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FG Committed To Implementation Of 2020 Budget -Akabueze

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The Director-General of budget Office, Ben Akabueze, has assured Nigerians that the implementation of the 2020 budget will be better and results driven despite the growing spate of coronavirus plaguing the world today.
Akabueze made this known at the 2020 National Budget Roundtable and Panel Discussion organised by Covenant University in partnership with the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research and the World University Ranking 2020 top 500 held recently at CUCRID, Covenant University, Ogun State.
Akabueze, who was represented by the Technical Adviser to the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Olumide Ayodele, said that the Federal Government’s resolve to fully implement the 2020 budget is not negotiable.
“We will continue to ensure that the economy stays on a growth trajectory whilst making strategic investments in critical infrastructure and human capital to spur further economic growth. We hope to implement the 2020 Budget 100%. We have released N220 billion of the 2020 MDA capital to sectors requiring funds in the dry season. Sectors like Agriculture will be prioritized during the raining season.”
Akabueze posited that Nigeria has had eleven consecutive quarters of positive growth since the exit from recession, though levels remain below desirable targets, adding that highest quarterly growth of 2.55% in Q4 2019.
“We will continue to deepen our non-oil sector performance with non-oil GDP at over 93% of GDP as at Q4 2019. We have made unprecedented progress with social investment programmes and are innovating ways of funding infrastructure,” he said.
Although, he noted that Nigeria currently has huge infrastructural gap as infrastructure investments in in the country have been insufficiently financed with public funds.
“The investments required to bridge the gap are clearly beyond the means available to government. Hence, it has become imperative to look beyond government finances for the country to have any hope of achieving its full development potential”, he said.
The DG of Budget Office who noted that the fiscal budget is a key tool for implementing government development agenda, said it designed to achieve social, economic and political objectives.
“Nigeria’s public investment requirements by far exceed available financial resources. Nigeria is not an oil rich economy. We will ensure that funds are allocated to projects and programmes likely to deliver maximum benefits relative to their costs,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Centre for Economic Policy and Development Research, Prof. Evans Osabuohien, had said the rising debt profile of the country was destroying the economy.
The Professor of Economics, who expressed shock at the Federal Government’s recent plans to borrow $22.7bn, said government must count the cost of its continuous borrowing habit
“One of the highlights of the joint sessions of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in October 2019 was that the debt profile of many developing countries, including Nigeria, is rising. Despite all these, it is shocking to know that the Federal Government of Nigeria is planning to borrow $22.7bn. This will further increase the volume of Nigeria’s debt.”

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COVID-19: Dockworkers/Seafarers Are Essential Workers, Exempted From Travel Restrictions, Says NIMASA

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? As Agency Unveils Guidelines for Terminals, Jetties.

 

In line with the newly endorsed protocols by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO] designed to lift barriers to crew changes, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA] has designated Seafarers and Dockworkers as essential workers who should be exempted from travel restrictions.

 

The exemptions are contained in a new guideline developed and published by the Agency to support essential services in Nigeria’s shipping sector. The guideline states that the jobs of dockworkers at the country’s seaports, terminals, and jetties are essential to the national economy and, therefore, dockworkers should be granted passage between their places of abode and the seaports/terminals and jetties to perform their duties.

 

The advice also declares that seafarers are on essential duty and as such exempted from the curfew and travel restrictions, which may hinder necessary movement for crew change. It directs companies employing the services of seafarers to provide special and dedicated means of transportation to convey the seafarers, adding that such transport system must be disinfected within the recommended minimum hours.

 

The guideline specifically provides for the mandatory use of facemasks within all terminals and jetties, mandatory temperature check on all staff before access to terminals, and denial of entry to persons who present temperature above 38°C. It makes it mandatory for all dock labour employers to develop risk assessments and safety intervention guidelines for all personnel and operations in the areas of vulnerability within their maritime operations that can be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including cargo handling, access control, and rostering procedures.

 

Dock labour employers are also to devise methods of ensuring that dockworkers absent from their duties for issues relating to COVlD-19 are quarantined and compensated for the suspension of earnings they suffer as a consequence. Furthermore, all dock labour employers are to ensure that buses deployed during the COVID-19 pandemic carry a 50 per cent maximum capacity in line with Federal Government directives, and all passengers wear facemasks. Such buses must have hand sanitisers for all drivers’ and passengers’ use and be frequently disinfected.

Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh, said the latest advice was meant to contain the coronavirus pandemic while also supporting the continuation of the economy. 

 

Jamoh stated, “Like President Muhammadu Buhari said, no economy can survive total lockdown. If you look at it critically, maritime is an essential duty, with the major actors being seafarers and dockworkers. This is why we continually come up with guidelines to ease their operations so that activities in our ports will not suffer.”

 

The DG emphasised the prohibition of loitering around port premises and charged dock labour employers to ensure social distancing of two meters is maintained between people in the workplace and other public spaces within and around port terminals.

 

The guideline is in sync with those issued by the United Nations agencies, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

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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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