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THE STATES

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Adamawa

 

Alhaji Sahabo Jauro, the newly elected Chairman of Mubi North Local Government of Adamawa, has inaugurated five supervisory councillors and four special advisers.

At the inauguration on Wednesday, Jauro directed the appointees to submit their blueprints for improving the local government area as their performance would be assessed after nine months.

“After nine months we will assess your performance and see whether to allow you to continue or to replace you,’’ Sahabo said.

The chairman urged them to work hand-in-hand with elected councillors to ensure harmony.

 

Bauchi

 

The Bauchi State House of Assembly has pledged to enact more people-friendly legislation in 2013.

The Speaker, Alhaji Yahya

Miya, gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen in Bauchi. Miya said that the Assembly would be more proactive in its responsibilities in the New Year.

“We had fruitful relationship with the executive last year and this enabled us to pass various bills on critical sectors like health, education, youth empowerment and job creation,’’ he said.

 

Ekiti

 

Politicians in Ekiti State have been urged to shun activities capable of causing disaffection among the people ahead of next year’s governorship election.

The Chief Missioner of Ansar -Ur- Deen in the State, Sheik Ameen Adebayo, made the call  at an inter-denominational prayer session organised by the state government for a crisis-free new year.

He urged politicians in the state to shun violence and watch their utterances as they prepare for the 2014 governorship election in the state.

 

Gombe

 

Alhaji Ali Goro, the Chairman, Joint Association of Physically Challenged Persons in Gombe, has called on the state government to involve members in employments concerning them.

Goro said involving members in policies and programmes involving them was necessary to avoid ‘diversion of slots’ meant for them.

The chairman was reacting to the 2013 budget proposal presented to the House of Assembly by Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo last week which made provision for the creation of jobs and skill acquisitions for the handicapped.

 

Jigawa

 

The Jigawa Government has proposed N4.4 billion as capital investment in agriculture for the 2013 fiscal year.

This is contained in the 2013 Appropriation Bill submitted to the state’s House of Assembly by Gov.

Sule Lamido  in Dutse. Lamido said the amount was provided for agricultural extension services, rehabilitation of irrigation fields, livestock and grazing lands development projects.

He explained that part of the amount would be spent on the procurement and distribution of fertilisers, seeds and other inputs to farmers.

Kano

 

Some Kano residents on Wednesday in Kano commended Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso’s administration for initiating adult literacy classes in the state.

Some of the prospective students of the classes, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed optimism that the initiative give them a new lease of life. “I was encouraged by my children to enroll into the classes to be formally educated,’’ Malam Sanda Uwaisu said.

He wished that someday he would be able to read newspapers written in Hausa as he had always relied on his children to read and then tell him the news.

 

Katsina

 

The Katsina State Sector Command of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) on Wednesday said that two people died in a New Year Day accident at Dandagoro, in Batagarawa Local Government area of the state.

Alhaji Habu Dauda, the FRSC Sector Commander, disclosed this in an interview with news  in Katsina.

He said that a man and a woman lost their lives in the accident, which occurred at about 9.22 p.m. On Jan. 1.

Dauda said that the accident involved an unmarked motorbike and a Volkswagen Golf 3 car, with Reg. No. CF927ABC.

 

Kebbi

 

The Emir of Zuru in kebbi, Alhaji Sani Sami, has called on prominent people from the emirate to empower the youth, and work for the unity and development of the area. Sami made the call  in Zuru while honouring some prominent persons from the area.

He said the people were honoured in recognition of their achievements, “especially for their exemplary conducts and activities’’

 

Kwara

 

An Ilorin Magistrates’ Court has remanded two students, Bala Abubakar and Sambo Aminu, over alleged possession of Indian hemp.

The accused were arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Kwara Police Command on Unity Road in Ilorin.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons were arrested on Dec. 30 after a search conducted on them revealed substances suspected to be Indian hemp.

The charge sheet said that when the accused persons were interrogated, they could not give a satisfactory account of the substances found on them.

Ogun

 

The Ogun Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)  said it had arrested two suspected pipeline vandals on Ajede road in Ijebu East Local Government Area of the state.

The command’s spokesman, Kareem Olanrewaju, told newsmen in Abeokuta that the suspects were aged 35 and 55.

“The suspects were operating with guns along side with others now at large. “Our surveillance team deployed to monitor the activities of vandals around the place relayed the information but the suspects took off before the arrival of the combat team, ‘’ he said.

 

Oyo

 

The Oyo State Police Command said on Wednesday that it was expecting an additional 300 newly-recruited officers in January to boost its manpower.

The police spokesman, Mr Ayodele Lanade, said this in Ibadan while speaking with newsmen

“Due to the nature of crime, you cannot rest on your oars. “Criminals keep changing the way they operate and so, the police cannot afford to relax, he said.

 

Plateau

 

The Speaker of Plateau House of Assembly, Mr John Dabwan, has called for peaceful coexistence in 2013 among the various tribes in the state.

Dabwan told newsmen in Jos that people should work together for peace to return and for tourism to flourish once again in the state.

He also called on the people to support government efforts to develop the state.

 

Yobe

 

The Yobe Government on Wednesday mounted a water-tight security at the Yobe State House of Assembly in Damaturu, hours before Gov. Ibrahim Gaidam presented the state’s 2013 budget.

Our Source said  that the road to the assembly complex on Maiduguri road in Damaturu had been cordoned off by stern-looking security operatives.

Top government functionaries and reporters going to the assembly were subjected to vigorous screening by the security operatives.

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Increasing SSBs Tax ‘ll Encourage Healthy Lifestyle -Experts

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The Executive Secretary, Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Programme, Dr Vetty Agala, has said that an increase in Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) tax will encourage heathy lifestyle, thereby reducing the 30 percent death rates associated with the consumption of SSBs.

 

Agala stated this at a two-day training programme organised to create awareness on the negative effect of excessive consumption of SSBs, organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Port Harcourt.

 

She said it was necessary for the people to prioritize their health.

 

“Increase in SSBs tax will reduce the intake of SSBs consumption that is currently the cause of 30 per cent of deaths.

 

“The desire of the Rivers State Government is to protect her citizens by bringing up policies and various interventions and programmes such as innovative financing that help protect the health of communities,’ she added.

 

Also speaking, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Dr Adaeze Oreh, noted that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have become a public health concern globally and across the nation.

 

Dr Oreh, who was represented by the State Epidemiologist, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr Ifeoma Nwadiutor, revealed that the staggering rate of 41 million people are lost to NCDs annually, and that NCDs in Nigeria account for 30% of deaths.

 

“With this data, it is, therefore, paramount to address the root causes of these preventable illnesses”, she said.

 

The commissioner maintained that NCDs are known to result from long-term effects of unhealthy lifestyle and diets, leading to disability adjusted lifestyle years (DALYs).

 

“Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) or carbonated drinks also known as soft drinks, are non-alcoholic beverages that contain excessive amount of sugar.

 

“The sugar in these drinks is absorbed by the blood stream, thereby causing a spike in the blood sugar level, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including obesity and other NCDs.

 

“Obesity is a predisposing factor for diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. It often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities,” Dr Oreh added.

 

On his part, a public health scientist, Dr Francis Fagbule, advised parents to give their children balanced diet, adding that excessive intake of SSBs add no value to the health of their children.

 

Fagbule stressed that parents who can not avoid to give their children SSBs can give, but not in excess, adding that excessive consumption of SSBs makes children obsessed and fatigued.

 

“You are not adding anything useful to your children when you give them SSBs. You can only help your children to have balance diet. Give SSBs if you cannot avoid it completely, but don’t let it be in excess because excessive consumption of them makes children obsessed and fatigued”, he said.

 

Earlier, the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, had stated that the training programme was aimed at equipping journalists with the necessary information to create awareness and drive the campaign against excessive consumption of SSBs.

 

Oluwafemi noted that the training would provide a comprehensive overview of SSB consumption patterns, their profound health implications, fiscal considerations and policy recommendations to address the growing health and economic challenges stemming from SSB consumption in the country.

 

He expressed worry that sugar sweetened beverages have gained prominence in Nigeria and have become a significant public health concern in the country, stressing that excessive consumption of SSBs leads to obesity, diabetes and other health challenges.

 

“The high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases highlight a health crisis in Nigeria, with over 11 million Nigerians currently living with diabetes.

 

“Nigeria’s status as the fourth-largest of soft drinks globally is concerning and is a looming health epidemic if not addressed promptly. The adverse effects of these preventable diseases on productivity, revenue loss, and human lives underscore the urgency for effective policy solutions,” Oluwafemi said.

 

The Tide reports that CAPPA is a pan-African non-governmental organisation that works to advance human rights, challenges corporate abuse of natural resources and builds community power for inclusive development and participatory governance.

 

Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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95% Of Small Businesses Should Be Off Tax – Oyedele

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The Federal Government is working on a system that will provide tax relief to 95 per cent of the informal sector of the economy in the country.
Mr Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms Committee, said this at the closing session of the committee on Sunday in Abuja.
He said this would be achieved through the exemption of businesses earning N25 million a year or less from the various taxes hindering their progress over time.
‘’So, we think that 95 per cent of the informal sector should be legally exempted from all taxes; withholding tax, company income tax, even payee on their staff.
‘’We’re using data to inform our decisions. Currently, if you earn N25 million a year or less, you don’t have to pay company income tax, you don’t have to worry about VAT.
‘’We think that the informal sector are people who are trying to earn legitimate living, we should allow them be and support them to grow to a point where they can then have the ability to pay taxes,” he said.
Oyedele said the new reforms being proposed would focus on the top 5 per cent of that sector, the middle class and the elite for taxes.
He said the committee was drafting the laws to effect the necessary changes in the fiscal policy and tax reform ecosystem of the country.
According to the chairman, the new laws will ensure that reviews become sustained by all governments coming in, adding that: “we don’t want this whole effort to go down the drain, after one or two years.”
On compliance, he urged all stakeholders to fully cooperate with the government in implementing a new fiscal and tax policy that would be used for the general good of the citizens.
‘’We think that the days of being above the law in paying taxes are over. The same thing we’re saying to our leaders, whether they are elected or appointed.
‘’We think they have to lead by example by showing that they have paid the taxes, not only on time, but correctly to the lawful authorities as contained in the various laws,” he said.
He said explained that some of the taxes complained about by Nigerians were those already in the constitution, which the committee had looked at and called for their review.
Oyedele said the committee report would be made to pass through the normal process of legislation in order to give it the full legal backing.
‘’So, our expectation is, as we progress now from ideation, proposal to implementation, you’ll see less and less of those issues and then you’ll see harmony in the direction of the fiscal system.
‘’Not only in the number of taxes we collect, you will also see an improvement in how those monies are being spent.
‘’In terms of priority of spending, in terms of the efficiency of spending and in terms of focusing on what impacts on the lives of majority of our population that live in multi-dimensional poverty,” he said.
Oyedele added that the committee had been working with the sub-nationals and the local government councils in its task of harmonising the taxes into a single digit in the country.
‘’So, we’re convinced, and that’s what the data tells us, that the right path we need to follow, is the path where we repeal many of these taxes, harmonise whatever is left.
‘’We think we can keep that within single digit across local government, state and federal government combined, and then improve the efficiency of collecting those taxes.
‘’We are also very convinced that we need to increase the threshold of exemption for small businesses, for low income earners because if you can’t make ends meet, the last thing you want is someone asking you to pay tax.
‘’We think in fact, when our nation gets to the level we need to be, we should be able to even add money to those who have very little or nothing,” said Oyedele.
At the ceremony, Vice-President Kashim Shettima restated President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to revitalise revenue generation in the country.
“Our aim remains the revitalisation of revenue generation in Nigeria, while sustaining an investment-friendly and globally competitive business environment.
“Contrary to speculations in some quarters, we are not here to frustrate any sector of our economy but to create an administrative system that ensures the benefits of a thriving tax system for all our citizens,” he said.
He said the dynamics of the nation’s fiscal landscape prompted the Tinubu administration to pause and reconsider the direction it was going.
“I am confident that both the Federal and State Governments stand ready to ensure the effective implementation of your reform proposals.
“We shall provide the institutional framework to guarantee the adoption of the consensus of this committee, aligning them with our economic agenda,”said Shettima.

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138.9m Nigerians Need Interventions Against Tropical Diseases -WHO

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Data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 138.9 million Nigerians require interventions against Neglected Tropical Diseases.
This is according to the latest epidemiological and programmatic data for 2022, which were gathered, compiled, and analysed in 2023, and obtained from the WHO on Saturday.
The body also said NTDs are endemic in Nigeria as it ranks first in the African region and second globally after India.
WHO defined NTDs as a diverse group of conditions of parasitic, bacterial, viral, fungal, and non-communicable origin, noting that there are more than 15 NTDs in Nigeria.
The report stated, “They prevent children from going to school and adults from going to work, trapping communities in cycles of poverty and inequity. People affected by disabilities and impairments caused by NTDs often experience stigma within their communities, hindering their access to needed care and leading to social isolation.
“Nigeria is endemic for several NTDs. The only disease eliminated was dracunculiasis (Guinea-worm disease) in 2013. The population requiring interventions against NTDs was approximately 138.9 million in 2022, ranking first in the African region and second globally after India.
“This includes 138.9 million requiring treatment for lymphatic filariasis through mass drug administration; 48.7 million requiring treatment for soil-transmitted helminthiases through mass drug administration; and 43.5 million requiring treatment for onchocerciasis through mass drug administration.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government had in 2023 said it would eradicate NTDs in the country by 2027.
The Director of the WHO Global Neglected Tropical Diseases Programme, Dr Ibrahima Fall, said, “With a renewed focus on strategic priorities addressing advocacy for action, partnership, costing and accelerated implementation, technical gaps including research and development and leadership.
“We must intensify our collective action to address the deep-rooted inequalities that fuel the transmission of NTDs in the populations where they persist.”

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