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Onitsha Chamber Applauds FG’s Suspension Of $22.7bn Loan

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The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) has applauded the Federal Government’s decision to suspend its planned borrowing of 22.7 billion dollars external loan for infrastructural projects.
The Chamber’s Vice President, Mr Chinedu Nwonu made the position of the group known in a statement issued in Onitsha, yesterday.
Nwonu noted that the suspension was a better opportunity for the government to review the imperative of the loan as well as review how such facility would be used subsequently.
He said that the distribution of the listed infrastructural projects for the proposed loan lent credence to the alleged lopsidedness and the exclusion of South-Easterners since the advent of this administration.
“The exclusion of South-East in the mainstream projects outlined for execution leaves so much to be desired since about 35 projects listed to be executed cut across different sectors of the economy, with infrastructure given the top notch,” he said.
Nwonu recalled that the South-East zone was also excluded from the first Chinese loan for the railway corridor, which cost more than 5 billion dollars.
The vice president said it was no longer news that there were massive infrastructural deficit in the South-East which were enough to warrant that major projects should be listed for execution in the zone.
“While many infrastructural projects have been initiated, executed and commissioned in other parts of the country, the few insignificant projects in the South East are still under construction since the last five years.
“This calls for worry and overtly supports, if not validate, the ante of marginalisation that has upped in the South-East in recent years,” he stressed.
The vice president, therefore, urged the House of Representatives to stand down their assent to the loan and should ideally not entertain its debate on the floor of the house, in the interest of equity.
He said the economic funding policies and borrowings should reflect the provisions of the ‘Fiscal Responsibility Act’ as well as the Constitution to favour every section of the country.
Nwonu argued that since the resources (taxes and oil revenue) of the country would be used to repay the loan, excluding the South-East could best be described as “sacrilegious”.
“Since every part of the country must repay the loan, every part of the country must benefit from its proceeds,” he added.
The Tide recalls that the Nigerian Senate had approved the 22.7 billion dollar loan request earlier presented by President Muhammad Buhari.
However, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, on March 16 announced the suspension of the ex­ternal borrowing plans citing the current realities in the global economic landscape as the reason.

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ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA

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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if Nigerian girls are taught relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at a young age, they will be set up for economic independence in future.
The Agency who made this remark through a press release signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, joined the global community to mark the “Girls in ICT Day.” The day which is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April falls on the 23rd April this year.
In the statement, Mrs Umar said that the Agency is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in ICT, the world’s fastest growing sector.
She said, “During this year’s celebration, NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years. This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.
“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. With technology playing vital role in all manner of careers, from Arts to Social Sciences, and from Law to History, to Graphic Design, learning ICT skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Furthermore, the ICT sector needs more girls and women and celebrating a day like this reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.
“It contributes significantly towards better healthcare, better environmental management, better communication, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn. NITDA, in its proactive manner and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as in furtherance of bridging the gender imbalance in ICT in Nigeria, has embarked on series of Capacity Building programmes for women and girls across the country. Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good wages and enjoy huge career opportunities.

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Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company

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Keystone Bank Limited has alerted customers of the activities of one Mr. Obinna Onuselogu, who parades a company, Triple C Investment Limited, as an affiliate of the bank with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said Onuselogu, who used to be a staff, was no longer in its employ.
It added that anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of the bank does so at his/her own risk.
“Please note further that Keystone Bank is neither related nor affiliated to any company known as Triple C Investment Limited, which Mr. Onuselogu claims to be its chief executive officer.
“Anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of Keystone Bank does so at his/her own risk,” the statement said.
It was learnt that the ex-staff has been using the name of the bank and its executives claiming to be in partnership with the bank with the intent of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank said it was working on a legal process and security agents to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of the so-called Tripple C Investment and its agents.

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Fishermen Union Warn Against Dead Floating Fish Consumption

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The Bonny Indigenous Fishermen’s Cooperative Union has set up a 20-man task force to work with the police and arrest any person or group of persons found with the polluted floating fish along Bonny sea and creeks.
President of the union, comrade Promise Bristol, made this known in a chat with newsmen in Bonny.
Bristol observed that a large quantity of different species of fish were found dead, floating on the sea, from the Atlantic Ocean to the communities and fishing ports in Andoni and Bonny Local Government Areas.
According to him, the species of fish included croaker, popularly known as “broke marriage”, “shine nose”, mackerel, among others.
Bristol lamented that the incident had brought untold hardship to the fishermen in the areas, saying that fishing is their only source of livelihood and appealed to government at all levels to come to their aid.
Bristol said the cause of the death of the fishes was unknown and warned members of the public against their consumption, pointing out that consumption of such fishes could be detrimental to human health.

 

Tonye Nria-Dappa

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