Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has urged the private sector to lead the charge for Nigeria’s economic growth and development as the Federal Government consolidates efforts designed to ward off a deep recession.
Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, in a statement, said the vice president spoke at a virtual edition of the Presidential Policy Dialogue of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Friday.
The vice president said that opportunities abound across different sectors in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
The vice president said the ESP, which was being implemented by the Federal Government, was driven by the desire to adapt to the challenges and make required changes in order to come out stronger than before.
“I take this opportunity to encourage the private sector to be proactive in leading the charge against recession and poverty in our country.
“The Federal Government is not under any illusion that it can do this on its own.
“The opportunities that now exist in the short term in agriculture, infrastructural development, housing construction, in renewable energy, digital technology development, mining, financial inclusion, healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturing, call for the private sector to take the bull by the horns and make them a reality.
“The priority of the Federal Government in response to the economic challenges caused by COVID-19 is to ward off a deep recession by an admixture of stimulus measures to support local businesses, retain and create jobs and ameliorate the circumstances of the most vulnerable.”
Osinbajo said that though the stimulus package was just about 1.5 per cent of GDP, it was the best the government could do given existing realities in the economy.
According to him, the government developed the ESP with a stimulus package of N2.3trillion to give fillip to the economy across various sectors.
“The size of this stimulus which is just about 1.5 per cent of national income is not as large as we would have liked it to be but it was the best we could do given existing fiscal and monetary constraints.
“ Based on the assumption of the price of crude averaging out at $30 per barrel throughout the year, we anticipate an economic growth of about -0.59 per cent in 2020.
“You would already be familiar with details of the ESP; in essence, it is intended to boost production, prevent business collapse, and provide liquidity.
“ It will also promote the use of labour-intensive methods and direct labour interventions in key areas like agriculture, light manufacturing, housing construction and facility maintenance while increasing infrastructural investment in roads, bridges, solar power, and communications technologies.
“ It is intended to do all this while extending protection to the poor and other vulnerable groups in our society.
“These opportunities are the building blocks that will enable our medium-term goals to be achieved and make our long-term goals achievable,” he said.
On the Ease of Doing Business reforms of the Federal Government, the vice president maintained that the commitment of the Federal Government to providing an enabling environment for business to thrive remained strong.
Earlier, the LCCI President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, commended the Federal Government’s “spirited effort” regarding its managing of the Nigerian economy.
She added that members of the chamber and private sector players were willing to collaborate with the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
El-Rufai to participate in maiden Kaduna Marathon on Nov. 21
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday, says the state is making arrangements to host a half-marathon on Nov. 21, 2020, tagged ‘Kaduna Runs’.
According to him, the maiden marathon will hold annually, and is meant to discover talents and attract investors to the state.
“Our hope is that it will also help reinforce Kaduna’s hard-earned reputation as an investment hub. As a fixture on the sporting and social calendars, Kaduna Runs will also attract interested persons to visit our state.”
It is a compelling idea to bring our people together in a common endeavour, he added while unveiling the event to newsmen in Kaduna.
“Let us run together. From those seeking the glory of winning a sporting contest, to young persons out to hone their talent in the half-marathon, to citizens who merely want to exercise or meet people or cheer up the runners, there is something for everyone,” he said.
The governor added that the event can also be used to raise funds for charities or to support good causes.
He therefore called on all residents – old or young, male or female, rich and poor – to support Kaduna Runs, a 13 miles half-marathon.
El-Rufai assured that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed during the event.
NAN reports that the governor obtained form to participate in the Marathon.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edo 2020: Group commends INEC on equal access for PWDs
Mr David Anyaele, the Chairman of the group, said this on Saturday in its preliminary statement on the conduct of the election.
Anyaele however, said that although priority voting was given to the PWDs, the elderly and pregnant women, other disability support aids where missing at polling units which hindered full participation of the PWDs.
“EVA4PWDs is impressed to observe that marginalised sects such as the aged, nursing mothers and pregnant women and PWDs generally were offered priority voting in most of the polling units observed.
“However, we are disappointed that INEC displayed minimal commitment to the implementation of the framework on access and participation of PWDs in the electoral process, as provided in the National Disability Act, 2018.
“The promised Braille voters’ guide and Braille ballot paper by INEC for easy access of election day instructions, guidelines and ballot paper for Blind voters were scarcely available.
“Where it was available, many INEC ad hoc staff did not understand its usage but got assistance from observers on how to use the Braille materials.
“This was the case in Polling Unit 003, Car Park Ward 1, Oredo LGA, where an observer assisted in locating the Braille material.
“There was absence of magnified lens at the Polling Units, INEC ad hoc staff who claimed to have at some polling units were unable to neither display it for observation and usage,” he said.
An Observer said that other observers reported that the Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials such as Election Day instructions and guidelines to assist the deaf or persons with hearing impairment were also unavailable at majority of the PU’s visited.
Anyaele also said that reports showed that a large numbers of the PUs were not accessible to physically-challenged persons as they were sited at buildings without ramps and handrail, across gutters, and over staircases.
He noted that INEC Covid-19 guidelines were not adhered to in majority of the Polling Units visited due to uncontrolled large crowds.
“We have reports from areas like Greater Tomorrow High School, Oredo Ward 1, Ramat Park at Ikpoba/Okha, Oredo LGA, among other Polling Units, where the crowds were uncontrollably large,” he said.
Anyaele, however, urged INEC to address the major barriers identified in the Edo elections and make necessary provisions ahead of the Ondo State Governorship election slated for Oct. 10.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the group, in collaboration with the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), an NGO, trained and deployed INEC accredited observers to the three senatorial zones of the Edo State.
The observers focused on equal voting access for persons with disabilities and monitored the provisions made by INEC for PWDs. .
Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
Banditry: Lawmaker urges FG to deploy more security to Sokoto
A Member of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Yusuf Kurdullah has urged the Federal Government to deploy more security personnel to Gudu and Tangaza Local Government Areas of Sokoto State to protect residents from recurring attacks by bandits.
Kurdullah who was reacting to the recent attack by bandits at Gidan Madi in Tangaza LGA, made the call while briefing newsmen in Sokoto on Saturday.
News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Police had confirmed the death of a Divisional Police Officer and an Inspector during the Gidan Madi attack by bandits dressed in military uniform.
The police also said about 100 gunmen attacked the town.
The lawmaker who represents Gudu/Tangaza Federal Constituency, said that the bandits had in recent times, also attacked many villages and towns in the two local government areas, where a number of innocent citizens were kidnapped or brutally killed.
He however, commended the dedication of security personnel on ground, but said more should be deployed to save the people from further attacks.
Kurdullah pledged to support all efforts to ensure the security of lives and properties, not only in the area but across the country.
He urged people of the area to remain law abiding and support security agencies with useful information to help in restoring peace and stability in the area.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Edo Poll: PDP alleges move to replace election results in Edo North
The party in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Saturday alerted the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the Department of State Services (DSS) on the allegation.
Ologbondiyan said that the PDP urged its members to remain vigilant and follow their results to all the collation centers.
He also said that it cautioned the security agencies against being used to replace results already being declared at the respective polling units.
“Already, we are aware that results are being manufactured in Kogi state to be used as replacements for already declared results, particularly in Edo North.
“We draw the attention of INEC to such results being bandied by the APC, including the fake result claimed to have emanated from Etsako West, where a vote of 914 was allocated to the APC, as against the genuine declaration at the polling units.
“Whereas polling unit results are identified as Form EC8A, the results being paraded by the APC carry a fake identification number of Form EC60E.
He said that the PDP was alarmed by the report that the development had led to avoidable post-election violence, including reported killing of innocent Edo citizens.
He alleged that the victims had come out to perform their civic responsibilities as the police allegedly withdrew their men in certain collation centres.
Ologbondiyan called on the Inspector-General of Police to protect innocent Nigerians from the violent act.
“We charge the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to ensure that his officials are not compromised to replace results.
“The people of Edo state have spoken loud and clear with their votes in their respective units, and they are already aware of the authentic results,” Ologbondiyan said.
Reacting to the statement, Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, told the News Agency of Nigeria , that INEC was committed to following through its processes and procedures for a successful and credible election.
Okoye said that INEC officers were uploading the results on the commission’s Result Viewing Portal.
“The Commission is irrevocably committed to following through its processes and procedures.
“As at 18.49p.m. 702 results have been uploaded in the INEC Result Viewing Portal.
“Our Presiding Officers are uploading Form EC8A which is the Polling Unit Result.
“Presiding Officers must complete Form EC 60E (The People’s Result Sheet), and paste at the polling unit.
“We understand the challenges posed by poor network in some of our communities and our Registration Area Technical Assistants are working hard at overcoming the challenges.
“The Commission is focused on completing the process. The Commission is not interested in the outcome but focused on the processes and procedures,” Okoye said.
Edited By: Abiemwense Moru/Donald Ugwu