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Osinbajo arrives New York on four-day visit

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has arrived in New York on a four-day visit to the United States.

Osinbajo and members of his entourage arrived the chartered wing of the John F. Kennedy International Aiport at 12.38 a.m. local time (5:38 a.m.) and was received by the Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., retired Justice Sylvanus Nsofor.

Other Nigerian officials of the country’s missions with Nsofor included Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Amb. Tijani Mohammad-Bande; and the Consul-General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Ben Okoyen.

The vice president is scheduled to meet with his U.S. counterpat, Mike Pence, in Washington on Wednesday, according to presidential spokesman, Mr Laolu Akande.

Akande said in a statement on Saturday that both leaders would be discuss matters of mutual interests between Nigeria and the U.S.

Ahead of his meeting with Pence, Osinbajo would be the guest speaker at a forum tagged “A Conversation With Vice President Yemi Osinbajo: Nigeria’s Economic Prospects”.

The event would be hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), an independent and nonpartisan think tank established to help Americans better understand the world.

The vice president is expected to speak on Nigeria’s economic recovery, investment and growth opportunities, and the recent general elections.

General news

Osinbajo inaugurates Clean Nigeria Steering Committee

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday performed the virtual inauguration of the Steering Committee of the “Clean Nigeria: Use the Toilet Campaign.”

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, in a statement, said the vice president is the chairman of the committee.

The virtual inauguration was anchored from the Presidential Villa.

The Federal Government is expanding access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities being one of Nigeria’s most effective weapons against infectious diseases as efforts are being ramped up to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

The event was attended by members of the committee drawn from the Federal Executive Council, states, local government areas, civil society ogranisations and the organised private sector.

“We are embarking upon this initiative at a most auspicious time; as our nation confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognise that expanding access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities is our most effective weapon against the scourge of infectious diseases.

“Ensuring the provision of adequate WASH facilities in our communities is the cornerstone of our efforts to strengthen the resilience of our public health structures beyond the present challenge of COVID-19.

“This is the basis of our commitment to ending open defecation and more broadly to raising the standards in the WASH sector,” he said.

Osinbajo spoke on the progress made since the adoption and implementation of the national road map for WASH in 2016.

He said that more local governments across the country had so far been certified as Open Defecation Free according to the National Open Defecation Free (ODF) Protocol.

“The key objectives of this effort include the implementation of a campaign to end open defecation in Nigeria by 2025.

“This will involve mobilising support and resources (i) at the highest political level and (ii) within the private sector, the communities and from development partners.”

The vice president said that the campaign on sanitation and hygiene in Nigeria would create a pool of resource persons to support local actors to implement this nationwide transformational sanitation agenda.

According to him, thecampaign will mobilise various strata of the society to imbibe a new culture of safe sanitation through behavioural change communication and advocacy strategies.

He said mechanisms for tracking progress and sharing knowledge and lessons learnt would be established.

On the terms of reference for the steering committee, Osinbajo said the group would meet bi-annually to, among other things, provide strategic oversight to the implementation of the Clean Nigeria Campaign.

“The committee will oversee and advise on the implementation and strategic orientation proposed by the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to execute the campaign.

“Facilitate maximum synergy between the Clean Nigeria Secretariat and other relevant government agencies including security and law enforcement agencies and stakeholders towards meeting the campaign objectives.

“Facilitate access of the Clean Nigeria Secretariat to technical and financial resources for effective implementation of the campaign.

“Receive and review progress reports of implementation of the campaign.

“Ensure that results of the campaign monitoring outcomes are well communicated to all stakeholders.’’

The vice president commended the leadership of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and other partners.

He lauded them for their engagements towards achieving the campaign objectives as approved by the Federal Executive Council and in line with the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for Water and Sanitisation.

Members of the committee include the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi, Chairman, Senate Committee on Water Resources, Sen. Bello Mandiya and Chairman, House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli.

Also in the committee are the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono.

Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Paulen Tallen, Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouk,  Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and Minister of Federal Capital Territory Administration, Mohammed Bello.

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Mr Garba Abari, SSA to the President on SDGs, Mrs Adejoke Adefulire, Representative of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON) and Representative of Organised Private Sector in WASH (OPSWASH), Dr Nicholas Igwe.

Others are Representatives of Network of NGOs in Water and Sanitation, Mr Benson Attah and Director, Water Quality Control and Sanitation, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mr Emmanuel Awe.

The Special Assistant to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Taoheed Amusan, is also a member of the committee.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Eid-el-Fitr: FEC congratulates Buhari, Osinbajo, Nigerians

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Members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) have congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and all Nigerians on the occasion of the Eid celebrations.

A circular signed by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), in Abuja, noted that the FEC members prayed the Almighty Allah accept the nation’s supplication in this holy month of Ramadan.

The members of the FEC also prayed that God should look upon Nigerians with His mercy, especially at a time like this when the entire world and Nigeria in particular was faced with COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is the prayer of members that the Almighty shall accept our supplication and look upon humanity with mercy, especially at a time like this when the nation and indeed the entire world is facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is also the prayers of members that the nation shall experience peace, unity and economic growth even as the impact of the pandemic continues to disrupt global economy,” he said.

Members of the FEC also urged Nigerians to hold steadfastly to God, and continue to pray fervently for the restoration of normalcy in the country.

Meanwhile, members of the FEC had appealed to Nigerians to recognise COVID-19 as a potential danger and observe all guidelines for safety issued by the government.

“Nigerians are particularly encouraged to observe personal hygiene, wear face mask/coverings and please avoid non-essential outings,” SGF advised.

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Felix Ajide (NAN)

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Economy

Osinbajo presides over first ever virtual NEC meeting

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday, presided over the first ever virtual meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The meeting anchored from the Yellow Room, Office of the Vice President, was the fourth for the year as the nation strives to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Minister of Finance featured at the meeting while the governors joined the virtual NEC from their states.

Constitutionally, the vice president is the chairman of NEC which meets monthly to deliberate on the coordination of economic planning and programmes of various levels of government.

NEC comprises the 36 state governors, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Minister of Finance, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation,  Secretary to the Government of the Federation and other relevant government officials whose duties hinged on the economy.

Edited By: Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

 

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Healthcare tops agenda as Osinbajo chairs virtual NCP meeting

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday, presided over a virtual meeting of the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Vice President is the Chairman of NCP.

NCP is a Federal Government’s think tank, tasked with determining the political, economic and social objectives of the privatisation and commercialisation of Nigeria’s public enterprises.

Mr Alex Okoh, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), who is also the Secretary of the Council, spoke with State House correspondents after the meeting, which was NCP’s second for the year.

“Certain memos with respect to critical sectors of the economy were considered from the power sector, also from the health sector.

“Council also took a major decision to adopt the report with the regards to the reform of the healthcare delivery system in the country.

“The report of the consultant was deliberated upon by council and council took a decision that we should continue with the stakeholder engagement in various sectors, with specific regards to the health sector reform.

“What is very clear is the COVID-19 pandemic situation globally has revealed certain lapses and challenges as far the healthcare delivery system in Nigeria is concerned.

“Council in its wisdom has actually started to consider a total review of the health sector about a year ago pre the advent of the COVID-19 crisis,’’ Okoh said.

According to him, the council took a decision that the stakeholder engagement should continue since the reform would impact positively on Nigerians.

The director-general said the reform promised a major universal coverage of healthcare delivery to the generality of Nigerians.

“What we are looking at essentially is a situation where the citizens of this country do not have to pay to receive quality healthcare because ailments and health issues are not what anybody will wish upon himself.

“So, we should not leave people to their own fate once they have a health challenge.

“It is far-reaching and radical reform and we hope that with the continued engagements with all the stakeholders, we should be able to deliver this as a legacy reform programme of this current administration.’’

Also, Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a tweet, said that the NCP approved the preparation and presentation, to the President and Federal Executive Council (FEC), a draft legislative instrument to enact the Health Sector Reform Bill and associated legislation.

“The critical point here is that the President Buhari administration’s proposed reforms will ensure that several millions of Nigerians who can’t afford to pay for it, would begin to receive efficient healthcare services once the new system takes off,’’ Akande twitted.

NCP membership also comprises federal ministers and the Central Bank Governor.

Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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COVID-19 fallout: Osinbajo highlights FG’s palliative for MSMEs

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government has setup palliatives to assist Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) survive the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The vice president said that the palliatives reflected the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s determination to support MSMEs and the priority the Federal Government placed on small businesses.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president performed the virtual launch of palliatives for MSMEs by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) on Friday in Abuja.

Osinbajo listed the Federal Government’s palliatives as, “E-Registration of MSMEs/products at 80 percent discounted rate over a period of six months.

“Zero tariff for the first 200 micro and small businesses to register on the E-platform.

“Waiver on administrative charges for overdue late renewal of expired licenses of micro/small businesses products for a period of 90 days.’’

According to the vice president, businesses across the world confront the disruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the Federal Government would continue to adopt and implement practical measures to ensure that the projected growth in the MSMEs sector was not seriously affected by the development.

“Of importance to the government’s response was to find ways of not just giving succour and assistance to existing MSMEs but also ensuring that there is practical and active fillip to new MSMEs.

”So that the growth of this sector is not discouraged by the current economic trauma.

“This is our moment and the government of Nigeria and its regulatory agencies are prepared to back MSMEs and other businesses that are prepared for the innovative and interesting times that lie ahead of us.”

Osinbajo also spoke on some of the steps taken by the Federal Government to protect private investments especially small businesses in the country.

He said that President Buhari had, from the onset of the health cum economic crisis, taken strategic decisions aimed at insulating businesses from imminent collapse.

“Just after the first index case of the disease was discovered in Nigeria and before the lockdowns began, the President put together strategic teams to immediately determine the impact of the disruptions likely to be caused to the economy.

”What our immediate and medium to long term approach should be. The vulnerability of MSMEs to the severe shocks that were to follow was priority at every consideration of the issues.

“ But perhaps even our best projections could hardly have predicted the massive economic disruptions, the unprecedented number of business failures, job losses of what began as a health challenge and the ensuing lockdowns would cause especially to MSMEs, who, of course as you know, are the backbone of our entire economy.

“As the president has repeatedly urged, we have no excuse not to be one of the most productive and prolific economies in the world; our hope is to achieve this aim in the incredible numbers of MSMEs that we have.”

According to the vice president, the launch of NAFDAC palliatives for MSMEs is a thoughtful and strategic response to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osinbajo said that the e-registration assistance for MSMEs through the Automated Product Administration and Monitoring System (NAPAMS) was timely.

“These are all indicators of the new spirit of NAFDAC and foretaste of the support MSMEs stand to enjoy in wading through these trying times.  But this is not a new undertaking for us.

“It is merely an extension or intensification of the Federal Government’s long-standing commitment to MSMEs.”

“We expect to see from them in terms of innovation, adaptability in the next few months and through the challenges that we will be seeing in business environment.”

“I am sure that NAFDAC, SMEDAN, BOI and all of our MDAs concerned with the MSMEs see this period as one when we must work with the MSMEs, identify with them, and must be quick on the job to ensure we are able to resolve all of the problems that they have,” he said.

Prof. Moji Adeyeye, the Director General of NAFDAC, alongside representatives of federal regulatory agencies in the MSMEs sector also participated in the virtual event.

Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Ifeyinwa Omowole (NAN)

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COVID-19 pandemic opportunity to reset Nigeria’s critical sectors—Osinbajo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says the  COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for the Nigerian people and government to reset the critical sectors of the economy and social services.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said the vice president featured, from his office, in a virtual launch of the Nigeria Solidarity Support Fund (NSSF).

NSSF is an initiative of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), the Global Citizen, and other partners.

The NSSF is designed to provide additional support for Nigeria’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fund will enable Nigerian Citizens resident at home or in the Diaspora as well as international donors to come together and directly contribute to Nigeria’s fight against the pandemic.

Osinbajo said that the pandemic had affected lives and livelihoods of Nigerians in different ways.

The vice president noted that the NSSF would support the creation of a stronger, more resilient, more inclusive political economy and healthcare system.

“This is a creative, forward-looking and thoughtful response to what is perhaps the most profound global and domestic challenge to health and the economy in human history.

“We need not belabour the point that the COVID-19 challenge is also an unprecedented opportunity for us as a nation and people to reset in critical sectors of the economy and social services.

“The deep plunge in oil earnings, the disruptions to business and commerce on account of lock-downs, has meant that we must develop a comprehensive economic response.

“There are several initiatives in place now to attempt an effective response to the COVID-19 disaster.”

He spoke on the efforts being made by the Federal Government to ensure that Nigeria is properly positioned to deal with the fallouts of the pandemic.

Osinbajo added  that the government was spearheading the drive to re-engineer and rethink the healthcare delivery systems in the country.

According to him, resetting the healthcare is a massive undertaking that will involve the states, local governments and the private healthcare community.

He said he was excited to hear that Global Citizen already had in mind a project to build healthcare centres across every local government in Nigeria.

“In the past few years, I am sure those of you familiar with the activities of government probably note there’s been quite a bit of effort around creating a Social Investment Programme.

“The precise purpose of that is not just to provide safety nets for several of the vulnerable and poor in our midst, but more importantly to provide jobs.

“To provide credit to several informal traders, smallholder farmers, several others in our economic value chain who are usually ignored or untouched by several other credit facilities and other economic initiatives of government.

“This fund will support that and I have noticed that this is one of the objectives – to support the Social Investment efforts of the government, especially the protection of the vulnerable and provision of assistance to many in that huge informal sector that we have,” he said.

The vice president commended the NSIA, Global Citizen and other partners involved in the creation of NSSF.

Other participants at the online event included Hajia Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning,  the Chairman of the Board of Directors of NSIA, Mr Jide Zeitlin and the Managing Director, NSIA, Mr Uche Orji.

Also featured were the Chairman of Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Babatunde Folawiyo and the Vice Chairman Global Citizen Nigeria, Mr Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)

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Aide dismisses claims on Osinbajo’s whereabouts

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Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, has urged Nigerians to ignore fake claims regarding the whereabouts of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Akande in a reaction on Saturday in Abuja, said he made an Instagram post in which he gave an insight on the vice president’s activities in the past few weeks.

Akande said that Osinbajo has been attending to official matters on how to improve Nigeria’s economy.

He said that the Vice President on Thursday met with the Governor of Central Bank(CBN), Kaduna State Governor, and some ministers via video conferencing.

Akande Instagram posts reads: “with my boss, the Vice President last night in his office, reviewing some of the events of the week.

“By the way, continue to ignore professional fake news conduits who share fictions about the whereabouts of the president and his Vice.

“The critical mass of our people sees both the President and the Vice President regularly on television, hear about them regularly on radio, read from them in the press and observe their activities regularly on the social media.

“For instance, on Thursday the Vice President held a videoconferencing meeting that included the Governor of Kaduna, Power and Finance Ministers, the CBN governor and other government officials on how to expand electricity in the country.

“The work goes on, and Nigeria will surely prevail. We will do it together.”

Lately, some reports have raised concerns about the whereabouts of Osinbajo since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, had recently  explained that Osinbajo had been busy working with the Economic Sustainability Committee(ESC).

The ESC was constituted by President Buhari on March 30 to  develop a clear economic sustainability plan until 2023.

The committee was tasked with identifying fiscal and monetary measures to enhance oil and non-oil revenues in order to fund the plan; develop a stimulus package and come up with measures to create more jobs while keeping existing ones.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

 

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Osinbajo’s aide preaches peace in C/River

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Mr Philip Obin, the Technical Assistant to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on New Media, has urged warring communities in Erei, Biase Local Government Area of Cross River, to sheathe their sword and embrace peace.

Obin said this in a statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Calabar on Wednesday.

He appealed to people in the area to bury their differences and chart a new course that would ensure peaceful co-existence among them.

According to him, unity is what the world needs now to confront the Coronavirus that has become a common enemy to humanity.

Obin said that efforts were being made to return the soldiers who had earlier left Erei with a view to foster peace and maintain law and order in the area.

“I want to appeal to the good people of Erei to remain calm and stop carrying rumours of attacks and war.

“Let us also challenge ourselves to forgive one another, practice good neighbourliness and live peacefully again, as we did for over 200 years without presence of soldiers.

“It would be a thing of shame for the world to hear that we are fighting ourselves again at a time when the entire world is united against a common enemy, the dreaded COVID-19.

“Which is one of the greatest pandemic in the history of mankind.

“It should be a time for sober reflection, even as I challenge every Erei leader to rise to the occasion once again, and put their respective communities in order.

“Let us take our destinies in our own hands and be willing and ready to hand over anyone who ferments any kind of trouble in Erei, moving forward, without fear or favour,” the statement urged.

Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Economy

Osinbajo’s committee, PEAC discuss economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic

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The Economic Sustainability Committee (ESC) headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on has met with members of Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC) to discuss the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, said PEAC was invited with the aim of getting its inputs into the ESC’s forthcoming report to the President.

The meeting was anchored via videoconferencing from the Presidential Villa.

The ESC, constituted by President Muhammadu  Buhari  on March 30, was tasked to develop a clear economic sustainability plan  until 2023.

“The goals of the Economic Sustainability Plan include stimulating significant local production, save jobs and creating new ones.

“It also involves protecting the most vulnerable and the working poor; turning the current challenges into great opportunities for Nigerians and Nigeria in line with the President’s vision.

“Besides members of the ESC and PEAC, several ministers were also part of the videoconference.

ESC’s engagement with the PEAC creates synergy and effective coordination as Nigeria confronts what is clearly a serious economic situation,’’ he said.

Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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