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Cashless Policy: HYPPDEC succours Kogi riverine communities with Food Stuff, Clothing



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By Friday Idachaba, Lokoja.

HYDROELECTRIC Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPPDEC) has presented foodstuffs and clothing to communities in the 10 member Local Government Areas in Kogi State.

Alhaji Isah Ozi-Salami, Member representing Kogi on the Board of HYPPDEC, who presented the items to Governor Yahaya on Tuesday in Lokoja said it was to cushion the harrowing hardships imposed by the Federal Government cashless policy.

He said that the gesture was part of the Commission’s response to natural disaster or any form of hardship assailing the citizens, with a view to intervening to alleviate their suffering.

The items include 400 bags of rice, 250 gallons of vegetable oil and some packaged women wrappers.

The Board member reiterated the resolve of HYPPDEC towards tackling the prevailing economic hardship on Nigerians culminating from the Cashless Policy.

“We owe it as a duty to take adquate care of the people in the 10 Local Government Areas belonging to HYPPDEC communities in Kogi

“Our concern under the present economic hardship is to alleviate the sufferings of the people within HYPPDEC communities in Kogi State”, Ozi-Salami told Governor Bello.

He commended Governor Yahaya Bello for providing logistic supports that had facilitated the smooth operation of the Commission in Kogi.

He also told the Governor that HYPPDEC would soon begin the construction of a 50-Unit housing in Kogi for resettlement of last year’s flood victims in riverine communities.

“I appreciate Governor Bello’s magnanimity in providing land for the housing project. We expect Governor to perform the foundation laying ceremony of the project soon,” Ozi-Salami disclosed.

In his response, Governor Bello who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Pharm. Jamiu Asuku received the items for onward distribution to the communities.

Bello hinted that the state government would key into HYPPDEC’s intervention initiative in the areas of provision of food and security of lives and property to assuage the suffering of the citizens.

The governor however appealed to HYPPDEC to focus more on Ibaji Local Government Area in its intervention programmes in view of the terrible terrain peculiar to the area.

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Amb Oluwafemi hails Tinubu on diplomatic shuttle that halted UAE-Nigeria Visa Impasse




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***Says billions in investments anticipated as arilines resumes

***Hails Aviation minister, Keyamo for being proactive over the issue

President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s diplomatic moves that resolved the consular and economic relations with President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in Abu Dhabi, is a masterstroke that will usher billions of investments in to the country, the CEO of the Africa Development Study Centre (ADSC), Ambassador Victor Walsh Oluwafemi has indicated.

To start with he said, the move he said resulted in the immediate cessation of the visa ban placed on Nigerians.
Recall that the impasse was very much in force before President Tinubu emerged as the Nigerian number one citizen last May.

Ambassador Victor Oluwafemi who is a seasoned management consultant of continental level applauded the president on the landmark in a statement he personally signed on Tuesday.

He explained that the development which banned Nigerian travelers nine months ago took a new twist after President Tinubu met with the UAE leader and this has led to the immediate resumption of flight schedules for both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines into and out of Nigeria which is welcoming and salutary.

Mainly Instructive in his view is adding momentum to his drive to give greater investment opportunities to Nigerians at home and the diaspora.

He reiterated that President Tinubu is the first Nigerian Politician that has deliberately prepared himself for authentic leadership because of his uncommon supports for the Nigerian people since assumption of office particularly in foreign policy interventions and domestic governance ecosystem in the last 100 days.

According to him, the significant gesture in boosting Nigeria-UAE cooperation economically and geopolitically is second to none in the political history of Nigeria.

He stated that an economically stronger Nigeria would certainly help augment both the scope and level of cooperation between Nigeria and the UAE. The trade volume between the two sides will increase beyond our imagination.

He, therefore, appealed to other political parties and strategic stakeholders in the Nigerian project to engage with the Tinubu led administration to chart a pathway to national building efforts for shared prosperity particularly from the several billions of U.S. dollars’ worth of foreign direct Investments and new trade portfolios into the Nigerian economy across different sectors which is a sweet smelling savour for a new national rebirth.

Ambassador Oluwafemi also hailed Aviation minister, Festus keyamo, SAN for being proactive over the UAE debacle.

He said: “Within such a short period the aviation minister has proven to Nigerians that his administrative capabilities are not in doubt.

“Definitely the UAE issue was acidic but Keyamo pulled it through barely three weeks in office as minister.

“His moves at the airports particularly in the major gateways of our country are laudable,”.

Victor, who’s also the President of the African Air Passengers Rigth Association (APRASS) and a UAE resident, thanks the UAE President for resolving the issues swiftly and the Minister of Aviation for being proactive on this issue and the airport relocation.

He commended him and advised the association should be involved in the ministry’s activities especially the current committee that was set up because the airline users are the major stakeholders in all activities concerning the airport and the airlines.

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Kogi, China finalise bilateral relationship in transport infrastructure




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*** The partnership promises to make the State an industrial hub

The Kogi State Government and the Chinese Construction giant, CCECC have entered in to an accord that will bolster business relationships in the areas of planning, financing and execution of transport infrastructure in the state.

The meeting took at the headquarters of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation along Airport Road, Abuja on Thursday
The Executive Officer of the Kogi State Investment Promotion and Public Private Partnership Agency, Abdulkareem Siyaka who led the government’s delegation disclosed that the first line of business upscaling and partnership is the construction of Inland Transit Port in Lokoja to link Warri – Burutu/Port Harcourt via Onitsha.

This he said will rapidly develop the movement of agricultural produce and solid mineral cargo to and from northern and southern Nigeria.
He said the partnership was in line with the Kogi State’s medium-term economic development goals which within a 5-year time frame will want to rapidly develop her infrastructure outlay, citing transport infrastructure as the bedrock of economic development.
While interacting with newsmen at the end of their meeting, Abdulkareem said the upgrade of Adogo Airstrip to a commercial Cargo Airport to facilitate growth in cross-border trade and investment and boost real sector productivity was discussed.
Another infrastructure to be executed under the partnership is the construction of Electrified Rail Project between Jeba and Lokoj.
This will reduce haulage costs within Nigeria by freeing excess pressure on road transport infrastructure.
Speaking on the business models, Abdulkareem stated that Kogi State is in the process of building its economy from a conservative civil service state to an Industrial giant in northern Nigeria.
He said the ‘Build -Operate-Transfer’ model or similar model that will be economical for both parties would be ideal while involving the Federal Government to provide sovereign guarantees including counterpart funding in any or all the projects.
On his part, the Deputy Managing Director of CCECC, Guo Wenjun commended the state government for its vision while expressing readiness for the relationship.
He noted that the Kogi State Government has been a friendly business partner of CCECC over the years with mutual understanding and benefits.

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‘Nigeria needs real time investment in other sectors to achieve diversification’




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The Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu has advocated for real time investment in other sectors of the nation’s economy if the much talked about diversification of the economy from oil and gas must be a reality.

Bagudu spoke Monday at a public hearing on a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian economic diversification council organised by the Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs.

The governor, who is a former senator said Nigeria is a blessed nation in all sense of the world and “we need to support different sectors of Nigeria, we need to support different constituents of Nigeria to do better.

“We have done well in petroleum and gas not because it is the only sector, but that is where we put in the most money.  May be we have put, on an average basis between 1990 to 2010, which have been investing about 10 billion dollars in petroleum and gas when I say we, it is both public and private sectors”. 

According to him “if you measure how much has been going into agriculture, for example, in that period, may be, it is less than 500 million dollars.

He said it will not be surprising that the outcome will be different, adding, “may be if we take mining, whether it is gold, which every state has something to offer, again may be we have not invested as much. 

For him, “diversification has restructuring as an element of that so that we support the constituent parts whether they are states or sectors so that each can contribute more than it is contributing. 

“Some of the anger we have had in the land may be result from the lack of inclusion when oil production was contaminating water bodies or in the oil producing states.

“Those who hitherto used those fresh water bodies as sources of livelihood for fisheries so those water bodies taken over by weed. And they also got angry and they said it doesn’t matter, you can go on producing oil but what about us.

He said late President Umaru Yar’Adua recognised that we had an amnesty programme that was restraining them and may be similarl things are happening elsewhere that if we recognise and provide legislative backing to our diversification quest, we will be able to tell the world we are serious about diversification.

“The evidence in the last seven years had some positive traction that we can build and we can do better and quicker, adding that “it’s a collective”.

“Nigeria is a trillion dollar investment destination. Nigeria, what is our federal budget, less than 35 billion dollars, may be the national assembly is about to pass the 2023 budget I’m sure it won’t be up to 40 billion dollars. What is the budget of Brazil a country that is similar to Nigeria in terms of population, about 700 billion dollars.

“So if somebody is taking care of 220 million people with 700 billion dollars, you are taking care of 200 with less than 10 per cent of that. Isn’t it a no brainer that you will not be able to achieve as much. But we have to all come together, we have to borrow more money if that is what is required or we have to support all sectors to produce more money so that we can fund all our priorities bad.

On the forthcoming election, he thinks “we have made a statement enough in Nigeria that everyone is convinced that free, fair and transparent elections always lead to more confidence in the society, less rancour in the society.

He said the value of free, fair and transparent election is there for all to appreciate, adding “what is important is for everyone to see what more can I do to ensure that we have free, fair and transparent election.

“Sometimes, we are all guilty in the sense that we think it’s somebody who should solve the problem.

However, he said even transparent elections do not guarantee the best outcomes, sometimes still, democracy is based on appeal of populist leaders, leaders who are popular at a particular time.

“We should all play a role to ensure that our processes are strengthened And they are strengthening. Today INEC is enhancing the transparency of election by better accreditation, speedy accreditation, better transmission of results in good time, security agencies are helping, above all President Buhari has committed to free, fair and transparent election even in states where our party has lost elections.

“We are a blessed nation in all sense of the word and we have to support and we need to support different constituents of Nigeria”, he concluded. 

Mr. Thomson Akpabio from Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) drew the attention of the committee to section 332  which stipulates 2% tax on imported textile while it imposes 10% on locally produced one thereby serving as a disincentive to local manufacturing. 

The sponsor of the bill, Sabi Abdullahi (Niger North) expressed his delight that the public hearing was well attended as stakeholders made very meaningful contributions that will enrich the legislation.

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