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Government

The Senate will next Tuesday consider the Federal Government’s request to the National Assembly for the approval of N895.84 billion as supplementary budget for the 2021 fiscal year.

 

President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, made this known during plenary following a request by the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Jibrin Barau, for time to allow the Joint Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives come up with a harmonised report on the supplementary appropriations bill.

 

Senator Barau, had while coming under order 43 of the Senate Rule on Personal Explanation, sought the approval of the upper chamber for more time to enable the Appropriations Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives harmonise their reports on the supplementary budget request for presentation next Tuesday.

 

He said, “I was directed to submit the report of the 2021 Supplementary Appropriations Bill to this Senate today. I wish to tell this distinguished Senate that my committee went with that directive, and we have concluded our work on the bill.

 

“However, Mr. President, we are yet to harmonise our position with that of the House of Representatives. The meeting to harmonise our position with the House of Representatives is tomorrow. We hope that we are going to finish with them, harmonise and have the same position so as to have a seamless supplementary approval process within the National Assembly.

 

“Therefore, Mr. President, I’m requesting that the Senate should show understanding because of this development and allow us to lay the report on Tuesday. I so submit, Sir.”

 

Responding, the Senate President said, “because you have come under standing order 43 which does not allow for debate on the issue raised, I’ll on behalf of the Senate advice that your committee should remain very concerned with strict consideration of whatever the executive side of government has brought as request in the supplementary.

 

“So, do proper scrutiny, you have requested this yesterday. Work with the House so that we have a Joint report, so we don’t have to go into harmonizations. Leave no stone unturned in considering the issues item-by-item, then we unfailingly receive the report and consider it on Tuesday.”

 

President Buhari had on June 15, 2021 transmitted a supplementary appropriations bill for N895.842,465,917 billion naira to the National Assembly for consideration and approval.

 

He explained that the proposed amount would be used to fund the COVID-19 vaccine programme; fund health related expenditures for treatment of additional 50,000 patients under the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS Program in states; and procure additional equipment captured in this year’s capital expenditure on Defence and Security to tackle prevalent security challenges across the country.

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ICT

Recent data on the Nigerian Communications Commission website shows that MTN maintains leadership by market share in the telecoms sector with 39.66%; they are followed by Airtel, Globacom and 9Mobile respectively.

 

In the just-released Subscriber/operator data, the Commission disclosed that MTN controls 74,044,687, representing 39.66 percent, while Airtel and Globacom control, 50,026,788 and 49,781,215, representing 26.80 percent and 26.66 per cent respectively. The Commission added that 9Mobile controls 12,842,775, representing 6.88 percent.

 

Recall that, consistent with Section 89 Subsection 3(d) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA 2003), the Commission is mandated to monitor and report on the state of the Nigerian telecommunications industry, provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance, etc. with a view to identifying areas where regulatory intervention would be needed.

 

From available data on the website, the sector enjoyed increased contribution to the country’s GDP recording 12.45% in the 4th quarter of 2020.

 

The broadband subscriptions in Nigeria at May 2021 stand at 75,569,442 representing 39.59% penetration.

 

The number of active subscribers for data (internet) services on each of the licensed service providers utilizing the different technologies, i.e. GSM and CDMA as at May 2021 was 140,488,490 with Mobile (GSM) accounting for 140,132,128.

 

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Agriculture, FEATURES, Government

In line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to lift 100m Nigerians from poverty within a decade and the globally acclaimed Sustainable Development Goals, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is leading the Federal Government’s collaboration with the United Nations to improve Nigeria’s food systems. 

 

The effort is to attack the menace of hunger, combat malnutrition, reduce poor diet-related diseases among others.

 

The Federal Government and the United Nations had led series of public dialogues at national and sub-national levels that culminated today in the presentation of the Nigeria Food Systems mapping report to State governments across the six geo-political zones.

 

Prof. Osinbajo made the presentation at a Consolidatory Dialogue for the UN Food Systems Summit held in Abuja, attended by some State Governors, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, Ms. Amina Mohammed, members of the Federal Executive Council, Nigeria’s development partners, and other dignitaries from the academia, private and public sectors.

 

Speaking at the event, the Vice President said aside from the goal of realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and guaranteeing food security for a growing population, the sustainable food systems effort fits into the plan of the Buhari administration to eliminate poverty across Nigeria.

 

According to the Vice President, “for the government of Nigeria, our commitment to sustainable food systems is one of the key strategies for eliminating poverty across Nigeria.

 

“We know that our target of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty within a decade is only achievable if we focus on substantially improving agriculture and food systems which assure us of not just good food, but also jobs. 

“This perspective on addressing hunger, malnutrition, and poverty runs through our policy frameworks, including our recently launched National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy, and our Nutrition Policy that addresses the issues of a sustainable and nutrition-sensitive food system.”

 

The President had previously named his deputy, the Vice President as Chairman of the Steering Committee to oversee the implementation of the National Poverty Reduction and Growth Strategy. The VP is also the Chairman of the National Council on Nutrition.

 

Emphasizing the need to develop more efficient food systems, the Vice President noted that “our food system must be resilient enough to significantly impact nutrition security, and our collective efforts must reduce the malnutrition numbers.

 

“We must realise that defining bold steps to improve food systems and by extension, food security ensures that children have improved health, early development, and increased intellectual and emotional readiness to learn.

 

“This translates to positive school engagement and improves the potential of children growing into healthy adults.

 

“On the other hand, imagine a generation of adults who suffer arrested physical and mental health, and the social and economic burden on their families, their communities, and the nation. Imagine the implications of approximately 50% of Nigeria’s population being at risk if we do not get it right.”

 

Prof. Osinbajo called on all stakeholders to translate the recommendations of the dialogues to prompt action, noting that “it would mean embracing the changes required in modernization of farming practices, mechanization, and reduction of post-harvest losses.”

 

 “We must ensure that we practice environmentally sustainable production; we must empower our communities by creating jobs and livelihoods to sustain the food systems we desire,” the Vice President added.

 

Prof. Osinbajo said the call by the United Nations Secretary-General on sustainable food systems is apt and timely, noting that “it provides the opportunity to holistically re-examine all the elements of the Food System in Nigeria.”

 

He added: “I have no doubt that the 39 dialogues held nationally and sub-nationally have been accessible to all stakeholders and able to identify those challenges that still clog our wheel of progress especially in the relevant sectors.”

 

Other dignitaries at the event include Ministers of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Mohammed Nanono; Health, Dr Osagie Ehinare; Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed; Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba, and the convener of the Dialogue, Mrs Olusola Idowu.

 

Also at the event, Prof. Kola Amigo from the Ahmadu Bello University presented the findings from the various UN Food Systems dialogues held in the country and a group of Nigerian children similarly voiced their views on the dialogues.

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Government, Tourism

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, will on Thursday, 1st of July, make a public presentation of a reviewed Tourism Master Plan and a Tourism Policy to guide the activities of the State Government and stakeholders in the sector on all tourism related activities in the State for the next couple of years.

 

The public presentation of the reviewed Tourism Master Plan and a Tourism Policy event is supported by Sterling Bank Plc. and will hold at Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.

 

In a Statement Released on Monday through the Public Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Commissioner for the Ministry, Pharm. Mrs. UzamatAkinbile-Yussuf said that the public presentation of the two documents would herald a new narrative in the State’s tourism sector.

 

She described the presentation of the two documents by Governor Sanwo-Olu as historic, considering the rigorous processes and the scrutiny which the documents have been subjected to before arriving at the reviewed versions which would now be publicly presented on July 1st, 2021.

 

According to the Commissioner, the approval of the Governor for the production of both the Tourism Master Plan and Tourism Policy further demonstrates his resolve to embrace initiatives that would help advance the development of tourism activities from both the government and private sector’s perspectives.

 

As a show of the support of the tourism stakeholders for the two documents, the Commissioner revealed that various practitioners in the sector have been invited to witness public presentation event, stressing that the documents which were prepared in collaboration with the stakeholders, would be seamlessly embraced by all the affected practitioners.

 

The Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, Sterling Bank, Shina Atilola, who spoke on the partnership of the Bank with the State Government for the public presentation event, said, “We are excited to partner with Lagos State as it prioritises tourism and repositions Lagos into one of the most preferred destinations in Africa.

 

He described the Tourism Master Plan and Policy by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture as a must-have roadmap for regenerating, conserving, and making Lagos a high-end tourist destination with global appeal.

 

Atilola added that the role of the private sector is to support the government and take advantage of its favourable policies. Without which, enhanced quality of life for the masses, job creation, and shared prosperity for all will remain elusive.

 

“This explains our support for the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s masterplan and policy presentation. It is a roadmap that will unlock inclusive and sustainable development by harnessing the unique and abundant endowments of nature and the cultural heritage of the people of Lagos State,” he said.

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ICT

The Federal Government has approved the extension of the deadline for NIN-SIM data verification to July 26, 2021.

 

The decision to extend the deadline was made after a request by stakeholders on the need to consolidate the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process following the rapid increase in the number of enrolment systems across the country.

 

As at June 28, 2021, a total of 5,410 enrolment systems are now available across the country and this would significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM. It is worthy of note that there were only about 800 such enrolment systems as at December 2020.

 

The Federal Government has approved the extension as part of its effort to make it easier for its citizens and residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.

 

There are now a total of 57.3 million unique NIN enrolments, with average of 3 to 4 SIMs per NIN. With the great number of enrolment centres across the country, every citizen and legal resident 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, appreciates Nigerians for their patience and compliance with the Federal Government’s directive on the NIN-SIM registration exercise.

 

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta, and the Director-General/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission, Dr. Aliyu Azeez, urge citizens and legal residents to make sure they use the opportunity to complete the process of enrolment and verification.

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