Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi on Monday said that the economic recession in the country is not as bad as witnessed some months ago. Amaechi, who has assured that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail would be completed by December 2018, said this in a chat with newsmen in Lagos. Admitting that the All Progressives Congress (APC) must improve the economy, Amaechi said Nigerians should equally know that the economy was very bad when the present government took over.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, has said Nigeria produce more food than the people can consume. He stated that a huge chunk of the food got wasted due to poor storage facilities across the country.
He stated this yesterday while flagging-off the Nigeria Yam Export. Speaking at the event, Ogbeh pointed out export as one of the ways Nigeria can prevent food wastage, lamenting the country’s poor preservation capacity. He also stressed the need for Nigeria to begin to earn more foreign exchange by exporting yam.
Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO)
One of Nigeria’s longest serving public servant, Dr Abraham Nwankwo, Director General of Debt Management Office (DMO) will bow out from office on Friday after serving for ten years. Dr. Abraham Nwankwo was appointed Director-General of the Debt Management Office in 2007, having joined the services of the agency in 2001 as Assistant Director. In-between (July 2006 – July 2007), he had a stint at the Board of the World Bank where he served as Senior Advisor to the Executive Director (Africa Group II Constituency).
The Presidency has declared that Nigeria’s oil reserve estimate as per reserve has been estimated to dry up in the next 25 years to 30 years at most. The Presidency added that the focus of the government must be on gas which is also estimated to last for over 60 years, adding that his government must ensure a dramatic move into gas production.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu spoke yesterday at the 5th triennial delegates conference of the Petroleum & Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Abuja.
DG, BPSR. Dr Joe Abah.
The Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Joe Abah has explained why there is a scarcity of Nigerian passports.
He said the development was caused by the increase in the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar.
Abah told newsmen on Monday in Abuja that dollar, which was formerly exchanging between N150 to N160, was now N300 and above.
He added that the passport was not produced in Nigeria as only three companies in the world had the capacity and techniques to produce an international travel passport.
His words, “The reason for the scarcity is because since it’s not produced in the country, Nigeria had a contract with the foreign firm to do most of the production. “And at the time the contract was signed, 100 dollars was worth N15,000 which is the cost of the Nigerian passport of 32 pages, the 64 pages costs N20, 000.
“So with the naira being so much against the dollar, it meant that the N15, 000 paid by individuals will only amount to 30 dollars, not 100 dollars. “So the money citizens were paying simply could not buy it anymore and the government was a bit reluctant to increase the price threefold.
“Currently, the government is making efforts to look for ways to subsidise the cost until we can produce the passport in country or dollar drops.’’
He noted that the passport would soon be produced like the drivers’ licence in the country, adding that the available passport booklets were presently being used to clear the backlog of applicants.
“A few months ago the Comptroller-General of Immigration announced that we now have passport booklets available across the country and across the world.
“However, there had been a backlog of about six months or so people who apply newly are still waiting because they are still dealing with the people who applied before them.
“So our expectation is that in the next few months, it will ease up and we will go back to the standard timing which is supposed to be 72 hours from where all your documentation is checked and correct”, he added.
Source - Daily Post.
The Defence Headquarters has issued a short code for the Nigeria Army call centre to the general public and organisations. This was made available in a press release issued by the Director Defence Information, Major General, John Enenche in Abuja on Thursday. “The Defence Headquarters wishes to notify the General Public, Ministries, Departments, and various Agencies in Nigeria, that the Nigerian Army has established an Information Call Centre where the Nigerian Army could be easily reached for the purpose of information sharing.
>The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a planned takeover of Etisalat by a consortium of banks. As a result of this planned action the Commission wishes to state as follows:
• The Commission is aware of the indebtedness of Etisalat to the consortium of banks;
• In conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it mediated by holding several meetings with the banks, Etisalat and other stakeholders with a view to finding a resolution;
• Regrettably, these meetings did not yield the desired results.
• The NCC wishes to reassure the over 21 million Etisalat subscribers that it will do all within its regulatory power to ensure that Etisalat subscribers continue to enjoy the services provided by the operator.The Commission has taken proactive steps to cushion the impact of the takeover, this is without prejudice to the ongoing effort between Etisalat and the banks toward negotiated settlement.
In view of the recent development, NCC wishes to reassure all stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, in particular, the subscribers on the Etisalat Network that the Commission will ensure that the integrity of Etisalat Network is not compromised.
Accordingly, the Commission has drawn the attention of the banks to provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 Section 38:
Subsection 1 – The grant of a license shall be personal to the licensee and the license shall not be operated by, assigned, sublicensed or transferred to another party unless the prior written approval of the commission has been granted;
Subsection 2 – A licensee shall at all times comply with the terms and condition of the license and the provision of this Act and its subsidiary legislation.
Whilst the banks and Etisalat are working at resolving the issues, the Commission wishes to assure subscribers that they will continue to enjoy the services provided by Etisalat.
Source - NTA
The number of graduate applicants in the N-Power job recruitment scheme as at June 18, is a record 753,307, which has exceeded by 2307, the number of both graduate and non-graduate applicants in 2016.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Job creation, Mr Afolabi Imoukhuede, disclosed this to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Asaba, Delta, on Sunday describing the figure, as a landmark.
He said that the figure for 2017 was generated barely five days after the application was opened on June 14, while the applications for the previous year were got during the two and half months it was opened.
According to the SSA, N-Teach, the teacher volunteer aspect of the scheme, got the highest applications so far with 470,456 while N-Agro the Agriculture extension section of the scheme followed with 127,315.
He said that N-Health generated 85,691 applications while the latest component, the N-Tax, generated 69,842 applications in five days.
Imoukhuede said that in 2016 the total graduate applicants were 350,000 is less than 50 percent of the applications already received in less than one week of entries for 2017.
He said the reason for a large number of applications might be because “a lot of graduates now have faith in the scheme, unlike last year when many were a bit sceptical and refused to apply.’’
He said that in spite of the number, the Federal Government would restrict itself to the recruitment of 300,000 graduates in the current scheme in order not to exceed the programme’s budget for the period.
Imoukhuede hinted that the selection process would maintain same transparency as in 2016 and expressed gratitude that the hiccup in 2016 registration was completely absent in 2017.
He added that everyone to be engaged this year must satisfy the recruitment requirements outlined in the advertisement such as age and academic qualification as well as completion of the NYSC scheme.
The SSA noted that the N-Power was a lifeline provided by Muhammadu Buhari administration to curb the high rate unemployment rate in the country as promised during his presidential election campaign in 2015.
According to him, volunteerism is a global scheme performed free by those working in other countries but Buhari has promised N30,000 monthly stipend to each graduate volunteer in the country.
He advised the youth to take advantage of the scheme to improve their employability skills and also add value to the society especially in the rural areas.
He said the N-Power had received a lot of commendations from the public since its inception.
He showed NAN a particular commendation by one Lucky Odiase who also begged the“ leaders to let N-power be the hub for employment to all federal jobs’’ because “it is so transparent.’’
Other commendations had come from Olajide Abiola, Cyril Onyeama, and Umar Mohammed who hailed the engagement of N-power with the youth on timely responses to queries and concluded that it showed that “the country can get things right’’.
One Gabriel Atume simply wrote “God Almighty will bless PMB (Buhari) and Osinbajo a thousand folds for bringing dividends of democracy to the grassroots’’.
NAN reports that the applications for 2017 will last from June 14 through July 13.
Skills and knowledge are the driving forces of economic growth and social development. Despite the current high level of unemployment, harnessing Nigeria’s young demography through appropriate skill development efforts provides an opportunity to achieve inclusion and productivity within the country. Large-scale skill development is the main policy thrust of the N-Power Programme.
N-Power is also linked to the Federal Government’s policies in the economic, employment and social development arena. N-Power addresses the challenge of youth unemployment by providing a structure for large scale and relevant work skills acquisition and development while linking its core and outcomes to fixing inadequate public services and stimulating the larger economy. The modular programmes under N-Power will ensure that each participant will learn and practice most of what is necessary to find or create work. The N-Power Volunteer Corp involves a massive deployment of 500,000 trained graduates who will assist to improve the inadequacies in our public services in education, health and civic education. Some of these graduates will also help in actualising Nigeria’s economic and strategic aspirations of achieving food security and self-sufficiency.
N-Power will also be a platform for diversifying the economy. N-Power is preparing young Nigerians for a knowledge economy where equipped with world-class skills and certification, they become innovators and movers in the domestic and global markets. Nigeria will have a pool of software developers, hardware service professionals, animators, graphic artists, building services professionals, artisans and others. N-Power also focuses on providing our non-graduates with relevant technical and business skills that enhance their work outlook and livelihood.
In sum, N-Power is segmented as follows:
WHO CAN APPLY
N-Power aspires to provide a platform where most Nigerians can access skills acquisition and development. At this time, however, the initial modular programmes in N-Power are designed for Nigerian citizens between the ages of 18 and 35. You will need to meet the minimum requirements (if any) for your respective programme. Generally, the selection is based:
While there are fixed requirements along the way, we will be relying on you to take ownership of the process and take the lead in shaping your route, by making the most of the training that you will receive.
For the purposes of N-Power, Graduate means having a minimum of a Higher National Diploma (HND) or a Bachelors Degree from a higher institution.
Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun
The federal government said on Wednesday it had released about N375.8 million for payment of 20 whistleblowers who provided information that led to the recovery over N11.6 billion.
The Ministry of Finance, which confirmed the release in a statement, said the payments were the first under the Whistleblower Policy.
The government did not disclose the identities of the beneficiaries, apparently for security reasons.
“This payment is the first under the Whistleblower Policy,” the Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said in the statement.
“The payment underscores the commitment of the President Muhmmadu Buhari-led administration to meet its obligations to information providers under the Whistleblower Policy, which is an essential tool in the fight against corruption.”
The minister said recent amendments to the Whistleblower Policy of the government include the introduction of a formal legal agreement between information providers and the Federal Government.
The agreement is executed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, she said.
In line with the policy, each whistleblower would be entitled to a minimum of five percent of the money involved in the corruption case reported.
The payment of the money would, however, be made after the successful recovery of the affected sum to government coffers, while informants whose info provide false hint, risk prosecution and jail.
The minister said standard procedures had also been introduced to ensure the protection of the identities of information providers during the payment process.
Mrs. Adeosun explained that all payments were taxable and were only made upon confirmation of the final recovery of related assets, after confirmation by the Attorney-General of the Federation as being free of legal disputes.
The Minister also gave details of the Whistleblower Unit, a multi-agency team resident in the Ministry of Finance Headquarters.
The unit is staffed by personnel from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), State Security Services (SSS), the Nigeria Police Force and Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA), among others.
“The Whistleblower Unit is the first line of response to whistleblower information, where an initial review is undertaken before cases are forwarded to the relevant investigative agencies,” Mrs. Adeosun said.
The Executive Council of the Federation approved the Whistleblowers Policy launched by the Minister of Finance in December 2016 to encourage members of the public volunteer credible information about corruption cases in the country.
The policy, which is part of the government’s anti-corruption campaign, has seen the government receiving about 2,150 communications and 337 tips through the Whistleblower Unit’s dedicated channels from various Nigerians.
The minister said this has led to the recovery of substantial assets illegally acquired by individuals across the country.
Details of such asset recoveries are still not made public by the government.
Despite several demands by Nigerians, the government has continued to withhold the information, claiming most of the affected assets were still subjects of legal processes yet to be completed.
Mrs. Adeosun said the primary purpose of the Whistleblower policy was to support the fight against financial crimes and corruption, promote accountability and enhance transparency in the management of public finances.
She assured that the present administration would continue to encourage all Nigerians with information on misconduct, violation or improper activity, which could negatively impact on the country, to report to the appropriate authority.
Acting President Professor Yemi Osinbajo
This is my first time of attending a conference that talks about recovering assets and the issue of what to do with the stolen assets.
Even though we have been able to convince ourselves that the proceeds from drug trafficking were dirty money but proceeds of corruption are not dirty money.
Many countries have signed treaties that proceed from drugs, illegal traffic in persons proceeds of money.
Somehow proceeds from political corruption have not attracted the same outrage that proceeds from narcotics and trafficking in persons have attracted.
It took years for some people to agree that when somebody loots money where people make a decent living that is more criminal than a crime against humanity, more dangerous than trafficking in drugs.
Is a good thing that we are here with our partners who agree that not only are these stolen assets criminalise but that they are returned to their appropriate owners.
There is no way this the transfer of this assets can happen without a handshake between the countries that they are transferred and the international banking institutions in the countries in which they are transferred, there is no way it will happen without some form of connivance.
We have to look at somehow delegitimizing those kinds of Financial Institutions and criminalising them so that banks and financial institutions that actually engage in this are being called out and made to face the consequences of engaging in criminal practices. If that isn’t done we are not likely to go very far.
For there to be a collaboration there must first be connivance, in the agreement and conventions we will be signing we must find away and ensure that financial institutions are not given a free run and hold them accountable.
Another point is that African countries and developing countries must realise that is our responsibility to ensure not only find get these monies and make sure that there is return. It is not enough to talk about it. Some countries are somehow reluctant about it, many have civil processes that make it difficult, they say our courts are handling this matter and it is very little we can do about.
We must make it a national call, a call for other developing countries to have the same outrage for drugs, terrorist financing for illicit financial flows. We must emphasise at every point and call out institutions that are not cooperating and ensuring that they recognise that this for us a serious issue.
Like President Buhari has said repeatedly that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill it. When corrupt monies find safe havens, it will begin to fight back and if the government is not careful it can fight back.
In Nigeria for instance where corruption fights back so eloquently that government itself if not careful can be overwhelmed.
If you look at the anticorruption fight in Nigeria there is a major fight back in the media. There is a media war, between people fighting corruption and those behind the stolen funds.
It is called media trial, I don’t know what that means. If you discover for instance large sums of money in an air condition room there is nowhere it will not make news anywhere in the world.
So, this whole idea of trying to legitimise corruption is definitely being fuelled and sponsored by those who have these resources, who have stolen funds. Unless we see it as a problem that can bring down our system then we will never be able to fight. I hope we will be able to advance this with other African countries.
The Mbeki report shows that most of the illicit funds' flow that comes out of Africa are from Nigeria and that shows us very clearly especially the security agencies that we simply have to do more. It is evident that so much money is leaving our shores.
I was arguing with somebody about the fact that they were stopping certain funding, and he kept telling me Nigeria is no longer a poor country but now a mid-income earning country so they shouldn’t be giving us those kinds of aids. It was barely a week after that a large sum of money was found at the Kaduna airport and it was roughly about half of the money we were looking for. So, he sent me a text telling me that the money has been discovered at Kaduna. Of course, I didn’t reply him but when he persisted, I called him, and asked if this was his own form of a joke.
But clearly it is sometimes absurd that when we are asking for aid, so much money is being stolen. So, we ourselves must take responsibility and ensure we keep talking about this.
The British High Commission has announced that email enquiries by Visa customers applying from outside the UK would attract a fee as from June 1.
The high commission made this known in a brief report on changes to UK Visas & Immigration customer care operations made available by the Media Officer, Joseph Abuku, in Abuja on Monday.
According to the report, the changes would help the government reduce costs and ensure those who benefit directly from the UK immigration system make an appropriate contribution.
“Effective today (June 1), email enquiries by Visa customers from overseas will attract a fee.
“How you contact UK Visas and Immigration is changing.
“From 1 June, all customer enquiries will be handled by a new commercial partner Sitel UK. The new contract will see a number of changes for customers,” he said.
The high commission stated that changes were made in all phone numbers and opening hours.
Other changes made were a reduction in the number of languages offered to eight including English, and a fee of £5.48 for customers who contacted the UK Visas and Immigration by email.
“You will need to pay using a credit or debit card for contacting us by email.
“The charge includes the first email enquiry you send and any follow-up emails to and from the contact centre relating to the same enquiry.
“The way you pay to use the telephone service will remain the same using a credit or debit card.
“If you do not have access to a credit or debit card, you may choose to use a trusted 3rd party such as an agent or sponsor.”
The UK mission, however, stated that there were no changes to services for customers contacting from inside the UK.
Nigeria’s Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo says under the N100 billion social housing scheme of the present administration, anyone who can afford N30,000 will be able to own a house.
The Acting President said this at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Monday at an event tagged “A Smile for Every Nigerian” organised to commemorate the administration’s second anniversary.
Prof. Osinbajo further explained that the housing scheme was part of the administration’s social intervention programme that had not been mentioned.
Osinbajo said, “This is 100bn set aside for the Family Home Fund our Social Housing Project. The 100b is a yearly contribution to our N1trn Social Housing Fund, the largest in the history of the country.
“The World Bank and the African Development Bank are contributors to the Fund. From this Fund, developers will borrow 80% of the cost of project and counter fund with their
“The same fund will enable us to provide inexpensive mortgages for hundreds of thousands across the country who want to own homes.
“Anyone who can afford N30,000 will be able to buy a home under our new social housing fund scheme.
“Already, the project has started in 11 states. We expect that this family housing fund will jumpstart and expand construction exponentially across the country.”
Osinbajo further insisted that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth should translate into jobs.
“First the trickle down model has proved far too slow to stem the tide of poverty in one of the fastest growing populations in the world.
“Secondly, most of the growth was on account of the oil sector which is capital intensive but not labour intensive.
“So, while we were recording growth levels of 7% because of the high oil prices, unemployment figures grew, the acting president stated.”
Source - Daily Post