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Demand For African Commodities Falling -ECOWAS

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Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Dr Siga Jagne, has said that the demand and prices for African commodities are falling.
Jagne said this at a meeting of labour general assembly of the ECOWAS with the theme “strengthening social dialogue for the promotion of decent work in the ECOWAS region” yesterday in Abuja.
She added that by extension the demand and prices for West African commodities were affected by the fall, adding that capital flow were declining and promised of increased aid had not materialised.
According to her, the ECOWAS region has a population of approximately 391 million with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately 676.1 billion dollars.
She stated that member states of ECOWAS were majorly low-income countries with gross national income per capital ranging from 3,678 dollars in Cape Verde to 452 dollars in Niger.
This, she said, led to a regional median gross national income per capital of 1,608 dollars in 2018.
According to her, these low incomes per capital figures are indicative of generalised poverty due to the limited resources to cater for the basic needs of the growing regional population on a sustainable basis.
She noted that majority of youths in the ECOWAS region did not have stable economic opportunities, noting those between the ages 15 and 24 had lower employment rate than adults by around 20 per cent.
Jagne stated that the problem was not just unemployment but underemployment, which according to her peaked at over half of youth in the labour force in the region.
“Women are also severally affected by low employment rate, as the gender gap between men and women in gainful employment continues to widen in the region.
“In addition, due to poor infrastructure, workers in rural areas are less involved in labour force participation,’’ she said.
Secretary General, Organisation of Trade Union in West Africa (OTUWA),Mr John Odoh, said that the level of social protection in the region include progress in gender mainstreaming.
He said that the commission had a lot to do to accomplish in West Africa and the rest of the world, adding that the commission should come out with proposal that would be beneficial to the region.
Odoh said that the assembly must work to ensure improved standard of living condition of the region and its workforce.
Deputy Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mrs Cynthia Olajuwon, said that the region could not claim ownership of development if it was exclusively funded by others.
She stated that social dialogue must be mainstreamed into the things dragging the region backward such as unemployment, insecurity, low wage among others.
She said that some of the great things happening in Africa and West Africa showed that ECOWAS had gone far, adding that the global agenda on social dialogue had been promoted.
Olajuwon said that the African Union at the level of Head of States adopted the provision of employment as a key continental agenda.

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FG To Recover N614bn Debt From 35 States

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government has resolved to recover N614 billion loan facility from 35 states of the federation.
The minister disclosed this when she briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, at the State House, Abuja, yesterday.
Ahmed said each of the affected 35 states received N17.5billion as bail out from the Federal Government.
She said that already the Council had agreed to constitute a team to finalise modalities for commencement of repayment of the loan facility.
The team, according to her, would be constituted from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance.
The Minister of Finance said that she briefed NEC on the progress of the loan facility, detailing how the Federal Government has made a total of over N614 billion available to 35 States being N17.5 billion each.
“Council agreed to constitute a team from the Nigerian Governors Forum to meet with the CBN and Ministry of Finance to finalise modalities for commencement of payment,’’ she said.
The minister further revealed that she updated the Council on the activities of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Excess Crude Account (ECA) and other special accounts of the federation.
She said the committee requested for extension of time to finalise and present its report during the next meeting of the Council.
On the $9billion dollars London Court judgement against Nigeria, the minister said the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had assured that Nigeria would appeal against the judgment.

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I’ll Lift Nigerians Out Of Poverty – Minister

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The new Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Olamilekan Adegbite, has promised to lift Nigerians out of poverty by developing the nation’s endowed natural resources.
He made the promise on Wednesday in Abuja when he assumed office shortly after he and other 42 ministers were sworn in by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Tide reports that the minister was received by directors in the ministry and some heads of parastatals and agencies under the ministry.
“I intend to learn quickly from all of you. I have been following the progress of Dr Kayode Fayemi, the immediate past minister of this ministry who did a lot of work.
“I also intend to learn the robes quickly with the Minister of State, so that we can contribute our quota to the development of the country, especially with regards to lifting people out of poverty.
“Mr President has promised to lift 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, at the end of tenure of this administration which is four years, we want to at least achieve 40 per cent of that,’’ he said.
Adegbite expressed optimism that the administration would achieve a lot at delivering the dividends of democracy.
The minister said he would stamp out corruption in the sector in line with the agenda of the Buhari administration.
“Corruption fight begins with all of us, if we can be disciplined in the little things we do in our privacy, it will be easier to fight corruption in the country.
“We will join efforts with the Federal Government in fighting corruption to ensure a corruption free society,’’ he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Minister of State for the ministry, Dr Ikechukwu Ogor, said he would support the minister to achieve the vision for the sector.
Ogah solicited the support of members of staff of the ministry to achieve the vision.
“We will all work as a team to take this ministry to an enviable position,’’ he said.
The ministry‘s Permanent Secretary, Dr Abdulkadri Mu’azu, welcomed the ministers and gave them the break-down of the departments and operations.
He said the ministry was strategic to the country, especially with regards to diversification of the economy.
Muazu pledged the loyalty and dedication of the management and staff of the ministry to the ministers to enable them succeed the tasks ahead.
Some members of staff of the ministry expressed optimism that the ministers would bring to bear their experiences to take the ministry to greater heights.

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CTA To Assist Farmers Access Drought, Flood Tolerant Seeds

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The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), has revealed that it is working with partners in various countries to ensure that farmers have access to drought and flood-tolerant seeds.
This move became necessary following the rising effects of climate change which has a direct impact on agricultural activities.
The Senior Program Coordinator of CTA, Dr Oluyede Ajayi said agriculture is central to development in Africa, but unfortunately it is subjected to a lot of pressures of climate change, like drought, weather extremes that affect food production.
Dr Ajayi who spoke with newsmen in Abuja at the Regional Workshop on Climate Finance and Support Mechanism for a Resilient Agriculture Sector in West and Central Africa said the point they raised was how to improve investment to help farmers become resilient and promote food security in the face of extreme weather.
“One of the points that we raised is how we improve investment to help farmers become resilient and to promote food security in the face of extreme weather situations, to do that requires more than investment, unfortunately less than 10 per cent of fund that goes to the climate is spent on agriculture, we are expecting so much from agriculture, but the fund that goes into agriculture in terms of investment to address climate issues is very low.
“So, this meeting is being organised to brainstorm the practical ways to leverage funding and improve financing to support climate action in agriculture”, he said.
He further said that they were also working towards exposing farmers to climate technologies which would assist in increasing their yield even in unfriendly weather.

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