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FG begins inspection of grant, Expatriate Quota renewal facilities, others



FG begins inspection of grant, Expatriate Quota renewal facilities, others

… As Minister says Soft drinks tax to create intervention fund for non-communicable diseases – Minister***

The Federal Government is to begin inspection of organisations for the grant of additional slots of Expatriate Quota facilities, Renewal of Expatriate Quota Positions.

The newsmen report that expatriate quota application in Nigeria immediately comes after the registration of company in Nigeria by foreigners seeking to migrate to Nigeria to carry out any permanent work.

This is contained in a notice issued by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Interior and Principal Registrar of Marriage in Nigeria, Dr Shuaib Belgore.

The notice is titled:” Public Notice for organisations and Public Places of Worship”.

According to the notice, the federal government will also inspect places of worship for the issuance of Licences to conduct Statutory Marriages and renewal of existing ones.

“This is pursuant to the Second Schedule of the Marriage Act, Cap 6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and the approved Legal Notices vide Federal Government Official Gazette Nos. 55, 56, 59, 60, 61 & 62, Volume 108 of 2021,” it added.

The notice also states that these inspection exercises and services attract payment of fees that are mandatory for organisations and public places of worship that do apply for such services.

“For more information on the payment process, public places of worship and companies are directed to log on to the Ministry’s website on for payment.

“For further enquiries: Please call the ministry’s e-citibiz contact centre on 07000099999(operating hours are Monday to Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

“The call Centre can also be contacted during weekdays and weekends via:, ng.”

Newsmen report that Expatriate Quota is granted for an initial period of three years.

It can however be renewed for further periods of two years each subject to a cap of 10 years within which time the relevant skills comprised in the position ought to have been transferred to qualified Nigerian Understudies.

In the meantime, the Minister of State for Health, Dr Olorunimbe Mamora, has assured that the imposition of N10 tax per litre of soft drinks by the Federal Government was meant to raise intervention funds for the health sector.

Mamora made this known during a  “Pro-Health Tax in Nigeria” Webinar Series entitled: `Does Nigeria Need a Sugar Tax?’.

The seminar was organised by the Nigeria Health Watch (supported by the Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, Nigeria Cancer Society) in collaboration with key sector stakeholders.

Mamora said that proceeds from the tax would be used as an intervention fund for the treatment and prevention measures for Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria.

The newsmen recall that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had at the public presentation of the 2022 budget in Abuja announced an N10 per litre tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

He said that the idea was to create a pull of intervention fund for the care and treatment/preventive measures of NCDs such as Diabetes, Cancer and Cardiovascular ailments.

According to him, treating NCDs, such as cancer, costs a lot of money that many Nigerians have lost their loved ones due to their inability to afford the treatment.

“The idea is to create an avenue for the sustainability of health financing for Non-communicable diseases.

“Earmarking such additional revenues for critical population-based health interventions may contribute to rapidly rebuilding a resilient Nigerian health system,” Mamora said.

Dr Ngozi Azodoh, Director, Health Planning, Research and Statistics, Federal Ministry of Health, said the tax per litre of carbonated drinks and beverages was intended to encourage investment in the health sector.

Azodoh said the motive was to ensure that those who consume these products contribute something to promote the health system.

“The government is trying to see how to move funds from those who have to those who could not afford their healthcare bills.

“Tax revenue can be used to curtail the rising burden of disease on the poor and on the nation’s healthcare system.

“When the consumers/producers of the products contribute the fund through taxes and the money is earmarked for the treatment of major diseases that are too expensive to treat, invariably they are catering for the medical bills of those who may not afford their treatment,” Azodoh said.

Dr Pamela Ajayi, President of, Healthcare Federation of Nigeria, said that it was unfortunate that 99.9 per cent of the cancer patients fund their treatment out of their pockets.

Ajayi said that a lot of the patients had lost their lives due to the inability to pay the bills, adding that cancer remained one of the most expensive non-communicable diseases to treat anywhere in the world.

She also called for the provision of health insurance coverage for some of the major diseases ravaging the population.

According to her, with insurance coverage, more people will have access to healthcare, thereby saving their lives and reducing the rate of deaths from NCDs.

Dr Zainab Shekafi-Bagudu, Founder, Medical Cancer Foundation, said that late presentation was a major contributing factor to casualties, deaths arising from cancer cases.

Shekafi-Bagudu said that 80 per cent of cancer patients present their cases at late stages.

According to her, if patients can present their cancer cases early, it will help to have better treatment and care, leading to more successful outcomes.

She, however, called for proper utilisation of the funds toward the treatment and key preventive measures for non-communicable diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, cancers among others.


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MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods



MAN Warns: Cash-strapping may lead to 25% Drop in Sale of locally-made goods

 The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) on Friday in Lagos, warned that Cash-strapping may unwittingly lead, to a 25 percent drop, in the sale of locally-made goods.

The Director General, MAN, Mr. Segun Ajayi-Kadir, stated this, emphasizing the need for the CBN to intensify efforts at ensuring a seamless transition from old naira to new naira notes, as anything to the contrary would be inimical to manufacturing.

He said if the current hardships being experienced in accessing money persisted for the next three weeks, there would be a possible drop of 25 percent in monthly sales of made-in-Nigeria goods.

He noted that as purchases from the retail end, mostly transacted in cash dry up; there would be a sharp drop in wholesale purchases leading to a glut of unsold inventories in factories.

He added that the situation which was no good for manufacturing, for the government and for the ordinary citizen would lead to compounded crippling lack of patronage for the domestic manufacturer.

Ajayi-Kadir also stressed that the development would also deny government the revenue that would have accrued from consumption taxes and result in the disruption of the daily life and need of the average Nigerian.

“To be clear, there is no doubt that the currency redesign is desirable; there are socioeconomic and political imperatives for the change.

“It is a critical element of the CBN cashless economy policy that should have far-reaching positive results for the economy.

“However, the continued scarcity of the newly redesigned naira notes is quite worrisome.

“With our growth prospects heading further south, we can ill afford a downturn in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“The negative impact it portends for local producers, the agricultural and distributive segments of our economy is huge.

“It may worsen the bashing our economy has received from both external and internal shocks in recent times,’’ he stressed.

Ajayi-Kadir cautioned that adequate measures should be put in place to ensure a smooth currency transition, particularly in the unbanked areas of Nigeria.

He charged the CBN and Bureaux de Changes to be most engaging at the highest level at this time.

According to him, there is a need for strategic communication and joint operations to ensure widespread and sustained availability and circulation of the redesigned naira notes.

“It is baffling to approach a bank only to be told that there are neither the old nor the new naira notes.

“We hope that the resumption of payment across the counter in the banks and the intensification of the CBN special cash swap arrangement in remote areas will yield positive results.

“I hope that what the country is experiencing is temporary pain and that government will do well to bring the hardship to an end immediately.

“We must make haste to ensure that the price to be paid for this otherwise laudable policy does not outpace the gains,’’ he also cautioned.

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Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema



Disdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – OnyemaDisdain Towards Nigerian Passport: My regret as Foreign Affairs Minister – Onyema

…Shed tears, when he saw Nigerian girls forced into prostitution in Libya***

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, says his regret as minister is the disdain with which Nigerians are being treated outside the shores of the country and upon siting their international passports.

The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the 22nd edition of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration Scorecard Series (2015-2023) organised to project the achievements of the government.

Onyema was responding to a comment by a journalist who expressed displeasure about how Nigerians travelling abroad were being subjected to harassment upon sitting on their green passports.

The Minister agreed with the position of the newsman and attributed the challenge to the desperation of many Nigerians who took desperate and illegal measures to travel out of the country.

“If there is one thing that I look back to with the greatest regrets in my seven and half years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is the situation of Nigerians in foreign countries,” he said.

The minister gave some of the instances he had witnessed and had to wade in to rescue trapped victims in the middle of the desert.

“I went to Libya and I actually shed tears when we went to this camp where they were holding Nigerians.

“There is that whole issue of slavery and of course, all the exploitations that go with it and they told us that there were only a hundred or two hundred Nigerians there,”

“So, we went to the yard and it was one of the most touching things I ever experienced.

“We have all these young boys, 13, 14, 15 years old and they all came out, over a hundred of them and they all stood up to attention,” he narrated.

The minister continued: “As soon as they saw us, they started reciting the Nigerian national anthem and tears came to my eyes.

 “We were told that the girls were used as prostitutes at night.

“When we saw them, the girls told us there were more Nigerians and we insisted they should bring them out.

“Lo and behold, twenty minutes after, they brought out another set which was about 200 Nigerians.

“The President gave directives, that we should charter planes in order to get them out and we did.”

Onyema attributed the despicable situation to the push factor leading a lot of young Nigerians to take desperate and ridiculous risks through the deserts and the high seas.

He said when they even finally got to their so-called dream countries, they got involved in drugs and all sort of crimes which made it difficult for Nigeria’s passport to be respected.

“Those of us in government have to blame ourselves, particularly in the immigration and even in foreign affairs,” he said.

Onyema narrated another scenario where the U.S., Ambassador to Nigeria came to show him the list of Nigerians that were issued visas through Note Verbal to go to the U.S. but they never attended the events they were scheduled for, but absconded.

He said he was also shown the list of those who were not respecting their visa deadlines and requirements, including top Nigerians.

The minister said all the illegal acts and sharp practices contributed to the manner Nigerians were being treated with disdain abroad when they cited their passports.

“In order to reverse the situation and ensure Nigerian passport is given the due respect it deserves, we all have to work hard and behave ourselves.

“We are all suffering from this because we have people with genuine missions seeking to travel abroad looking for visas and they are denied.

“It is a challenge for each and every single one of us and it is impacting negatively on our country.

“We all have the responsibility to salvage the situation,” he said.

Onyema said President Buhari had never rested on his oars on the issue because whichever country he travelled to, he stressed to Nigerians in Diaspora to be good ambassadors of their country.

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Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev’t — Pantami



Digital Economy Crucial to Nigeria’s Dev't — Pantami

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami on Thursday said the sector was crucial to the realisation of Nigeria’s full potential.

Pantami said this in Abuja at a two-day workshop on Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS), a flight demonstration within the Nigerian Airspace by Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd using the NigComSat-1R payload, the L-Band.

The NigComSat-1R navigation (L-Band) payload provides Navigational overlay Services, which have disruptive applications in the aviation and non-aviation sectors.

The event was organised by the SatNav Africa Joint Programme Office (JPO), in collaboration with the ANGA programme and NIGCOMSAT and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

The overall aim was to provide a knowledge-sharing platform to support stakeholders’ decision-making in the creation of synergies.

This is to enable the collective reaping of benefits provided by SBAS in the continent, including safety, efficiency and environmental protection benefits.

The minister said communication and digital technology was the key enabler of other sectors like security, defence, health, agriculture, education and aviation.

“The satellite covers part of the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, it covers parts of Asia and Europe.

”Our satellite here in Nigeria has the capacity to provide the navigation overlay services.

The Nigerian Communications Satellite has the capacity to support the implementation of the SBAS not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa with 54 countries,” Pantami said.

He, however, urged African nations to consider the Nigerian Communication Satellite when the need arises.

Pantami also said the deployment of SBAS by using the navigation overlay services would significantly improve accuracy of signal, its availability and integrity.

“I have directed NIGCOMSAT to collaborate and reach out to the aviation sector to ensure successful implementation of SBAS in Africa,” he said.

The Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT Ltd, Mr Tukur Lawal said the success of the flight demonstration underscored the need for collaborative efforts by the relevant agencies.

He said that this would facilitate the efforts of the Federal Government in meeting the desired goals of a digital Nigeria, which he said would bring unprecedented results.

”For NIGCOMSAT Ltd to contribute its own quota in digital economy and industrial revolution, we cannot remain in the comfort zone, but rather look for areas of exploring the market both local and international.

”We will give all the support needed and innovations that will meet and convert all weaknesses to successes,” Lawal said.

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