Posts tagged as: federal

Nigeria: Dangote, Bloomberg, Others Discuss Use of Technology to Tackle Poverty

press release

Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted by former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, inaugurated its first Global Business Forum with an astounding line up of global innovators, including Africa’s richest man, Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote.

Following talks by former U.S. president Bill Clinton, French President, Emmanuel Macron, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, Aliko Dangote, took the stage with Bill Gates of Microsoft, Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo, and Masayoshi Son of SoftBank. David Rubenstein, CEO of The Carlyle Group who moderated the panel on technology’s ability to disrupt poverty. Mr Dangote cited Nigeria’s 130 million cell phone lines and his own company’s initiative to use biometric data and mobile banking to target one million Nigerian women for small grants.

‎Mr. Dangote and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation cited their collaborated effort in fighting polio by vaccinating seven million children using mobile trackers.

Nigeria

Govt Traces Biafra’s Source of Funding to France

The federal government hinted yesterday that it has traced the financial headquarters of indigenous people of biafra… Read more »

Nigeria: The World Is Running Out of Effective Antibiotics – WHO

By Ebuka Onyeji

Concerns about growing global antibiotic resistance have plunged into new depths as the World Health Organisation, WHO, is now warning that the world is running out of antibiotics.

There is not enough new antibiotics being developed, especially for the most concerning antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a WHO report released Tuesday.

Most of the drugs currently in the clinical pipeline are modifications of existing classes of antibiotics and are only short-term solutions.

The report found very few potential treatment options for those antibiotic-resistant infections identified by WHO as posing the greatest threat to health, including drug-resistant tuberculosis which kills around 250 000 people each year.

The United Nations health agency has aired its concerns about antibiotic resistance, which makes it more difficult to treat infections, for some time. Some of the group’s latest moves included updating guidelines for treating sexually transmitted infections and cautioning that just three antibiotics are being developed to treat gonorrhoea.

But the latest WHO report takes a broad and prospective look at antibiotic development.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a global health emergency that will seriously jeopardize progress in modern medicine”, says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

“There is an urgent need for more investment in research and development for antibiotic-resistant infections including TB, otherwise we will be forced back to a time when people feared common infections and risked their lives from minor surgery.”

Public health officials have long been concerned about antibiotic resistance, which occurs when bacteria mutate and become immune to a given antibiotic.

Overuse or incorrect use of antibiotics are key contributing factors, as is antibiotic use in animals that are then consumed by humans.

But drug development is lagging behind, especially for drug-resistant tuberculosis and other infections the WHO has designated as high priority, the report noted.

Of 51 new products in development for antibiotic-resistant infections, the WHO believes that only eight are innovative and add value to current options. And because drug development is a drawn-out process, most of its unsuccessful, current efforts could result in only about 10 new approvals in the next five years, the report said.

When contacted, the director of surveillance, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Olubunmi Ojo said she was not “in the know about the report yet.”

Nigeria

Govt Traces Biafra’s Source of Funding to France

The federal government hinted yesterday that it has traced the financial headquarters of indigenous people of biafra… Read more »

Nigeria: Govt Tracking Four Major Diseases Outbreaks

Photo: MSF

(file photo).

The Federal Government is tracking four major diseases out breaks in Nigeria, Health Minister, Isaac Adewole, has disclosed.

Mr. Adewole disclosed this in the weekly report of the state of the nation’s public health which he submitted to the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday.

Mr. Adewole provided details on the development when he spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting in Abuja.

“Council received the weekly report on the state of public health in Nigeria and we did inform council about four major outbreaks that we are currently tracking.

“One is Lassa Fever and we are quite happy that there is a major decline in a number of reported cases. We have also not reported any deaths in the last two weeks but we still have two cases reported from Edo last week.

“We still have cholera in some parts of the country, particularly in Kano, Kebbi, Borno and Zamfara but the outbreak in Borno state is the most significant of all of them.

“So far since the outbreak started we have recorded 2,719 suspected cases of cholera and we reported 51 deaths in total.

“We have started cholera vaccination in Borno state as a way of stemming the tide.”

The Minister added that the ministry informed FEC about one reported case of yellow fever in Kwara, adding that public health and surveillance officers were deployed to the state to assess the situation with a view to commencing immunisation.

He said that the immunization would be in two local governments, one each in Kwara and Kogi.

Mr. Adewole expressed delight that Nigeria had not reported any case of Polio since the last reported case in August.

The minister appreciated the field officers and the armed forces helping in the containment of the disease in Borno by vaccinating the children in the difficult and security-challenged areas.

“We are quite confident that if we can sustain this in the next two years, Nigeria will be certified Polio-free and I am also certain that that would imply that Africa would also be certified Polio-free,” he said.

Mr. Adewole also spoke on how to prevent avoidable deaths which he said was the job of a functional health system.

He said that the government was trying to change in a transformational way the narrative in the health sector.

“Over the years we have spent 80 per cent of our budget on curative services and that is not really what we are supposed to do.

“We really need to move in the direction of prevention services and when you look at our budget we are moving more of our budget to preventive care, more money to immunization.

“Because when you immunize our children they will not develop measles, cholera or the things that will make them to die.”

He said that in addition, government had started a programme to curb maternal mortality.

“We are starting with six states that have the worst levels of maternal mortality.

“We are starting with Jigawa, Zamfara, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi and Yobe and we want to crash maternal mortality in those states,” he said.

The minister advised that education and lifestyle behaviours of the citizens should be improved so that those sick did not need to stay at home when the treatment was available in the hospitals.

He said there should be trust in the health system which would enable things to change, adding that the ministry was working with the Bureau of Public Service Reforms to change ways things were done in the health system.

He expressed dismay that patients waited upwards of three hours to six hour before they could be attended to by doctors.

Mr. Adewole added that the administration inherited problems in the health sector which led to the strikes in the sector.

He disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, to compile the debt in the sector with a view to clearing them.

Boom for Kenyan Miraa Traders as Shortage Hits Somaliland

By David Muchui

Miraa traders from Kenya are cashing in on a shortage being experienced in Somaliland following the disruption of the business by conflicts in Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions.

Ethiopia supplies most of the miraa consumed in Hargeisa, Somaliland and Djibouti but recent ethnic conflicts have cut off transport from the miraa growing areas.

In Ethiopia, miraa is largely grown in the eastern regions of Dire Dawa state and Harari region which are both about 200 kilometres from Hargeisa.

On Friday last week, BBC reported that dozens of people had died and at least 30,000 displaced in clashes across Ethiopia’s Oromia and Somali regions in recent days while local media said the conflicts had affected business in eastern Ethiopia.

12 TONNES

Speaking to Nation, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association (Nyamita) spokesman Kimathi Munjuri said they are now delivering 12 tonnes of miraa to Hargeisa since last week.

He said they entered the market after traders and consumers in Somaliland protested over shortage of the herb that is highly prized in the region.

“Two aircraft are ferrying 12 tonnes of miraa from Nairobi since last week.

“We have been kept out of the market by hefty taxes and this is why we need government intervention for constant supply. We wish the national government can grab this chance to regularise the trading framework for us to continue with the supply,” Mr Munjuri said.

TAX

Miraa is a major tax earner for Somaliland and reports indicate that its sale generated 20 percent of the government’s Sh15 billion budget in 2014.

Somaliland is said to spend over Sh54 billion annually on Ethiopian miraa and the sector is a key source of employment in the unrecognised state.

In 2016, former Meru Governor Peter Munya visited Hargeisa to look for miraa market in a trip that turned controversial.

Mr Munya said Kenyan miraa is charged 300 percent duty while the Ethiopian khat is deducted 100 percent duty making it impossible to compete.

“The miraa market in Somaliland is worth about Sh40 billion which the Meru farmers should share in,” the former governor said.

He had sought to persuade the government of Somaliland to remove the obstacles that have hindered the export of miraa to Hargeisa.

Somaliland broke away from the Federal Republic of Somalia in 1991.

It shares borders with Djibouti to the west, Ethiopia to the south and Somalia to the east, and is yet to be recognised as a sovereign state.

Kenya

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

EAC, Germany Ties Saluted As New Envoy Jets in

By Marc Nkwame in Arusha

THE East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko, has hailed the strong relations between the EAC and the Federal Republic of Germany as he received credentials from a new diplomat from the European Union nation.

Speaking after receiving credentials from Ambassador Dr Detlef Waechter who starts his tour of duty for Tanzania and the EAC, Ambasador Mfumukeko noted that Germany had provided generous technical and financial support to the EAC for almost two decades.

He informed Dr Waechter of the significant progress made by the EAC in the four pillars of integration, namely the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation, adding that the Community had made great strides in the said pillars, thanks to political goodwill by the leaders of the partner states.

The Secretary General said the EAC, together with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), were at an advanced stage in the negotiations for the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) that brings together 26 countries with a market of over 600 million people.

He reaffirmed EAC’s commitment to exploit its human and natural resources for the benefit of the entire region, saying that significant achievements had already been recorded in trade, customs and infrastructure development.

He noted that East Africa had a big population of educated but unemployed youth, hence the way forward was for the Community to focus on modernising the agricultural sector through provision of agricultural inputs, value addition and technology.

In his remarks, Dr Waechter assured the Secretary General of his country’s commitment to working closely with EAC, to enable the Community attain its objectives in the integration process.

The Ambassador said Germany was keen to share with the EAC its experiences in the European integration, adding that the EAC could learn from the EU in addressing some of the emerging challenges in the integration process.

Ambassador Mfumukeko also received credentials from Uganda’s new High Commissioner to Tanzania and the EAC, Mr Richard Kabonero.

He informed the diplomat that in addition to the implementation of the Customs Union, Common Market and Monetary Union protocols, the EAC was currently mobilising resources for diverse infrastructure development projects, including railways and roads.

He said the Community was seeking ways to reduce the high rate of unemployment in the region and that plans were underway to adopt Kiswahili as a lingua franca of the Community.

In his remarks, Ambassador Kabonero commended initiatives being made by the EAC to address climate change, drought, food security and desertification in the region.

He said joint infrastructure development initiatives, including the oil pipeline from Lake Albert in Uganda to the Tanzanian Port of Tanga would boost economic activities in the two countries.

East Africa

Duale to Seek MPs Approval of Sh11.5 Billion for Poll

Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale says he will be requesting MPs to approve the release of Sh11.5… Read more »

Nigeria: NPA Reiterates Concern About Safety of Nigeria’s Territorial Waters

By Eromosele Abiodun

The Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala Usman has reiterated management’s concern over the safety and security of operations and activities on the nation’s territorial waters.

She said this through the organisation’s Executive Director in charge of Finance and Administration, Mohammed Bello Koko, who represented her when the federal government team for the implementation of the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure on the Arrest, Detention and Prosecution of Offenders in the Maritime Environment, paid a working visit to the corporate headquarters of the NPA in Marina, Lagos.

Addressing stakeholders during the session, the Managing Director pledged to synergise with the committee in order to holistically harmonise issues from stakeholders towards covering all areas of concern in respect of the subject in the front burner.

She stated that the NPA management was paying premium towards contributing effectively in the area of providing arrested vessels location on the nation’s waters while calling for swift actions to be taken in order to evacuate such vessels, an activity she said would create a better enabling environment for greater operational efficiency admit a safe and secured environment, restoring sanity at our anchorages.

She added that it would help generate more funds for the nation.

Furthermore, she stated that the NPA was soliciting support from stakeholders on the subject adding that the place of information sharing in attaining a successful task in this respect cannot be over emphasised.

Earlier, the chairman of the committee Rear Admiral FD Bobai informed the NPA management that the committee came as part of sensitisation efforts at parleying with stakeholders to ensure adequate collaboration and cooperation in efforts aimed at coordinating the agenda and targets set before them so as to bring about a safe Maritime Harbours in line with best practices.

Bobai told stakeholders that the major agenda facing the committee was to partner regional and sub-regional governance on Maritime safety and security for the nation to harness plausible natural endowment accruable to her by nature and consequently join the comity successful of Maritime nations.

He commended the NPA for the milestones achieved in various facets and enjoined that they should not relent as the task of lifting the nation up was for all.

Nigeria

Govt to Swear in New Lawyers, Including Professor Indicted for Sex Scandal

Twenty-nine of the 30 lawyers nominated to be sworn in as Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs will on Monday take their… Read more »

Nigeria: ‘Low-Cost Carrier to Save Airlines, Revive 22 Moribund Airports’

By Wole Oyebade

Strategic low-cost carrier programme has been identified as an important business model that will transform the air travel sector, especially the survival of local airlines and maximal use of airport infrastructure across the country.

Concerned stakeholders told The Guardian that whereas the strategy will lower prices for affordability on less viable routes, it will increase demand with new traffic routes opening up for optimal activities for struggling airlines.

The challenge, however, is evolving an effective collaboration that requires the transportation ministry, regulatory agencies and operators to workout the plan with some concessions across the board.

In a related development, travel agencies in the country have described the proposed plan by the Federal Government to tax both business and first class travel tickets as additional burden on the travelling public.

President of the National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies (NANTA), Bernard Bankole, said while the plan was to increase revenue for the government’s coffers, raising taxes will in fact crash the source of income as lesser number of air travellers will opt for the luxury air travel.

Specifically, a low-cost carrier (LCC) or low-cost airline also known as no-frills, discount or budget carrier is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts.

Group Captain John Ojikutu (rtd) observed that what the local carriers currently practice is mere low pricing regime that is doing more harm to the airlines.

Ojikutu said holistic low cost carrier approach is more realistic with win-win for all. President of a global distribution service company, Sabre Network West Africa, Gbenga Olowo, noted that the problem of the industry, as often misdiagnosed, is neither the lack of capacity nor non-viable routes (with 22 airports nationwide) outside of traditional Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.Rather, the dearth of effective partnership among the local carriers to emerge stronger to fully maximise the demographic potential of the country.

Olowo said in respect of the high-capital intensity of the industry, the onus is on the operators to merge into one or two airlines, without necessarily losing their identity, to properly deploy their capacity nationwide.

Bankole, in his reaction, said the travellers are already paying more with the recent review of the rate of exchange from N305 official rate to N359.5/dollar.He said government needs to stop seeing aviation as a leisure vehicle and waiting cash cow, rather as a necessity for the economy to make progress.

Nigeria

Govt to Swear in New Lawyers, Including Professor Indicted for Sex Scandal

Twenty-nine of the 30 lawyers nominated to be sworn in as Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs will on Monday take their… Read more »

Nigeria: Govt Trains 378 Farmers On Food Production, Entrepreneurship

By Dickson S. Adama

Jos — A total of 378 young farmers at the weekend concluded a one-week training in agriculture as well as other entrepreneurial and leadership development courses at the Citizenship and Leadership Training Center, Shere Hills, Jos, Plateau State.

The training which was organized by the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) drew participants from the Apex Leading Farmers Organization across six states of the federation, including Ogun, Niger, Benue, Ebonyi, Anambra, Taraba and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.

Speaking at the closing ceremony, the course officer, Shegun Oluwashola Elisha, said the training programme was sponsored by the Federal Government to engineer food security in the nation.

He said the training would invigorate the interest of the participants in food production, processing and marketing, and inculcate in the participants a sense of self-reliance.

Nigeria

Govt to Swear in New Lawyers, Including Professor Indicted for Sex Scandal

Twenty-nine of the 30 lawyers nominated to be sworn in as Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs will on Monday take their… Read more »

Seychelles: Innovative Business in Seychelles to Turn Seaweed Into Fertiliser

A new factory on Praslin, the second-most populated island in Seychelles, is launching a new and innovative way to manage and make better use of seaweed: turning it into agricultural fertiliser.

Bernard Port-Louis told SNA that the business, called ‘Seaweed Seychelles,’ is the brainchild of his son Benjamin.

“He is currently in his final year at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia and has always believed in the sustainable development of our islands. So we have decided to develop the factory,” Port-Louis said.

“This new seaweed harvesting business will be collecting washed up seaweed, and processing it to extract the organic matter in liquid form,” he said, adding that seaweed will be collected from the inner islands.

Seaweeds are aquatic plants that live attached to rock or other hard substance in coastal areas, and the most common type found on the Seychelles beaches is ocean algae “sargassum” along with the sea grass. This happens on a large-scale during the south-east monsoon — May to October — when the sea is rough, and the algae are torn from the seabed and end up in piles on the beach.

The seaweed is not only an eyesore but is smelly and attracts flies which pose as a nuisance for people, especially beach visitors. In some areas where this problem is severe locals are contracted to clean and dispose of the seaweed.

The new factory, located on the man-made Eve island of Praslin, is near completion and Port-Louis said it is expected to be operational in two months.

Seaweed Seychelles will produce up to 8,000 litres of seaweed liquid per day, and according to Port-Louis, this will be sold to farmers as fertiliser.

Port-Louis said: “Once the liquid is extracted, the solid leftovers of the algae will be grounded to powder to produce soil conditioner, to ensure that there is no waste and all by products are fully utilised.”

This new venture has been endorsed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation which is the federal government agency for scientific research in Australia.

The factory will be using green energy for all its operations and installed a solar hot water system that can produce 4000 litres of hot water and a 12-kilowatt photovoltaic solar system to produce electricity for the daily running operation.

According to an article in the 12th edition of the Saint Ange tourism report, “the accumulation of seaweed on some of the beaches (on Praslin) has become a serious issue, posing a great challenge for hoteliers who have been trying to market Seychelles as having white sandy beaches, and crystal clear waters.”

Seaweed harvesting for processing is new in the Seychelles’ archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. The region, on the other hand, is known for seaweed farming, where this practice is common in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mauritius.

Nigeria: How Nigeria Wastes Billions On Data Capturing

By Adeyemi Adepetun

The multiple data capturing and registration exercises in the country are costing government billions of naira which, according to stakeholders, amount to duplication and waste of human and financial resources.

Many Nigerians probably must have participated in not less than four data capturing processes in the last seven years, with government agencies collecting the same set of information including biometrics each time.

These exercises include the voters’ registration through the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Bank Verification Number (BVN) through the financial institutions; international passport registration through the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS); registration of Subscribers Identification Module (SIM) through the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); Driver’s Licence through the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and lately the National Identity Number and Electronic Identification Card through the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

It was learnt that the National Population Commission (NPC) is also warming up for another data capturing should it get the nod to go ahead with its planned 2018 census.Attempt by police authorities to introduce another biometric capturing last year for use by the security agents had to be stopped by a court following public outcry against the exercise.

A senior executive in one of the new generation banks told The Guardian anonymously that banks spent close to N45 billion on the BVN registrations.Since February 14, 2014 when BVN was launched by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) through the Bankers’ Committee in collaboration with all banks in the country and February 2017, about 51.7 million accounts have been registered.

Within the last five years, the NCC and the MNOs spent over N46.1 billion on SIM registrations, which also included biometric capturing. Specifically, while NCC spent about N6.1 billion, the GSM operators, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile (Etisalat) jointly spent about N40 billion.

On September 28, 2011, the Federal Executive Council under former President Goodluck Jonathan had okayed N30.66 billion to NIMC to embark on the provision of an electronic national identity card for all Nigerians of 18 years old and above in the first phase of the exercise.The then Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, at the end of the meeting, explained that the e-national identity would assist Nigeria tackle some security issues as well as solve so many challenges of statistics in various sectors of the economy.

The Director-General of NIMC, Aliyu Aziz, revealed recently that out of the 18.5 million enrolments and registrations made since 2012, when the project started, the commission has only been able to issue 1.2 million cards.

According to a report, in 2015, the INEC spent about N87 billion on voters’ registration and other data-capturing activities.To a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, the seeming confusion arising from the uncoordinated biometric collection and storage should be resolved in favour of a single useful database.

Aluko urged NIMC to collaborate with NPC and other agencies involved in data collection in accelerating the harmonisation of the various databases currently existing in silos in the country.In an interaction with journalists, the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Shola Aderounmu, said current multifarious databases in the country created general inconveniences to citizens, who repeatedly have to queue long hours for registration.

The President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Olusola Teniola, in an interview with The Guardian, noted that the multiple exercises indicate a lack of a data template required to capture the different types of information sought by each agency and company in the case of BVN and SIM registrations.

According to Olusola, the cost of these exercises is increasing because Nigeria suffers from a science-technology deficit, where adoption of technology is done from different sources and no collaborative thought is given to the national outcome.Commenting on the matter, the Director General, Delta State Innovation Hub, Chris Uwaje, said data, database and biometrics are strictly software issues of the IT profession, stressing that this unique domain drives the World ICT Ecosystem today.

Uwaje, a former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), noted that costs of biometrics applications and solutions vary, depending on needs and intensity of requirement.

Uwaje, who recommended the establishment of the office of the IT General of the Federation, said it may be difficult to calculate the amount the country has lost to these duplicated exercises.

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