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FG Speaks On Volkswagen Scandal, This Week -Odumodu

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The Federal Government will state its position on the Volkswagen (VW) emission scandal this week, Dr Joseph Odumodu, the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has said.
Odumodu, who made the statement recently in Abuja in an SMS to The Tide source, said that the relevant government agencies were “working out something.’’
According to the SON’s helmsman on why the federal government was silent on the matter and whether the country was not at risk, he said: “we are at risk and we are working out something, but it involves more than one agency.
“Next week you will be notified of our position, but currently, the standard emission in Nigeria is at the very basic level.
“While Nigeria is at level 2, Europe for example is at level 6,’’ Odumodu told reporters.
The Tide source recalls that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had recently discovered that some Volkswagen diesel engine cars on sale in that country had devices that could cheat emission tests.
The EPA’s findings cover 482,000 cars in the U.S. alone, including VW brands such as Audi A3, Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat.
The German car giant had since owned up to the malpractice, admitting that about 11 million of its cars worldwide were fitted with the technology dubbed “defeat device’’.
Many countries, including South Africa, had reacted to the scandal by carrying out investigations to test the legitimacy of VW’s emissions claims.
Mr Aminu Jalal, the Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), attributed Nigeria’s silence on the scandal to the status of its emissions standards.
Jalal said that the country was still at Euro 2 (the second level of the European emissions standards), while VW cars affected in the scandal cheated on far higher levels.
He said: “we are still at Euro 2. Even if those vehicles that are cheating abroad are imported to Nigeria, it is likely that their emissions would not be violating Euro 2.
“When they cheat on Euro 5, it means their emission levels are in violation of Euro 4 or 3, but Nigeria is currently at Euro 2.
“This is why we can’t say that they have breached our regulations until we carry out our own investigations.’’
The NADDC boss said that Nigeria was still at Euro 2 due to a number of factors, including the quality of our fuel, which he said, could not support higher standards.
He explained that the quality of fuel was one of the bases of emission standards, adding that Nigeria must first increase its fuel standards to attain higher emissions regulations.
“Emission standards go hand in hand with fuel quality. Our fuel quality is not good enough to support higher emission regulations.
“The specification for sulphur in our fuel standard is too high. Currently, it is 3000ppm (parts per million) for diesel and about 1000ppm for petrol.
“For us to go for an emission standard higher than Euro 2, we have to bring down the specification for sulphur in our fuel.
“We are already working with SON to bring it down to 50ppm, then we can have more rigorous standards like Euro 4 and 5,’’ he said.
Jalal called for the modification of the nation’s refineries to enable them produce high quality fuel.

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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