The National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) has solicited the support of governors of sugar-producing states in the country towards the revitalisation of the sugar sub-sector.
NSDC said the guidelines for the implementation of Phase 2 of the Nigeria Sugar Masterplan requires the inputs of critical stakeholders, such as state governors, for it to succeed.
Executive Secretary of the Council, Mr Zacch Adedeji, disclosed this when he led a delegation from the NSDC on a courtesy visit to the Governor of Nasarawa State and Chairman of the Forum of Governors of Sugar Producing States, Sule Abdullahi, in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
He said state governors as landlords of sugar projects in their respective domains have contributed to the modest success so far recorded in the industry.
While commending the forum for creating a safe and enabling environment for sugar operators to go about their business activities without hitches.
Such hitches, he said, include perennial disagreements over land ownership between host communities and operators, communal hostilities and other associated challenges.
He said the forum had contributed to the peace enjoyed across communities hosting sugar projects across states.
The Federal Government had in 2013 begun the implementation of a 10-year master plan to revamp the sugar sector.
The policy plan, code-named “Nigeria Sugar Master Plan (NSMP)”, has four major objectives: for Nigeria to attain self sufficiency in sugar production; stem the rising tide of sugar importation; create job opportunity for Nigerians; and generation of electricity and production of ethanol for industrial purposes.
The first phase of the plan is expected to end in the first quarter of 2023.
Speaking on the current status of the master plan, Adedeji said given the importance of the sector to Nigeria’s economy, and considerable success recorded in the last 10 years, President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the phase 2 of the master plan, which is expected to run for another 10 years, beginning from 2023.
“we are quite pleased with the invaluable contributions of the forum you chair to the faithful implementation of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan.
“We’ve made considerable progress in critical segments of the NSMP, especially as it relates to the refining component of the plan. Our next plan of action is to replicate the successes recorded in sugar refining in our field and agricultural operations.
“As you rightly know, the NSMP isn’t about sugar production alone, we count largely on its ability to take millions of our people out of poverty, develop infrastructure and improve the economic status of communities hosting sugar projects.
“We are quite optimistic about our projections in the sugar industry. We shall rely heavily on the use of verifiable data and modern technology to drive phase 2 of the master plan.
“The sugar sector holds tremendous opportunities for Nigeria and Nigerians in terms of job creation for our youths, increased revenue and general economic prosperity for the nation”, he stated.
FOI Act Implementation Bothers BPST Boss
The Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Dr Dasuki Arabi, has expressed regrets that the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has remained very low since the law was enacted.
The BPSR boss made the observation during a workshop held on Wednesday in Abuja on the appraisal of Freedom of Information Act.
Arabi said the Act was meant to entrench transparency and openness in governance through improved compliance to annual reporting obligations of public institutions.
“It is also expected to guide and improve compliance of public institutions in proactive disclosure of mandatory publication requirements, as well as empower citizens, the right to access information held by the state.
“Regrettably, since the introduction of the FOI Act, it is evident that the level of compliance among public institutions still remains low.
“While the level of engagement by citizens still remains insignificant and in some cases fraught with misunderstanding between the State and Non-State actors,” he added.
Arabi, therefore, said that the workshop was to resolve some of the grey areas around FOI, as well as foster a harmonious relationship between the State and Non-State actors towards the implementation of the Act.
He said good governance and transparency would only thrive in the country when citizens access to Information is assured.
The DG emphasised that the FOIA provided platform for inclusiveness that sought to hold leaders to account and feed into the decision making process.
Arabi said that the Bureau had worked assiduously towards the implementation of the Act and was making efforts to ensure that it was institutionalized across the public sector.
He said that the interventions were in the areas of training public service workers and development of feedback mechanism through which a portal for application and responses for FOI request were deployed.
Others, he said, are score-card for ranking the performances of websites of public institutions using specific benchmarks, including FOI portal.
“Creating platforms for citizens engagement with Civil Societies Organizations on topical issues of government through the BPSR flagship programmes such as the monthly Lunchtime Seminar series,” he added.
Arabi said that the Bureau had also deployed information technology to provide innovative means to improve record keeping and management using intranet and Electronic Data Management Systems.
He continued that they were working in conjunction with the Nigeria Economic Summit Group to gauge the perception of citizens on public policies.
In her remarks, the National Coordinator, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, said making information open was a hallmark of democracy and a basic human right.
She said that the FOIA has given citizens the opportunity to access information as regards government policies and reforms.
FCTA Harmonises Mobile Adverts, Haulage System Against Double Taxation
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), Department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS), has launched the FCT/State Mobile Advertisement and Haulage permits for 2023 financial year.
Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, while launching the system sought the cooperation of the business owners in the FCT, in order to achieve the objective of the initiative.
Adesola said the move was part of efforts to facilitate the ease of doing business drive in the nation’s capital.
He commended DOAS for the initiative. aimed at improving institutional cooperation and partnerships with the critical stakeholders.
Adesola warned: “FCTA would no longer tolerate acts of thuggery in the collection of taxes, as there are better ways of doing such, which will ensure the attainment of ease of doing business.”
He commended the leadership of Area Councils for resolving to synergise with DOAS to streamline the system.
The Permanent Secretary said the proliferation of collection authorities for mobile advertisements had led to serious loss of Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the FCT.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Danladi Chiya, said although Area Councils have the constitutional right to collect such advertisements, they have no issue with FCTA over the establishment and mandate of DOAS.
LASG Begins Vehicle Parking Lanes Demacation
The Lagos State Parking Authority (LASPA) has revealed it will today commence creating additional Vehicle Parking Lanes in some selected locations across the State.
The Authority stated that all efforts have been geared towards improving the parking system of the State.
Speaking on the planned initiative on Friday in Ikeja, the General Manager of LASPA, Mrs. Adebisi Adelabu, stated that the vehicle parking lane mark exercise, which will begin with designated streets within Surulere, Ikoyi, Lekki, Obalende, Ikeja and Victoria Island axis of the State, is a step towards improving street parking from 2023.
Adelabu noted that the Parking Lane Markings will further guide motorists and pedestrians on appropriate parking regulations and spaces, minimise indiscriminate parking, confusion and uncertainty, while conveying a range of information to residents on parking procedures within each specified environment.
According to her, the lane markings will also include special consideration for people living with disabilities and signposts for parking directives, among other features.
The General Manager, however, solicited the understanding of residents within the locations who might be affected by any inconvenience the process might cause, assuring that the government is working rigorously in regulating and improving the parking culture as part of its Traffic Management and Transportation Agenda to ensure parking is convenient, safe and secure across the state.
Recall that the Authority had recently unveiled plans to begin full implementation of parking policy in the second quarter of 2023 and has continued to sensitise the public on the need to embrace the parking culture.
By; Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos
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