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297,000 Vulnerable Households Get Stipends In 20 States -Uwais

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Presidential aide on National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP), Mrs Maryam Uwais, says that the Federal Government has captured 455,000 vulnerable households in the National Social Register.
Speaking to newsmen while presenting the scorecard of the NSIP at the state House, Uwais stated that no fewer than 297,973 households had been mined and being paid stipends in 20 states.
According to her there are no fewer than 80 million poor Nigerians and the office want to get the poorest persons data using appropriate means.
“So far, we have 455,857 poor and vulnerable households uploaded onto the National Social Register, from which 297,973 households have been mined and are being paid stipends in 20 States.
“These states are Jigawa, Bauchi State, Kogi, Osun, Cross Rivers, Anambra, Katsina State, Kano State, Taraba, Gombe State, Adamawa, Niger, Nassarawa State, Benue, Oyo State, Ekiti, Kwara, Borno (IDP), Kaduna State and Plateau,” she added.
She observed that credible targeting was a major concern in National Cash Transfer Programme, prompting the National Social Investment Office (NSIO) to develop a Social Register in all the states that met the criteria provided in the agreement signed with it.
Uwais also disclosed that 259,541 beneficiaries in 4,784 cooperatives were paid in the Government Enterprise and Empowerment in 36 states and FCT while the next batch of 148,611 loans had been approved for disbursement.
In the National Home Grown School Feeding (NHGSFP), Uwais stated that 7,054,687 pupils were currently being fed daily in 20 states with two states (Katsina State and Gombe State) to begin soon.
“We have also hired and empowered 72,510 cooks in the 53,541 schools being serviced.
“These states are: Anambra, Enugu State, Oyo State, Osun, Ogun, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Delta, Abia, Benue, Plateau, Bauchi State, Taraba, Kaduna State, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Imo, Jigawa, Niger and Kano State.”
She noted that in almost two years into the implementation of the programmes, the NSIO was continuously learning lessons and building bridges designed to achieve its overarching goals.
The Presidential Aide acknowledged that no fewer than 200,000 graduates were enrolled in the N-Power job scheme with 20,000 beneficiaries in the non-graduate category set to begin training in 34 States.
She noted that the organisation already had 2.5 million young people in its data base for employment.
Uwais said the Humanitarian Hub in Adamawa State, supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Presidential Committee on the North East Initiative and National Emergency Management Agency, had already selected successful applications and had prepared for the first batch of pitches.
She added that the Lagos Climate Change Hub, supported by the World Bank and the Lagos Business School, would throw open it’s challenges in March as the other six situated in the six geo-political zones were at various stages of development.

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MWUN Threatens To Down Tools Over Failed Quay Aprons 

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Friday threatened to shutdown port operations over the dilapidated quay aprons at some of the nation’s seaports.
Speaking in Lagos during a joint press conference put together by the union and Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), President General, MWUN,  Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, reiterated that the lives of labour workers at the affected terminals was at risk, saying that “injury to one is tantamount to injury to all.”
Adeyanju lamented that the union cannot allow the situation consume some dockworkers before protesting against the trend, noting that as a responsible and proactive group, there was the need to down tools for government to do the needful.
Our correspondent gathered that two port terminal, at Tin Can Island Port Complex, Lagos, and another  at Port Harcourt, Rivers Port  Quay wells have been in  dilapidated condition for over five years without any sign of repair works from the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Recall that Minister of Transportation, Mu’Azu Sambo, who also inspected the dilapidated portion of the Tin Can Island Port quay apron recently, asked Mohammed Bello-Koko, Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the engineers to forward the ‘as-built’ plan of the jetty, alongside other documents to his office for immediate action.
While reacting to questions from the journalists, Adeyanju said the union will also engage management of the NPA in furtherance to address the menacing failed infrastructure of the terminals.
On the recently inked Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NARTO, the President General noted that the collaboration has been in existence for a long while with the aims to cater for drivers’ welfare and support projects of the NPA in port terminals operations.
He also warned members of the dockworkers branch to cooperate and embrace the agreement with the trucking association, noting that any attempt by the dockers to flout the MoU reached so far would result to sanctions from the national executive of MWUN.
He assured the leadership of NARTO, led by its National President, Alhaji Yusuf Othman, of the Union’s commitment towards ensuring that progress and success is achieved  in the agreement.
According to him, the MoU is binding for members of the dockworkers branch, stressing that the Lagos ports was a test run with plans ahead to extend the agreement to other seaports, including, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports.
Earlier, President of NARTO, Alhaji Othman, lauded the MoU reached with MWUN, adding that success will be achieved in the merger. Othman said in line with port operations, the merger will bring about free flow of vehicular movement in and out of the ports calling on the parties involved to embrace sincerity and transparency for the benefit of the industry and Nigeria.
He said, “We wish to draw the attention of the general public to the decision for MWUN and NARTO to synergise and collaborate on a basis of common desire to ensure seamless environment to do business in the maritime sub sector of the nation’s economy”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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PenCom Approves Use Of Pensions For Mortgage

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National Pension Commission (PenCom), has commenced approval for workers to use 25 per cent of their Retirement Savings Accounts for mortgage.
PenCom in a press statement released on Friday, titled ‘PenCom approves guidelines on accessing Retirement Savings Account balance for payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders’, noted that the approval was in line with the Pension Reform Act of 2014.
It stated in part, “PenCom is pleased to inform all stakeholders and the general public, particularly RSA holders, that the commission has approved the issuance and immediate implementation of the guidelines on accessing RSA balance towards payment of equity contribution for residential mortgage by RSA holders.
“The approval is in line with Section 89 (2) of the Pension Reform Act 2014, which allows RSA holders to use a portion of their RSA balance towards payment of equity for residential mortgage”.
According to the PenCom, the guidelines cover pension contributors in active employment, either as a salaried employee or as a self-employed person.
It added that the maximum amount to be withdrawn is 25 per cent of the total mandatory RSA balance as of the date of application, irrespective of the value of equity contribution required by the mortgage lender.
It further stated that where 25 per cent of a contributor’s RSA balance is not sufficient for payment as equity contribution, that RSA holders may utilize the contingency portion of their voluntary contributions (if any).
To qualify as a mortgage lender for the purpose, it stated, the company must be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, comply with the Contributory Pension Scheme and have valid Pension Clearance Certificate.
“The RSA of the applicant shall have both employer and employee’s mandatory contributions for a cumulative minimum period of 60 months (five years).
“A contributor under the Micro Pension Plan is also eligible, provided he/she has made contributions for at least 60 months (five years) prior to the date of his/her application, and the RSA Holders that have less than three years to retirement are not eligible.
“Married couples, who are RSA holders, are eligible to make a joint application, subject to individually satisfying the eligibility requirements.
“RSA holders, if registered before 1 July 2019, must have their records updated through the RSA data recapture exercise.
“Application for equity contribution for residential mortgage shall be in person and not by proxy.” it stated.

By: Corlins Walter

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Car Hires Operators, Bolt Driver Flex Muscles In PH Airport

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There was pandemonium at the Port Harcourt International Airport Omagwa, Friday, as the Accredited Car Hires operators clashed with a Bolt taxi operator over passengers.
The scenario that played out got to the extent that everyone scampered for safety, as the Bolt driver went wild with his vehicle, and defied everything put in place to stop him, determined to crush anything, including humans, that stool on his way.
Problem started when the suspected Bolt driver was stopped by the Car Hires.  After a heated argument, characterized by abuses, the bolt driver decided to enter his vehicle in anger, after he sensed that his car was in danger of being confiscated.
In the commotion that ensued, the car hires, as usual, used their iron piercing instruments to block the tyres of the vehicle to keep it within their custody, and the uproar attracted  the attention of other airport users.
The Car hires and their allies at the airport had always insisted that no other taxi operator must carry passengers at the airport, since they do not pay any levy to the airport authority.
Consequently, they use every force necessary to stop other outside taxis from carrying passengers from the airport.
Friday’s incident took a new twist, as the Bolt driver over. Powered the forces used by the car hires, and went on a suicide mission, which made people to scamper for safety, including the car hires.
The driver went on a speed spree away from the airport. Even when the piercing instruments cut his tyre, he drove in such reckless manner capable of pulling down a building, thereby setting the entire environment on panic.
Some security agents present had to clear the way for the Bolt driver who drove out of the Airport with the iron piercing instrument obstructing his car, defiling all attempts to stop him.

By: Corlins Walter

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