A political economist, Dr Obiora Okonkwo, has advised state governments to adopt all skills based education to step up development of the country.
Okonkwo made the call in a lecture at the International Youth Day celebration at Basilica of the Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Onitsha, Anambra, on Sunday.
Okonkwo, the Chairman, The Dome Entertainment Centre, Abuja, said the Anambra Government for instance could adopt skills based education whereby students at all levels could acquire skills in school.
“If Anambra Government adopts this policy, the state will turn to a spring board for development in the country as companies within and beyond will reckon with the state as where every skill could be found,” he said.
Okonkwo ,who spoke on the topic: “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Their Impact on Youths”, said government should give more attention to the youth.
He said that any country that failed to give adequate attention to youths was bound to face numerous challenges.
Okonkwo, however, advised youths to be creative and imbibe positive lifestyles rather than get involved in anti-social behaviours.
“Don’t get involved in secret cult, Yahoo, Yahoo, sports game betting, prostitution and drug addiction because such would damage your future.
“Emulate people like Mark Zuckerberg owner of Facebook and others who through hard work have made it in life,” he said.
Okonkwo said that the 17 SDGs were achievable and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent pronouncement that his administration would take 100 million youths out of the streets.
He said that Mr President’s pronouncement was achievable if the youth would adopt positive lifestyles and key into government policies and programmes.
Okonkwo urged state governments, especially Anambra, to invest in areas of comparative advantage rather than be “Jack of all trade and master of none”.
“In Ananmbra for instance, government should invest in technologies that would make her add value to agricultural products rather than compete with states that have vast lands in production of food products,” he said.
Mrs Chito Onuzulike, Anambra State Director, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency, said the organisation had programmes to support youths who had genuine plans to excel in their areas of interest.
Mrs Ngozi Okeke-Ekpe, Desk Officer, SDGs, National Youths Service Corps (NYSC), Anambra, said some members of the scheme in the area were already tapping into opportunities provided by SDGs to be self-reliant.
Mr Afam Mbanefo, Anambra State Commissioner for Youth Affairs, advised the youth to be proud of themselves and not be carried away by stories that life was better outside the country.
Mbanefo represented by Mr Ossy Onunkwo, urged the youth to think home as there were many untapped opportunities in Nigeria.
He also told the youth not to wait for government endlessly as opportunities were limited.
Mrs Cynthia Enweonwo-Arinze, Official of Development Centre for Orientation, Discovery and Empowerment, Anambra, Co-organiser of the programme, said the event was to expose youths to opportunities in the SDGs.
She said that youths constituted more than half of the population of Nigeria and added that if they embraced the opportunities in the SDGs, the country would be better.
The highpoint of event was a motivational presentation by a physically challenged person, Miss Uzoamaka Ike, a Mass Communication graduate, who through her NGO, Falcon’s Care Foundation, has assisted some students in their education in Ananmbra.
Edited by Chukwudi Ekezie
American Business Council admits new members in Lagos
The American Business Council (ABC) in Nigeria, an affiliate of the United States Chamber of Commerce, on Sunday admitted eight new corporate members into its fold.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that those who came onboard during its first special event in Lagos included Jumia, Cisco, J.P. Morgan, Africa Resource Center, U.S. Soybean Export Council, amongst others.
NAN reports that ABC was founded in 2005 as the voice of American businesses in Nigeria to promote trade and investment between both countries.
Claire Pierangelo, the Consul General of the U.S. in Lagos, said at the event that the council had since its establishment played a key role in trade and investment.
“The council has brought together potential business in Nigeria and the U.S.
“This has in turn helped to strengthen the commercial ties between both countries.
“Nigeria remains one of our largest trading partners in Africa and we are excited about the partnerships that will be coming up in 2020,” the US envoy said.
Margaret Olele, said that the council was working with partners to create an enabling environment for U.S. companies in Nigeria
“The environment is getting more complex in terms of advocacy issues but we’re hopeful that 2020 would be a better year.
“We would be engaging the government a lot in different sectors to ensure that solutions are found to all issues,” Olele said.
Similarly, President of the Council, Dipo Faulkner, said that 2019 had been an eventful year considering growth and the louder voice the council had in terms of advocacy.
“We hope that the efforts put into this year will yield more results in 2020 because we not only work with the U.S. missions in Nigeria, but also speak as the voice of American businesses in the country.
“We create a platform for them to speak about their problems, we not only listen to them, we also put them in front of the right audience,” he said.
Edited by: Wale Ojetimi
Bauchi: 1,000 exhibitors to participate in North East trade fair—-official
No fewer than 1,000 exhibitors have indicated their interest to participate in the North- East Trade Fair scheduled to commence on Monday, Dec.16 in Bauchi State.
Dr Bala Abubakar, the Vice Chairman, Central Organising Committee of the fair, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Bauchi.
Abubakar said 45 exhibitors out of the figure, had already set up pavilions while another 25 also paid for spaces.
He said that the remaining exhibitors were either busy purchasing materials to set up their pavilions or clearing sites.
Abubakar, who is also the Vice Chairman, Coalition of Northern State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, said that the exhibitors include Federal and State Government agencies as well as private companies from within and outside North East zone.
He said that the Vehicles Assembly Plant of the Nigerian Army was among the exhibitors that would feature at the fair, adding that “it has already established its pavilion at the fair complex”.
He said the others with pavilions at the fair were the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and its Bauchi Board of Internal Revenue counterpart, Nigerian Transport Research Institute and a host of others.
Abubakar attributed the large turn out of participation and patronage by exhibitors to marketing strategies by six organizing committees of trade fair during Abuja, Lagos, Jos and Kano International trade fairs.
“The fair will create greater business connections for business communities and attract investors to see the potentials of the states and the region,” he said.
Edited by: Philip Dzeremo/Tukur Muntari.
Expert wants establishment of mini grid system to address power supply challenges
Dr Habib Nuhu, a Geologist and expert in international Energy Policy and Energy Economics, has urged the Federal government to encourage establishment of mini-grid system to tackle the challenges bedeviling electricity supply in the country.
Nuhu made the call in Sokoto in a paper presented at a National Colloquium convened by Mr Zayyanu Yabo, an Engineer.
The second National Colloquium has as its theme, “The Role of Energy in National Development” and tagged, “Towards Deepening Nigeria’s Development.”
Nuhu, who was a Keynote Presenter at the event, said that Nigeria needed to decentralise its energy station in order to be able to tackle most of the arising problems in the system.
“Grid centralisation may not be a panacea to Nigeria’s electricity supply but off and mini grid system must be encouraged.
“Nigeria should have an integrated national energy policy that will be geared toward driving market oriented industry that has little or no barrier to entry,” he said.
The geologist also said that for any society to excel in the global energy drive it must leverage on God given capacity of women, “as such we should transform them to productive economic agents”.
“There should be a deliberate effort geared toward incentivizing to enroll on energy related vocational training and financing models designed to encourage women in energy business drive and participation.
“Moreover, focus should be on entrepreneurial opportunity that leverages on competitive advantage of local community for energy to serve as feedstock to drive economic activities like agriculture, ” he said.
He also said that Nigerian Youth must be committed to personally contribute in changing the societal narrative view of governance.
“Youth must take special interest in governance and demand for accountability from public officials,” he said.
In his address, the Chairman of the Colloquium, Prof. Omowumi Iledare, the pioneer Director, Emerald Energy Institute, University of Port Harcourt, commended the presenter for his justification on the topic.
Iledare said that the issue of energy was one of the most challenging issues that needed to be generally addressed among the whole citizens.
“As you all know,energy is like the food we consume, because if you don’t have energy it is like you don’t have food.
“As such, we need to make a reform in the energy sector for us to go to were we want to go in terms of energy development,” he said.
The Colloquium Convener, Zayyanu Yabo, in his address, said that the aim of the meeting was to engage people to discuss issues that would lead to national development.
“This is in commemoration of our tradition and legacy of the Sokoto Caliphate leaders to create awareness among the society to establish the real need for national development,” Yabo said.
Edited by: Abdullahi Yusuf
Six DisCos may evade NERC’s sanction after complying with remittance directive
The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) says six out of eight Power Distribution Companies (DisCos) have complied or substantially complied with the approved minimum remittance threshold in the Order for July to September 2019.
The notice dated Dec. 12 was signed by Mr Dafe Akpeneye, Commissioner, Legal Licensing and Compliance, NERC.
NAN reports that NERC had on Nov. 5 served notice to eight DisCos of its intention to cancel their licences for failure to meet their obligated remittance to the market.
“The Commission has reasonable cause to believe that the DisCos listed below have breached the provisions of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, terms and conditions of their respective distribution licences and the 2016 – 2018 Minor Review of the Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) and Minor Remittance Order for the year 2019.
“Others are Kaduna Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Kano Electricity Distribution Company Plc, Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company Plc and Yola Electricity Distribution Company,” it said.
However, NERC said the affected DisCos were given till Dec. 9 to show cause in writing as to why their licences should not be withdrawn.
According to NERC, all eight DisCos met the deadline for the submission of written responses showing cause against the cancellation notice and these responses have been filed at the commission.
NERC said: “The remittance to Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc by the DisCos to date indicates that six out of the eight DisCos (AEDC, BEDC, IE, KEDCO, YEDC and KAEDCO) met the expected minimum remittance thresholds for the three months of July to September 2019.
“Two out of the eight DisCos (EEDC and PHEDC) did not meet the expected minimum remittance thresholds for any of the three months of July to September 2019.
“The commission reiterates that the failure of DisCos to comply with expected minimum remittance threshold in the order exposes Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) to systemic risk.
“It threatens the sustainability of other parts of the value chain and the ability to improve services to customers.”
The commission said consequently, a public hearing would be held by NERC on Dec. 19 on the issues affecting the two non-compliant DisCos in line with Section 41 of Electric Power Sector Reform Act and Section 17 of the Business Rules.
NERC said in recognition of the “good faith” demonstrated by the six other DisCos, the commission and their management would meet on Dec. 20 to address issues concerning them instead of a public hearing.
Edited by: Edwin Nwachukwu/Adeleye Ajayi
Bankers committee earmarks N20bn to maintain national theatre
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Godwin Emefiele said on Saturday that the Bankers Committee would spend N20 billion to carry out maintenance works at the National Art Theatre, Lagos
Emefiele told newsmen at the end of the 11th session of the Bankers Committee meeting in Ogere, Ogun, that the committee was appreciative of President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval for the improvement and redevelopment of the asset.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the theme for the meeting is: “Delivering Inclusive Growth: Leveraging Digital Finance”.
“Asides from the redevelopment of the National Theatre, four hubs will be built around it, which will be developed and funded by the Bankers Committee.
“These four hubs are IT, fashion, music and Nollywood.
“Bankers Committee itself has its own funds that it has set aside; nothing less than N20 billion is going to be spent to carry out the maintenance.
“Not just the development of the hub but also, develop interest.
“This will help create economic activities around the National Art Theatre and then present it as an opportunity to create jobs for people, particularly our youths,’’ Emefiele said.
He said that the committee would help revive the dying asset that is currently not well maintained, not tapping its potential fully and lacking good maintenance.
The apex bank governor also said that there were no plans to sack staff members of the national theatre.
“However, we will work with them and put in place the maintenance culture and arrangement that will make the national theatre and the hubs around it a tourists’ attraction.
“I repeat, we had attended different conferences in different parts of the world, the potential that the national theatre possesses is more and better than some of the conference centres we saw in different parts of the world.’’
The governor noted that a larger percentage of the Nigerian population were youths, who are jobless and could not live a better life.
He said God endowed these youths with innate skills, which should be unleashed.
He urged the people to cooperate with the committee so that, through it, jobs could be created and economic activities boosted.
Emefiele said that after the redevelopment and maintenance of the national theatre, it would boost tourism.
On speculations that the asset is being sold, Emefiele said it was not true.
He said that there was no plan to sell it as the Federal Government was not contemplating selling it.
“Why will we sell an asset that has the creative potential to generate massive revenue for the government,’’ he said.
On delivering digital growth, the governor said the bank would move the BVN to the next level to include the excluded.
“We now have about 40 million people on the BVN platform.
“We think that because of the benefits of the BVN to bank customers and the economy, there is the need to consolidate and move it to a new level, something like BVN-2.0.
“This will entail, for instance, to reclassify and segregate transactions that can be done on BVN.
“We have two classifications; the existing BVN that we have in the system has about 18 lines of information.
“We decided that we classify into BVN-premium and BVN-lite.
“There should also be a system where people who are financially excluded can now be included.
“If you are on BVN-lite, there is a limit to the kind of transactions you can do in terms of deposit and in terms of loans.
“The important thing is that we want to make you financially included where you can conduct basic banking service.
“Our people in the rural communities who have BVN-lite will later be migrated to basic,’’ he said.
Edited by: Abdulfatah Babatunde/Peter Dada
Shareholders seek more mergers, acquisitions in cement industry
Shareholders under the aegis of Constance Shareholders’ Association of Nigeria (CSAN) on Saturday said that mergers and acquisitions would improve cement industry activities on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Mikail spoke against the backdrop of the consolidation between the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (CCNN) and BUA’s Obu Cement.
He said that the merger would further eradicate a monopolised cement industry and ease the marketing processes, thereby improving shareholder’s returns.
Mikail described the merger as a great development that would help in breaking the monopoly of price control in the industry.
“The recent event that occurred between CCNN and Obu cement in Nigeria is a great development that will help in alleviating the cement problems in Nigeria as well as breaking the monopoly of price control,” he said.
He commended the Chairman of BUA Group, Mr Abdul Samad Rabiu, for the great vision aimed at ameliorating the suffering of people.
“We have the confidence that such strategies of the businesses would also help the cement industry in equities flow in the Nigeria Capital Market,” Mikail said.
NAN reports that the BUA Group, one of Africa’s largest conglomerates, in October announced plan to merge its two million metric tons of CCNN with six million metric tons of Obu Cement in a bid to consolidate its cement business.
The plan, according to the company, is aimed at enhancing the growth of cement industry in the country.
Edited by: Oluwole Sogunle
Eko Disco records highest remittance efficiency in Q2, says NERC
The Nigerian Electricity Regulation Commission (NERC), on Saturday, said Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) recorded the highest remittance efficiency of 43.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.
The commission also expressed concern over the significant drop in Enugu DisCo’s remittance rate from 30.44 per cent in Q1 2019 to 24.55 per cent in Q2 2019.
NERC said: “The challenge of low remittance to the market is still a concern to the commission as it is one of the main causes of the liquidity crisis facing the Nigerian electricity supply industry.
“As highlighted in the preceding quarters, low remittance adversely affects the ability of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc to honour its financial obligations to GenCos.
“Service providers; Transmission Service Provider (TSP), Market Operator (MO) and NERC also struggle with the paucity of funds, which is impacting their capacity to perform their statutory obligations.
“The individual performance indicates that, with the exception of Enugu and Ibadan DisCos, the DisCos recorded increase in their remittance performance in the second quarter of 2019.
“Also, the aggregate combined invoice settlement rate for all DisCos rose to 30.6 per cent. However, none of the DisCos remitted up to 50 per cent of their market invoice.”
The commission noted that DisCos must improve their efforts towards reducing Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) losses to levels commensurate with their performance agreements.
It said Ikeja Electric recorded the highest progress in reducing ATC&C losses, decreasing to 25.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2019.
NERC said seven other DisCos, excluding Abuja, Enugu and Yola, also recorded relative improvements in their ATC&C losses during the quarter under review.
Edited by: Taiye Agbaje/Salif Atojoko
Expert urges Nigerians to imbibe savings culture
Mr Bayonle Omoyele, the Executive Director, Reliance Thrift and Credit Cooperative Society, has advised Nigerians to imbibe savings culture in order to contribute to the nation’s economic development.
Omoyele gave the advice at the first Annual General Meeting of the cooperative on Saturday in Abuja, with the theme, “Cooperative: A tool for Economic Development”.
He said that investment and savings play important role in the growth and development of any nation.
“For this nation to grow we need to save and that is where cooperative society becomes useful.
“Nigerians should be encouraged to save for the rainy day so that it becomes an integral part of our culture.
“It will also improve our level of investments and, in turn, we will be able to employ more people, thereby improving the economy of our country.”
Omoyele also urged Nigerians to save their money with credible and registered cooperative societies in order not to be duped by criminals.
He said that the society, on its part, would introduce a digital system, where customers would receive alert immediately they drop their money for savings.
Mr Olugbesan Idris, the Executive Director, Regent Microfinance Bank, underscored the importance of cooperatives in the country.
Idris said that cooperatives would help to raise the living standards of Nigerians.
He further said that cooperatives help to create better opportunities for all along with the platform that helps to reduce inequality between the rich and poor.
Nigeria News Agency reports that highpoint of the event was the distribution of gift items to customers, award presentations and raffle draw.
(Edited by: Sam Oditah)
FG reiterates commitment to give priority to development of textile industry
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Mariam Katagum, said that the Federal Government would give priority to development of the textile industry.
The minister said this in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja by Mrs Oluwakemi Ogunmakinwa, the Assistant Director of Press in the ministry.
The minister of state said that it was essential to make Nigeria an exporter of finished products.
Katagum spoke when a delegation of investors from China led by the Treasurer of Kano State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Alhaji Umar Ibrahim visited her in Abuja.
She expressed delight with the Chinese investors who indicated interest to develop the textile industry in Kano.
According to her, Kano is known to be a historic centre for the textile industry, particularly the traditional dying art technology that has been there for many decades.
Katagum further assured of the Federal Government’s commitment to support the Kano State Government and the Chinese investors for the development of the textile industry.
She added that the support was in line with the current administration’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (ERGP) policy.
Earlier, Ibrahim said the purpose of the visit was to seek collaboration with the ministry for the development of the country’s textile industry.
He explained that Kano State Government in partnership with Dantata Group of Companies was working assiduously to ensure that Nigeria’s textile industry was developed to support the country’s economic diversification plan.
Edited by: Ese E. Ekama
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