Libya reports 655 new COVID-19 cases



The National Centre for Disease Control of Libya, on Sunday, reported 655 new COVID-19 cases.

The centre said in a statement that it received a total of 2,756 suspected samples, of which 655 were tested positive.

It added that 56 patients have newly recovered and 13 more died.

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Libya so far is 17,749, including 2,081 recoveries and 285 deaths, the centre confirmed.

A series of precautionary measures against COVID-19 has been taken by the Libyan authorities since the first case was announced in March.

Such measures included closing the country’s borders, shutting down schools and mosques, banning public gatherings and imposing a curfew.

China donated medical aid to Libya in June to help the country’s pandemic battle, including 834 nucleic acid diagnostic kits, 5,000 medical protective suits, 15,000 N95 face masks, 100,000 surgical masks, 5,000 pairs of goggles and 5,000 pairs of medical gloves.


Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde
Source: NAN


Spurs’ League Cup match called off due to COVID-19 cases at Orient



Tuesday’s League Cup third round match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed after a number of Orient players tested positive for COVID-19, the Football League has said.

Orient announced on Monday that some of their players had tested positive and that its Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities would be closed until further notice.

“Tonight’s (Tuesday night’s) Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this (Tuesday) evening as scheduled,” an EFL statement said.

“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders with regard to the implications of the decision not to play tonight’s game and a further update will be provided in due course.”

Tottenham also confirmed the match was off.

It was not clear whether Tottenham had been awarded victory by default or whether the match would be re-scheduled.

Orient, who play in the English football league’s fourth-tier had also informed Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic prior to the public release of the information.

They are three of their most recent opponents.

It is a bitter blow to Orient who would have been looking forward to a 150,000 pound (190,935 dollars) windfall with the game scheduled to be screened live on Sky Sports.

Orient owner Nigel Travis said they had been looking forward to a welcome financial boost.

This is because the coronavirus pandemic ended last season early and continues to rob small clubs of matchday revenue with fans not permitted to attend games.

“The coronavirus has added 1.5 million pounds to our losses and this game would have contributed about 150,000 pounds to offset those losses. So, this is a big blow,” he said.

“We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place,” he added.

“If we don’t play the game and are forced to forfeit, it’s a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn’t work. It would be an incentive not to test.”

Tottenham actually paid for the COVID-19 testing of Orient’s players and staff which produced a significant number of positives, Travis confirmed.

“We are working with the EFL to see how it happened and the possible cause,” Travis said.


Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN
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Mixed reactions trail CBN‘s MPR cut



ical experts on Tuesday expressed mixed reactions to the 100 basis points slash in the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The financial experts spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on the outcome of the two-day meeting.

NAN reports that MPC, at the end of its two-day meeting, slashed monetary policy rate by 100 basis points to 11.5 per cent from 12.5 per cent.

Mr Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, said the committee retained the cash reserve ratio at 27.5 per cent due to inflationary pressures driven by structural policies.

Emefiele said MPR reduction would put pressure on the deposit money banks to lower cost of credit.

Uche Uwaleke, Professor of Capital Market, told NAN that he expected status quo to be maintained against the backdrop of rising inflation and pressure in the foreign market.

“By lowering the MPR by 100 basis points, the real rate of return has been dragged further into the negative territory, which is likely to affect capital inflows adversely.

“In reducing the MPR, the MPC must have been emboldened by the recent marginal accretion to reserves as well as the approaching harvest season which is expected to rein-in food inflation.

“But the reality is that with foreign investors exiting the country following COVID-19, except crude oil price recovers substantially, I see further pressure in the foreign exchange market,” Uwaleke said.

He said that the gap between the AFEX rate and the parallel market had begun to widen due to increasing demand on the back of resumption in international flights.

Uwaleke said that inflation rate would worsen due to  cost-push factors such as increase in Value Added Tax as well as hike in electricity tariffs and pump price of fuel.

“From experience, a reduction in MPR has little or no impact on economic growth due to poor transmission mechanism.

“Deposit Money Banks hardly reciprocate this gesture through a commensurate reduction in interest rate due to several other costs borne by financial  institutions arising from infrastructure deficit, especially power and insecurity.

“So, empirical studies in Nigeria have shown that a cut in MPR hardly translates to a reduction in lending rates.

“I recognise that a number of Central Banks have cut rates in response to the pandemic.  But most of them have done so because inflation rate was within the target range.

“In the case of Nigeria where inflation rate of 13.2 per cent is well above the CBN’s upper band of  nine per cent, cutting the MPR in a season of rising inflation and foreign exchange market pressure may not be a wise decision.

“The CBN has been supporting economic growth in the last few years using more of unconventional measures in line with its developmental function,” he said.

Uwaleke, also President, Capital Market Academics of Nigeria, said that MPC should have advised CBN to strengthen and scale up its interventions in the various sectors to stimulate the economy instead of rate cut.

Analysts at Cordros Research said that lower rates were intended to compel banks to extend more credit to the real sector.

They noted that banks’ concerns would still depend on asset quality and systemic risk.

“Though lower rates are intended to compel banks to extend more credit to the real sector, we note that banks’ concerns will still lie around asset quality and systemic risk.

“Consequently, we do not expect any significant growth in domestic credit or aggregate demand, especially given the historical ineffectiveness of the MPR in stimulating output and also the negative impact of the pandemic on household income.

“We also note that the CBN did not address the issue of the exchange rate and foreign exchange illiquidity, which in our view, are major hindrances to any meaningful economic recovery,” they said.

On market impact, they said that the fixed income market would likely witness a downward adjustment in yields as a consequence, making the equities market even more attractive and worth a second look.

However, Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., commended the apex bank for the interest rate cut.

Omordion said that it would encourage banks to lend to the real sector, adding that the economy would bounce back if well implemented.

He said that many retail and institutional investors would increase their participation in the equities market due to anticipated low yield in the fixed income securities due to the rate cut.


Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Source: NAN
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40 coys bid for NEPZA constituency projects



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says a total of 40 companies have expressed interest to execute some of the country’s constituency projects earmarked for 2020 to be midwifed by the authority.

A statement by Mr Martins Odeh, Head, Corporate Communications NEPZA on Tuesday in Abuja said the opening of the tender for the projects was conducted via zoom with representatives of companies that submitted their bids in participation.

The projects include empowerment of girls and women on entrepreneurship and skills in Ogoja Iyala/Bekwara,/Obudu/Obanliku in Cross River North and entrepreneurship training/ grant provision for women in Osun East Senatorial District.

It includes training on Construction/Rehabilitation of Roads in Anambra North Senatorial District while the authority’s direct projects include Environmental Audit for Kano Free Trade Zone and Environment Audit for Calabar Free Trade Zone respectively.

In his remarks, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, Managing Director of NEPZA, assured the participating companies of continued transparency and fairness until the process wasconcluded.

Adesugba, who also doubled as the chairman of the event, said NEPZA had always conducted its bidding process in line with the procurement rules, adding that such consistent positive posture had won the authority some laurels.

“This is the first time the authority is conducting this exercise via zoom and we all know why this is so.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reduce physical contact as much as possible. But let me assure you that the process will remain transparent and fair.

“The opening of expression of interest kicks off this very important exercise that would see us engaging the most qualified companies to handle the projects that we had advertised.

“Those that have expressed interest would have the opportunity to ask questions from this moment until the final day when winners would be announced.

“Be rest assured that we would be ready to provide answers to your questions,’’ the NEPZA boss said.

Meanwhile, there will opening of tender for projects on the: Provision of Learning Materials including Science Equipment and Text books to various schools in Cross River North in October 12.

Opening of tender for Provision of Computer Set/Printers and Backups in various Schools/Purchase of Laptops and Training of Youth on Repairs in Cross River North, and Supply of Empowerment Materials for Youth and Women in Zamfara West Senatorial District will also hold in October 12.

The event was witnessed by external observers which included the Bureau of Public Procurement and a number of non-state actors.

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FRC partners agencies on monitoring, evaluation, project verification



The Fiscal Responsibility Commission (FRC) says it will implement a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with some agencies to ensure monitoring, evaluation and project verification for the commission.

This formed part of the recommendations of a communique issued at the end of a week-long capacity building workshop organised by the FRC from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19.

The communique, made available by Mr Bede Anyanwu, the Head, Strategic Communications Directorate, signed by the Acting Chairman, FRC, Mr Victor Muruako.

The workshop had as its theme: “Maintaining Best Global Practices in Project Execution in a Post-COVID-19 Economy”.

Participants at the workshop recommended that an MoU be implemented by the FRC, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) and the Society of Project Management and Development Professionals International.

The MoU is aimed at developing a template for monitoring, evaluation, and verification of projects for the commission.

It was also recommended that the FRC launch a critical studies of the short-term effects, cost implications, opportunity or value loss and long-term impact of the present status quo.

It stated that this would pave way for integrated and sustainable funds allocation and also develop an enduring framework for monitoring and evaluation of public sector projects in the country.

It said the studies would promote the commission’s mandate to undertake fiscal and financial studies, analysis and diagnosis in line with international good practices and disseminate to the public.

The workshop also suggested that the FRC conduct an in-depth investigation into the incidence of abandoned or failed capital projects in the country.

“The investigation is expected to identify their causes, document them, and make the report accessible and available to the public and the government.’’

The participants further recommended that the ministries, departments and agencies should be online based and be established in line with the project management practices and software systems to ensure thorough monitoring and evaluation.

They also reiterated the need for the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 to be amended to provide sanctions for scheduled defaulting corporations.

It was further suggested the need for the commission to be adequately funded and trained to carry out independent monitoring and evaluation of projects.

Edited By: Grace Yussuf
Source: NAN
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