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FG, States Get NEC’s Approval To Borrow $9bn

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The National Economic Council on Thursday approved the plan by the federal and state governments to borrow $9bn from some international organisations.

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The council, chaired by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, has all the state governors and  ministers of National Planning, Federal Capital Territory and Justice as members.

Governors Peter Obi (Anambra); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); and Umar Garba (Taraba) as well as the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Shamsudeen Usman; and Minister of State for Power, Mrs. Zaynab Kuchi, briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting.

Usman said the approval was granted based on a presentation made by the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. He added that   the  nod    had earlier been given by the National Assembly.

The minister  said, “The Coordinating Minister of the Economy briefed the NEC on the current facilities made available by different international funding organisations, including the Islamic Development Bank, International Development Association, African Development Bank, French Development Agency as well as Chinese and Indian Exim Banks totalling about $9bn for development of projects.

“The facilities  which have up to 10 years moratorium and 40 years repayment periods are available to both the federal and state governments to fund high impact projects towards improving infrastructure, agriculture and employment generation.

“The council urged the states to endeavour to meet the requirements for the loans and to ensure that the facilities are meant to fund meaningful projects in their states.”

On power, Imoke said the council approved  the sourcing and immediate release of $3.37bn  bridge funding for the sector pending the realisation of proceeds from generation asset sale.

He said the decision was taken as a means of solving the envisaged significant transmission constraint by the end of the year and bridging the gap for counterpart funding in hydro plants.

The governor said it was resolved that $1.65bn should be disbursed to fund critical transmission infrastructure while $1.72bn should be used to fund hydro generation.

He added that it was recommended that the proceeds from sale of generation assets  be utilised for reinvestment in transmission and hydro projects.

“The committee set up by the council highlighted the over $4bn NIPP investment already made in generation which has produced  additional 4,774MW  generation capacity by NDPHC and would have raised the overall generation capacity in Nigeria to 9,582 MW in December 2013 in line with the nation’s updated generation capacity target of 20,000 by 2020.

“It further noted that investing in the needed transmission infrastructure would ensure, among other benefits, the needed return on investment, the maximisation of  proceeds from the sale of the generation assets, improved GDP growth rate as well as ensure effective distribution of generated power to the ultimate consumers,” he said.

Imoke added that the council also recommended that 11 small dams spread across the country should be accommodated in the funding plan because of their potential  for  boosting power, water supply and agriculture in the country.

Garba said the council also approved the desire of states   to buy up the 78,000 laptops belonging to the Independent National Electoral Commission which were used for the last voter  registration.

He said  governors who wanted the laptops took the decision after a presentation  by   INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Usman added that   a committee of the council would negotiate the payment terms with the commission while state governments would subscribe and make payments.

On education, Obi said a technical committee on the recommendations of the NEEDS Assessment of Nigerian universities briefed the council in line with its directive last month for it(council) to incorporate additional contributions by members.

Based on the report, he said NEC  recommended the expansion of access to tertiary education in Nigeria by designating  a federal university per geopolitical zone to be upgraded towards expanding its absorptive capacity to between 150,000 and 200,000 students in the medium term.

He added that the council wanted  the establishment of a Federal Ministry of Higher Education and Manpower Development in order to ensure that students’ enrolment was reconciled with the national manpower development priorities of the nation.

Obi  said, “ On funding, the committee agreed with CNANU that funding was a big issue in tertiary education and recommended that both the Federal and State Governments should prioritise funding by  raising budgetary allocation to schools and guaranteeing  that funds for education are disbursed as appropriated to ensure that the necessary facilities are provided.

“On governing councils, it recommended the strengthening of the composition and character, especially the external members, of the Governing Councils of the Universities by populating the board with members who have a direct stake in academics to ensure better management of the universities.

“On staffing, the committee noted that the Nigerian university system is grossly understaffed and recommended the introduction of attractive incentives towards promoting postgraduate education and upgrading the academic qualifications of all lecturers to PhD level within a given period.

“Other recommendations made by the committee include government’s investment in hostel accommodation, establishment of specialised laboratories, establishment of a robust federal and state scholarship scheme and the lifting of the moratorium on the creation of more than one university by state governments.

“The council gave its backing to the prayer for the immediate implementation of the recommendations. It also supported the recommendations for the reform of both the primary and secondary levels of education to ensure a complete overhaul of the education system in the country.”

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Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, Loses 13-year-old Daughter

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Nigeria's Communications Minister, Isa Pantami, Loses 13-year-old Daughter

Communications minister, Isa Pantami

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Pantami, has announced the loss of his 13-year-old daughter, Aishah Isa Ali.

The Minister took to his Twitter account on Monday night to announce this sad news.

Pantami stated that the funeral prayer for the deceased will be conducted in Abuja on Tuesday at Annur Masjeed, Wuse 2.

Also Read: Gunmen Evict NIDCOM Staff From Office On Minister’s Order

The post by the minister announcing the incident reads; “Inna lil Laahi wa inna ilaiHi Rajiun! My 13-year old daughter, Aishah Isa Ali (Amal) passed away just a moment ago.

“Due to some necessities, funeral prayer tomorrow at Annur Masjeed, Wuse 2, immediately after Zuhr prayer In sha Allah. May Allah forgive and be merciful to her.”

 

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Cult Violence: Wike Imposes Two-Week Curfew Around Okoro-Nu-Odu

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Cult Violence: Wike Imposes Two-Week Curfew Around Okoro-Nu-Odu

Governor Wike

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has imposed a 24-hour total curfew for two weeks on some parts of Port-Harcourt, the state capital.

The Governor made this known during a broadcast on Sunday where he noted that the curfew begins from Monday 23rd November 2020.

The statement noted that the upsurge noticed by the state government in cases of cult activities, other forms of violence, and killings is responsible for the curfew.

Also Read: Umahi Unhappy With PDP Because Atiku Picked Peter Obi – Wike

Wike in the statement declared that the entire area along and around the Okoro-nodu flyover up to a one-kilometre radius from Saint Emmanuel Anglican Church, Rumuokoro, extending to the Rumuodomaya Slaughter and Local Government daily market will be affected.

He added that no form of trading, human or vehicular movement is allowed in the affected areas until further notice.

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Zamfara Governor Secures Release Of 11 Kidnapped Victims

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Zamfara Governor Secures Release Of 11 Kidnapped Victims

Bello Matawalle

Governor of Zamafara, Bello Matawalle has announced the release of 11 kidnapped victims.

According to reports, ten of the victims were male and a female from Bukkuyum Local Government Area.

Matawalle received the rescued kidnapped victims on Saturday night at the Government House in Gusau, the state capital.

The Commissioner of Security and Home Affairs, Abubakar Muhammed Dauran revealed that the victims were released without paying a ransom.

Also Read: Nigeria still needs SARS, Zamfara gov, Matawalle insists

He stated they were released as a result of the peace initiative and stakeholders meeting summoned by Governor Matawalle with all critical stakeholders from Bukkuyum Local Government Area on Thursday.

Governor Matawalle assured that his administration will not rest on its oars until total peace is achieved in all parts of the state.

 

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