The Zimbabwe Government has relaxed COVID-19 regulations on inbound human traffic, with those testing negative 48 hours before their return being allowed to self-quarantine at home.
The new measures, which became effective last Friday, also allow those without certificates to go home if they test negative at quarantine centers, Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa said.
The government-controlled Herald newspaper reported on Tuesday that Mutsvangwa said this as she gave feedback on proceedings of Monday’s COVID-19 taskforce meeting.
“The task force was informed that as of Sept. 4, 2020, all returnees with 48-hour negative COVID-19 certificates are being released at ports of entry for self-quarantine as per Cabinet’s directive.
“Returnees without certificates will proceed to a quarantine facility, where they will be tested and either discharged for self-quarantine or isolation, based on their status,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said the task force had received nominations for 13 candidates who would make up an Experts Advisory Committee.
This was in response to the cabinet meeting of Aug. 18, which took note of the change in transmission scenarios.
The cabinet directed the setting up of a mechanism that would strengthen management and response to the rising local transmissions.
It has been noted that while in the past, most of the positive cases were imported, there are now more local infections among clusters within communities.
As of Monday, the country had recorded 7,298 cases, 210 deaths, and a national recovery rate of 75 per cent.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ejike Obeta
Nigeria High Commission in Canada reopens after six-month closure
The Nigerian High Commission in Canada says it will resume in-person immigration and consular services on Thursday.
This is coming six months after it shut its doors in compliance with the host country’s guidelines for the prevention of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The reopening of the commission is contained in a statement, which indicates a number of rules that applicants must comply with to access the services.
However, it has been issuing Emergency Travel Certificates (ETC) and visas to applicants needing urgent travels, via email since then.
One of the guidelines required applicants to apply online and request for interview appointment through email.
“Everyone coming to the chancery has to come in with face masks/covering and sanitise their hands.
“You are also required to practice social distancing. These are public health measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19,” it stated.
Warning against gate crashing, which is common at Nigerian missions abroad, the High Commission said only those with printed interview invitations would be attended to.
Canadian authorities are expanding restrictions on gatherings amid a surge in COVID-19 cases to unprecedented levels in the country since May.
According to its Public Health Agency, the North American country has reported a daily average of close to 1,000 infections within the last seven days.
Tally by John Hopkins University puts the country’s caseload at 148,411, including 9,283 deaths.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Emmanuel Yashim
President Buhari’s UNGA75 National Statement
22ND SEPTEMBER 2020
Ø Mr. President,
Ø Heads of State and Government,
Ø Distinguished Delegates,
Ø Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me on behalf of the Government and good people of Nigeria, congratulate you on your well-deserved election as President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). I would like to assure you of Nigeria’s readiness to avail the United Nations all necessary cooperation needed for the fulfillment of your mandate.
2. I wish to also thank the General Assembly for the support accorded His Excellency, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande during his tenure as President of the 74th Session of the General Assembly.
3. We acknowledge the accomplishments of the Assembly under his able leadership, particularly his efforts on attacking global poverty through the Global Coalition on Poverty Eradication.
4. We also commend the tremendous efforts of His Excellency, Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, in steering the affairs of the organization during this challenging period of the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as his strong commitment to making the UN more efficient and responsive in its international responsibility.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,
5. It is my privilege to use this opportunity to congratulate Member States on the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. Over the past seven decades, the United Nations, as the People’s Assembly, has helped to stabilize the global community.
6. In addition to international peace and security, the UN has undertaken programmes on poverty eradication, women’s empowerment, youth development and humanitarian emergencies.
7. The theme of this year’s General Assembly – “The Future We Want, The United Nations We Need: Reaffirming Our Collective Commitment To Multilateralism – Confronting Coronavirus Through Effective Multilateral Action”, is indeed most appropriate and timely, as it captures our common desire for a renewed and revitalized organization in need of multilateral approaches to the many challenges facing the world.
8. As we reflect on the future we want and the United Nations we need, we must realize that the peoples of the world not only look up to us: they count on us. If the United Nations system cannot mobilize the world to marshal out a truly effective and inclusive response to the Coronavirus pandemic, then the United Nations would have failed in its core mission of giving expression, direction and solution to the yearnings of the international community.
9. The future we want must guarantee human rights, human dignity, human prospects and prosperity. The principles of “Leaving No One Behind and Doing No Harm” must be expressed through accountability, strategic growth initiatives and elimination of threats of all kinds.
10. In our quest to provide a future of hope and prosperity for Nigerians, our administration has embarked on measures to ensure enhanced national resilience. We intend to achieve this through the implementation of the Economic Sustainability Plan and the Medium Term National Development Plans for the period 2020-2025 and 2026-2030. We expect that these ambitious initiatives will deliver sustainable economic growth and development to Nigeria.
11. Predicated on the values that inspired its creation, the United Nations we need has to remain an agent of progress, by giving expression to the tenets of multilateralism, solidarity and international cooperation. It is within the context of this rules-based multilateral order that the world can find solutions to its many problems.
12. The world is currently in the grips of the Coronavirus pandemic. Regrettably, our communities and countries are losing lives. The Coronavirus pandemic has devastated the world economy and strained the capabilities of the health system of many countries, including our own country.
13. In the aftermath of Coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria, we prioritized vulnerable groups, including women, children, older persons and the unemployed, in our efforts to provide medical and social assistance to cushion the socio-economic effects of the disease.
14. Accordingly, we have expanded our National Social Register, to include an additional 1 million Nigerians. Our National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) has been the vehicle for reaching out to the poor and vulnerable members of the Nigerian population, as well as providing cover for over 22 million households.
15. I use this opportunity to commend the efforts of the United Nations and the World Health Organization in combating the Coronavirus pandemic.
16. I note, with appreciation, the $2 Billion United States Dollars Global Humanitarian Response Plan launched by the UN Secretary-General to fund the Coronavirus response in the poorest countries of the world.
17. I also commend his call for cease-fire in conflict areas, to enable humanitarian assistance reach groups vulnerable to Coronavirus .
18. I should also state that Nigeria is committed to working with other Member States in the spirit of global cooperation and solidarity to promote human health and general well-being. Nigeria will continue to partner with the WHO and some countries to ensure accelerated development and manufacturing, as well as uninhibited supply of safe and effective Coronavirus vaccines to all.
19. In order to mitigate its impact on Nigerians, our administration has commenced the disbursement of the sum of N10.9 Billion to households and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises as palliatives.
20. In addition, we have established a five hundred billion (N500 billion) fiscal stimulus package and sustained delivery of humanitarian and social interventions to poor and vulnerable households, while our Central Bank has launched a N3.5 trillion-stimulus package to boost manufacturing and facilitate import substitution.
21. The international community will need to cooperate in addressing the scourge of poverty, particularly in developing countries. It is in this regard, that we commend the President of the 74th General Assembly for launching an Alliance for Poverty Eradication in June.
22. We encourage global leaders, particularly leaders from the global North, to support the Alliance at this time when the COVID-19 pandemic is reversing gains made in the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and is pushing an additional half a billion people into extreme poverty.
23. As we mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Action for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, Nigeria has made significant strides in domesticating the SDGs.
24. There is an ongoing re-alignment of the National Statistical System (NSS) with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs. This is expected to ensure effective tracking and monitoring of the SDGs and guide SDG interventions across the country.
25. Nigeria has also developed its home-grown Integrated Sustainable Development Goals model (iSDG Model) – an analytical framework for assessing how policy-making can better address the indivisible nature of the SDGs.
26. Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa.
27. We urge the international community to renew efforts to stem this traffic and promote the Arms Trade Treaty in order to codify accountability in the on-going battle against trans-border crimes, including terrorism and acts of piracy.
28. The litany of sophisticated terrorist attacks across the globe is a harsh reality of the challenges the world is facing today. We must therefore redouble our efforts to ensure collective security.
29. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits. We continue to count on our strong cooperation with UN Counter-Terrorism bodies and neighbouring countries to overcome the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.
30. We will vigorously sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East. The North-East Development Commission has been established for that purpose.
31. Nigeria is committed to universal nuclear non-proliferation. In this connection, we recall the adoption of the landmark Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which opened for signature on 20 September 2017. Nigeria participated actively in the processes leading to its adoption and was an early signatory and ratifier.
32. With less than ten ratifications needed for the TPNW’s entry into force, we urge other member states who have not done so to quickly ratify the Treaty for the actualization of its important objective.
33. Climate Change is an environmental crisis which requires urgent action. Our Administration is conscious of the fact that the attainment of national development targets would be greatly impeded unless the consequences of climate change are addressed holistically in line with the Paris Agreement.
34. To this end, Nigeria has intensified climate action through the upward review of reduction in greenhouse gas emission under the Nationally Determined Contributions, which are climate change targets under the Paris Agreement.
35. Nigeria remains steadfast in our commitment to the revitalization of Lake Chad. We are convinced that recharging the Lake will improve the living conditions of our people in the area, promote inter-state cooperation, strengthen community resilience, and assist in addressing environmental and security challenges threatening the region and its resources.
36. Let me, therefore, reiterate the call for international support for the sub-regional efforts to raise the $50 billion USD required to actualize this initiative.
37. Nigeria experiences high internal and external migration due to the size of its population, economic situation and climate. We are therefore fully committed to migration management and prevention of irregular migration and human trafficking.
38. I enjoin the international community to also communicate the positive contributions of migrants, particularly in countries of destination, in order to combat racial discrimination and xenophobic attacks, and facilitate the social integration and protection of migrants.
39. The global aspiration to recover from the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic will not be fully met without addressing existing structures that make it more difficult for countries to generate and retain their financial resources.
40. It is in this regard that I thank the immediate past Presidents of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Tijjani Muhammad-Bande and Ambassador Mona Jul, respectively, for jointly launching the High-Level Panel on International Financial Accountability, Transparency and Integrity for Achieving the 2030 Agenda.
41. In the area of human rights, Nigeria has passed a number of human rights-related bills into law. The bills include: the Anti-Torture Act, the Comprehensive Treatment and Care for Victims of Gun-Shot Act, as well as the National Senior Citizens Centre Act. In addition, Nigeria has launched a National Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism.
42. This measure is designed to strengthen institutions, coordinate the prevention of violent extremism, enhance the rule of law, access to justice and human rights as well as engaging communities and building resilience and integrated strategic communication.
43. The United Nations has made progress in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment through initiatives such as the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The creation of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), in July 2010, was an important milestone.
44. Nigeria acknowledges the importance of gender equality and recognizes the critical role that women play in development. We also recognize that the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and other internationally-agreed Development Agenda depend largely on the empowerment of women. Nigeria will sustain its affirmative stance through women empowerment initiatives.
45. Quality education for all is the cornerstone of sustainable development.
46. In this connection, I am happy to announce that the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be hosting the 4th International Conference on Safe Schools in 2021.
47. I invite you all to Nigeria to participate in the Conference which aims to advocate for the protection of education from attack as we work together towards the future we want.
48. As we urge and strive for inclusion within our societies, we must also ensure inclusion prevails in our collective action as members of the International Community. Nigeria supports the expansion of the UN Security Council to reflect the diversity and dynamics of the 21st Century. Africa deserves permanent seats in the United Nations Security Council.
49. I will conclude by reaffirming Nigeria’s commitment to promoting international peace and security and sustainable development, as well as strengthening partnerships and cooperation with international and regional organisations.
I thank you. https://nnn.ng/president-buharis-unga75-national-statement/
9 energy firms get $2.6m USAID grant to power rural clinics in Africa
United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through Power Africa, on Tuesday awarded $2.6 million (N1.2 billion) grant to nine energy companies to electrify 288 rural health facilities without reliable access to power.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Power Africa is a United States Government-led initiative that brings together 12 government agencies, development partners and private sector companies, with the goal of doubling access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The grant, totaling $2.6 million (1.2 billion) was launched in a virtual event which highlighted the importance of healthcare electrification for COVID-19 response and recovery.
NAN reports that the awardees include Havenhill Synergy Ltd (Nigeria), KYA-Energy Group (Togo), Zuwa Energy (Malawi), OffGridBox (Rwanda) Nanoé (Madagascar) as well as PEG, Solarworks, Power and Muhanya Solar Limited for other parts of Africa.
Mark Carrato, Acting Coordinator, Power Africa, said that USAID was doing everything possible to help keep the sector afloat because “these are challenging times for companies operating in emerging markets.”
According to him, when it comes to universal energy access and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal seven, the world can’t afford to go backwards.
“Since the start of the pandemic, Power Africa has successfully worked with local industry associations to compel governments to declare off grid energy as an essential service.
“Despite the economic downturn in the last quarter, we managed to raise $65 million for the energy sector in forms of grants, loans and equity, providing much needed liquidity for a range of companies.
“We know that as a result of the economic downturn, brought by COVID-19, many energy access companies are struggling right now.
“We’re working with a group of investors and development partners so that more companies can receive low interest concessional loans in order to maintain staff and service existing customers.
“We are also helping African governments put in place the legal and regulatory frameworks needed to attract off-grid energy and base investments,”Carrato said.
Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, said that the agency was highlighting its mode of operation through partnerships with governments and the private sector that empower communities to solve their own challenges.
According to him, the agency values its partnership with African governments which improve the well being of millions on the continent.
“As Americans, we stand together not only with the people in Africa, but with countless others across the globe to help countries and their people address their development challenges.
“We know the impact of COVID-19 goes far beyond just the health impacts, but also on the social and economic well being of many vulnerable households.
“Without reliable and affordable electricity, it is even more difficult for these communities to recover from the wide ranging impacts of COVID-19.
“Functioning healthcare facilities are essential, not only for individuals health, but also for their economic and overall wellbeing,”he said.
The counselor said that without electricity, health systems struggle to meet the needs of their communities, no matter the dedication of healthcare workers.
“Healthcare facilities need electricity for almost all of their activities as we already know.
“And because most of them are in rural areas, it is important to harness the cutting edge and sustainable off grid solutions that the private sector can bring.
“We cannot solve the problems by working alone and that’s why we’ve awarded grants to demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join forces and find new solutions to this challenge.
“Because of these partnerships, doctors and nurses will have access to better equipment, procedures and surgeries will be safer, and people will live longer, more productive and healthier lives,”he said.
In a recorded message, the beneficiary firms highlighted the importance of health care electrification and summarized the activities their companies would undertake.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi
Sanwo-Olu charges cabinet, officials to brace up for optimum performance
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tuesday charged members of his cabinet and Lagos State Government officials to brace up for optimum performance.
Sanwo-Olu gave the charge during the closing of the two-day Ministerial Performance Review Retreat organised by the executive arm of the Lagos State Government.
He urged them to deploy their physical and mental resources to bringing the administration’s development vision to reality.
According to him, Lagos possesses all that is required to attain Dubai development model.
He then urged the drivers of his administration’s vision of Greater Lagos to be articulate and purposeful in the discharge of the tasks assigned to them.
Sanwo-Olu commended the cabinet members and heads of the state government’s agencies for the progress recorded in the last one year.
He, however, said that people’s expectations of the administration’s efforts were more than what had been achieved so far, hence, the need to brace for more work.
The governor urged the cabinet members and executives of the parastatals to deploy more resourcefulness to the implementation of policies and programmes designed to transform the lives of the residents and the state’s economy.
”There are many takeaways from this two-day retreat which must energise us further to deliver on our goals and promises to the people.
”But, one key thing we must take away from this exercise is the fact that we have sustained our attempts to transform Lagos and these efforts are being acknowledged by those who understand what development is all about.
”We have many great actions and ideas we have implemented, which probably have not been properly communicated. Now we need to be smarter, more organised and articulate in the way we go about our programmes, so that our efforts can be more visible.
”The Ministry of Information and Strategy and everyone that has strength in communication should begin to magnify these efforts and show the world how Lagos is changing,” he said.
The governor said that in spite the slow pace of socio-economic activities across all sectors, which was occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, his administration would not give excuses to residents.
According to him, the virus would not derail his government’s development agenda.
Sanwo-Olu charged all commissioners and special advisers to work together and exchange information for better service delivery.
“We need to work together and share information with one another. This way, we articulate our successes and progress better,” he said.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi