Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to direct funds from taxes collected from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB) to finance health issues.
They made this call at a Stakeholders Roundtable organised by the National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) a Non-governmental Organisation in Abuja.
The meeting is themed “Exploring pathways for Increasing the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax”.
Speaking at the event, Mr Bernard Enyia, Secretary-General, Diabetes Association of Nigeria and Co-chair, National Action of Sugar Reduction Coalition, said there was need to insist that government spends the funds got from taxing SSBs to improve health systems.
“We have achieved the fight where N10 per litre has been imposed as exercise tax for manufacturing of sugar sweetened beverages.
So the reason for the meeting is to step up on how the funds will be utilized.
“Also to expand our engagement to other relevant stakeholders who will help, so that healthy food policies, not just sugar sweetened beverages, can be made so Nigeria can achieve good health.
“We are building up to channel pathways in which government of the day, be it the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Nigerian Custom Services and NAFDAC as well as agree on a decision on how a citizen will benefit regarding the utilisation of the fund.
” Enyia added that they are also looking at ways to bring about an increase in the taxes to meet up with the World Health Organisation standard which is 20-30 per cent.
” So it’s not as if we are asking too much but it’s that, at the level of the National Assembly, that was all that was approved.
We are trying to gather more evidence and data to show that that percentage is a far cry.
So we need to achieve the WHO standard which is 20 per cent to 30 per cent.
“We realised that there was no policy that the money should be channelled to the health care delivery system, so there must be a legislation and that is what we’re pushing here.
“So the coalition will continue to engage every relevant stakeholder in this case the legislators that will help to channel and make a policy that will be adopted.
“Nigerians, generally, need to know the harmful effects of excessive consumption of sugar in our drinks and other products.
We must know the dangers of consuming it and we are also letting them know the benefits of tax.
” Enyia also a diabetic patient, said the tax was not just there to generate funds for government but intended to be plowed back to the health care system.
“It is a win-win for both the government and the citizens.
We generate funds for the government and then health benefits for the citizens.
“So, if we have this understanding, then everyone would have to support this particular move so that at the end of the day, we would have good health care condition for our citizens,” Enyia said.
Prof. Adebayo Adeyemi, Director, Scientific Affairs, Nigerian Heart Foundation and Former Vice-chancellor, Bells University of Technology, said that just as TETFUND was earmarked to fund university infrastructure, every tax derived from SSB should be used to strengthen health facilities.
Adeyemi also a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) noted that the tax should be used for public health and public health financing especially in the treatment of Non-communicable diseases.
On his part, Dr Samuel Adejare, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Health, National House of Representatives, said enough had not been done to review the laws in the country.
He urged the coalition and citizens to always ensure they pass any bill they want to become law through the members of the national assembly to facilitate its fast movement in the house.
Adejare also called for more advocacy and education on the general public to make them understand the reason for these taxes, adding that the national assembly would be ready to support them.
According to him, the revenue from SSB cannot not just be diverted to health financing until there is a legislation and policy on it, just is it is with TETFUND, he therefore, urged the coalition to come up with bills that will help achieve this.
Mr Denis Ituma, Chief Superintendent of Customs Department of Excise, Free Trade Zone and Industrial Incentives said all companies producing SSB have been complying fully with the payment of the tax.
According to Ituma, customs had started the implementation of taxing all companies producing SSBs since June 1st, 2022, this he said started with the sensitisation of the companies on the need for the taxation.
“The N10 per litre of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages has been implemented on June 1, and all excise duties have been collected and paid into the federation account.
Ituma however, noted that one of the challenges in the policy document given to NCS was that some products made from milk like yorghuts, bobo, etc were not included in the list of beverages to be taxed adding that this should be addressed.
He also called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Commission (NAFDAC) to beam their search light on labelling of products noting that most labels on products do not carry the composition of ingredients used in the production of the products.
Responding on the issues of fake labels and composition of SSB products, Mr Ozigis Abdalsalam, Director FCT, NAFDAC said the agency have regulation on nutritional sweeteners in respect to adults and children.
“We are a scientific organisation that work with evidence, there are other strategies that can be used to regulate sugar consumption, also post marketing surveillance is used to monitor products to ensure quality sustainability.
“You also can buy and sue a company for defective products which NAFDAC must be aware of,” The News Agency of Nigeria reports that National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR) is a coalition with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles by reducing consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs)in Nigeria.
The Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), has accepted to accommodate the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) peculiarities allowances in the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information Payment System (IPPIS).Mr Okolieaboh Sylva, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, said this at a meeting of the union with the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr. Chris Ngige, and the leadership of the House of Representatives on Thursday in Abuja.Sylva said that if there were peculiarities allowances in ASUU’s pay, what needed to be done was to incorporate them in the platform, adding that the office of the Accountant General was willing to incorporate ASUU’s peculiarities.“Let us sit down and know what these issues are and address them inside IPPIS.We can correct whatever mistake we make now, ” he said.Sylva expressed reservation over ASUU’s insistence for the incorporation of the UTAS payment platform for its members.“If we accept what ASUU is saying, it will create room for everyone to be asking for their own payment platform, the military is on IPPIS and health workers, ASUU should sit down with us and see the progress we have made,” he said.Sylva said that the incorporation of ASUU’s demand on IPPIS platform could be done without President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval, adding that there was nothing complicated about the issue once ASUU agreed to the offer.“In the spirit of reconciliation, if ASUU knows what can be done, we are willing to adopt it to resolve this issue.It doesn’t make sense not to accept, let ASUU come to us, we are willing to accept.“If we are going to adopt UTAS, that shows we are going to build the salaries of other civil servants to UTAS,” he said.Speaking, Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Productivity said the federal government would not offer ASUU what it does not have.Ngige said that the ASUU leadership met with the President on Jan.9 with the hope of convincing government to adopt it UTAS platform for lecturers salaries.“I told Mr President to let us give it a trial and I took it upon myself, I went to NITDA and other agencies and we looked at the the system,” he said.He said that the three platforms brought by ASUU failed the integrity test, adding that he couldn’t recommend the adoption of any of them, no matter the pressure.Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, President, ASUU said it was unfortunate that Nigerians failed to understand how the university system operate.Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila appealed to ASUU to call off its ongoing strike.He added that the executive had spoken, just as the the judiciary, and the legislature.“Everybody cannot be wrong.“We are working according to everything we said in our last meeting, please in the interest of our children , we have called you in spite of the court ruling,” he said..On the the issue of UTAS, Gbajabiamila said the report was with the lawmakers.“We are more or less working for you.There come a time all conflicts come to an end.We will make our recommendation to the President.“You have a very good case, the minister dropped a bombshell before he left but I didn’t pay attention.I understand your feeling and emotion.“You are not doing it for yourself but the enabling environment and the future of our children.Please let’s take it and get to the final destination,” he said.NewsSourceCredit: NAN
The National Assembly leadership onThursday met the Minister of Finance and top officials of the Ministry in preparations for the 2023 budget presentation by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mr Ola Awoniyi, the Special Advised to President of Senate, said this in a statement in Abuja that the National Assembly team was led by President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila.
“The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed and Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr Clement Agba led their team of officials of Finance Ministry to the meeting.
The meeting which held at the Senate wing of the National Assembly was behind closed doors,” Awoniyi said.
He said that the meeting was a follow-up to the previous ones held to fine tune the preparation of the budget, ahead of its presentation to a special joint session of the National Assembly by the President in October.
The House of Representatives has urged the National Emergence Management Agency (NEMA) to provide support for victims of fuel tanker explosion in Ankpa, Kogi. The resolution was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rep. Ibrahim Halims (APC-Kogi) at plenary on Thursday.
Moving the motion, Halims said that on Sept. 28, at about 9 a.
m., a tanker laden with Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) lost control in Ankpa town of Kogi. The lawmaker said that the situation resulted in a fatal accident in which no fewer than 40 persons have so far been confirmed dead.
He said that many vehicles and other property of his constituent were damaged by the fire.
“This has thrown my constituency and my town into great mourning since yesterday and I want this assembly to sympathise with my people,” he said.
Halims also prayed the house to call on the Federal Government through the relevant agencies to assist families of those who lost their lives and those who lost their property in the carnage.
The house observed a minute silence in honour of the dead and the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila mandated relevant committees to ensure compliance.
Buhari confers National Honour on Sen. Bamidele.
Award By Julius Toba-Jegede Abuja, Sept. 29, 2023 President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the conferment of a national honour on the Senator representing Ekiti Senatorial District, Sen. Opeyemi Bamidel.
A copy of the letter of award made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday indicated that the conferment inauguration will be don on Oct. 11 in Abuja.
This is contained in a statement released by Bamidele’s Media Office, stating that the Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, is listed among the recipients of the 2022 National Honours Award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
NAN reports that Bamidele also doubles as the Chairman, Southern Senators’ Forum in the 9th Assembly.
The letter which conveyed the award was signed by the Honourable Minister of Special Duties and Inter-government Affairs, Sen. George Akume on Sept 16. The letter from the Minister reads thus: “I have the honour to formally inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, has approved the conferment of the National Honours on you, in the rank of CON, Commander of the Order of the Niger.
“The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the International Conference Centre, Abuja on Tuesday, Oct.11,at 9am.
” NAN further reports that Bamidele was a member of the 7th House of Representatives between June 2011 to June 2015) where he served as the Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research.
He also served as Honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State between July 2007 and February 2011. Before then, he had served as the Honourable Commissioner for Youths, Sports and Social Development in Lagos State from July 2003 to May 2007 as well as the Special Adviser to the Governor on Political and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Lagos State between July 2000 to May 2003. Bamidele obtained Bachelor of Arts (with honours) degree from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, in 1986; Bachelor of Laws degree (with honours) from the University of Benin, Edo and graduated from the Nigerian Law School in 1992. He thereafter proceeded to the University of New Hampshire’s Franklin Pierce Law Centre, USA where he bagged a Master of Laws degree in Intellectual Property Law and Licensing and Transfer of Technology in 1996. A lawyer without border.
Bamidele passed the New York Bar Exams and was called to the New York Bar as an Attorney and Counselor at Law of the State of New York in January 1999. He is a Notary Public of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Among the bills sponsored by himvis a Bill for the Establishment of the Federal University of Medical and Environmental Sciences, Iyin-Ekiti in Ekiti.
He also sponsored the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Establishment Act (Amendment) Bill of 2021, seeking to strengthen and extend the life of AMCON.
The AMCON Bill has already been assented to by President Buhari.
He also played a major role in the passage of thee Petroleum Industry Bill as well as the new Electoral Bill, both of which had been assented to by the President and which are already redefining the economic and political landscape of Nigeria respectively.
Bamidele is also a member of the prestigious Body of Benchers, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Consultants as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Nigeria.
As a foremost political activist and human rights lawyer during the dark days of military dictatorship in Nigeria, Bamidele says he dedicates the National Honour to the slain and living legends of democracy in Nigeria and to our common humanity at large.
The chief of Japan’s lower house of parliament came under fire on Thursday for admitting he had links to the controversial Unification Church religious organisation.
Hiroyuki Hosoda, a veteran ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmaker and speaker of the House of Representatives, admitted in a statement that he had given two speeches and appeared in two meetings held by the Unification Church or related groups.
In the statement, Hosoda said he attended such gatherings on four occasions in 2018 and 2019 and that he was interviewed by a related group in 2019, local media reported.
Hosoda also said a group with connections to the Unification Church had offered to support him in his previous election campaigns.
The group is based in his constituency in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan.
His admission drew flak from opposition parties, with Kazuo Shii, head of the Japanese Communist Party, lambasting and calling on him to step down as speaker of the lower house if he could not explain his links to the church.
The church is often referred to as a cult in parliament.
“If he cannot do that, he should immediately step down as lower house speaker,” Shii said.
The ruling LDP, headed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, is already under pressure to explain its connections to the church, known for coercing massive amounts of money from its followers in return for “spiritual” or “karmic” benefits.
Earlier this month, an internal probe by the LDP revealed about half of the LDP’s lawmakers had ties with the controversial organisation, formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification.
Kishida is now expected to be cross-examined by opposition parties over the matter in an extraordinary parliamentary session convened for Monday, amid waning public support for the LDP, according to recent polls.
The latest revelation said the LDP and the Unification Church come amid mounting concerns by opposition parties and the public that the dubious religious organisation has been seeking to influence politics in Japan by deepening its ties with the LDP.
Mr Sola Osolana,candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Agege Federal House of Representatives on Wednesday promised to deliver the goods in the constituency if elected in 2023. Osolana made the promise at the flag- off of his campaign in Agege,Lagos State.
He said he would serve the people of the constituency diligently and impact lives positively if elected .
“I wish to say this is not just the usual deceptive campaign theatrics of politicians in Agege and Orile Agege, “This is not to engage in unfulfilled promises at every election season like this.
“I promise to serve you diligently if elected ,I will deliver the goods”,he said.
According to him,he is contesting to address some of the development issues in Agege and uplift the people of the constituency.
Osolana said he was committed to the progress of Agege and the people of the constituency.
“Please give me your mandate, I will serve you well,” he said.
Osolana said his programmes had been well-articulated and tailored to address the deprivations that the constituency had suffered over the years .
The PDP candidate said that he would, at all times, bring into focus the concerns and needs of the people of Agege Federal Constituency.
“Getting to the National Assembly on your mandate by God’s grace, my programmes will come from two flanks: through promoting legislation that will address our needs and through direct personal interventions to support the great people of my constituency, He said he would promote primary health services ,empowerment of youths and women if elected.
Osolana said his direct personal interventions would be focused at supporting the weaker members of the constituency in the areas of their health needs, education, empowerment, and youth sporting engagements.
He said he strongly believed the people of the constituency would support his aspiration and vote him to represent them in 2023.
The Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology (NISLT) on Wednesday organised a one-day knowledge acquisition workshop to improve the practice and use of science laboratory kits.
The programme held in Ibadan in collaboration with the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Science Research Institutes, Mr Musiliudeen Akinremi, was aimed at revamping Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The Director-General, NISLT, Mr Yemi Gbadegesin, said that the institute would continue to provide practical demonstration in all science subjects using modern facilities and human resources.
According to him, the institute has identified the dearth of science laboratories across the state which should be handled vigorously with the provision of modern facilities.
“We understand the importance of Science, Technology and Innovation in our daily lives and the ways in which they are transforming the world.
“I encourage the participants of this workshop to listen and ask questions during practical exercises.
I am confident that they will gain new ideas, fresh energy and novel technologies in dealing with areas in STEM practicals, ” he said.
Akinremi said that the initiative was aimed at increasing the knowledge of STEM teachers in his constituency, Ibadan North Federal Constituency and empower them with modern laboratory facilities.
He said that 30 teachers were selected from different schools in the constituency for the first phase of the knowledge acquisition programme.
He urged the beneficiaries to maintain the laboratory kits because there were also plans to extend the gesture to other schools within the constituency.
The Director, Applied Science and Technology, Ministry of Education, Mrs Olanike Oladeji, said that the workshop would create a break-away from problems associated with the teaching and learning of science subjects.
She said that the initiative was in line with the tripod agenda of Gov. Seyi Makinde-led administration on Restructuring, Positioning and Transforming every sector, including science and technology.
She urged the teachers not to rely on the outdated method of teaching but use the knowledge gained in the workshop to improve on the teaching of STEM curriculum for better output in students’ performance during examination.
Mr Abraham Ojetunde, the President, All Nigerian Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), said that the workshop would expose and positively affect the attitude, skills and ways of disseminating information to the students in the laboratory.
Ojetunde said that the kits distributed to the schools were portable, describing them as the laboratory on the move that would gear up the functionality of the school laboratories in the state.
One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Omogoye Lanre, a Chemistry teacher at the Abadina Grammar School, Ibadan, said that the kits would make her job easier because subjects like Chemistry could not be taught theoretically.
Lanre said that science-related subjects started from identification of apparatus for better teaching, hence the kits would help to demonstrate to students in the laboratory.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the workshop featured technical sessions, hands on skill acquisition on the practical use of micro science kits and its distribution to selected beneficiary schools.
A Bill for an Act to establish the Office of Budget Management of the Federation on Wednesday passed second reading at the House of Representatives.
The bill which sought to provide a legal framework for budget process management for Federal Government was jointly sponsored by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Rep. Henry Nwawuba.
Presenting the bill, Nwawuba said that it sought to ensure effective regulation of budget preparation, presentation, implementation and auditing.
“The office is to evaluate the effectiveness of programs, policies, and procedures of the ministries, departments and agencies of government to ensure consistency with governing priorities.
“It is to provide budget function, implement budget and fiscal policies of the Federal Government and improve the budget process by imposing compliance with strict timelines for the Budget process in the National Assembly.
“It should apply concrete indicators to measure the performance of the annual budget to ensure delivery of the expected development outcomes as set out in various development plans.
“It will oversee the implementation of the budgets of the federal government to ensure accuracy and fiscal transparency and approve the withdrawal of statutorily approved funds from the federation accounts for the purpose of implementing the appropriations law of the federal government,” he stated.
He said that the would also ensure quarterly reports of budget performance and implementation to the National Assembly.
In his ruling, the speaker referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole for accelerated legislative action.
A Bill for an Act to amend Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration on Wednesday, passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill sought to make provisions for enhanced efficiency in the operations of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
It was sponsored by Rep. Ibrahim A.
Isiaka, Rep. Luke Onofiok and 10 others.
The bill also sought to review the mode of appointment of the Director-General of the agency.
The bill, when passed into law, would strengthen the composition of its Governing Board and review the offences and penal provisions and for related matters.
In his ruling, the Speaker of the House, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, referred the bill to the Committee of the Whole for accelerated legislative action.