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FG votes N100bn for Family Home Fund — Osinbajo



Modify lifestyle to avoid cancer disease, Osinbajo advises Nigerians
  • As Ahmed says FEC Set To Approve Social Protection Policy Framework

The acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government has earmarked N100 billion for the family home fund under its Social Investment Programme (SIP).

He stated this at the “2nd year commemorative event of the federal government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari’’, showcasing the achievements of the SIP, in Abuja.

At the event, also titled “A Smile For Every Nigerian’’, Osinbajo stated that the fund is an aspect of the SIP that was not mentioned.

“There is also an aspect of this SIP that has not be mentioned;  this is N100b set aside for the FAMILY HOME FUND, our Social Housing Project.

“The N100b is a yearly contribution to  our N1 Trillion Naira  Social Housing fund. This is the largest in the history of the country.

“The World Bank, AFDB , are contributors to the fund.

“From this fund developers of real estates for social housing will borrow 80 per cent of cost of project and counter fund with their own 20 per cent.

“The same fund will enable us to provide inexpensive mortgages for hundreds of thousands  across the country who wants to own homes on their own.

“Anyone who can afford 30000 a month will be able to buy a home under our new social housing fund scheme.’’

According to him, the Family Housing Fund is expected to start immediately and rapidly expand construction across the country.

Osinbajo stated that SIP is clearly one of the largest social intervention efforts anywhere in the world.

According to him, it is complicated and diverse in scale and scope.

He, however, expressed the government’s pride in the men and women led by the SA on Social investments, Mrs Maryam Uwais, who he said, had dedicated so much time, resources and energy to deliver on it.

The acting president reacted to the praises made about SIP from the beneficiaries and said they deserved it

“We do not consider that this programme is a favour that is done to you. It is not.

“You deserve this programme because you are citizens of this country; this country can provide and we will provide for all those who need the help,’’ he said.

He said the N30,000 stipend might not be much but could really assist anyone who was jobless for long.

He announced that the next phase of this programme would proceed on a surer footing as the government would be reopening the portals for N-Power on the June 13.

“We are ramping up on the CCT , GEEP, and the Home Grown School Feeding; our targets are clear, soon enough we will put smiles on the faces of millions more.’’

The acting President noted that a country’s economic development was a function of the number living above poverty level noting that the nation’s levels of poverty were so alarming and clearly needed some fundamental interventions by government.

He said that often the country’s economic development plans and budgets assumed a trickle down approach namely that if resources were put in promoting industry and commerce, jobs would eventually be created and the poorest would be reached.

He added that another premise was that GDP growth should translate to jobs but described the idea as flawed.

“First the trickle down model has proved far too slow to stem the tide of poverty in one of the fastest growing populations in the world.

“Secondly, most of the Growth was on account of the high oil sector which is capital intensive but not labour intensive.

“So while we were recording Growth levels of 7 per cent because of the high oil prices unemployment figures grew.’’

He said in developing the APC manifesto and later government’s economic development  plans, government knew that it had to directly intervene with a massive social investment programme to tackle poverty and exclusion in the society.

Osinbajo said he was proud that Nigeria had demonstrated that a massive programme could be initiated and managed on-line.

“The N-Power programme is the largest post tertiary jobs programme in Africa. We now know that we can train large numbers of people electronically.

“We have demonstrated that a transparent process of employment is possible.

“All of these young men and women have testified that they knew nobody, paid nobody to get the jobs they now have shown us that it is possible to run a programme that is transparent

“We have achieved great success in our financial inclusion efforts by bringing in many especially the extremely poor in the hinterlands into the formal banking system.

“Beneficiaries of the Conditional cash Transfer programme, home grown school feeding vendors and cooks, now have BVNs and bank accounts.

“We have also demonstrated that electronic payment on such a huge scale, across the nation is possible.’’

He said the administration ensured that its programmes were in all states not just those being run by APC governors.

According to him, some of the governors in non- APC states have taken the credit for some of the Federal Government programmes.

Chief Godwill Apkabio former Akwa Ibom governor and minority leader in the senate, told State House correspondents that the opposition was happy to be invited to the event.

According to Akpabio, poverty, unemployment and hunger have no political party leanings.

He, therefore, said that his party would support any FG programme with the capacity to address such problems.

In the meantime, unfolding indication is to the effect that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) will soon approve a policy framework for social protection in the country.

The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed indicated this on Monday, at the 2nd Year Commemorative Event of the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

Organised to showcase the achievements of the National Social Investment Programmes (N-SIP) of the administration with the theme: “A Smile for Every Nigerian’’, the event which is a Federal Government programme was developed towards reducing poverty and improving the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, particularly the unemployed youths, women and children.

Ahmed confirmed that the ministry had already finalised the work and the draft policy was now ready for approval to give N-SIP a legal framework.

“The policy was drafted in line with commitment of the president when he was campaigning to provide social intervention programmes for Nigerians,’’ she said.

Ahmed said that the president recently launched the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (EGRP), saying one of the key execution priorities of the plan was on the Social Intervention Programmes.

“We have clearly indicated that to achieve that in sustainable manner, we must take care of most important aspect, which is human capital.

“We may not have all the answers; we are going about this with a purpose of succeeding in moving our people out of poverty.

“This administration has started a social scheme that is sustainable; it is not perfect, there are still a number of challenges which will continue to address.

“It will get better. It has to get better; the programme will be institutionalised and it will succeed,’’ she said.

Some of the beneficiaries shared their experiences under the N-Power, while appreciating the support of the government in empowering them.

N-Power is one of the components N-SIP aimed at empowering Nigerians both graduates and non-graduates – between the ages of 18 and 35 by paying them N30, 000 monthly over a period of two years.

Dapil Ali, a beneficiary of N-Power graduate scheme in Plateau said he was employed under the scheme and posted to a school of the handicap in the state as a teacher.

“I have been able to instruct the blind students and my vision is to make every blind person a scientist and a mathematician.

“I have been saving part of my stipend; I desire to establish a computer centre that will be training vision impaired persons through a special programme,’’ he said.

Similarly, Mr Ebere Charles, a beneficiary from Kano said he graduated with 1st Class Honours in 2013 without a job.

Charles said that being the only graduate in the family of eight was frustrated without a job until N-Power transformed his life.

“I was skeptical about this N-Power programme before, thinking it will be like any other failed social programmes in the past.

“I applied and I was posted to School of Hygiene in Kano where I lecture and counsel the students,’’ he said.

Mr Magaji Nicolas, another beneficiary of the programme from Kaduna, who graduated seven years ago was full of appreciation to the government for employing them.

“My life before now was close to despair, I will wake up without a job,’’ he said,

Magaji, however, appealed to the Federal Government to extend the scheme to accommodate more youths.

“Youths want to be engaged like us but no one to engage them; the stipend is helping but engaging youths is more important even that the money.’’

Ms Geneve Okecheckwu, another beneficiary from Enugu said she had worked with some professionals under the N-Power to learn how to create website.

About 174,160 beneficiaries have been deployed so far out of the 200,000 selected N-Power beneficiaries.


Troops Destroy 51 Illegal Refining Sites, Recover Stolen Crude Oil – DHQ



….Destroy 7 dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, one outboard engine, others

The Defence Headquarters says  troops of Operation Delta Safe have  destroyed 51 illegal oil refining sites and recovered stolen crude oil and refined products in the Niger Delta in the last one week.

The Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed  in a statement on Friday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also apprehended 58 perpetrators of oil theft and denied them of  estimated sum of N668.7 million

He said the troops destroyed seven dugout pits, 25 boats, 47 storage tanks, five vehicles, 141 cooking ovens, one pumping machine, one outboard engine, one tricycle, one speedboat and one tugboat.

According to him, troops recovered 267,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 567,700 litres of illegally refined AGO and 5,000 litres of DPK.

“Troops has maintained momentum against oil theft and arrested persons involved in oil theft in Bonny and Ikpoba Local Government Areas of Rivers and Edo States respectively.

“Troops also arrested suspected armed robbers and foiled illegal bunkering activities in Oshimili South and Ukwa West of Delta and Abia States respectively,” he said.

In the South East, Buba said  troops of Operation UDO KA arrested 15 suspected criminals and repelled attacks by IPOB/ESN criminals in Anambra, Abia and Imo States.

He said the troops conducted raids and rescued kidnapped hostages in Ishielu and Igbo Eze North Local Government Areas of Ebonyi and Enugu States respectively.

He said the troops neutralised three criminals, rescued five kidnapped hostages and recovered 14 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammo.

In the South West, Buba said  troops of Operation AWATSE foiled armed robbery attacks in Orelope and Olorunsogo Local Government Areas of Oyo State and arrested a gunrunner in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun.

According to him, troops rescued 15 kidnapped hostages and recovered two vehicles.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authority for further action,” he added.

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NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

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2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

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