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Economy

Real time trading, helping capital market to thrive — shareholders’ association

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Mr Eric Akinduro, the Chairman, Shareholders’ Association, Ibadan Zone says real time trading is helping the Nigerian Capital Market to thrive in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Akinduro made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.

He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for being proactive in setting machineries in motion for such a time as this.

“As one of the players in the market, I can say that the market is really encouraging.

“It is very active in the sense that we are getting more bullish period (Stock Market characterised by rising share prices).

“Economically, if we should look at it, by now we should not have such a thing because there is not much activity in the economy.

“But when you look at our market at times, what is driving our market is quite different from finance, as we can see it in the market presently,’’ he said.”

He noted that the market was not feeling the heat of the present pandemic and lockdown occasioned by the novel COVID-19.

“The lockdown has not really affected the market negatively because we can see that some of the companies are really performing well now.

“But one thing we know which I am quite sure of is that we are going to see the likely reverse aspect of the market at the end of the day.

“It may not be in the long term but in the short term because the market is one that is progressing,” he said.

The trend we are passing through presently would affect the market but it would be in the long term.

“When we look at some of these companies that are in the market, they are really making good business now.

“And at the end of the day, the report they will give as their quarterly report will be very encouraging, I am quite sure,” he said.

According to him, the manufacturing companies, beverages and others are earning good money now unlike some other sectors like hotels and the likes.

“Some of the companies will surely give us good reports but we cannot rule out that the market will definitely feel the heat after this period. 

“But one thing I know is that, it is not going to be for the long term but for the short term and at the end of the day the market will definitely correct itself.

“This will make investors to keep on enjoying themselves,” he said. 

Akinduro also said the electronic means of transactions had been effective and helpful in the capital market.

“It seems our operators of the capital market have helped our economy by going ahead of this current situation.

“The leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange at this present time envisaged this and has put every stock broking firm on their toes to ensure that they are up to the task. 

“As you can see now, there is no physical trading but trading is going on online and investors are participating.

“That is why when you have leadership they should see challenges ahead before it turns to problem. 

“They have envisaged this before now and we thank God that the real time trading is really helpful to investors now and we are enjoying it.

“If I have anything to buy today and I instruct my broker before noon, I get the alert that is to show us the proactiveness of the NSE and the capital market.”

Akinduro said if NSE had planned for such a time as this, he believed there would not be any way the investors could be participating in the market as at now. 

“They are aware of this and have put a tough strategy in place so we don’t feel the heat of the lockdown on the market as everything is going on as it ought to be,” he said.

NAN reports that the association has members in Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States.

 

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

 

Emiola Ibukun: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Politics

We will make Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality — Sanwo-Olu’s Aide

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Mrs Aramide Adeyoye, Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Works and Infrastructure, says his administration will make the Lagos 4th Mainland Bridge a reality.

The governor’s aide said this during an online CovInspiration Show organised to mark the first year in office of Gov. Sanwo-Olu.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the social media show, moderated by UN Youth Ambassador, Dayo Israel, was stream on Youtube, Facebook and Instagram in compliance with physical distancing rules occasioned by COVID-19.

Adeyoye said: “I can tell you we have begun to see the projects that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr Obafemi Hamzat are putting together – projects like Fourth Mainland Bridge.

“I pray that it comes up alive! In December, we opened up bids and after evaluation, 31 people came up.

“It will be my greatest joy when I see that project come alive even if it is not finished in this first four years.”

The special adviser said that the preferred bidder for the project would be made known soon.

According to her, the government is in the process of awarding contract for the regional road project that will be a relieve to the residents along the Lekki Epe Expressway.

Speaking on Sanwo-Olu’s achievements in the last one year in works and infrastructure, Adeyoye said that the governor had done a lot through the Public Works Corporation (PWC).

“The Ojota Road is under construction, four roads will be commissioned in Shomolu, Ladipo and Akinwunmi in Mushin.

“Epeme in Badagry, which is a six kilometer road; this is a road that will boost the tourism potential in Lagos State.

“Also, 31 networks of roads in Ojokoro, all these roads were in the last one year either being commissioned or to be commissioned,” she said.

According to her, work is ongoing on Ijede road in Ikorodu, while the Pen Cinema Bridge and Lagos Badagry Expressway will be completed by July/September, respectively.

Adeyoye, however, urged residents to desist from throwing refuse in drainages and burning tyres on the road, saying it affects the durability of the roads.

Adeyoye also noted that burning of tyres on road did not only affect the durability of road infrastructure, but also led to pollution and environmental hazards.

“It behoves on all to keep the road in good condition and we should all be responsible and take ownership of those assets.

“When drainages are cleaned regularly, the roads are likely to last longer,” she said

On Abule-Egba-Oshodi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) road, the special adviser said that contractors were working and that the project would be completed.

LAMATA is up and doing on the supervision of the project and it will be completed soon. l assure you that all projects will be completed, government is a continuum,” she said.

Earlier, the host, Israel, said that the decision to host the cabinet members on CovInspiration (Online) show was to ensure sustenance during COVID-19 partial lockdown.

Israel, who is a Board Member of State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), said that the show afforded cabinet members opportunity to stay in their comfort zones and speak with viewers.

Gov. Sanwo-Olu has announced plans to commission some projects in the state to commemorate his first year anniversary on Friday.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Afghanistan closer to realizing peace than ever: FM

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The fast-moving events in recent months have taken Afghanistan closer to peace than ever, but the road ahead is far from smooth, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday.

Wang made the remarks at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual national legislative session.

(XINHUA)

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Entertainment

Lagos-based real estate practitioner drums support for creative industry

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A Real Estate practitioner, Mr Olabisi Akanbi, has urged private sectors to partner governments at all levels to reposition the creative industry in Nigeria.

Akanbi, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Labor Groups (Real estate and automobile company) Lagos, made the plea in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Friday in Lagos.

He said that governments alone cannot do everything hence the need for the private sectors also to intervene with more strategic private investment as a solid buffer to boost Nigerian creative industry.

“I read a report in foreign journal that explained how foreign investors are rushing into the Nigerian business environment in spite of the COVID19 pandemic.

“This is due to the low risk perception of our country, if Nigerian business owners fail to see what these foreigners are seeing then it will be to our loss and their gain.

“The main reason I am investing in the creative industry space and other private business owners can plug into creative industry because there are a lot of untapped talents on the streets.

“More fresh injection of funds is needed in the industry and I encourage my colleagues in the private sector to tap the huge human resource goldmine,” Akanbi said.

Akanbi added that the private sectors need to know that creative industry was a major contributor to the gross domestic product in Nigeria.

“Creative industry is not an entirely hopeless situation because the industry has proven that it is a key contributor to the Nigerian digital economy.

“The evident is the increase in revenue from online audio and visual content streaming, the pandemic has only tasked us to be more creative and strategic.

“As a real estate player, I also borrow some principles from my business to apply in my intervention in the creative industry by aligning ourselves with a talented and creative artiste such as “Dotman,” Akanbi said.

NAN reports that Labo Group which has primary interests in real estate and automobile last month signed talented singer, Dotman whose real name is Olatunji Oladotun Alade to help reposition his career under its subsidiary, Labo Entertainment.

Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Ekemini Ladejobi (NAN)

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Education

Parents, pupils gradually adapting to e-learning reality in Enugu

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The Enugu State Government’s extension of the lockdown by two weeks, to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced parents and pupils in the state to adopt e-learning.

Some parents, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Enugu, said they were trying to cope with the online learning of their children.

According to them, this system of learning is now necessary as the children have stayed for too long without any formal learning.

They stated that parents were required by most private schools in the state to download Zoom app, WhatsApp, video conferencing apps among others, to ensure effective online classes for their children.

Mrs Uju Nwafor, a mother of three, said the e-learning process was too stressful, trying to put her children through, as she was new to the process.

“As a mother, I make sure they get prepared for their e-learning activities, so that they don’t miss  out of the day’s lesson, by joining their mates on virtual classroom learning with the help of video conferencing app.”

She said that the development had forced her to learn with the children.

Another parent, Mrs Amaka Ezeora, said her daughter’s school only used WhatsApp app, to send classwork to their pupils.

Ezeora noted that it was difficult for her to cope, as she had to copy out the work in a book, before her daughter could start writing.

“It has not been easy for me trying to help my daughter to catch up with her classwork.

“Oftentimes, I copy out the work for her from WhatsApp, to save my mobile phone’s battery,” she said.

Mrs Eucharia Nebo expressed worry over the inability of her son’s school to send their daily classwork to pupils on time.

“The new learning initiated by some private schools is a good development, though they hardly send their daily lessons early.

“Since I use my mobile phone to receive my son’s daily classwork through WhatsApp, it has not been easy for me as my business also needs my attention, especially in the morning.

“I am appealing to schools using whatsapp for e-learning to send their pupils’ class work between 7.00 a.m. and 7.30 a.m., so that parents can have time for their businesses,” Nebo said.

Mr Chuks Ibe, a father of two, stated that it was difficult for his children to adapt to e-learning, as it was a new way of learning to them.

“My children do not enjoy viewing and writing at the same time, as they complained about the fastness of the teaching from a television channel.

“With my experience as a lecturer, I usually allow them to pay attention to the lessons while I do the writing, which they copy into their own books at the end of the lessons,” the lecturer said.

Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Foreign

Hamas vows no release of Israeli captives without “real” prisoners’ swap deal

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A senior Hamas official said on Monday that the Israelis who have been held in captivity in the Gaza Strip since 2014 won’t be released until “a real prisoners’ swap deal” is reached.

“A real prisoners’ exchange deal is the best way for the release of the captive Israelis” held by Hamas, Hazem Qassem, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, told Xinhua.

“Otherwise, the Zionist leadership (Israel) will be just selling illusions to the Israeli public,” said Qassem, referring to the new Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s remarks to the families of the Israeli captives.

Earlier in the day, Gantz met with the families of four Israelis, two soldiers and two civilians who are believed to have been held by Hamas militants since 2014.

In October 2011, Egypt brokered a prisoners’ swap deal between Israel and Hamas, where Israel handed over 1,028 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit who was abducted in southern Gaza in 2006.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Schools in Canada’s Montreal metropolis to remain closed until August

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Schools in the Montreal metropolis will not reopen as planned later this month, but will remain closed until the end of August, said Canada’s Quebec Premier Francois Legault on Thursday.

The Montreal metropolitan area has been hit hard by the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada, with 2,154 deaths reported as of Thursday.

The situation there “remains fragile,” Legault said at a news conference in Montreal, where the reopening of retail stores, which was originally set to be this month, could also be delayed.

Ontario, Canada’s largest province with about 14.8 million residents or 39 percent of the country’s total population, reported 1,798 virus-related deaths as of Thursday.

The Ontario government has been cautious in reopening the province’s economy.

Late last month, Ontario Premier Doug Ford unveiled a three-stage restart that began earlier this month with the reopening of garden centers and hardware stores.

“Businesses should open only if they are ready,” Ford said at his daily COVID news conference on Thursday, warning that the resumption of commercial activity could be halted if there is a “sudden increase in cases.”

On Thursday evening, Legault, Ford and the other 11 provincial and territorial premiers participated in their ninth COVID-related conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, discussing reopening the border between Canada and the United States.

The ban on cross-border traffic was scheduled to be lifted on May 21, while it was reported that the restriction might be extended for another month at the request of Canadian government.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Trump timetable for a vaccine unrealistic, whistleblower testifies 

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The Trump administration’s timetable for developing a coronavirus treatment is likely too optimistic and it has no plan in place for mass production and distribution of such a vaccine, a federal whistleblower told Congress Thursday.

Rick Bright, a senior vaccine expert at the Department of Health and Human Services until his ouster last month, said plans to develop a vaccine by early next year required “everything to go perfectly” and “we’ve never seen everything go perfectly.”

The administration has dubbed its effort to prepare a vaccine “Operation Warp Speed,” and President Donald Trump claimed Thursday in an interview on Fox Business that a vaccine could be available by the end of the year.

Even if a treatment is developed, the federal government still lacks a plan to produce tens of millions of doses of a vaccine, Bright told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“We need to have a strategy and plan in place now to make sure that we cannot only fill that vaccine, make it, distribute it, but administer it in a fair and equitable plan.

“We do not have that yet, and it is a significant concern,” he stated.

Democrats on the panel praised Bright for pushing the administration to ramp up its response in the first months of the outbreak while Republicans sought to poke holes in his claims that senior officials had ignored his warnings.

Bright was abruptly removed in April as head of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a research agency within the Health and Human Services Department that, among other duties, was overseeing research on coronavirus vaccines.

He filed a whistleblower complaint last week alleging he was reassigned to a lesser job in retaliation after warning repeatedly in January and February about the need for masks and other protective equipment to prepare for a coronavirus outbreak.

He said senior officials also pressured him to back widespread use of anti-malaria drugs touted by Trump as a treatment for the virus, even after Bright warned about possible health dangers of allowing the drug to be used without doctor supervision.

Trump on Thursday dismissed Bright as a discontented employee.

“I don’t know the so-called Whistleblower Rick Bright, never met him or even heard of him, but to me he is a disgruntled employee, not liked or respected by people I spoke to and who, with his attitude, should no longer be working for our government!” the president tweeted.

The Health and Human Services Department sought to rebut Bright’s claims, saying that “his whistleblower complaint is filled with one-sided arguments and misinformation.”

Democrats on the committee defended Bright as an experienced expert who was ignored by superiors who sought to please Trump by playing down the severity of the virus.

“In you, we have somebody who made the right call in the early days and has been removed from your position while so many people who made the wrong call still have their jobs,” said Representative John Sarbanes, D-Maryland.

Bright said one of his lowest moments came when his attempt to ramp up production of respirator masks went nowhere.

He recalled receiving emails in January from Mike Bowen, executive vice president of a medical supply company called Prestige Ameritech, who warned that U.S. supplies of N95 respirator masks were “completely decimated.”

“I pushed that forward to the highest levels I could in HHS and got no response,” Bright said.

“From that moment I knew that we were going to have a crisis for our health care workers because we were not taking action. We were already behind the ball,” he added.

Republicans avoided criticising Bright directly, noting that some of his suggestions were adopted after Bright contacted White House aide Peter Navarro, who shared his ideas for combating the virus with other officials around Trump.

Navarro and other administration officials declined to appear at the Thursday hearing.

Representative Markwayne Mullin, R-Oklahoma, attacked Bright for not reporting to his new assignment and instead taking sick leave for high blood pressure and hypertension.

“You’re too sick to go into work, but you’re well enough to come here while getting paid.

“I have a hard time understanding that,” Mullin said.

A federal watchdog agency said last week there were “reasonable grounds” that the administration was retaliating against Bright and called for him to be reinstated while the complaint is being investigated.

Bright is seeking reinstatement to his old job.

Bright, who has a doctorate in immunology, called for additional measures to head off a spike in cases in the fall, including increasing public education about preventative measures, ramping up production of medical supplies and announcing a national testing strategy.

“The undeniable fact is there will be a resurgence of the COVID-19 this fall, greatly compounding the challenges of seasonal influenza and putting an unprecedented strain on our healthcare system,”

Bright said in his prepared testimony. “Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be (the) darkest winter in modern history.”

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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India announces relief for COVID-19 hit small business units, real estate sector, power companies

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India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced the centre government’s first tranche of the 20 lakh crore Indian Rupees (267 billion U.S. dollars) economic package by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

“Today’s announcements will be regarding micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Employee Provident Funds, non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), housing finance companies (HFCs), micro finance institutions (MFIs), power distribution companies (Discoms), Real Estate sector and direct taxation,” the finance minister told media persons.

In a big decision to boost the MSMEs, collateral-free automatic loans worth 300,000 crores Indian Rupees (around 40 billion U.S. dollars) would be given to as many as 4.5 million MSME units, in a bid to safeguard thousands of jobs.

“No fresh collateral securities will be required from such enterprises to avail this loan, and this would be a four-year term loan,” added the finance minister.

A separate sum of 20,000 crore Indian Rupees (around 2.7 billion U.S. dollars) has been earmarked for the stressed MSME units. “Around 200,000 MSME units which faced stress during the lockdown for want of equity would be given this sum,” Sitharaman added.

According to her, a “Fund of Funds” amounting 50,000 crore Indian Rupees (around 6.7 billion U.S. dollars) will be provided to those MSMEs which have the potential and viability for expansion.

“The definition of MSMEs is also being changed in favour of MSMEs, even as investment limit has been revised upwards from 250,000 Indian Rupees (33,350 U.S. dollars) to 1 crore Indian Rupees (133,350 U.S. dollars), and services activities will also be included along with the manufacturing sector,” said the finance minister.

In order to help the MSMEs in selling their products, they will be provided e-market access in case they are not able to participate in trade fairs and exhibitions.

A sum of 75,000 crores Indian Rupees (around 10 billion U.S. dollars) will be provided to NBFCs, HFCs and MFIs, while around 90,000 crore Indian Rupees (around 12 billion U.S. dollars) will be provided to discoms, which the finance minister said, were facing “unprecedented cash flow problems.”

The tax amount on non-salary incomes like professional fee, commission, brokerage, etc. has been reduced by 25 percent.

(XINHUA)

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Fauci warns of “really serious” consequences if U.S. states open up prematurely

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Anthony Fauci, a top expert on infectious diseases in the United States, warned on Tuesday that states would face “really serious” consequences if they open up prematurely during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My concern is that if some areas, city, states or what have you, jump over those various checkpoints and prematurely open up without having the capability of being able to respond effectively and efficiently… we will start to see little spikes that might turn into outbreaks,” Fauci told a Senate panel during a teleconference hearing.

“The consequences could be really serious,” said Fauci, also a key member of the White House coronavirus task force.

Even states that are acting properly in reopening could see a rise in coronavirus cases, according to Fauci.

“Even under the best of circumstances, when you pull back on mitigation, you will see some cases appear,” Fauci said. “It’s the ability and the capability of responding to those cases with good identification, isolation and contact tracing will determine whether you can continue to go forward, as you try to reopen America.”

He also warned that it is “entirely conceivable and possible” that a second wave will happen this fall.

His remarks came as the United States is debating whether it is safe for states to reopen.

Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during Tuesday’s hearing that the nation must have an extensive capacity to test for the coronavirus before it can lift certain restrictions.

“Rapid, extensive and widely available, timely testing is essential to reopening America,” Redfield said.

Brett Giroir, assistant secretary for health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, also gave their testimonies.

More than 1.3 million people have been infected with the coronavirus in the United States, with over 81,000 deaths, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

(XINHUA)

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Political will fundamental to realizing more just, prosperous Iraq: UN envoy

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A more prosperous and inclusive Iraq can be achieved provided the political will is there, a top UN official in the country told the Security Council during a virtual meeting held on Tuesday.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert briefed ambassadors on latest developments, including the appointment last week of new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, and the majority of his 22-member cabinet, following months of political infighting and stalemate.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has quieted months of corresponding protests, which saw Iraqis taking to the streets to call for an end to corruption, unemployment and poor public services, the UN envoy hoped that the new government will be guided by their demands and aspirations, for the good of the country.

“I remain convinced that a more just, prosperous and resilient Iraq can emerge from the current compounded crises. But for that to happen, political will is fundamental,” said Hennis-Plasschaert, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq.

“Iraq must move away from endless crisis management towards a more productive approach, building resilience at both the state and society level. Short-term political and private calculations do not serve Iraq’s long-term interests, on the contrary. And yes, the challenges are many; but so are the opportunities.”

The UN envoy noted that the new prime minister’s priorities include tackling the pandemic, reforming the security sector, strengthening the economy, and fighting corruption, which she characterized as “perhaps the greatest source of dysfunction” in Iraq.

“These worthy aspirations must be turned into action urgently,” she said.

“And let me emphasize: Iraq does not have the luxury of time. Nor can it afford destructive petty politics.”

Iraq has long battled political turmoil but also social, economic and security crises. COVID-19 has added to these challenges by bringing commercial activity to a standstill and putting the livelihoods of millions in peril.

Oil-dependent Iraq has also seen monthly revenues from this commodity drop from 6 billion U.S. dollars to 1.4 billion dollars between February and April. Additionally, the economy is projected to contract by nearly 10 percent this year, with poverty rates rising to around 40 percent.

As Hennis-Plasschaert pointed out, these developments are occurring at a time when it will become even harder for Iraq to access international funding. The need to broaden its revenue base could not be more apparent.

“Time and again, it has been made clear that Iraq should reduce its oil dependency; repair and upgrade critical infrastructure; temper its ballooning, inefficient public service; build viable and responsive state institutions; combat patronage and clientelism; fight corruption, and incentivize the domestic private sector while attracting foreign investment,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Iraq continues to bear the impact of domestic, regional and international security developments.

Hennis-Plasschaert reported that although “inflammatory rhetoric” and a “pattern” of attacks and counter-attacks have tapered off in recent weeks, they remain a constant threat.

“And I can only emphasize: the way armed elements, armed entities, with differing ties to the state, choose to act in this moment will determine how Iraqis – and, indeed, many others – will perceive them,” she added.

“Once again, Iraq cannot afford to be used as a theatre for different power competitions and/or proxy conflicts.”

The UN official also warned against the resurgence of violent extremism, stating that the best way for the government to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other groups is to provide for citizens by addressing the root causes of their grievances.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Cushion effects of COVID-19 on real sector, MAN urges FG

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has appealed to Federal Government to map out strategies that would assist its members to overcome effects of lockdown and movement restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Its Director of Economics and Statistics, Dr Oluwasegun Osidipe, made the appeal on Tuesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ota, Ogun.

According to him, outbreak of COVID-19 has left the manufacturing in a battered state, wailing and struggling for breath to stay afloat.

Osidipe said that there was need for the Federal Government to craft strategies with sustainable stimulus so as to salvage the sector from the brink of total collapse.

“First, declare a state of emergency in the manufacturing sector to be acquainted with status of the sector,” the MAN director said.

He listed other challenges for seemingly and lackluster performance of the sector to include: poor economics, infrastructure, difficult macroeconomics environment, over regulations of the sector, multiple taxes and levies.

The director said that these led to low contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), among others.

He called on the Federal Government to prevail on the apex bank to extend its COVID-19 stimulus packages to manufacturers not covered by the existing initiatives.

Osidipe also stressed the need for government to introduce fiscal measures by waiving import duties on active pharmaceutical ingredients, other raw materials required for essential products and food related items for one year.

The MAN director further urged the Federal Government to prioritise forex allocation to the manufacturing sector for importation of machines and raw materials that were not locally available.

He said that the Federal Government should establish a special bail out fund for the manufacturing sector.

According to him, this is with set deliverable on the number of jobs to be created, volume of export, quantum of local raw materials utilised and projected revenue.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Entertainment

I rejected N8m to promote bleaching brand, says reality star Khafi Kareem

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Khafi Kareem, a former BBNaija housemate has revealed that she rejected eight million Naira offered her to promote a bleaching product.

The affable reality star explained that she rejected the offer because bleaching was against her personal principles.

Khafi Kareem  Photo Credit: @acupofkhafi

 

In a recent Instagram live interview with Ubi Franklin, Khafi reiterated the need to protect her brand’s integrity.

She said, “I have always tried to monetise myself in a way that is truly in line with my values. I have had to reject certain things.

“So, a certain company contacted me and this is actually, till today, the biggest offer I have received.

“It was about eight million naira and it wasn’t that much that I would have to do, but it was for a skin bleaching brand.

“I was in the dilemma of taking the money but not having to do much and this is not something I believed in,” Khafi said.

She noted that although rejecting the offer was hard, it was necessary because of the value she was intent on building for the future.

Khafi said, “I could have just taken the money and not care about the repercussions.

“There are certain things that I would not be able to do in the future if I take certain deals that were not in relation to my brand.

“I had to turn down eight million naira so that, by God’s grace, I would make more in the future by being a person of my word,” she added.

Earlier, Khafi had reflected on her time in the Big Brother Naija house which she described as a self-development phase for her life.

The content creator, who is engaged to fellow ex-housemate Gedoni Ekpata, caught the attention of fans with her bubbly personality.

During her stint in the house, Khafi was Head of House, won one million Naira and part of Team Lagos and a car during tasks in the house..

Reminiscing on her journey in the BBNaija house, she said, “one of the mistakes I made was forgetting that it was a game.

“When I got into the place, I was like, let us all be friends and all but I didn’t know that everyone was sizing me up as the competition. It was a pressure cooker.

“Your buttons were being pushed. When I feel that the game changed was when I won the car.

“Before that happened, everyone was like ‘Khafi is really nice’ but the minute I won the car, it was then the game changed,” she said.

She went on to advice BBNaija hopefuls to be themselves, make ‘Biggie’ their best friend and look forward to the tasks.

Edited Ese E. Ekama

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Foreign

Namibia sees increase in 2020 cereal production

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Namibia sees an overall increase in cereal production in 2020 despite the outbreaks of fall armyworm and African migratory locusts which might have affected productivity, according to a report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization in Namibia on Wednesday.

According to the Global Information and Early Warning System on Food and Agriculture Report, the annual production in 2020 is expected at a near average level between 90,000 and 100,000 tonnes.

This would mark a recovery compared to 2019 where the total estimated cereal production was 60,000 tonnes.

“Following precipitation deficits at the start of the season, rainfall increased from last December to March, boosting soil moisture levels and benefiting crop growth,” the report said.

The report states that the cereal import requirement for 2019/20 is estimated at 350,000 tonnes.

(XINHUA)

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Health

Tinubu tests negative for COVID-19, says disease real

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The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Chief Bola Tinubu, and wife, Oluremi, have tested negative for the new  coronavirus.

Tinubu made the disclosure in a statement signed by his media aide, Mr Tunde Rahman, in Lagos on Monday.

He, however,  said that one of his aides tested positive for the virus.

Tinubu described COVID-19 as real and a serious threat to mankind.

“Following the death of our well-respected and beloved Chief Security Officer, Alhaji Lateef Raheem, NCDC medics took the wise precaution of taking samples from his body for testing to actually determine the cause of his death.

“Today, the results are out and his sample tested positive for COVID-19.

“As a precautionary measure taken soon after the death, my wife and I, alongside our aides, undertook the COVID-19 test on Saturday.

“The results of the tests were returned this morning, and both my wife and I  are negative,” he said.

According to Tinubu, the aide who tested positive has been isolated in accordance with NCDC guidelines.

“Further contact tracing and COVID-19 testing are being conducted by the NCDC with regard to the relatives and possible contacts of the affected aide,” he added.

He urged those stigmatising COVID-19 patients to desist from such and show sympathy to them.

“We cannot defeat this health menace through ignorance or by stigmatising carriers.

“We can only beat it through transparency, knowledge and compassion. This, we have learned firsthand.

“We cannot overcome this challenge by acting like it does not exist.

“The culture of denial is counterproductive and will do great harm in our current situation,” he added.

He advised Nigerians to adhere to all precautionary measures put in place by government in order to check the spread of the pandemic in the country.

“We must do all we can to contain the spread of the virus and treat those of us who have been hit by it with sympathy.

“We must maintain social distancing and comply with other health measures to protect ourselves and others.

“In this way, we all may contribute to halt the spread of this dangerous virus,” Tinubu said.

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)

 

 

 

 

 

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Sport

Bad back rules Nadal out of virtual reality charity match

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Rafael Nadal is no stranger to being out of action for months due to injuries taking a toll on his body.

When the Spaniard pulled out from a virtual reality tennis match that would have been contested using a game console, it raised a few eyebrows.

The claycourt king had been expected to take on gamer DjMariio as part of a virtual Madrid Open charity event but ended up being a no show on Monday.

“We had Rafa but I think he had an issue on his back today. I think he was injured, so he requested to play (again) tomorrow,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez said, according to Eurosport.

Nadal, who in the past had been unable to defend his Wimbledon or Olympic titles due to injuries, beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov 4-3(3) in his first group game.

With the coronavirus pandemic having wiped out the global tennis schedule until at least mid July, the hole in the calendar is this week being filled with Madrid’s ‘virtual’ event.

Sixteen men and 16 women are battling it out on a Manolo Santana Stadium that had been recreated in exquisite detail in the Tennis World Tour video game designed by Nacon Gaming.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

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Foreign

Feature: Kenyan slum dwellers adjust to new reality of face-coverings amid COVID-19 risks

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Bernard Silal pitches pebbles into a stream of contaminated water trickling past his mother’s makeshift stall, oblivious of the pandemic that has rocked the world.

He has a maroon face mask snuggling around his mouth but exposing his nostrils.

Silal represents the many Kenyans who are struggling to come to terms with the alien concept of mask-wearing.

Silal’s mother is overwhelmingly concerned about the risk her child faces by not staying at home. Nevertheless, he faces an even greater danger of starving if she resorts to closing her small food business.

Akinyi Awour resides in the densely populated Nairobi’s Kiambiu slums, located on the eastern fringes of the Kenyan capital.

“I am worried about my son; he is three-years-old and cannot understand the importance of not touching his mask or avoiding his friends. I cannot care for him at home because I have to look for money to cater to our daily needs,” said Awuor.

“I used to carry an extra mask for him but he lost it while playing and getting him several reusable masks is not economically viable. I have to repeatedly warn him against fidgeting with his ear loops that can contaminate the mask,” she added.

The mother of one has to ensure that her son is within her visual reach so as to guarantee his safety.

Unlike in the well-established suburbs of Nairobi where children are hunkered down at home, children in the slums fill up the narrow paths.

The idea of wearing a mask in public is alien to this community and the country by extension but with the COVID -19 virus marching across nations, it has become essential for every individual to have a barrier around their mouth and nose.

Initially, the government noted that masks were a preserve of healthcare workers but that seemed to have changed when it announced that persons found not wearing them in public were eligible to a jail term of six months or a fine of 2,000 shillings (20 U.S. dollars).

The government has assured Kenyans of a steady supply of masks that would retail at a cheap price after various local textile companies started to manufacture the critical protective gear.

The quality of the masks is standardized by the organization tasked with quality checks in the country.

“There are numerous organizations that are selling these mask from as low as 0.05 dollars and the beauty of these cloth masks is that they are reusable you can wash it before using again,” said the Cabinet Secretary of Health, Mutahi Kagwe at a COVID-19 briefing.

He advised traders to properly handle masks so as to reduce the risk of contamination.

Another resident of Kiambiu slums struggling to adapt to his new reality is 34-year-old John Nasila, who makes a living from selling second-hand clothes.

“Observing social distance is nearly impossible because of the nature of my business but the mask has ensured that I protect those around me. It has become my saving grace,” said Nasila.

“I have three homemade masks that I take to my place of work. My wife fashioned them from old T-shirts. I admit that sometimes I subconsciously pull down the mask so that rests on my neck, when this happens I set it aside and use the extra one,” he added.

“This barrier has somewhat affected my communication due to my husky voice that becomes less audible with the piece of cloth, but removing the mask to speak would be counter-productive,” Nasila told Xinhua.

To Nasila, the mask is a double-edged sword that can jeopardize his health as well as that of his family if mishandled. He has taken up to setting a hand washing station outside his stall to facilitate proper hand hygiene.

A fortnight ago, government spokesman Cyrus Oguna said that the state would distribute free masks to vulnerable Kenyans through grassroots authorities targeting the informal settlements.

Many people in slums are waiting.
(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S.Korean president says to seek realistic, practical ways for cooperation with DPRK, including on COVID-19 crisis

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his government will seek realistic and practical ways for cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and COVID-19 crisis can be an opportunity.

Moon made the remark during a meeting with his senior aides on the day to mark the second anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration that was signed by Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un during their first summit on April 27, 2018 at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to the presidential Blue House.

“(The South Korean government) will go and find the most realistic and practical way for inter-Korean cooperation. The COVID-19 crisis can be a new opportunity for inter-Korean cooperation as it is the most urgent and desperate task to cooperate in as of now,” Moon said.

Moon’s comment indicated Seoul’s willingness to cooperate with Pyongyang in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, which he said could become a starting point to expand inter-Korean cooperation into jointly dealing with infectious disease in domestic animals, natural disasters in border areas, and climate change.

“An inter-Korean life community can be a foundation to move towards a peace community,” Moon noted.

To reconnect railways across the inter-Korean border, Moon vowed to do what South Korea can do first.

Earlier in the day, a ceremony was held in the northeastern border town of Jejin to launch the construction of the South Korean section of the inter-Korean railway along the east coast of the Korean Peninsula.

The single-track railway reconnection spans 110.9 km from the east coastal city of Gangneung to Jejin. It is expected to cost about 2.85 trillion won (2.3 billion U.S. dollars).

The Gangneung-Jejin railroad is the southern section of the Donghae Bukbu Line, which was built during the 1910-1945 Japanese colonization of the peninsula but was severed during the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Moon and Kim agreed in their Panmunjom summit to modernize and re-link inter-Korean railways and roads along the eastern and western peninsula. The Donghae Bukbu Line construction project was pursued since 2000.

South Korea and the DPRK held a groundbreaking ceremony for the inter-Korean railway reconnection in December 2018, but construction works had been delayed amid the international sanctions toward Pyongyang.

The Moon government hoped to reconnect railways across the inter-Korean border, eventually connect to Europe through the Trans-China Railway (TCR) and the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR).
(XINHUA)

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Foreign

1st LD Writethru: S.Korean president says to seek realistic, practical ways for cooperation with DPRK including on COVID-19 crisis

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his government will seek realistic and practical ways for cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), and COVID-19 crisis can be an opportunity.

Moon made the remark during a meeting with his senior aides on the day to mark the second anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration that was signed by Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un during their first summit on April 27, 2018 at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to the presidential Blue House.

“(The South Korean government) will go and find the most realistic and practical way for inter-Korean cooperation. The COVID-19 crisis can be a new opportunity for inter-Korean cooperation as it is the most urgent and desperate task to cooperate in as of now,” Moon said.

Moon’s comment indicated Seoul’s willingness to cooperate with Pyongyang in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, which he said could become a starting point to expand inter-Korean cooperation into jointly dealing with infectious disease in domestic animals, natural disasters in border areas, and climate change.

“An inter-Korean life community can be a foundation to move towards a peace community,” Moon noted.
(XINHUA)

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Foreign

S. Korean president says to seek realistic, practical ways for cooperation with DPRK

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on

South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his government will seek “realistic and practical ways” for cooperation with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) upon the second anniversary of the Panmunjom Declaration.

The declaration was signed by Moon and top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un during their first summit on April 27, 2018, at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom, according to the presidential Blue House.
(XINHUA)

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General news

Kyari’s death: COVID-19 is real, no one is exempted – health, religious officials warn  

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Following the death of the Chief Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, health and religious officials have warned Nigerians against exhibiting lukewarm attitude to preventive measures against the COVID-19 pandemic.

They made the remarks in separate interviews with News Agency of Nigeria in Jos on Saturday.

Dr Titus Dajel, Chairman, Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Plateau Chapter, said the death of Kyari had made it obvious to everybody that the disease was real and not a respecter of social status.

Describing the death of Kyari as unfortunate, Dajel said his demise should reawaken Nigerians who believed in conspiracy theories on COVID-19.

“There are people who have a lot of conspiracy theories about COVID-19; people believe it is related to electromagnetic waves and all those thoughts, but the point is that it is real.

“It is an infectious and viral disease that does not have cure, everything done in the hospital is only symptomatic treatment.

“People should know that nobody is exempted or spared by the pandemic; it has started from the top and it is affecting each and every person.

“We are at the level of community transfer, so even the poor of the poorest in the village can get infected,” he said.

The chairman urged policymakers to take the pandemic as a clarion call to discourage medical tourism.

According to him, the health sector should be strengthened by increasing its budgetary allocation to equip public health facilities to handle pandemic such as COVID-19.

Similarly, Mrs Mercy Lenka, Chairperson, National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives (NANNM), Jos University Teaching Hospital Chapter, said Kyari’s death should convince those having any form of doubt about COVID-19.

Lenka, however, cautioned Nigerians to be responsible citizens by adhering to preventive measures and directives issued by the government to forestall the spread of the pandemic.

According to her, Nigerians should assume that the disease is in every state to conscientise them from taking the pandemic for granted.

Meanwhile, Mrs Muhibba Abdulrazak, Leader, Federation Of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria, Plateau Chapter, condoled with the family of the deceased, President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians over the death of Kyari.

Abdulrazak prayed God to grant him eternal rest.

She appealed to religious leaders to teach their followers supplications which could be recited in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also urged them to obey constituted authorities, especially by adhering to the preventive measures recommended by health and government officials.

NAN reports that Kyari, who became the CoS in 2015, died on Friday following complications from COVID-19.

Edited By: Moses Solanke and Abdullahi Yusuf (NAN)

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

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