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Strike: Lagos Hospitals Doctors Offer Emergency Services

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Skeletal activities were
    within the week being rendered in both the Federal and Lagos State Government-owned hospitals in Lagos as the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) embarked on sympathy strike with their colleagues.
The Tide reports that the NMA in Lagos State chapter had directed its members in the Federal Government-owned hospitals to join the sympathy strike.
The doctors in the employment of the state government had on March 16 embarked on an indefinite strike over the refusal of the state government to accede to their demands.
The issues in contention include the continued employment of doctors as casual workers and non-employment of resident doctors in the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
Other issues were the alleged non-payment of their salary arrears for May, 2012, and July, August and September, 2014 due to the “No Work, No Pay’’ policy of the state government.
The NMA Chairman in Lagos State, Dr Tope Ojo, last Monday directed his members in both the federal and state government-owned hospitals to run only emergency services during the sympathy strike.
Our correspondent’s visit to LASUTH, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba and Federal Neuro-Psychiatry Hospital, Yaba, showed that the doctors were only attending to emergency cases.
Other health personnel including nurses, pharmacists and laboratory scientists were seen attending to the few patients on admission and in the out-patient unit.
 The Tide reports that normal activities were going on at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi and Gbagada General Hospital as the doctors were seen on duty attending to patients.
Mrs Nike Ayo, the Public Relations Officer, National Orthopedic Hospital, said that doctors under the aegis of  Association of Resident Doctors had written to the hospital’s management on the strike.
According to her, the resident doctors had notified the hospital authorities about the directive of the union to proceed on indefinite strike in support of their counterparts in the state.
The NMA Publicity Secretary, Dr Ibrahim Ogunbi, also told our source that doctors were only on ground to render emergency services.
Ogunbi said that doctors were passionate about their patients and would ensure that they get medical attention in spite of the strike.
He said that the national body of the association might be involved in the strike if the state government refused to accede to the doctors’ demands.
“Lagos State Government has remained unresponsive and has decided not to care for the people. NMA has joined the strike, but we are also providing emergency services.
“If the Lagos State Government does not do the needful, it may be a national issue,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Sa’eid Ahmad, the President, Association of Resident Doctors, LASUTH Chapter, urged the public to appreciate the doctors who make sacrifices to ensure that they were attended to.
Ahmad said: “The objective of this industrial action is not to punish the citizens or watch people dying.
“We are still offering emergency services and as for those patients that have been on admission before the commencement of the action, we are still attending to all of them until they get well and are discharged.’’
He said that there had been no progress on all the doctors’ discussions with the state government in spite of the interventions by both the national and state chapter of NMA.
Dr Wale Oke, LASUTH Chief Medical Director, said the hospital’s management would ensure that patients that need medical attention are attended to.
“We will attend to patients only on emergencies as the doctors have provided services for emergencies,’’ he said.
Dr Raman Lawal, the Chief Medical Director, Psychiatry Hospital, Yaba, also said:  ”I cannot make any comments about the strike. “But, the doctors are attending to the patients available and those in the wards are also being taken care of.”

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Inflation Rate Falls To 16.63%  – NBS

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The rate of inflation in Nigeria has declined for the sixth consecutive month to 16.63 per cent in September, which is its lowest level since January this year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.
The Bureau, in its Consumer Price Index released on Friday, said the inflation rate fell by 0.38 per cent from 17.01 per cent in August.
The drop in headline inflation began in April when it fell to18.12 per cent from 18.17 per cent in March.
According to NBC, the urban inflation rate increased by 17.19 per cent (year-on-year) in September 2021 from 17.59 per cent recorded in August 2021, while the rural inflation rate increased by 16.08 per cent in September 2021 from 16.45 per cent in August 2021.
It said farm produce such as bread, cereals, cocoa, meat, coffee, tea and cocoa drove food inflation, fell to 19.57 per cent in September from 20.30 percent in August.
Other items that led to the rise in the composite food index in September included oils and fats, yam and other tubers, fish, potatoes, milk, cheese and egg.
“On month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 1.26 per cent in September 2021, up by 0.20 per cent points from 1.06 per cent recorded in August 2021”, the NBS stated.
 The Statistician-General of the Federation, Simon Harry, said the fall in the inflation rate signalled an improvement in government performance and more favourable economic conditions.
“The inflation rate in Nigeria has maintained a consecutive decline in year-on-year for a period of six consecutive months, starting from March 2021 to August 2021”, he said.

By: Corlins Walter

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5G Now At 97% Completion, As NCC Moves To Auction Spectrum

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the plan for deployment of Fifth Generation technology in the country has gotten to 97 per cent. 
Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosed this at the annual African Tech Alliance Forum with the theme ‘Embracing changes and digital transformation in the new normal’.
According to a statement titled ‘NCC update on plans for 5G deployment’ issued  by the NCC’s Deputy Manager, Public Affairs, Kunle Azeez, the commission stated that some spectrum would be auctioned.
“Already, we are set for the auction of some spectrum slots in the 3.5GHz band. The other day, I was at the National Assembly, I informed the Senate that we were 95 per cent ready for 5G.
“Today as we speak, I am delighted to tell you that we are already at 97 per cent completion. 
“The committee set up to auction the spectrum has already developed an information memorandum which is already published for inputs and comments from all industry stakeholders.
“Prior to this, a 5G deployment plan was developed and we have since secured the Federal Government’s approval”, the commission stated.
The commission also explained that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost every means of communication became virtual, which led to an increase in network connectivity requirements as a result of unprecedented upsurge in internet traffic.
Danbatta added that even though the network infrastructure in the nation demonstrated some capacity to contain the surge in internet traffic, a lot of work was being done by the commission to boost network capacity, sensitise the public and ensure accessibility to affordable connectivity.
“Emerging technologies such as 5G, which NCC is driving aggressively in Nigeria, Internet of Things; Cloud Computing; Quantum Computing Augmented/Virtual Reality, and similar emerging technologies are playing a critical role in improving remote communication over the internet with great user experience.
“The NCC is committed to promoting this inevitable change and enhancing user experience through effective regulation of the telecoms sector”, he stated.

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Nigeria’s Debt-To-GDP Ratio To Hit 42% By 2026 – IMF

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Nigeria’s Gross Debt-to-Gross Domestic Product ratio will rise from 35.7 per cent in 2021 to 42 per cent by 2026.
The IMF stated this in its October 2021 Fiscal Monitor Report published on its website.
It said the country’s gross debt-to-GDP ratio would increase from 35.7 per cent in 2021 to 36.9 per cent in 2022, 37.7 per cent in 2023, 39.1 per cent in 2024 and 40.6 per cent in 2025.
According to the report, the gross debt includes overdrafts from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and liabilities of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON). 
It added that the general government’s revenue-to-GDP ratio would decrease from 7.2 per cent in 2021 to 6.5 per cent in 2026, while the general government expenditure-to-GDP ratio would decrease from 13.3 per cent in 2021 to 12.6 per cent in 2026.
The global financial institution said that the general government net debt-to-GDP ratio would increase from 35.3 per cent in 2021 to 41.8 per cent in 2026.
“The overdrafts and government deposits at the Central Bank of Nigeria almost cancel each other out, and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria debt is roughly halved,” it added.
The report said for low-income developing countries like Nigeria, average gross debt in 2021 would likely remain stable at almost 50 per cent in 2020, while debt vulnerabilities “are expected to be high.

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