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Economy (18)

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has commended the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for remitting the sum of N5 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government. NANS’ President, Mr Chinonso Obasi, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said such remittance from JAMB within a short period under the leadership of Prof. Is-haq Oloyede showed a great deal of probity. Obasi said that he was in support of the Federal Government’s move to probe the former administrations of JAMB and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA). He urged the Federal Government to extend the probe to other agencies. The Federal Executive Council, FEC, presided by President Muhammadu Buhari recently ordered the probe of past heads of JAMB and NIMASA over poor remittances in the past. The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, told the FEC that JAMB for the first time remitted N5 billion to the government with a balance of N3 billion still to be remitted. She said it was a big difference when compared to maximum N3 million per annum remitted in the past. Obasi said that the remittance of such amount from a non-focal revenue generating agency of government underscored the importance of transparency in the administration and management of government business. “The development is highly commendable and all heads of Federal Government agencies and parastatals should emulate the registrar of JAMB. “I urge President Buhari to beam his eagle eyes on all other agencies of the Federal Government to ensure that all loopholes that encourage corrupt practices are prevented and blocked. “Corruption is evil and the worst thing that can happen to a country in dire need of financial resources for development. “I wonder why any right thinking person would choose to abuse public trust bestowed on him by engaging in corrupt practices, stealing public funds that can used in addressing other development challenges,’’ he said. Obasi called on Nigerians occupying public offices to endeavour to be responsible and patriotic in the management of government businesses. He reiterated his call for the inclusion of the association in anti-corruption fight in order to stamp out the scourge and channel resources to critical needs of national development. He said that the association would reach out to Federal Government agencies with a view to fostering interaction and building leadership capacity for Nigerian students.

ice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the problem of irregular power supply in Nigeria is caused by inaccurate billing system resulting from insufficient metering machines. Osinbajo made the remarks on Saturday in Onna local government area of Akwa Ibom while inaugurating an Electric Metering Factory as part of activities marking the 30th anniversary of Akwa Ibom creation. The vice president said that Nigeria’s economic development hinged on effective power supply, lamenting that Distribution Companies (DISCOs) had not been able to collect tariffs because of non-availability of meters. “The electric metering factory is an important project. Inadequate power is the major obstacle to full economic development in Nigeria. “We have also identified the facts that DISCO is unable to collect tariffs effectively from consumers because we are unable to afford the cost of metering. “I think that there is an important policy innovation as there is no restriction on those who can actually produce meter for our consumers,” Osinbajo said. He commended the Akwa Ibom governor for establishing the metering factory, saying that the Federal Government was looking forward to other several factories across the country. “The country is open up for this kind of enterprise and we are looking forward to a lot more activities. “But we are looking at 2.7 million units of meters annually here and this is absolutely fantastic. “I know that job opportunities here will be substantial for a start,” Osinbajo said. In his speech, the Akwa Ibom governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, said that his administration was partnering with private sectors to put the state on the path of industrialization. Emmanuel said that the factory would manufacture an average of one million meters per year and thanked the investors for their confidence in the state. “The essence of this industry is to ensure power for all. Once you can buy recharge cards, you can have electricity, it is available for all. “The capacity can be doubled from 2.7 to 5.4 to enable us pay for the power that we generate. “The project is a private initiative for the betterment of all Akwa Ibom people and for Nigeria at large,” Emmanuel said. Vice President Osinbajo also inaugurated a syringe manufacturing company constructed by a Turkish firm in partnership with the state government. The company is expected to produce 2ml, 5ml and 10ml disposable syringes respectively at an annual production capacity of 350 million units. The Etinan General Hospital refurbished by Gov. Emmanuel was also inaugurated by the vice president, who was the special guest of honour at the 30th anniversary of Akwa Ibom creation. The hospital had witnessed a facelift with modern facilities and wards fitted with new electrical beds, well equipped theatres to manage all kinds of surgeries and fully stocked pharmacies.

With over 62 million Nigerians unable to read nor write, Nigeria is said to be contributing about 6 per cent of the over 1 billion persons around the World who can neither read nor write. The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult Education and Non-Formal Education disclosed in Kebbi that the nation’s illiteracy burden was still high. Prof. Abba Haladu, Executive Secretary of the commission said this while on a courtesy visit to the Emir of Gwando in Kebbi state as part of activities to mark the International Literacy Day celebration. Haladu who called on the state government to ensure that its indigenes could read and write said that illiteracy burden was still very high in the Northern part of Nigeria. “The North-East and North‎-West of Nigeria have the biggest challenge as far as illiteracy is concerned and Kebbi state has a large share of it. “We use this opportunity to reiterate and appeal to the state government and Emirate council ‎to ensure the large number of non- literate citzens are provided with the access and opportunity to be able to read and write. “Also to enshrine in the them the culture of life long learning, so that will be the root of the development of the people of Kebbi state and nigeria as a whole. He thanked the Emir and the state government for their support to mass literacy and Non-Formal Education. Haladu also thanked the Emirate council and state government for the honour to host the 2017 International Literacy Day. The Minister of Education, ‎Mallam Adamu Adamu in his remarks said Nigeria had a high illiteracy rate and the highest number of out of school children. Adamu, represented by Mr Jonathan Mbaka, Director, Basic and Secondary Education in the Ministry, however said the present ‎administration was doing everything to address the issue . The minister said education was the foundation for growth and development adding that any nation that neglects education was heading for failure. “This administration will not stop stressing the need for literacy; we are advocating for inclusive education for all,” he said. In his response the Emir of Gwandu, Alhaji Iliyasu Bashar said the government of Kebbi was committed to ensure all children were educated in the state. Bashar who is the 20th Emir of Gwando and a Retired Maj-Gen, noted that Gwando had been the centre for Islamic education ‎since after the Jihad. Bashar however acknowledged that education was one of the problems in some local governments of the state. “In one of the local governments we visited recently; we have told them to find out how many primary schools, classrooms, how many boys and girls in school and how many qualified and un qualified teacher they have. “We are very concerned about education in the state and we want all our children to be educated. ” The Emir also said that the Governor of the state had taken the responsibility to pay for scholarships for students in higher institutions. He called on parents to ensure their children were educated saying nobody wants to associate with an illiterate. The Emir also called on the Commission for Mass to ensure illiteracy is eradicated in the country. “Education is vital, with education you know what is happening, government and people will work with you. “It is time for us in Nigeria to correct this neglect to ensure we are no longer seen as a country that has the highest number of uneducated people. ” The theme for 2017 literacy day is “Literacy in a Digital world. ” The two day celebration which commenced on the 20th has in attendance education stakeholders from across the country and international bodies.

There is outrage in the land over the decision of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing to handover the Apapa to Oworonshoki end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, a 35 kilometres long highway to the Dangote Group to rebuild using concrete, and as well getting a recompense in the form of 10-year tax holiday. Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had disclosed at the Business Day Road Construction Seminar last Friday in Lagos, that the contract for the road network comprising Creek Road, Liverpool Road, Marine Beach all the way to Mile 2, Oshodi, Oworonshoki, to the Lagos end of the Toll Gate on the Ibadan Expressway was signed with the Dangote Group on September 12, 2017. Fashola said to encourage the Dangote Group to embark on the project which the government is still waiting for its designs, the government had approved an upward review of a tax incentive to the group to 10 years. But Nigerians, especially activists have kicked against the move by the Federal Government through the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Fashola to handover the road to Dangote in exchange for 10-year tax holiday. Comrade Debo Adeniran, founder, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL condemned the move to grant tax holiday to Dangote, saying that it was a continuation of the monopoly or advantages given to Dangote. “Dangote has been able to corner all businesses in the country,” he said, adding that he had no confidence in the judgment of Fashola in awarding the contract to Dangote for a 10-year tax holiday. “It is unthinkable that every aspect of Nigeria’s life is being given to Dangote. One will not know how they arrive at what Dangote will pay as tax. Nobody knows what he pays as tax per annum. If this idea has emanated from Buhari, people will say it is nepotism, but Fashola encourages the private sector to exploit the masses. “If Dangote does not pay tax, the treasury will be depleted. The move is a slap on Nigerians. Dangote has gained a lot from Nigerians that he should be able to fix the road without being given tax holiday,” he said. According to Nelson Ekujumi of the Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM), “I don’t think the construction of the road is commensurate. It is not a wise decision, Dangote has businesses all over the nation and the money that will accrue to government will be loss. “Government should stop this idea, it is not economical and viable. We need to sit down and look for ways to construct the road. We will challenge this decision.” Comrade ‘Biodun Aremu of the Joint Action Front, JAF, frowned at government’s attempt to give up public assets to private interest, saying it was always good for the government to take ownership of public assets. Aremu said there was need to know how much Dangote pay as taxes to the government and compared it to the valuation of the road, adding that if the taxes he had to pay for the next 10 years was not equal to the amount to be used in constructing the road, then there is a problem. Shina Loremikan of the Campaign Against Impunity, said “I hope we will soon get out of the darkness we find ourselves, unbecoming of an individual to get everything for himself. Some years ago, Dangote got a monopoly to operate the cement industry. If you give him such road, what will happen to others? “I am afraid that we are getting deep into the darkness we find ourselves. This idea of privatization is getting too much by giving all to one man. The government should go back to the drawing board. Not paying tax will have consequence on the economy.” A Nigerian, Felicia Akinwale said roads should be tolled, but noted that “I don’t support giving tax holidays to Dangote in exchange for road repairs. The actions of the man caused a lot of these bad roads in the first instance. He must be paying a premium for all the footprints his business is causing like potholes on our roads.” According to AyoJon Yinka, “I’m used to toll roads that have feeders. So, toll roads can be avoided and not forced. Also, no design has been tendered but concession has been approved. Did you read in any paper that the process was advertised?”

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