Top government officials at the federal and states level, as well as other stakeholders in the economy will examine options available to the government to improve its revenue streams especially in a period of low earnings from crude oil at the National Council on Finance and Economic Development (NACOFED) 2016 conference, which opens in Abeokuta, Ogun State on Tuesday.The conference, which is being hosted by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has been themed: Enhancing Revenue Generation and Obtaining Best Value for Money in Expenditure.The Federal Ministry of Finance, in a statement yesterday, said the event will attract a diverse group of participants including Ministers, Governors, Commissioners of Finance and Budget from the 36 states of the Federation, as well as captains of industry from the private sector.
While Nigeria still remains the second largest contributor to under-five mortality and maternal death rates in the world, MTN Foundation, through its Maternal Ward Support Project hopes to change the story. Martins Ifijeh writes
One of the most overwhelming misfortunes that have endured throughout history is the death of a woman or child during childbirth, as it comes with a huge burden of grief, pain and heartbreak. Thereby resulting in unwarranted and preventable deaths.
Experiences have shown that the birth process is perhaps one of the most dangerous journeys majority of women are likely to make in their lifetime. This is especially troubling as statistics revealed that the extent of loss of lives across low and middle income countries occasioned by the issue is still high despite global health interventions.
According to a 2015 report from the World Health Organisation (WHO), approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth everyday and a high percentage of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, including Nigeria.
And even more specific representation is provided by UNICEF, which reports that: “Every single day, Nigeria loses about 2,300 children under five and 143 women of childbearing age, making it the country with the second largest contributor to under–five mortality and maternal death rate in the world. Also, for every 10 minutes, one woman dies on account of pregnancy or childbirth in Nigeria.”
Additionally, death of newborn babies in Nigeria is said to represent a quarter of the total number of deaths of children under five years. The majority of these deaths reportedly occur within the first week of life, mainly due to complications during pregnancy and delivery reflecting the intimate link between newborn survival and the quality of maternal care.
Since the lack of access to quality healthcare and the apathy by women to patronise existing facilities have been fingered as an underlying causal effect of the high indices of maternal and child deaths, the MTN Foundation, in a bid to changing the narrative and reducing maternal and child deaths in the country is equipping and renovating maternal wards of hospitals across the country with the commencement of its first phase in six beneficiary states, including Sokoto, Kaduna, Niger, Abia, Cross River and Oyo.
According to the Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer, MTN Foundation, Nonny Ugboma, a total of 24 selected hospitals in these states will benefit under this first phase of the MTNF Maternal Ward Support Project, with some states already benefitting from the gesture by the Foundation.
For instance, in Sokoto State, the General Hospital, Shargari, General Hospital, Gwadabawa and General Hospital, Tabuwal has taken ownership of the maternal wards equipped and renovated by the MTN Foundation Maternal Ward Support Project.
According to Ugboma, the hospitals were equipped with ultra-modern executive beds, incubators, and other facilities, and were renovated to create a beautiful ambiance. “The modernised wards would contribute significantly to the reduction of maternal and infant mortality rate in the state and the nation as a whole,” adding that the initiative was to complement government’s national objective of reducing maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria.
“Each of the newly inaugurated wards is equipped with 20 hospital beds with cardiac rest, 20 standard hospital mattresses, 20 standard hospital bed pillows, 10 four-way foldable ward screens, 20 metal bedside cupboards, 20 visitors’ chairs, 10 drip stands, 20 hydraulic over-bed tables, 10 height adjustable baby cots and 2 Carl Novel baby incubators,” she said, adding that every beneficiary state and hospitals will benefit same, as this would greatly aid the job of health workers, as well as motivate pregnant women to access healthcare.
Speaking during the delivery of the maternal wards in General Hospital, Shagari, the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, said the gesture has brought healthcare closer to the people, as residents of Shagari Local Government Area will not have reasons to travel as far as Sokoto capital to access healthcare.
The Governor who was represented by the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Balarabe Shehu Kakale Shuni, said: “This is a testimony of Sokoto State being a magnet for international devoted partners and other progressive partner.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has approved the disbursement of about N75billion as loan to farmers in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) under the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing in Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL).
The loan guarantee scheme is a public-private sector initiative set up to transform the country’s agricultural sector. It was initiated by the apex bank, the Bankers’ Committee and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, to guarantee 75 per cent loans provided by Deposit Money Banks (DPB) to farmers as part of efforts to transform the country’s agricultural sector.
The Head of NIRSAL Project Implementation Office under the Development Finance Department of the CBN, Jude Uzonwanne, who spoke on the role of NIRSAL in Abuja, told the Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Oloye Akinjide, that the guarantee would be issued to farmers through commercial banks and other financial institutions.
“NIRSAL would mobilize financing for Nigerian agribusiness by using credit guarantees to address the risk of default,” Mr. Uzonwanne said.
“NIRSAL is a flexible financing tool designed to change the behaviour of financial institutions.
Samsung Electronics West Africa has unveiled the Samsung Smart School project for students and teachers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. The Samsung smart school is a digital learning environment, which gives both the teachers and students an opportunity to use Samsung technology to create, revolutionise and enhance the learning process of students in public schools in the state by providing an integrated new technology to make the educational environment more interactive intuitive, and efficient.
Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has announced the establishment of the biggest West Africa multi billion naira French Rice/Potatoes processing plant in Manchok, Kaura local government area of the state.
The processing plant after completion, would offer 30,000 direct jobs to
the teaming unemployed youths in the state.
The Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), comprising the 36 states governors of the federation, have expressed support for the economic policies initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
The federal government recently admitted that the country was in recession, as Nigerians continue to go through the rigors of hardship.
Chairman of the forum and Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Abdul’aziz Yari, conveyed the governors’ decision yesterday at the end of their emergency meeting held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
African continent, with the richest natural resources and the youngest population on the planet, faces serious development challenges. The environment, probably the most important among the challenges, is linked to issues of energy, transport, waste management, climate change, deforestation, soil degradation and decline of biodiversity.
In many areas, there are also issues of pollution, lack of irrigation and drinking water, and threats of unsustainable urbanization. The response to all these challenges is Going Green. It’s a process whereby Africa can achieve sustainable development and, by effectively drawing on its vast resources, including the young and dynamic population, rapidly turning into valuable human capital which is the crucial factor in the development process.
That supports the Ogun State government, under the leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun when he said that his administration would leave behind landmark legacies that will stand the test of time. Then in his speech three years ago at a two-day workshop organized by the Office of the First Lady, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun and Ministry of Environment on Tree Planting tagged “Ogun State Going Green”, he said that the policy is to sensitize the people of the state, the values and benefits of tree planting in their environments apart from its beautification of environment.
Planting trees also contributes to reducing the harmful products, avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and pollution-thereby contributing to an improved ecosystem (securing clean water, flood protection and biodiversity).
Sadly, many people do not understand what going green is all about. In a keynote address, the initiator of the project, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun noted that the international conference and workshop would highlight simple but important steps that should be taken to reduce adverse environmental effect, save money and make people live happier and healthier lives.
She said the programme would be a pathway to solar energy, turning waste to wealth as well as other relevant aspects that would help create wealth and at the same time provide healthy and sustainable development in the state.
A Chinese firm, Wuhan Longfecund Agricultural Development Company Ltd., is set to establish a feed mill and maize farm in Cross River State.
Chairman of the Company Yongsheng Cao stated this during a visit to Governor Ben Ayade at the Government House in Calabar.
Onion farmers in Katsina State, this year, recorded bumper harvest just as high market demand of the produce has pushed its price higher than last year’s.
Usman Almu Bazanga, an onion farmer in Danja LGA, attributed the current high price to shortage of the produce in market as only few of the farmers cultivated it.