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Foreign

Nigeria, not a fragile state — World Bank

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The World Bank Group on addressing Fragility, Conflict and Violence (FCV) has said that Nigeria is not a fragile state even with the current security challenges.

Mr Amara Konneh, FCV Adviser made this know on Monday during a meeting by the group to address fragility, conflict and violence affecting some countries.

He said the World Bank Group is focused on addressing FCV and as an institution has a way of classifying a country fragile, after critical assessment.

“Nigeria is not a fragile country but there is need to address some issues to prevent it from being a fragile state,” he said.

Konneh noted that the objective of FCV was to address the drivers of FCV in affected countries and their impact on vulnerable populations with the end goal of contributing to peace and prosperity.

He said this could be achieved by helping countries escape fragility trap, protect essential institution and deliver critical services such as health and education.

He, however, said that the group would not only address the root cause of FCV, but would partner private sectors to create job stability to increase growth.

Mr Alkasim Abdulkadir, Spokesman, Presidential Committee on Victims Support Fund, said the Nigeria government should do more in terms of conflict prevention and resolution.

He said most of the violence in the country was driven by poverty and high level of  unemployment.

OPODCU

Edited by Donald Ugwu

Economy

AfDB approves $288.5m for Nigeria COVID-19 Response Support Programme

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved 288.5 million dollars loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department made this known in a statement on Saturday.

It explained that the loan would bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses, as well as strengthen the social protection system.

The bank said Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer, was facing twin crises of a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge.

The bank added that the loan was the Bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

The statement quoted Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the Bank for Nigeria as saying that about 40.1 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line of 1.90 dollars per day, and it was feared that the fall in household income during the pandemic would result in wealth deterioration for both the formal and informal sector workers.

“The proposed programme will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3 per cent in 2021.

“But with the advent of the pandemic and the slump in crude prices, the economy is expected to shrink by between 4.4 per cent under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2 per cent should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

“Beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the Bank and other development partners will dialogue with the government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector”.

The Bank said it had instituted strong fiduciary measures to monitor the use of COVID-19 funds, and will maintain dialogue, particularly with the Office of the Auditor General in Nigeria, to ensure transparency and accountability.

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Tourism

COVID-19: Nigeria Private jet operators lose over $5bn – official

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Private Jets Nigeria (aviation service provider), has disclosed that the association had suffered five billion dollars financial lose due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Omotade Lepe, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the association, disclosed this during the Luxury Reporter Facebook live series with the theme: ” The Private Jets Sector Post- COVID-19″.

Lepe said that the period had been most challenging for operators as it suffered revenue lose, decline in flight request and fixed overhead running.

COVID-19 has dealt seriously with the aviation sector generally but for the private jet operators, we can say we have lost over five billion dollars while the pandemic ravaged the world,” he said.

The official said that the association had put in place some measures to revamp the business at post COVID-19 to recover some of the revenue lost.

He said that luxury businesses generally needed to re-invent itself because the market was becoming more competitive.

According to him, the association plans to go all out to attract business executives, corporate companies and more to recover some of the financial losses during COVID-19.

” The rich people never find private jet as a way of life, we are going to reach out to them post COVID-19, likewise lowering our bar to meet with the upper-middle class, business executives and corporate companies.

” The private jet business does not ordinarily warrant marketing but in view of the business outlook now, we will be reaching out to improve patronage.

” We are going to stop our previous attitude of “our customers know us”, we are now going by the slogan: “We are going to the customers.”

” We will be taking the private jet business to the people rather than wait for people to come,” Lepe said.

Lepe further said that in line with the requirements of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) in combating the pandemic, the private jet operators would be ensuring strict adherence to the guidelines, in addition to some other safety rules.

He said that the association would be working on restoring passengers confidence by creating awareness and training most of the crew members on COVID-19 safety rules and preventive measures.

I assure Nigerians that post COVID-19, when flight resumes, we will take the safety measures seriously.

”Anyone whose temperature exceeds 40oc will be decline flight, passengers will be made to come with non-medical face masks.

” Though, we will also make provision for whoever forgets to come with face mask, the aircraft toilets will be disinfected constantly, the cabin crew will be made to wear protective clothes and gloves.

” The private jets give room for automatic social distancing as against the commercial flights.

” All these and more will be done to restore passengers’ confidence at post COVID-19,” he said

Earlier, Funke Osae-Brown, Editor-in-chief of The Luxury Reporter Magazine and convener of the series, said the essence of the meeting was to interact on the way forward for luxury industry at post-COVID-19.

Osae-Brown said it was also meant to harness some of the losses of the industry during the pandemic as the series would hold on a weekly basis henceforth.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Foreign

NiDCOM a major economic asset to Nigeria, says House Committee chair

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Hon. Tolulope Akande-Shadipe, Chairman, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs has described the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM) as an economic  asset to the country.

She disclosed this at the first meeting held between the committee and NiDCOM Management at the State House in Abuja on Friday.

“Diaspora commission is extremely important to Nigeria; we have millions of Nigerians spread across the world.

“We need to begin to harness that asset because it’s a major asset to our nation and if not harnessed,  it will be lost forever.

“So it’s imperative that the nation as a whole,  respects the impact that diasporas can have on the progress of the nation economically, exchange of know-how and progress in all aspects and spheres of  the country’s existence,’’ she said.

Akande-Shadipe added that the committee and members of  the parliament planned to collaborate wherever applicable, with NIDCOM to ensure that it (the commission) achieved its mandate.

She described the mandate as a priority, saying that if the commission was able to achieve that mandate, it would mean a lot to Nigeria.

“The remittances that are being reported do not justify the amount of remittances actually coming into the country.

“If we collaborate better with our fellow Nigerians in the diaspora, there’s no doubt that we’ll  be able to document such remittances better.

We have Nigerians in the diaspora who want to have opportunity to own homes and assets in their homeland, and with a commission like NiDCOM which is a platform for better collaboration that will be useful to them.

“Because a lot of people abroad want to build houses at home, they send money to relatives and these houses never materialised, and a lot of other lost ventures in that line, but with the commission,  we can begin to partner for housing projects.

“Hopefully, before the end of this year, all accommodation issue for the commission will be resolved, because I can imagine working in an environment without enough office space.

“Not enough desks and you have people hanging around not being able to be productive,  it must be very disheartening for the commission, we pray and we will work  toward ensuring that is it resolved,’’ she said.

Responding, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, hairman of NiDCOM, said that achieving set goals could be challenging.

She said that the commission would  work with parliament to harness the great potentialities of the diaspora.

Dabiri-Erewa solicited the support of the committee to enable the commission grow by working on the 2021 budget.

According to her, once that is done, the commission will be able to achieve its set mandate.

“We appreciate the diligence of the chairman and members of the committee for the 2020 budget.

“Although we got eight million for re-current expenditure, we are not discouraged because it’s a new commission.

“In fact we are determined to be a revenue generating agency, and we are determined that at the end of the day, we will be able to show that there are a lot of things we  can do because we are talking about human capital development.

We have the Diaspora Policy that is with the Federal Executive Council (FEC),  but COVID-19 delayed a lot of processes.

“So we are hoping that it will rectify the policy.

“We have been on it for three years and we are working with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and when that policy is rectified, we will have a holistic policy that will guide all Diaspora engagements.

“Also we have a programme with the  Federal Mortgage Bank where Nigerians in the Diaspora can be abroad and still be able to buy homes wherever they are in the world.

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory  is allocating a space for the Diaspora Medical City, so that those in the diaspora  can have a place where they can access a medical centre of excellence,’’ she said.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

 

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Judiciary

FG to enhance legal framework for Nigeria’s digital identity – Malami

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The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, says the Federal Government is committed to reviewing the legal and regulatory framework to accelerate the implementation of Nigeria’s digital identity for development.

Dr Umar Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media to the Minister disclosed this in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

According to him, Malami said this after attending the inaugural meeting of the Project Ecosystem Steering Committee (PESC) of the Nigeria Digital Identity Development Project System chaired by Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

Malami said the Committee has the responsibility of reviewing the legal and regulatory framework for digital identity development and implementation of the Strategic Roadmap.

“It will also utilise foundational identity to access services, determining the location of the Ecosystem Strategic Unit as well as receive reports on the implementation through the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission, and provide necessary guidance and approval thereof’’.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that members of the Committee include the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha as the chairman and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

Others are Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Hajiya Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna; Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu; Minister of Interior, Ra’uf Aregbesola; Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire and Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isah Ali Ibrahim Pantami.

Other Members of the Committee are the Director General, National Orientation Agency, and the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission, who serves as the Secretary to the Committee.

Malami said the Committee was established to provide policy, institutional and operational guidance in the process of implementing the Federal Executive Council-approved Strategic Roadmap for accelerating digital identity development for Nigeria.

Mr Boss Mustapha in his address charged Members of the committee on the need to considerably reduce the number of challenges faced in identifying and locating poor and vulnerable Nigerians in the distribution of palliatives to cushion the effect of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This Committee is to ensure that the Federal Government leverages the existing ecosystem of Government Agencies, States and trusted private sector partners to carry out nationwide enrolment through a viable partnership strategy with an effective public awareness campaign,” he said.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

 

 

 

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Economy

Profit taking: Nigeria stock market down N155bn

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Profit taking was persistent on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday with investors net worth dropping further by N155 billion.

Specifically, the market capitalisation dipped N155 billion or 1.17 per cent to close at N13.049 trillion compared with N13.204 trillion achieved on Thursday.

Also, the All-Share Index which opened at 25,312.05 shed 295.75 points or 1.17 per cent to close at 25,016.30.

An analysis of the price movement table shows that Dangote Cement topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N2.90 to close at N139 per share.

BUA Cement trailed with a loss of N2.30 to close at N40, while Nigerian Breweries lost N2 to close at N42 per share.

Cadbury was down by 80k to close at N7.65, while Guinness dipped by 70k to close at N18.30 per share.

On the other hand, Boc Gases dominated the gainers’ table, gaining 40k to close at N4.40 per share.

Skyway Aviation Handling followed with 24k to close at N2.73, while NASCON gained 20k to close at N11.50 per share.

Custodian Investment garnered 20k to close at N6.05, while Neimeth Pharmaceuticals increased by 16k to close at N1.77 per share.

The volume of shares traded dipped by 20.62 per cent as investors bought and sold 214.49 million shares valued at N2.51 billion in 4,342 deals.

This was in contrast with 270.19 million shares worth N5.29 billion transacted in 4,550 deals on Thursday.

The banking stocks drove the activity chart with Zenith Bank emerging the most active, exchanging 22.27 million shares worth N373.34 million.

Fidelity Bank followed with an account of 18.54 million shares valued at N33.48 million, while Guaranty Trust Bank sold 17.16 million shares worth N412.26 million.

Nigerian Breweries traded 15.59 million shares valued at N666.58 million, while FBN Holdings accounted for 15.55 million shares worth N83.75 million.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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General news

Nigeria will miss late Olumilua’s wealth of experience – Ekiti Rep

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Rep. Femi Bamisile, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), says Nigeria will miss the wealth of experience of the former governor of old Ondo State, late Bamidele Olumilua.

Bamisile, in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti on Friday, described the death of the elder statesman as a ‘colossal loss’ to the society.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Olumilua died in his country home at Ikere-Ekiti on Thursday at the age of 80.

According to Bamisile, the former governor was a forthright, disciplined, God-fearing and patriotic Nigerian hero, who had contributed his quota to the development of Ekiti and Nigeria as a whole.

The lawmaker also described Olumilua as one of the stabilising factors of the APC Elders’ Forum in Ekiti with an unbiased judgmental tendency.

Some of the achievements of Olumilua’s regime as a governor of old Ondo State between January 1992 and November 1993 were testimonies to his selfless service to the society,” he said.

Commiserating with the family of the deceased, Ekiti people, Gov. Kayode Fayemi, and Nigeria as a whole, Bamisile prayed God to grant the late politician eternal rest.

He, however, charged the immediate family to take solace in God and advised them to protect the legacy, especially the good name left behind by the octogenarian.


Edited By: Moses Solanke/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)

 

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Health

Switzerland pledges support in protection of vulnerables, girls in Nigeria

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The Ambassador of Switzerland to Nigeria, Mr George Steiner, has pledged to support the  Federal Ministry of Women Affairs to strengthen its role in the protection of women, girls and the most vulnerable, especially in the North-East.

Steiner made this known on Friday when he paid a courtesy visit to Mrs Pauline Tallen, the Minister of Women Affairs, in Abuja.

According to him, women across the globe play vital roles in the development of any society, hence the need to strengthen their position and appoint them in key positions in governance.

“When they have the necessary means and space to develop for the benefit of themselves and the benefit of the society, then everyone profits much more in the interest of all of us that is if women indeed acquire more and more positions they deserve in society based on gender equality.”

The ambassador further stressed the need for more sensitisation of women and girls at the grassroot level, which he said would empower them with more knowledge on their rights and roles in society.

Responding, the minister expressed appreciation to the Switzerland government for their supports to the country.

Tallen, however, called for more support in the area of advocacy on the rights of the girlchild education at the grassroots to boost women empowerment and enable them participate actively in national development.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Economy

AfDB approves new 5-year strategy for Nigeria amidst COVID-19 concerns

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AfDB approves new five-year strategy for Nigeria amidst COVID-19 concerns

Approval

Abuja, 5 June 2020 The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved Nigeria’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) 2020-2024, which builds on the successes and challenges of the 2013-2019 edition.

The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department in a statement on Friday said the strategy was approved on May 27.

It stated that the approval also incorporated emerging developmental realities and opportunities shaping Nigeria’s political and economic landscape, including the post-COVID-19 period.

The statement quoted Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for AfDB in Nigeria, as re-affirming the institution’s support for Nigeria’s socio-economic advancement.

In the implementation of the CSP, the Bank will also support Nigeria to address economic shocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks.

“We will do this by focusing our interventions in sectors that will strengthen public health infrastructure and accelerate efforts towards economic transformation and diversification of export earnings and fiscal revenues from oil,” Faal said.

The bank noted that the 2020-2024 CSP identified supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development as key priority areas for Nigeria.

According to AfDB, these priorities have been selected to leverage Nigeria’s rich endowment of natural and human resources toward transforming the lives of its people.

It added that in this context the new CSP had been customised to support government efforts in confronting challenges and to foster long-term, socially inclusive development.

Under the CSP, the Bank will deploy a combination of sovereign and non-sovereign financing instruments to support the two priority areas, including investment and institutional support projects, evidence based analytical work in numerous economic sectors, policy dialogue and provision of advisory services.

“Special focus will be put on supporting the Nigerian private sector, in terms of financing and advisory services, and on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiatives that enable innovative, long-term investment in energy, transport and water and sanitation.

The Strategy Paper is the result of participatory consultations with a range of key stakeholders, both state and non-state actors as well as bilateral and multilateral development partners.

The CSP is fully aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, the High 5 priorities and Nigeria’s own Economic Reform and Growth Plan (ERGP), as well as the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As of December 2019, the Bank Group’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprised 61 operations, with a total commitment of about five billion dollars.

“Of the total active operations, 29 were in the public sector, with a commitment of two billion dollars (43 per cent) and 32 non-sovereign operations with a total commitment of three billion dollars, equivalent to 57 per cent of the total portfolio,” the bank explained.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Foreign

Gunmen kill 21 in NW Nigeria attacks: police

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Twenty-one residents were shot dead by gunmen who stormed six remote villages in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Zamfara earlier this week, the police said on Friday.

The gunmen, believed to be bandits, also attempted to steal cattle from the villagers in Talata Mafara and Maru local government areas of the state on Tuesday and Wednesday, Mohammed Shehu, a spokesman for the police, told Xinhua.

The gunmen first shot dead 15 people on Tuesday, when they attacked the villages in those parts of the state. They returned on Wednesday, riding on hundreds of motorcycles, and killed six more people during the burial of the previous victims, Shehu said.

Local sources said the gunmen were resisted by some youths while mourning their loved ones.

The police said they have launched an investigation into the deadly attacks.

Banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities have recently become rampant in the northwest region. The military high command said they are in control of the situation with ongoing multiple operations against the gunmen.

A week ago, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the military to intensify their operations in that part of the country, particularly to root out the gunmen.

(XINHUA)

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