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Ambode, Fashola Make up After Public Spat

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  • Ambode, Fashola Make up After Public Spat

Less than three weeks after they both disagreed publicly over issues of interests, the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, and his predecessor, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, yesterday made up with renewed commitments to collaborate for the growth and development of the state.

Ambode, who established the grounds for reconciliation admitted in his remarks that he was able to take off smoothly with the business of governance in the state in the last 22 months because of the achievements of Fashola during his eight years reign as governor of the state.

The governor said this at the Government House, Alausa, during a courtesy call by Fashola, who had been going round the geo-political zones in the country for project inspection.

Fashola too seized the occasion of the visit to pledge more support and collaboration with the state, even as he brought Ambode up to speed on the activities of his three-in-one ministry in the state.

Ambode said, “We want to say that whatever it is that we have done in the last 22 months is just more or less the fallout of the great achievements the former governor had already put in place. We have decided that we will carry on with a sense of continuity in all things that have been done.

“I had always said that what we wanted was this continuity of the last 18 years. But ours is continuity with improvement. We are happy that all that has been done in the last 22 months is just a continuation of the template the former governor left behind,” he said.

He therefore welcomed Fashola to the state. “On behalf of the people of Lagos State, I would like to wholeheartedly welcome Mr. Babatunde Fashola, my predecessor and now Minister for Works, Power and Housing and especially back to the Alausa office, where he actually left about 22 months ago.

“This is a historic moment for us, notwithstanding that the minister lives in Lagos. This is the first time he is stepping his feet into Lagos House since he left office in 2015. We need to honour him for his service to the state. We need to say a big thank you for coming back home.”

The governor commended Fashola for serving Lagos and his people meritoriously, noting that his administration “has improved on the template already laid down during the previous administration.

He explained that the sense of collaboration expressed by Fashola “is what we believe can take whatever it is that Lagos stands for forward. As you may be aware, Lagos is celebrating its 50 years of existence this year.

“The last 18 years has been so dramatic and historic in terms of the growth and development that we have seen in Lagos, commencing from 1999, when Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu came into office and the eight good years spent by you and the two years we have done. So, obviously, there is a remarkable change between 1999 and now.”

On his part, Fashola, now the Minister of Works, Power & Housing, pledged support and collaboration with the state, even as he give an insight into some of the things his ministry has been doing in the state. He disclosed, for instance, that Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) could only supply Lagos State about 100 megawatts of power.

He, however, said the power supply to the state was certainly not enough, noting that the federal government “is already expanding its transmission capacity to ensure the state had more power supply,” adding that most of the power assets in the country “are in private hands,” even though the federal government “has responsibility as regards the transmission.”

He, therefore, added that the federal government “is working with the generation companies (GENCOs) to improve service to Lagos State. Already, we are expanding the transmission capacity in Ayobo and Odonguyan, where a new contract was awarded by the Federal Government this year.

“We have completed work on transmission at Alagbon. Last week, a damaged transformer was also restored to boost availability of power supply in the state. While coming here, we stopped at the Omotosho and Olorunshogo power stations, to access the performance of the facility.

“The intention is to get more power in the country. As at this morning, the power supply coming into Lagos is about 100 MW. That is certainly not enough. But we hope to improve on it.”

The minister pledged support for the power initiative, which the Ambode administration had started, noting that the federal government “is ready to assist the state government especially towards the rural area. But we want it to happen in a regulated area.”

He disclosed that the works ministry had already made representations to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on modalities to pay debts owed state governments including Lagos State for rehabilitation of federal roads over the years, reiterating that “the debts will be paid.” He also gave an assurance that the federal government would refund the sum of N51 billion it owed the state government.

He asked the state government to help establish the right of way on federal roads across the state, lamenting that trucks, businessmen and women had turned the right of way to their business zones.

“We have right of way challenges across the length and breadth of the country. We have trucks, businessmen and women trading within the federal government right of way. In Lagos State, that right of way is equivalent to 25.7 meters. We appeal to the Lagos State Government to deploy its personnel to recover the right of way for the apex government. It is unfair for traders, truck and others to convert the right of way to venue for business.”

He said the major area he had written to the state government about and “I think we have received some acknowledgement, was to set up a joint taskforce to recover the right of way around the Ebute Ero, Lagos Island. I hope that the committee will get to work.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

African Union Holds Global Conference to Accelerate African Vaccine Development and Manufacturing Capacity

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African leaders assembled at a global meeting to discuss the status of local pharmaceutical manufacturing on the continent, underscored the need to increase local production of vaccines and therapeutics to achieve greater public-health security.

“The production of vaccines and access to vaccines is an absolute priority,” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said Monday in opening remarks at the start of the two-day virtual meeting, convened by the African Union.

The meeting was attended by several African heads of state, health, finance and trade ministers from across the continent, as well as officials from global financial institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, business leaders, and the general public. The African Development Bank was represented by Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization.

Although Africa consumes approximately one-quarter of global vaccines by volume, it manufactures less than 1% of its routine vaccines, with almost no outbreak vaccine manufacturing in place. The region lags behind in procuring vaccines amid a global scramble for the medicines among wealthier nations. Thus far, only around 2% of the world’s vaccination against Covid-19 has taken place in Africa.

The need for a new public health order in Africa, which promotes domestic vaccine manufacturing, epidemic preparedness and upgraded healthcare systems to meet the needs of the world’s fastest-growing population, was the conference’s main objective.

The African Union and the Africa CDC said they would continue to work with all stakeholders to identify implementable actions, financing needs and timelines to competitively produce vaccines in Africa.

Quaynor noted that the current undertaking would require immense investment. “Vaccine manufacturing, because of its complexity, is not really an entrepreneurial drive but actually an institutional drive,” he added.

The African Development Bank is working with global and African stakeholders, to articulate a 2030 vision for Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry in response to several calls received from African Heads of State, who have expressed a strong political will. This vision aligns with its “industrialize Africa” priority strategy.

The vision will build on previous efforts to produce a continental plan of action to boost local African pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, such as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa adopted in Abuja in January 2005 and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), prepared by the African Union Commission and the United Nations in 2012, to assist local manufacturers with pharmaceutical production.

Quaynor said Africa could count on the African Development Bank’s support to secure Africa’s health defense system. “Leveraging on our comparative advantages, we will both provide upstream support to governments on the enabling environment, as well as provide financing to private sector and PPPs both indirectly through some of our private equity investee funds and directly through lending, and credit and risk guarantees. We will also use the Africa Investment Forum to bring in all relevant stakeholders and partner DFIs into bankable opportunities…”

The 2030 vision for Africa’s pharmaceutical industry would also work with pharmaceutical industry associations in Africa to create capacity development links between universities and industry in Africa, and work with African scientists in the diaspora, Quaynor said in remarks made on behalf of African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

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ITF, Nigerian Air Force, Others, Sign MOU To Advance Research

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The Industrial Training Fund, ITF has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Equipment and Protective Application International Limited to establish the framework that will give room for optimal performance as well as enhance productivity.

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph Ari while speaking at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, said the MOU will be pursued with vigour and all the seriousness it deserves so that greater success would be the catalyst that will drive their intentions.

He explained that over the years, ITF had redirected its focus on technical, vocational training and education noting that developed nations are where they are today because of the initiative.

According to him, “even here in Abuja, we have a model of a skills training centre and the model was brought in from the Singaporean experience of the institute for technical education and services of Singapore”.

“We brought a semblance of it here to experience with five trade areas, Mechatronics and Autotronics, Computer Networking, ICT, Facility Technology as well as culinary in both African and Western cuisine is right there in the heart of Abuja in the ITF house, it is like a university”.

“The ITF is well positioned to work hand in hand with the Nigerian Air Force,” he said

The ITF boss added; “I must say that the Chief of Air Staff has a lot of foresight with his men to think about this Memorandum of Understanding because I deed, ITF is where you should be”.

“The ITF came into contact with the Nigerian Air Force even though a lot of the officers of the Air Force might have participated in its programmes in the past and since then I have noticed that NAF has not relented in its efforts to equipped it’s workforce and also upgrade and retrain its people,” Sir Ari added.

He also commended the men and officers of the NAF for their sacrifice in keeping the nation safe.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oladayo Amao said the Nigerian Air Force has a highly technical Service and technology is the bedrock of all its operations.

Represented by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal, Olusegun Philip, Amao noted that in line with the focus of the Federal Government in promoting indigenous technology, the Nigerian Air Force has been looking inwards to gradually wean itself of overdependence on foreign technology and to become more innovative and resourceful.

“Therefore, in order to advance the Nigerian Air Force’s Research and Development efforts, we have deemed it necessary to formally collaborate with indigenous organizations through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding,” Amao stated.

“These collaborative efforts provide pedestals to leapfrog capability as well as a repertoire of capabilities that can be harnessed”.

“The collaborative efforts also provide platforms to synergise ideas for innovations that are key to achieving meaningful results to solve the technological challenges we currently face in a cost effective manner,” he said.

The Managing Director, Equipment and Protective Application International Limited, Engineer, Kola Balogun however, assured that the MOU entered would be for the overall economic benefit and development of the nation.

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SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.

The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.

In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

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