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…Explains Why He Hardly Commissions Completed Projects

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Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Amaeehi has thrown light on his decision not to commission some of the various completed projects that were started by his administration across the state.

He told media executives in Port Harcourt over the weekend, while conducting them round some projects, that it was a basic function of Government to construct projects for her people, adding. “1 see no need for people to come out, with fanfare, and dance for me”.

“I am merely carrying out my constitutional requirement so why dance for me for doing what I am elected to do, he queried”.

Governor Amaechi, who drove in the same bus with the media executives during the tour explained that Rivers State Government was poised to lay a solid foundation for the health sector providing modern primary health facilities in local communities across the state to reduce pressure on the secondary healthcare delivery system

He pointed out that whereas primary healthcare centres are essentially meant to handle out-patient cases, such cases were still being taken to the general hospitals due to inadequate and well- equipped primary health centres in the state.

It was for this reason he said, “government was building over 150 new Model Healthcare Centres in the state with at least five in each of the 23 local government areas of the state”.

At the New Niger Hospital in Diobu, Governor Amaechi told the team that government was equally strengthening the secondary health-care system by expanding and building more model general hospitals with standard doctors quarters.

The state chief executive also announced that the Dental and Maxillo-Facial Hospital at Garrison Junction, Port Harcourt, which was one of the places visited, would be expanded by building another 300 bed general hospital and doctors quarters within the space where the old Hotel Chez Therese was demolished.

Governor Amaechi said Government in its policy on education intended to build at least 46 new model secondary schools across the state, and phase out all existing ones with a view to giving every child in the state an equal opportunity to quality secondary education.

At the Trans Amadi Gas Turbine Station, the governor told the visitors that upon completion of the new 100 mega watts turbine plant in October this year, the state would be generating 245 mega watts of electricity with an expected projection for about 400 mega watts in 2011.

He said already seven new sub stations would be built across the state to boost power supply from the power station to the communities.

Also visited was the multi-billion Naira Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road project under construction, which according to the governor, was one of the costliest projects in the state, because of the terrain of the area, saying that on the Opobo Nkoro axis of the road two more bridges are to be constructed before crossing into Opobo.

Other projects visited were the Mile One Market, Rainbow Housing Estate, Model Secondary Schools Eleme, and Model Primary Health Centre, Wiiyaakara.

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Food Prices Soar Amidst Rising Transport Fares

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The prices of food rose Year-on-Year (YoY) amidst rising transport fare in September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
Analysis of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) selected food price watch data for September 2021 showed that the prices of rice, egg, garri, and tomatoes rose during the period.
Similarly, the NBS transport fare watch data revealed that the prices of transport fare paid for bus, air, water and motorcycle journeys rose sharply YoY in September, 2021.
Analysis of food prices data showed that the average price of 1 dozen of agric eggs medium size increased YoY by 25.84 to N604.99 in September, 2021 from N480.76 in September, 2020.
Also, the average price of 1kg of rice local, sold loose increased YoY by 4.95 per cent to N410.01 from N390.68.
The average price of 1kg of rice imported high quality, sold loose rose YoY in September, 2021 by 5.94 per cent to N546.77 from N516.13 in September, 2020.
The average price of 1kg of tomato increased YoY in September, 2021 by 19.28 per cent to N342.25 from N286.92 in September, 2020.
The average price of 1kg of Garri white, sold loose increased YoY by 27.91 per cent to N301.58 in September, 2021 from N235.77 in September, 2020.
While the average price of 1kg of Garri yellow, sold loose increased YoY by 27.91 per cent to N322.44 in September, 2021 from N263.57 in September, 2020.
Data on transport fare showed that average fare paid by commuters for bus journey within the city rose by 40.56 per cent YoY to N435.36 in September, 2021 from N309.73 in September, 2021.
Also, average fare paid by commuters for bus journey intercity rose by 20 per cent YoY to N2,620.90 in September, 2021 from N2182.45 in September, 2020.
Average fare paid by commuters for journey by motorcycle per drop increased by 39.56 per cent YoY to N306.61 in September, 2021 from N219.70 in September, 2020.
Average fare paid by commuters for journey by waterway rose by 15.64 per cent YoY to N849.06 in September, 2021 from N734.26 in September, 2020.
Average air fare charged for specified single route journeys increased by 0.10 per cent to N36,922.37 in September, 2021 from N36,805.41 in September, 2020.
In their inflation outlook for September, 2021, analysts at United Capital Management Plc, projected further pressure on food prices in 2022 citing less planting activities resulting in limited food production.
“Looking ahead, while price pressures still abound in the economy, our prognosis remains that disinflation will persist in the immediate term.
“First, for food inflation, we expect some reduced pressure on locally produced food items in the near-term as the supply chain continues to be debottlenecked while the harvest season gets into full swing for the rest of year.
“Nevertheless, we expect harvest quantities to be limited (due to reduced farming activities during the recent planting season), implying there could be worse food price pressures to come during the 2022 planting season.”

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Buhari Tasks Foreign Envoys On Neutrality In 2023 Polls

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In the build-up to the 2023 general elections, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday, urged foreign envoys in Nigeria to be guided by diplomatic practices in ensuring that their activities remained within the limits of their profession.
Receiving Letters of Credence at State House from the Ambassadors of Japan, European Union, Burundi, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Cape Verde, France, Qatar as well as the High Commissioners of Sierra Leone and Ghana, the President in a statement by Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, told them that they were assuming diplomatic responsibilities in Nigeria at a very interesting political period.
‘‘Nigeria’s national elections are due in early 2023. The momentum for enhanced political activities is therefore expected to commence soon.
‘‘The nature of our politicking often gives the impression of very rancorous engagements. It is the nature of politics here. Besides, democracy and related democratic activities in the build-up to elections are necessarily rowdy and very argumentative, but very much within the limits of freedom of action that the art of democracy permits.
‘‘As you settle down in the face of these developments, it is my hope that you will also be guided by diplomatic practices, to ensure that your activities remain within the limits of your profession,’’ President Buhari said.
The President told the newly accredited envoys that he looked forward to a more robust relationship with each of their countries.
He declared that Nigeria is open to more foreign direct investments in the Education, Health, Transportation and Agricultural sectors, and would welcome improved bilateral relations, especially in wider trading and cultural contacts.

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ASUP Rejects Establishment Of New Polytechnics

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The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), yesterday, said the establishment of polytechnics in Nigeria was fast becoming mere constituency projects to satisfy political convenience.
ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, stated this in Abuja at a two-day workshop themed: “Advocacy Roundtable on the Future of Nigerian Polytechnics” organised by the union.
He said, “We do not agree with the continued establishment of new polytechnics on the largely unsubstantiated premise of providing greater access to tertiary education for young Nigerians as the existing ones remain unattractive to young Nigerians.
“Our polytechnics are currently facing an identity crisis as we are not convinced that sectoral mandates as envisioned and captured in the National Policy on Education are being met.
“Our products (graduates) are under-appreciated, discriminated against and traumatised by the prospects of an uncertain future after their training.
“Our members (teaching staff in the sector) are demotivated as there is little or no sense of fulfillment or self-actualization in their chosen careers. This is adversely affecting productivity and leading to consistent migration of qualified manpower away from the sector.”
Ezeibe added that the polytechnics were nowhere close to preferred destinations for Nigerian students seeking tertiary education as the sector suffers from deep seated discrimination in different facets mainly driven by anachronistic tendencies.
He noted that the nation had equally been reaping bountifully from the tale of woes in the sector as shown by different economic indices which constitute an embarrassment to a nation with so much promise.
“Funding is abysmally poor leaving widening infrastructure gaps; legal and policy frameworks are insufficient leading to suspect levels of supervision and regulation.
“Also cutting edge research and innovation activities are virtually non-existent as attempts at research remain at subsistence levels with little or no impact in society.
“The famed triple and/or quadruple helix structure which provides a meeting point between Institution, industry and government, thereby guaranteeing consumption of research products for national development are currently difficult to attain.
“Curricula review is Irregular, therefore leaving the sector with obsolete curricula which is out of sync with the dynamic needs of industry and society.
“Indeed, the current unemployment figures in the country tell the entire story of a sector with diminishing impact to the nation’s economy,” he said.
On his part, former Minister of Education, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, who was chairman of the occasion while declaring the programme open, maintained that failure of government to do the right thing has been aggravating industrial disharmony.
“One problem that I know that makes strike to persist is the failure of leadership in government. The fact is that unions are there to promote the wellbeing of their members and to promote the objective of the various institutions established,” he said.

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