COVID-19 preventive measures once they reopen.

Among the measures include that students staying at campuses will be required to bring their own face masks, hand sanitizers and soap.

The government has also abolished overcrowding and has only allowed two students per room in the hostels.

The government has also restricted visitors to the campuses while social clubs and amenities will not be allowed.

“The approach to reopening will be reviewed to ensure students are not put in harm’s way,” he said.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Thai gov’t hints at allowing reopening of high-risk businesses for next phase of lockdown relaxation

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Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Thursday revealed that the government is considering which high-risk businesses will be allowed to reopen in the easing of Phase Four lockdown restrictions.

“Until a vaccine is available, the COVID-19 pandemic will be with us for months or even years,” said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin.

“Therefore the government has to be extremely cautious in considering which “red” (high contagion risk) businesses could reopen,” said the spokesman.

The CCSA had already sent out questionnaires to operators of “red” businesses to report their COVID-19 preventive measures and plans, so the government can then assess whether that particular operator is allowed to open and at what conditions.

Taweesin hinted that high-risk businesses that may reopen in Phase Four include educational institutes, meeting rooms holding more than 200 attendees, national parks, beaches, amusement parks, gyms, sports stadiums, convention calls, entertainment venues such as pubs, bars and karaoke outlets, large massage parlours.

The CCSA spokesman said the venues he mentioned are not confirmed yet as they need to be approved by the Cabinet meeting.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Spotlight: United States Fed likely to offer more guidance on rates next week amid COVID-19 fallout

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The United States Federal Reserve is likely to provide more guidance at its policy meeting next week to signal intentions to keep interest rates near zero for a few years so as to help the economy get through the COVID-19 pandemic, according to several economists.

“One deliverable that we should be able to count on at the June meeting is the return of the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP),” Jay H. Bryson, acting chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities, wrote Monday in a report.

“We suspect that may open the door to implicit forward guidance, a tool heralded by policymakers before the current crisis as a primary mechanism for influencing policy,” he said.

The Fed usually releases the quarterly SEP four times each year, which lays out Fed officials’ expectations about growth, inflation, unemployment and short-term interest rates. But the central bank didn’t release the SEP in March as the evolving COVID-19 pandemic made it impossible for Fed officials to offer reliable economic forecasts.

The upcoming Fed meeting next Tuesday and Wednesday likely will include the first update to the SEP since December last year, according to Bryson.

“Rather than provide explicit forward guidance, committee members could implicitly signal that the fed funds rate is unlikely to increase through at least 2022 through changes in the dot plot,” Bryson said, referring to Fed officials’ individual forecasts of the federal funds rate.

“While the market reaction from such a move would likely be relatively small given that this appears to be the market’s base case scenario, it would at least reinforce the idea,” he said.

Roberto Perli, a former Fed staffer and now head of global policy research at Cornerstone Macro, also expected the SEP to show that Fed officials would not want to raise rates before 2022.

In Bryson‘s view, any changes to the Fed’s projections for federal funds rate over the longer run will be more important. “If the median projection for the longer-run fed funds rate falls precipitously, this could be a more material form of forward guidance,” he said.

Ryan Sweet, an economist with Moody’s Analytics, believed that the central bank is leaning toward an outcome-based forward guidance, similar but not identical to that used in the last recession.

“This time around, we anticipate that the Fed will use forward guidance that commits to delay the liftoff from the effective lower bound until full employment and 2% (inflation target) have been achieved,” Sweet wrote Monday in a note.

If the Fed adopted this approach to forward guidance, it would be dovish, requiring meeting both an employment threshold and an inflation threshold, rather than just one or the other,” he said.

The Fed cut interest rates to near zero at two unscheduled meetings in March and began purchasing massive quantities of U.S. treasuries and agency mortgage-backed securities to repair financial markets. It also unveiled new lending programs to provide up to 2.3 trillion U.S. dollars to support the economy in response to the pandemic.

The United States Commerce Department reported last week that economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5 percent in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate.

That downwardly revised figure, however, still does not fully capture COVID-19‘s economic damage, and many analysts believe that the decline in the second quarter is expected to be much deeper.

The fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the size of the United States economy by 7.9 trillion dollars over the next decade, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday.

(XINHUA)

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General news

 Gambari’s wealth of experience will  move Nigeria to next level-Political scientists

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Nigeria Political Science Association (NPSA), an umbrella body for all Political Science lecturers in the country, has applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, a career diplomat, as his new Chief of Staff (CoS).

 

NPSA in a statement signed by its National President, Prof. Aloysius Okolie of University of Nigeria, Nsukka and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria , commended Buhari for the appointment.

 

Okolie said the association received the  news of the appointment of  Gambari, a distinguished scholar, career diplomat and eminent member of NPSA with great joy and expectations because of his wealth of experience.

 

Buhari’s new CoS is a member of NPSA, an illustrious son of Africa,   a global citizen, an international scholar as well as a career diplomat who have served humanity creditably in all positions held.

 

The CoS with his wealth of experience locally and internationally will help to move the country to the next level, “he said.

 

He noted that Gambari as a lecturer broadened the field of Political Science at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria by  establishing International Relations programme.

 

“Based on his pioneering efforts, International Relations today has become a very attractive discipline to prospective candidates seeking admission  in  the country.

 

“His  numerous academic contributions, including his vast enriching publications,  as head of department and community services earned him promotion to the rank of professor by management of ABU,” he said.

 

Okolie said it was in view of Gambari’s numerous contributions to NPSA in particular and humanity in general that the association resolved  in January to confer on him the award of Fellow of the Academy of Politics.

 

NPSA in January, 2020 even before  his appointment as CoS resolved to confer on Gambari,  Fellow of the Academy of Politics during the annual conference of the association scheduled for August.

 

“This is in recognition and  appreciation of his numerous positive contributions to our great discipline in particular and humanity in general, “he said.

 

The don urged Nigerians to give Gambari maximum support and cooperation as political scientists were hopeful that, this intellectual icon and career diplomat  would be a viable  asset in engineering and  deepening  good governance framework in Nigeria.

 

NPSA is happy with Gambari’s achievements so far, because he has done the association proud in all positions held locally and internationally, “Okolie said.

 

NAN recalls that President Muhammadu Buhari on May 13, appointed Gambari as  his  new Chief of Staff  after the death  of the former CoS  Mallam Abba Kyari.


Edited By: Emmanuel Nwoye/Obike Ukoh (NAN)

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Economy

FG makes next level moves on Ibom Deep Water Port procurement- ICRC DG

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The Federal Government is set to move to the next level of the procurement process of the Ibom Deep Water Port (IDWP) through the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Mr Chidi Izuwah, the Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), made this known while presenting the Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificate to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.

Izuwah said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that the IDWP project involves the development of a Greenfield Deepsea Port and accompanying Free Trade Zone (FTZ) in Akwa Ibom.

“The proposed Port and FTZ are part of the planned Ibom Industrial City initiative that will be established on a 14,400-hectare site donated by the Akwa Ibom State Government (AKSG) free of charge.

The IDWP project is planned to become a major national and regional economic gateway that will provide additional container handling capacity for the country.

“In addition to containers, the IDWP is expected to handle petroleum products, crude oil, natural gas, vehicles and bulk trade in natural resources,” he said.

Responding, Amaechi thanked ICRC for providing timely guidance throughout the development and procurement process of the project.

He added that the project was in line with the President Muhammadu Buhari’s desire to expand and further develop the nation’s transport sector in the overall interest of the economy.

The Bollore/Power China emerged the preferred bidder for IDWP following the transparent bidding process held earlier.

It added that conclusion of negotiations and due diligence were ongoing with the preferred bidder.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that ICRC was established to regulate PPP activities in Nigeria to address physical infrastructure deficit which hampers economic development.


Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Sport

Bierhoff suggests playing next UEFA Nations League as mini-tournament

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German football federation (DFB) director Oliver Bierhoff has suggested playing the next edition of the UEFA Nations League as a one-off event at a single venue.

The former Germany international said this would be better than a series of round-robin group matches.

“That would be an alternative. A sort of mini-tournament could be an idea,” he said on Tuesday.

The Nations League is due to start again in September but with fans not expected to be allowed into games due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The national associations could be more willing to play at a neutral venue,” said Bierhoff.

“You will prevent unnecessary journeys and can … better control the players.”

Germany, says Bierhoff, would be available as host if the suggestion is taken up.

“We have the know-how and a top organisation in the DFB. We have proved that repeatedly,” he said. “If such a model helped (European football governing body) UEFA, I will say: `Yes, we are ready’.”

Munich will host games in the pan-continental Euro 2020, delayed to next year because of the coronavirus, and Germany is sole host of Euro 2024.

Germany avoided relegation from the last Nations League due to restructuring and will meet Spain, Ukraine and Switzerland in their top tier group next time.

UEFA did not want to comment specifically on the proposal, but said its next executive committee meeting on June 17 would discuss the format of the tournament.

Currently teams play home and away in four-team groups with two rounds scheduled for each of September, October and November.

The winners of groups in the top A League should then have contested the finals in summer 2021 —- a space now reserved for the European Championships.

National teams have not been able to play this year because of the pandemic which halted all action shortly before a series of March friendlies and Euro 2020 play-offs.

These are ties that must also still be played.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

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Foreign

COVID-19 fallout to cost United States economy 7.9 tln USD over next decade: CBO

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Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will shrink the size of the United States economy by 7.9 trillion U.S. dollars over the next decade, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday.

In response to a request from Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, CBO Director Phillip Swagel said in a report that cumulative real output in the United States from 2020 to 2030 will be 7.9 trillion dollars less than what the agency projected in January due to the pandemic. That represents a 3 percent decline in cumulative real gross domestic product (GDP) over the next decade.

“Business closures and social distancing measures are expected to curtail consumer spending, while the recent drop in energy prices is projected to severely reduce U.S. investment in the energy sector,” the report said, adding recent congressional legislation will partially mitigate the deterioration in economic conditions.

Photo taken on May 27, 2020 shows Tuesday Morning Headquarters in Dallas of Texas, the United States. U.S. off-price retailer Tuesday Morning has filed for bankruptcy protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua)

Photo taken on May 27, 2020 shows Tuesday Morning Headquarters in Dallas of Texas, the United States. U.S. off-price retailer Tuesday Morning has filed for bankruptcy protection amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the company said Wednesday. (Photo by Dan Tian/Xinhua)

The report also noted that “an unusually high degree of uncertainty” surrounds these economic projections, particularly because of uncertainty about how the pandemic will unfold this year and the year to come.

“Additionally, if future federal policies differ from those underlying CBO‘s economic projections — for example, if lawmakers enact additional pandemic-related legislation-then economic outcomes will necessarily differ from those presented here,” the report said.

The United States Commerce Department reported on Thursday that economic activity in the first quarter contracted at an annual rate of 5 percent in a second estimate, 0.2 percentage point lower than the advance estimate.

Photo taken on May 15, 2020 shows the United States Department of Commerce in Washington D.C., the United States. U.S. retail sales plunged by a record 16.4 percent in April amid mounting economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Commerce Department released Friday. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Photo taken on May 15, 2020 shows the United States Department of Commerce in Washington D.C., the United States. U.S. retail sales plunged by a record 16.4 percent in April amid mounting economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Commerce Department released Friday. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

That downwardly revised figure, however, still does not fully capture COVID-19‘s economic damage, and many analysts believe that the decline in the second quarter is expected to be much deeper.

While White House officials have expressed optimism that the economy will rebound in the second half of the year, economists and public health experts have warned that a hasty reopening of the economy could trigger a second wave of infections, which could reverse the economic recovery.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Latvia to fuel economic recovery with 2 bln euros over next 2 years

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Latvia’s government coalition decided on Monday to inject 2 billion euros (2.22 billion United States dollars) in the national economy over the next couple of years to fuel its recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins announced at a news conference following the coalition meeting.

The prime minister said the coalition agreed at Monday’s meeting on a strategic investment intended to promote an economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

“While last week we decided on how to invest, now there is an agreement on particular categories,” Karins said.

The prime minister explained that the money to be invested in the economy over the two-year period will be divided into three equal portions and spent on benefits, infrastructure and modernization.

Around 660 million euros will be made available for projects in each category. Of that amount, 32 million euros will be allocated to culture-related projects and 42 million euros to scientific research. Support is also being planned for the tourism industry, which has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis, as well as other activities.

The prime minister said that the solution agreed on by the government coalition would benefit both the state and the economy. (1 euro = 1.11 United States dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Thailand to receive Chinese-built, unmanned train next month

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A Chinese-built, unmanned monorail train is scheduled for delivery to Thailand’s Bangkok next month, confirmed an executive official on Sunday.

The first Bombardier Innovia APM-300 train, manufactured in China, will arrive to the Thai capital next month, followed by two others in the next few months, said Manit Techa-apichok of Krungthep Thanakom Co., a business management firm of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The unmanned trains will shuttle commuters between a BTS station and three others on the Thonburi side of the city from October, Manit said.

A fleet of three monorail trains will run between Krung Thon station on the BTS Silom Line and those in Charoen Nakhon and Khlong San areas, including one outside Iconsiam trade center, he said.

Each of the trains has two carriages and can accommodate 140 passengers.

(XINHUA)

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