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Demons Frustrating Passage Of PIB’ll Be Defeated This Year -Lawan

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The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, declared, yesterday, in Abuja, that the demons frustrating the passage and Presidential Assent to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) within the last 14 years, would be defeated this year by the 9th National Assembly.
Lawan, who made the declaration, while speaking to journalists on his 62 birthday celebration, said the patriotic zeal used by the National Assembly in October, 2019, to pass the Amendment Bill on Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contracts, would be deployed for expeditious consideration and passage of the PIB already before it, latest by the end of first quarter of this year.
“PIB is like a demon. People both within and outside the country are ready to work against it as they have been doing for the past 14 years but the 9th Senate, and by extension, 9th National Assembly, will defeat the demon with the current bill before both Chambers.
“The patriotic zeal, sheer determination and unity of purpose by all serving senators across party lines, to do this latest by the end of first quarter of this year will be deployed on the bill immediately the Senate resumes on 26th of this month the way it did with Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contracts”, he said.
The Deep Offshore Oil Production Sharing Contracts Act, facilitated by the National Assembly in 2019, he disclosed, has increased remittances from the sharing contracts into the federation account from $216million to $2billion on yearly basis.
According to him, “For 20 years, foreign forces and local collaborators, frustrated efforts to amend the Deep Offshore Oil Production Contract Act, but got defeated in October, 2019, with passage of Amendment to the Act by both Chambers of the 9th National Assembly with attendant financial and economic gains for the country.
“Those against the move in 2019, even threatened to leave the country, but the 9th National Assembly stood its ground in getting the previously fraudulent Act, amended with passage of the bill, which was assented to, by President Muhammadu Buhari on a Sunday in London.”
He, however, assured the various International Oil Companies (IOCs), working in Nigeria that the PIB to be passed this year, will not run them out of business.
“The main purpose of PIB which will later become an Act, when passed and assented to, by President Muhammadu Buhari, is to make the oil sector investments friendly for both local and foreign investors with attendant economic gains for the country.
“Through it, a required competitive environment will be provided for businesses to grow and investors to make their gains as well as Nigerians getting values for their money and the government getting more revenues,” he explained.
He added that with massive injection of budget funds into the economy, Nigeria will get out of recession in a few months time.
According to him, to achieve that, while implementation of the N13.588trillion 2021 budget commences this January, the capital component of the 2020 budget is extended to March 31, this year as requested by the executive.
“This will no doubt ensure injection of massive funds into the economy and get it out of recess soonest,” he said.
He also declared that the reversion of budget implementation cycle in Nigeria from unpredictable ones of the past to January-December now, by both the legislature and the executive, has increased the percentage of implementation and invariably delivery of dividends of democracy to Nigerians.
Lawan argued that Nigeria would generate more revenue with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
He said that the Senate would on resumption from the Christmas break on January 26, consider the bill for passage.
According to him, the PIB is important legislation that would be given the necessary attention to our resumption.
“By the grace of God when we resume, we will start work on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB); that is going to be one legislation that not only Nigeria but the entire world is waiting for because that will change our economy.
“Money will start flowing, so, we want you to be on that journey with us so that you too when the history of PIB passage and assent will be written, your names will be reflected.
“We promised Nigerians that we are going to achieve that by the grace of God in the year 2021,’’ the Senate president said.
He, however, said that there were people within and outside the country who were opposed to the passage of the bill.
“There are people both within and outside the country who will work against it but it is going to take the strength of our patriotism to pass it,” Lawan said.
He further said that the PIB would be given the same speed accorded the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract bill.
“When in 2019, we said we will pass the amendment to the Deep Offshore Production Sharing Contract in this house, we spent nights.
“We close by 2 a.m., 3 a.m., just working to amend that act; people didn’t want it to happen because it stopped what has been happening for 20 years.
“In a week, they thought it was a joke. In a week we finished the amendment because the house was on recess, the day they returned, they concurred.
“Mr. President knew how important that amendment was. He was in London and that bill was flown to him and he signed on a Sunday just to give that amendment the validity that was needed,” he said.
Lawan added: “We lost billions of naira because we were supposed to be given $2billion every year in the last 20 years; they were giving us $216million.
“But from last year, after the amendment, it is now $2billion.
“That is what we intend to do with the PIB, we will pass the PIB that will ensure that businesses here get a very competitive environment, that people can make a profit and stay and even invest more.
“It is necessary and incumbent on all of us leaders, to apply ourselves fully to address the various challenges facing Nigerians.”
He noted the need for leaders in the country to surmount the challenges, saying that there should be no excuses in finding solutions to the problems.
“It is not easy. And sometimes, when you are outside the system, you think two plus two is four. Until you get in then you will discover it’s beyond that arithmetic, but there should be no excuses,” he said.

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Alleged Insecurity In Rivers, Exaggerated, Envoy Affirms …$10bn NLNG Train 7, Proof Rivers Is Safe, Wike Insists

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The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, Kim Young-Chae, says the purported insecurity in Rivers State and some other parts of the country, was being exaggerated by the media.
Young-Chae, has meanwhile hinted that political stability of Nigeria remains key determinant factor for Korean companies willing to invest in Nigeria.
The Korean envoy stated this during a courtesy call to Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Saturday evening.
Young-Chae explained that contrary to negative media reports, he felt safe visiting Rivers, Bayelsa, Adamawa, Ogun, and other states in the country.
“I visited Bayelsa State. The other day, I visited Adamawa and Ogun states, and it seems to me that the security situation is in a way exaggerated. In most places, I feel safe. But the media coverage is often exaggerated and making matters worse.
“The biggest concern for Korean companies is political stability. So, political stability is key for Korean companies to decide investment in Nigeria. We want to see continuous political stability in Nigeria, and that is what I have seen here (Rivers).”
The ambassador, who was accompanied by his wife and officials of Korean Embassy in Nigeria, commended Wike’s able leadership over the years.
“We have seen enormous progress in Rivers State in terms of infrastructure. I salute your able leadership”, he said.
Young-Chae said Korea was seeking more economic cooperation with Rivers State and the rest of the country in the areas of construction, oil, gas, agriculture, fishery and even cosmetics, medicine, and pharmaceutical products.
He declared his readiness to help Nigerian companies penetrate into Korean and East Asian markets, which combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now surpasses that of Europe and North America, respectively.
He commended the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman in Rivers State, Amb Desmond Akawor for being a worthy ambassador of Nigeria to the Republic of Korea.
In his response, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike commended the Korean ambassador for his pragmatic and objective analysis of the security situation in Rivers State.
“Let me sincerely thank you for saying clearly that the issue of insecurity is being exaggerated. People pay the media to carry negative publicity against states. Nobody will deny the fact of the problem we are facing in the country today, and also the world in general.”
The governor disclosed that prior to the take-off of the $10billion NLNG Train 7 project, he held meetings with the managing directors of Daewoo and Saipem, and they were quite satisfied with the level of security in the state.
“Rivers State is one of the safest states in this country today. Get the security statistics from the police, from the State Security Services, from the military, they will tell you so. When people say Rivers State is one of the most unsafe states, you then ask them: where did you get your statistics from?”
He further added, “You and I know if there is insecurity today, NLNG Train 7 cannot take place, because that is one of the biggest investments in this country today, $10billion investment. Nobody can make that kind of investment in a state where there is so much insecurity.”
Speaking on the issue of unemployment, the governor explained that if the national economy is not stable, it will invariably affect the sub-nationals.
“If the national economy is booming, then, there is the tendency that the component units of the economy will also boom. So, people who do not have ideas of the economy will come up to say that there is so much unemployment in the state.”
Wike expressed the willingness of the Rivers State Government to partner with the Republic of Korea in agriculture, technical education and medicine.
The governor observed that most countries were now depending less on oil as a major source of revenue.
He added that for Rivers State to survive, the government was focusing on agriculture by establishing a cassava processing company.
He remarked that the state government was willing to provide all necessary documentation, land, and give all the necessary waivers and incentives to Korean investors wishing to invest in agricultural sector in Rivers State.
“We will make sure that we give you the concession for those private investors, even tax rebate as it may be”, the governor added.

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Nigeria Going Through Worst Unemployment Crisis -World Bank

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Nigeria is currently going through one of its worst unemployment crises in recent times, a new report by the World Bank has stated.
The multilateral institution also noted that the socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians in the last 10 years have led to an astronomical increase in the number of citizens seeking asylum and refugee status in other countries.
This is as the World Bank, in a separate report, has estimated that about 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 pandemic between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report, which expressed concern about the country’s rising unemployment situation, was published by the Washington-based institution with support from the Korea World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF) and the Rapid Social Response (RSR) trust funds.
In the report titled, ‘Of Roads Less Travelled: Assessing the Potential for Migration to Provide Overseas Jobs for Nigeria’s Youth’, the World Bank further estimated that there were 2.1million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Nigeria in 2020 alone.
World Bank, however, blamed a combination of rising unemployment, booming demographics, and unfulfilled aspirations as resulting in increasing pressure on young Nigerians to migrate in search of gainful employment overseas.
In addition, the Washington-based institution disclosed that the number of international migrants from Nigeria has increased threefold since 1990, growing from 446,806 in 1990 to 1,438,331 in 2019.
It explained that despite this trend, the share of international migrants as a proportion to Nigeria’s population has remained largely constant, increasingly slightly from 0.5 per cent in 1990 to 0.7 per cent in 2019.
According to the bank, recent rise in irregular migration notwithstanding, the share of international migrants in Nigeria’s population was much lower compared to the shares in Sub-Saharan Africa and globally.
The data showed that the number has risen by over 1,380 per cent in the years between 2010 and 2019, indicating that in comparison, the number of persons coming into Nigeria from outside has been relatively stagnant in the decade under consideration
“An important trend that is observed in the data is the rise in the number of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria. The share of refugees and asylum seekers from Nigeria has increased drastically in the last decade, growing from 27,557 in 2010 to 408,078 in 2019,” it stated.
It noted that although the country was reaping dividends from the success of its citizens in the Diaspora, which was put at five per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, when it comes to the discourse on international migration, the narrative has not been palatable.
“Nigeria is facing one of the most acute jobless crises in recent times. Between 2014 and 2020, Nigeria’s working age population grew from 102million to 122million, growing at an average rate of approximately 3 per cent per year.
“Similarly, Nigeria’s active labour force population, that is, those willing and able to work among the working age population, grew from 73million in 2014 to 90million in 2018, adding 17.5million new entrants to Nigeria’s active labour force.
“Since 2018, however, the active labour force population has dramatically decreased to around 70million—lower than the level in 2014— while the number of Nigerians who are in the working-age population but not active in the labour force has increased from 29million to 52million between 2014 and 2020.
“The expanding working-age population combined with scarce domestic employment opportunities is creating high rates of unemployment, particularly for Nigeria’s youth,” the World Bank report noted.
However, between 2010 and 2020, the international financial institution estimated that the unemployment rate rose five-fold, from 6.4 per cent in 2010 to 33.3 per cent in 2020, with the rates being particularly acute since the 2015/2016 economic recession and further worsened as Covid-19 led to the worst recession in four decades in 2020.
Increasingly, it noted that educated Nigerians were struggling to find employment opportunities in the country while unemployment rates increased substantially for Nigerians across all education levels over the years, becoming progressively challenging for educated Nigerians to find employment opportunities.
“Combined with significant demographic changes and increased aspirations of the youth, Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is creating migratory pressure in the economy.
“Unemployment is considered to be a key driver of migration. Consequently, multiple surveys show that the number of Nigerians, who are looking to migrate internationally, is high and increasing,” it pointed out.
In the last few years, the bank stated that the number of persons eager to migrate has increased from 36 per cent in 2014, to 52 per cent in 2018, noting that the desire to migrate remains higher among unemployed (38 per cent), youth (39 per cent), secondary education graduates (39 per cent), urban residents (41 per cent) and post-secondary graduates (45 per cent) in Nigeria.
It maintained that since there has not been an expansion of legal migration routes for youth increasingly eager to find opportunities in the overseas labour market, young Nigerians are opting for irregular migration routes to realise their hopes for a better life.
“What is worrying, however, is the increase in the number of forced and irregular migrants from Nigeria,” it disclosed.
It stressed that to ensure mutual cooperation, the European Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), which was established in 2015, with the aim to promote areas of mutual development interest between Europe and Africa, has since provided more than €4billion in aid to African countries to address various development-related challenges and priorities in Africa.
Since its inception, the EUTF, the bank stated, has provided more than €770million for migration-related projects in Nigeria, with most of the funds invested in border control measures, awareness campaigns to stop trafficking, and the creation of jobs domestically, including for returned Nigerian migrants.
While predicting that by 2100, Europe’s working age population between the ages of 20 and 64 would decline by 30 per cent owing to low birth-rates and increased longevity, it further projected that at same time, the working age-population in Nigeria could increase by 140 per cent.
“By expanding legal pathways for migration and implementing supporting measures to reap dividends from current migrants in the Diaspora, Nigeria can further benefit from international migration.
“Nigeria’s institutions are well-placed to promote managed migration approaches that help create opportunities for prospective Nigerian jobseekers to find employment internationally and can be supported to help design schemes that increase the returns to human capital investments for Nigerian youth,” the report concluded.
In a related development, the multilateral institution has estimated that 4,000 Nigerian children were made orphans by the Covid-19 between March, 2020 and July, 2021.
The report by the bank’s experts at the Imperial College of London, revealed that over 4,100 Nigerian children lost one or both primary caregivers within the aforementioned period, while 4,300 lost one or both primary and secondary caregivers.
The report posted on the bank’s blog was jointly authored by World Bank’s Lead Economist, Laura Rawlings and a senior technical advisor, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) Covid-19 International Task Force, Susan Hillis, and titled, “For every two Covid-19 deaths, one child loses a caregiver. We must do more to address the orphan crisis.”
The report stated: “The Covid crisis will leave many unwanted legacies. The world has been closely tracking the Covid-19 death toll, with official mortality counts now reaching over four million people, largely concentrated among adults. The children left behind have been practically invisible.
“Our estimates of the toll on children left behind, just released, are that for every two people, who die of Covid, one child is left orphaned, facing the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver, who had been living in their home.
“By the end of June 2021, because of Covid-19, our estimates show that nearly two million children under 18 years had lost a mother, father, and/or grandparent caregiver, who lived in their household.”
According to the experts, countries with primary caregiver death rates of at least one per 1,000 children include Peru (10.2 per 1,000 children), South Africa (5.1), Mexico (3.5), Brazil (2.4), Colombia (2.3), Iran (1.7), the USA (1.5), Argentina (1.1), and Russia (1.0).
They also noted that at the current rate, one child was being orphaned every 12 seconds due to a Covid-19-associated death, adding that the toll was growing.
The authors noted that the Covid-19 related deaths had a wide range of effects on the children from economic, developmental to psychological impacts, which would reverberate across generations.
According to them, children orphaned by Covid face a constellation of risks, which often arrive with rapid and broad consequences.
“The threats of poverty, malnutrition, displacement and separation from siblings or other family members, school dropout, depression, violence and child marriage can emerge suddenly from the Pandora’s box of Covid-19,” they said.
Nigeria had as of July 20, 2021, recorded about 2,128 Covid-19 deaths, suggesting that for every one death in the country, an average of two children become orphans.

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FG Extends NIN-SIM Verification Deadline To Oct 31

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The Federal Government has approved the extension of the deadline for National Identity Number (NIN)-Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) data verification to October 31, 2021.
The decision to extend the deadline was made following a request by stakeholders to accommodate registration in hard-to-reach remote areas, foreigners and diplomatic missions, Diaspora and address low enrolments in schools and hospitals, as evidenced by enrolment statistics.
The decision also followed a review of the progress of the exercise which indicated significant progress, hence the need to consolidate the gains of the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process across the country.
As at July 24, 2021, there are over 5,500 enrolment systems within and outside the country, and this would significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.
A statement signed by the Head, Corporate Communications, National Identity Management Commission, Kayode Adegoke, reads, “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension as part of efforts to make it easier for its citizens within and outside the country, and legal residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.
“The NIN-SIM linkage also makes it easier for the security agencies to carry out their statutory duties and the relevant parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy are supporting them as required.
“There are now a total of 59.8million unique NIN enrolments, with average of 3 to 4 SIMs per NIN. With the great number of enrolment centres within and outside the country, and many more coming up, every citizen, legal resident, and Nigerian citizens living in Diaspora should be able to obtain their NINs.
“The Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, on behalf of the Federal Government, commends the Kano State Government and other states that have made NINs a key requirement for school enrolments and access to other important services.
“The Federal Government is also excited at the news that the use of NIN in the process of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) exam significantly reduced the challenge of exam malpractice.
“The minister, on behalf of the Federal Government, appreciates Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.
“Similarly, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, and the Director-General/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Engr. Aliyu Azeez, urge citizens and legal residents to make sure they use the opportunity to complete the process of enrolment and verification before the October 31 deadline.”

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