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Nigeria Faces Fourth Coronavirus Wave



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As COVID cases continue to rise across the globe, Nigeria has now officially entered the fourth wave of the fast-spreading virus. Countries in Europe have been recently fighting huge rises in the number of coronavirus cases, especially the new Omicron variant of the virus.

The fourth wave of the virus in Nigeria was confirmed after it was revealed by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control that the country has seen a 500 percent increase in cases within the past two weeks alone. This discovery has led to a warning addressed to Nigerians to exercise great caution during this festive season, as families and friends gather to celebrate together.

Even though the Omicron variant is taking most of the headlines in recent days, it is not the only variant of the virus still rampaging the world. The Delta variant – predecessor to the Omicron variant – is still active in most countries, even co-habiting with the Omicron variant.

Although both variants are existing at the same time, World Health Organisation officials are predicting that the Omicron variant will overtake the Delta variant as the dominant variant of the coronavirus by February 2022.

According to the Director-General of the NCDC, Nigeria is among those countries currently battling both variants at the same time. As at December 19th 2021, a total of 223,887 cases have been confirmed in the country. Nigeria has also recorded 2,985 deaths directly from all the confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

In the wake of this, the Federal Government of Nigeria is now intensifying its efforts to communicate the risks of the virus and also placing continuous emphasis on the prevention measures.

As it stands, the country is not considering a lockdown as we approach the festive period, unlike some countries like the Netherlands who have introduced new lockdowns going into the festive period.

The NCDC has urged all Nigerians going for outdoor events to ensure physical distancing and to use their face masks. Vaccinations are also highly encouraged.

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Fidelity Bank Set to Host 2 Days of Family Entertainment



In the spirit of the Yuletide, leading financial institution, Fidelity Bank Plc, has announced plans to host the maiden edition of the Fidelity Family Weekend.

Scheduled to hold on Saturday, 16 and Sunday, 17 December 2023 at the Fidelity Grounds, Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos, the event is designed to create a fun and relaxed atmosphere for children to play, parents to relax and young adults to unwind during the festive season.

“The Yuletide season is all about coming together and spending quality time with loved ones especially as we wind down the year in anticipation of a new year. As a bank committed to providing memorable experiences for its clients, we pioneered the Fidelity Family Weekend to fete host our customers and clients to two fun filled days of family entertainment. We believe this is one more way of thanking our customers for a successful year,” noted the Divisional Head, Brand & Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Meksley Nwagboh, Ph.D. in a chat with journalists.

The Fidelity Family Weekend would run from 10am to 10pm daily and would feature dedicated fun activities for children including dancing competitions, bouncing castles, train rides, Santa’s Grotto, balloon games, amongst others.

Similarly, the programme for the adults’ section would feature exciting activities like karaoke competitions, games arcades, couple games, musical performances and so many more fun games that are geared towards providing a memorable experience for guests.

Entry into the event is free but guests are required to pre-register at before 12 December 2023.

Commenting further, Dr Nwagboh said, As a bank dedicated to helping individuals grow, businesses thrive and economies to prosper, we boast of an array of products and services for our diverse client base.  These include the Fidelity SWEETA account for young children below the age of 17 years, Fidelity Flex for teenagers and undergraduates; and even the Fidelity Vintage Account for senior citizens; all tailor-made to meet our customers specific needs. The Fidelity Family Weekend is therefore another demonstration of this devotion to provide platforms for our customers to fulfill their lifestyle requirements”.

Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged customer commercial bank with over 8 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.

The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.


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Egypt Eyes Tourism Boom Despite Regional Tensions




Despite the recent Israel-Hamas conflict, Egypt’s tourism sector remains optimistic about meeting its target of 15 million arrivals in 2023 with expectations of further growth in 2024.

The North African nation is gearing up for a hotel-building initiative to address the pressing need for additional capacity, aiming to add at least 25,000 rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the following year.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Issa emphasized that the scarcity of hotel rooms is the primary challenge, prompting the government to consider incentives such as tax breaks to expedite construction.

“The No. 1 challenge that Egypt faces today is the number of hotel rooms. We need at least 25,000 additional rooms in 2024 and 40,000 the year after,” said Issa.

Tourism, a crucial component of Egypt’s economy, is gaining increased significance amid the country’s fiscal challenges.

Despite concerns raised by the Israel-Hamas conflict impacting nearby countries, including Egypt, the relative containment of the conflict and the favorable exchange rates due to currency devaluations have made Egypt an attractive destination.

In the past financial year, tourism revenue in Egypt reached a record $13.6 billion, with a focus on attracting higher-spending tourists and solid visitor numbers from countries like Germany and Russia.

The government is also looking to tap into the vast potential of Chinese tourists, aiming for 1 million Chinese visitors between now and 2028. While Red Sea cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada continue to be popular, efforts are underway to promote tourism in the northwestern Mediterranean coast.

To encourage further development, the tourism and finance ministries are proposing incentives for hotel builders, including rebates for funding costs and potential tax holidays on capital expenditure.

Issa stated, “We’re going to seek the approval of the cabinet over the coming couple of weeks” and expects to announce the incentives “before the end of December.”

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N-Power Beneficiaries Decry Delay in Monthly Stipends, Seek Government Intervention




Some participants in the Federal Government’s N-Power Programme have voiced their frustration over the persistent delay in receiving their N30,000 monthly stipends.

In interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday, beneficiaries expressed concern about the prolonged delays, citing the impact on their livelihoods.

Mr. Francisco Noah, a teacher in the N-Teach segment of Batch C1, serving at a Nomadic School in Keffi, Nasarawa State, revealed that the delay had forced him to halt his educational activities, affecting his ability to commute to the Nomadic School due to transportation challenges.

Noah, dismayed by the situation, mentioned that he last received his stipend in November 2022.

“Our program is for two years, starting from January 2021 and ending in December. However, since its commencement, I have only been paid for 12 months, with the last payment received in November 2022,” he explained.

Mr. Usman Dantala, a beneficiary from Batch C2 in the Agro segment, echoed similar sentiments, stating that despite being enrolled in October 2022, he was owed nine months of stipends with repeated promises of payment.

Dantala emphasized that, despite making inquiries about his posting, he has not been assigned to a specific place to serve.

Reacting to the beneficiaries’ concerns, Dr. Akindele Egbuwalo, the National Programme Manager of the N-Power Scheme, assured them that the government is committed to settling all outstanding claims.

He explained that the temporary suspension of the program was implemented to investigate and address genuine claims, urging Nigerians to understand the rationale behind these measures.

The N-Power scheme, initiated by the Federal Government on June 8, 2016, as part of the National Social Investment Programme Agency (N-SIPA), aimed to tackle youth unemployment and enhance social interventions.

The concerns raised by beneficiaries underscore the importance of timely and consistent support to sustain the program’s positive impact on participants’ lives.

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