The Lagos State Government says it is engaging a holistic approach to restarting the state’s economy and re-imagining its operations toward surviving the COVID-19 pandemic in its year 2021 budget.
Mr Samuel Egube, the State Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget, made this known at the 2021 Budget Consultative Forum on Tuesday in Lagos.
Egube said that in order to minimise the effect of the pandemic, the state government had implemented interventions along the line of aggressive healthcare responses, business support, sustainability measures and relief to the poor.
“The state government has increased commitment to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises MSMEs to help them during and post COVID-19.
“We intend to adopt consolidation and tactical redirection to areas that would help employment, food production and security, particularly to overcome the effects of COVID-19.
“We are going to flag off our internship programme by the Ministry of Wealth.
“The idea is to get people to work, and the state government will pay them, while working for SMEs to gather experience and tackle unemployment,” the commissioner said.
He said that for half of the year 2020, the state recorded a budget performance of 57 per cent (N334. 838bn), which was in absolute terms higher than the 73 per cent (N316.676bn) for the same period of 2019.
“The COVID-19 pandemic with its resultant health and economic impacts greatly affected the state, like other geographies around the world and changed the context within which we execute development agenda.
“Within this very difficult context, LASG was able to achieve greater revenues, while managing expenditure with revenue stronger by six per cent against the approved budget.
“We will continue to minimise wastage through tighter expenditure controls and promote prudent spending.
“Plans to invest in comparative advantage areas such as aquaculture for quick wins was underway,” he said.
For the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the commissioner said that the state was providing wage subsidies based on maintaining payroll and enhancing the access of SMEs to short term funding through the State Empowerment Trust Fund.
He added that the state also focussed on agriculture as plans to finish the Rice Mill at Imota and undertake a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concession afterwards was underway.
“Rice Mill at Imota is expected to employ 300, 000 people and is at 75 per cent completion.
“It is expected to produce 120, 000 Metric Tonnes annually, and increase local rice production by 75 per cent.
“Efforts are also ongoing to train rice farmers on the right variety of rice to produce to feed the mill,” he said.
The commissioner said that continued efforts to digitise the state were ongoing.
On the economic outlook for year 2020, he said that forecasts suggest 2020 GDP growth would be severely impacted followed by a sharp rebound of 3.5 per cent.
Earlier, Mr Adebayo Sodade, Special Adviser on Economic Planning and Budget, said the forum was an avenue to update the stakeholders on the half year performance of the budget.
Sodade said it also brought to general knowledge the resources available for the next budget, taking into cognisance all economic variables and externalities such as crude oil prices, inflation, interest rates and the effect of COVID-19 on the economy.
“Rubbing minds with you also provides us an ample opportunity to share ideas geared toward the greater Lagos project, while ensuring that your desired interests are adequately captured in the development agenda,” he said.
Sodade urged citizens to fulfil their civic responsibilities through regular payment of taxes, monitoring of government projects and reporting observed lapses.
He also called for the protection of public facilities and infrastructure, obedience to traffic and safety rules and regulations, ensuring environmental friendliness and security consciousness for a greater Lagos.
The special adviser said government had planned to improve revenue and overall service delivery by widening the tax base to meet citizens’ expectations.
Edited By: Bola Akingbehin/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)https://nnn.ng/lasg-holds-consultative-forum-for-y2021-budget-adopts-holistic-approach-to-covid-19/
Survival Fund: FG releases registration schedule as portal opens Monday
As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries for the Survival Fund opens on Monday, the Federal Government has released the timetable for categories of businesses to register.
A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Project Delivery Office stated that the portal which opens at 10 PM, will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.
“Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday September 21, 2020.
“In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office (PDO) has designed a registration schedule.
“Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
“The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday September 28, 2020,” the statement said.
The office therefore advised those interested in benefiting from the fund to take note of the schedule and also log on to http://www.survivalfund.ng to register for the payroll support initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID– 19 pandemic.
The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Osimhen, young lad with head of 40-year-old — Gattuso
Napoli’s coach Gennaro Gattuso on Sunday dished out rare praises on new Nigerian signing Victor Osimhen, describing him as “a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old”.
Osimhen became Napoli’s record signing when he joined from Lille in the summer for a reported 70 million euros.
He was brought on for his debut after an hour of Sunday’s Serie A match and the Nigerian made an instant impact in their 2-0 win.
”I was struck by Osimhen’s serious attitude. He has not forgotten where he came from and the sacrifices he made.
”He built himself up on his own and I congratulate him for his will and desire.
“He is a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old. I hope he does not make mistakes and does not change his attitude,” Gattuso said.
Osimhen, 21, grew up in a tough district of Lagos, lost his mother at a young age and along with his brother and sister, sold bottled water in Lagos traffic to help his family make ends meet.
Gattuso said he wanted to get Napoli back into the top four again after last year’s turbulent season, where they finished seventh after a late recovery and won the Coppa Italia.
”It is natural that, given the history of the last 10 years, we want to return to the top four.
”I want to see a well-organised team that have clear principles in their heads and that know how to make themselves available in difficult moments,” the coach said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi)
Edo 2020: NCFront commends security on neutrality, wants more from INEC on logistics
The National Consultative Front (NCFront) on Sunday commended stakeholders for peaceful and credible Edo gubernatorial election, applauding the security for its neutrality and professionalism.
The group disclosed this in its “Major Assessment and Verdict on Edo Governorship Election”, it issued.
It was jointly issued by Comrade Isa Aremu, Dr Tanko Yunusa, Prince Chris Azor, Mr Georgina Dakpokpo, Ayaba Olubunmi and Mr Ejiro Ofoye on behalf of NCFront Elections Monitoring Team.
The nonpartisan group, which commended the security for visible neutrality and professionalism in preventing thuggery and attempted malpractice in some polling units, advised the officers not to rest on their oars.
According to the group, more are still expected from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on logistics and in the conduct of some political parties and their agents.
The group said that party agents were expected to be more adherent to subsisting electoral ethics and rules, which forbade voters’ inducement, vote buying, thuggery and violence during elections, ballot snatching and stuffing.
It said that the political parties should always exercise respect for the Peace Accord their parties and candidates signed before elections.
“NCFront wishes to call on the INEC, as the main elections management body in Nigeria to always ensure that improved elections logistics are henceforth put in place and deployed on time.
“INEC must urgently employ latest technology required to make elections transparent and credible in Nigeria so that elections are not ruined by violence and ultimately decided by the Courts instead of the electorate.
“However, the Police, being the lead security agency, would still need to do more to assure the Nigerian electorate, especially, through improved conduct of its personnel that they can reliably stand on the part of the law in maintaining peace and order during elections.
“This must be done instead of their regular recourse to intimidation of eligible voters, which has always occasioned recline of voters on election day and electoral manipulation in another instance,” it said.
The group, however, commended INEC for being above board in its conduct during the poll.
The NCFront also commended the Edo people for the relative peace witnessed during the poll and credibility of the electoral process, inspite of the violent build up.
The group while congratulating the winner of the election called on Gov. Godwin Obaseki to be magnanimous in victory by extending the hands of fellowship to all his fellow contestants in building a united and stable government and state.
NAN reports that NCFront, a nonpartisan pan-Nigerian conscience group, deployed 600 cadres of observers/monitors, in conjuction with its INEC accredited partners, in the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo for monitoring of the governorship elections.
The group commended INEC for giving priority to Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), and other vulnerable groups especially the elderly during the electioneering process.
It, however, added that some of the polling units were not accessible to some categories of PLWDs.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu
Iru land is committed to environmental, national development- Oba Lawal
The Oniru of Iru Land, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, Abisogun II, says the Kingdom is committed to national, environmental and security development for the growth and progress of Lagos State and Nigeria.
Lawal made this known when the Governor of Ekiti State and Chairman of the Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi paid him a courtesy visit on Sunday in Lagos.
The monarch said that various developmental projects were already in place for the benefit of Iru land.
Lawal disclosed that over the past few weeks, Iru land had carried out various exercises bothering around environmental awareness and development such as tree planting and the cleanup of the beach fronts in Iru land.
According to him, the need to maintain a healthy environment will at the long run translate to a generally healthy community, hence the importance of being committed to environmental development.
“I am very grateful and delighted that you are here all the way from Ekiti State. We see all that you are doing in your state and we feel the impacts here in Lagos State as well.
“It is a thing of joy that you have successfully played your part as a governor in developing our nation.
“As governors and traditional rulers, we are enjoined to play our parts in making the nation great again.
“This is why, over the last few weeks here in Iru, we have been engaging in activities bothering around environmental development.
“We started with a tree planting where we distributed no fewer than 1,500 seedlings for coconut and other trees as well as the beach cleanup where we cleaned up waste from beach fronts all around Iru.
“This brings me to the issue of waste management. We need to promote the use of reusable bags as against single use plastic bags,” the Oniru said.
The traditional ruler said that the security of the states’ Liason Offices at the Oniru Beach Front was of optimum importance as the offices were old and dilapidated hence they served as hideouts for miscreants and hoodlums.
“We have written to the Police and I will like you to use your office as the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum to look into this.
“Let us see how the palace can collaborate with those states because a lot of people come into this axis and their security should be our priority.
“We have a lot of financial institutions there, investors as well so we need to redevelop those places.
“There is what we call land value capture in land economics, where property of government, especially those that are not fit for the purpose they were built but are strategically located.
“Such property can still be utilised in some way and it will generate a lot of impact and revenue still comes back to the owners of such property” the Oba said.
The Oniru said that governors and traditional rulers should be able to work hand in hand to bring security and environmental health to people in the community hence, traditional rulers should be included in governance apart from their traditional responsibilities.
He appealed to Fayemi to support the call for giving traditional rulers a role in governance, saying that as traditional rulers, they were more informed about the communities’ needs and they were like a grassroots government.
He said that Iru land always looked forward to a regional integration with neighbouring states such that any development or project proposed was mostly welcome because they would have a positive impact on the national economy.
Earlier, Gov. Fayemi, who expressed delight being at the palace of the Oniru, said that he had no doubts in the abilities of the traditional ruler to deliver his optimum best to the people of Iru land.
Fayemi said that Iru land was one of the primmest and economically viable lands in Nigeria, adding that Oba Lawal was bound to leave it in a better state than he met it considering his many years of experience and the projects that he had already started.
“I am extremely delighted to be here today. This is like a home to me; Kabiyesi has been my brother for years, the better part of the last three decades.
“We have been coming on this journey of progressive development in our communities so I am especially delighted that he has been chosen by our ancestors to continue in the path of our fathers in this very critical community to Lagos and to Nigeria.
“I have no doubts in my mind that his period on the throne is going to be beneficial to our country.
“He is not just a progressive thinker, he is exposed, experienced and has an extensive knowledge of development at the local community and global level.
“The Oniru has received first class education in community development and he has network that will benefit this special community,” he said.
Fayemi said that issues concerning the liaison offices would be looked into by the governors’ forum and everything would be done to ensure the security of the beach front.
He said that he had been abreast of all the developmental projects and programmes that the monarch engaged in since he ascended the throne, adding that he was certain that Iru land was in the best of hands.
“I pray that your reign continues to bring in more prosperity and peace to your people. Everything you lay your hands upon since your ascending the throne will prosper and yield positive results and may God take evil far away from you.
“In the little time I have spent with you, we have discussed nothing but the development of Iru land and you have very grand ideas on how to turn this place around already.
“I am delighted and excited at the opportunities that are staring us in the face with you as our royal father,” Fayemi said.
Edited By: Grace Yussuf