The new Chair of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) issued a statement recognizing that Russia’s war against Ukraine has massive humanitarian consequences and detrimental repercussions for the global economy in Washington, DC on Thursday.
The IMFC called for a speedy resolution through diplomatic channels, including “political dialogue, negotiations, mediation and other peaceful means.”
“The statement shows that there has been a constructive and intense dialog at the IMFC as there is an agreement on all elements related to the important work of the institutions. All IMFC members welcome the Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda. There was not only consensus on the work of the institution, but also on the critical policies that members will need to take, and I should add that there was a very close engagement and dialog amongst all countries on the substantive work of the institution and its policies. If there has been a time for multilateralism, it is now. And against this truly challenging background, we need the international community to come together, stand strong, and demonstrate our full commitment to cooperation,” said Nadia Calviño in a virtual press briefing co-chaired by IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva held in Washington, DC.
A new IMF tool created to service members needing longer maturity for longer term transformation, in particular climate change and pandemics, received significant financial backing. Twelve countries stepped forward to support the Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). Now the RST has about $40 billion in commitments which can be credibly moved towards the implementation of the trust’s goals.
“We do face a war in Europe. It is creating all the impacts, including making it possible to have a communique with everybody signing in on it. But the overwhelming majority of the membership sees this crisis as proof that we have to cooperate, compare notes on policies, find ways in which we can act in solidarity and this is why I find it remarkable that we got nearly around $40 billion in commitments the first time we openly ask for support for Resilience and sustainability trust because it is walking this talk, it is a demonstration that we need each other,” said Georgieva.
Georgieva announced yesterday (Wednesday, April 20) in her press briefing on the Global Policy Agenda that the IMF has been engaged very closely with the Ukrainian Ministry of Finance on the estimates they have provided of what would be necessary to retain the functioning of the Ukrainian economy over the next three months. The Ukrainian financial authorities came up with the number of $5 billion a month.
“Five billion is the estimate of Ministry of Finance and more broadly the financial authorities of Ukraine for what is their monthly financial gap for the next couple of months. Our staff has worked on verifying, ascertaining, whether this amount broadly is the right, the right order of magnitude, and they confirm that indeed for the observable future, for the next couple of months, this is an amount that would be necessary to provide for Ukraine’s performing its functions in terms of paying salaries, pensions, paying for social services, for the displaced population and of course, the costs that are coming up on top of the normal payments related to the war,” said Georgieva.
The IMF provided Ukraine with $1.4 billion in emergency financing that is now in the Special Drawing Rights account of Ukraine. The IMF also is starting preliminary discussions for a full-fledged program for Ukraine once the conditions in the country allow it.
Calviño concluded her remarks by emphasizing the role of the IMF in reinforcing existing instruments for financial support to middle-income and vulnerable countries.
“I would like to emphasize that there was a unanimous call on the International Monetary Fund to press ahead and to reinforce existing instruments for financial support in particular to most vulnerable countries. Not only also middle-income countries are going to be accessing some of the newly created instruments. And there was also a unanimous commitment to reinforce the common framework to making it operational and to try to have a clear concrete calendar, clear deliverables, thanks to the strong engagement of some key players,” said Calviño.
Lagos State Bans Okada in Six Local Councils, Nine LCDAs
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has banned the operations of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada in six local councils and Nine LCDAs. This comes on the heels of the growing menace and nuisance constituted by the motorcyclists.
The directive was issued at a meeting in the State House in Alausa to the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers on Wednesday.
The six local councils listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.
Effective from June 1, 2022, the Governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. According to the Governor, the ban is indefinite and total.
Recall that about a year ago, Investors King reported Lagos Government’s plan to execute a complete ban on okada, Keke, and introduce their own mini-buses. While the introduction of mini-buses might not be the major factor for this ban, the aim still remained the same – to reduce the lawlessness and crime rate across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government took the decision in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by the operations of Okada in the listed areas.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
As a matter of fact, the Governor recommended residents who patronize Okada riders on highways to use the government’s alternative transportation initiatives to organize their journey. He stated that the government has rolled out Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses to commuters in the impacted districts.
After Six Years of Promise, Power Generation in Nigeria Hits Low Again
Despite promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to provide Nigerians with 10,000 Megawatts of electricity in 2016, power generation still stands at 3,871MW.
Investors King gathered that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) failed to allocate 1,357MW of electricity from a paltry 3, 871MW generated on Sunday to power distribution companies (DisCos).
In a data report generated by Punch from the division of TCN, Nigerian Electricity System Operator, nine DisCos out of 11 were on Sunday allocated a total of 2, 514MW, leaving 1,357 unallocated.
A breakdown of the allocation for Sunday showed that Abuja DisCo received a total of 289.92MW; Benin DisCo, 226.89; Eko DisCo, 377.31MW; while 251.89MW was allocated to Enugu DisCo. Ibadan DisCos got an allocation of 348.73MW while Ikeja DisCo received the highest load of 478.15MW.
Jos DisCos got the lowest allocation of 138.66MW, Kaduna DisCos received 201.68MW, while Kano DisCos got 201.68MW.
In the last two years, Nigeria’s power generation has been on a record low of not up to 4000MW. The DisCos have most times, dragged TCN for weak transmission lines, low allocation, liquidity gap and others. The TCN, on the other hand, sometimes accuses the DisCos of load rejection.
Although the country’s national grid has a 13,014.14MW capacity, the GenCos generate a meagre 7,652.6MW, while TCN has capacity to wheel 8,100MW.
Experts say Nigeria needs at least 30, 000MW electricity for its over 200 million population to reach sufficiency. The national peak forecast is 19,798MW.
The highest generation ever achieved was 5801.6MW, and that was two years ago.
In a relative situation, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) has decried the incessant attacks on its facilities in the four states under its jurisdiction.
The company said it was bothered by the recent damage of electrical facilities belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Cross River State. The Head, Corporate Communications, PHED, John Anonyai, in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, stated that the damage caused blackouts in some parts of Calabar, the state capital.
The statement read: “The management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc uses this medium to express her displeasure over the incessant vandalism of electric power facilities in its franchise, particularly the recent case responsible for the power outage in Cross Rivers State.
“This shameful act of vandalism that has rocked Calabar and its metropolis occurred about a month ago and has completely deprived deserving customers access to electricity services across the state.
“Historically, this is not the first time that heartless vandals are targeting such facilities without fear of being caught or electrocuted despite the heavy radiation of power transmitted from the towers.
“Painfully, for every act of vandalism which interrupts service delivery abruptly, PHED is always held liable with different sides to the story without facts as we currently experience in Calabar over this incident.”
According to Anonyai, residents of Calabar had been enjoying relative supply before the black-out as opposed to the current falsehood peddled by a sect of unknown faces whose plan was to trigger an unwarranted backlash against the company.
“It is pertinent to give a clue that the vandalized facilities at Oku Iboku belong to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“This, notwithstanding, as a responsible company that values the needs and comfort of her esteemed customers particularly in times like this, the company has been collaborating with TCN to restore supply.”
“It is no longer business as usual as the company will explore every single regulatory window to ensure collections and will only resort to disconnection where customers have clearly demonstrated recalcitrance by disregard to repeated demand and reminders to pay their bills,” PHED Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Henry Ajagbawa said in a statement.
“We therefore appeal to our esteemed customers to ensure they pay their bills as at when due while hands are on deck to ensure continuous supply of uninterrupted power to the people of Cross River State and other franchise areas,” he added.
With almost nine years of privatisation, the Federal Government said it had spent over N2tn on resolving decades of rot in the power.
Commonwealth Health Ministers to Discuss Post-COVID Priorities at Annual Meeting
On 17th May, health ministers of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth, along with partner organisations, civil society and policymakers will gather for the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM)
On 17th May, health ministers of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth, along with partner organisations, civil society and policymakers will gather for the annual Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting (CHMM).
The meeting will be held virtually under the theme ‘The Road to COVID-19 Recovery: Lessons Learnt for Building Health System Resilience to advance UHC and Global Health Security in the Commonwealth’ and will provide a forum for health leaders to assess the current health situation in the Commonwealth and discuss key resolutions and areas of action on public health issues as the world recovers from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, The Rt Hon. Patricia Scotland QC, said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than one million of our brothers and sisters across the Commonwealth.
COVID-19 vaccine equity remains a critical issue in the Commonwealth, and across the world – with more than 40% of the 2.5 billion people across our family of 54 nations yet to receive a single dose.
The pandemic has also exposed the inherent weaknesses and inequities in our health systems, with even the most advanced health systems dealing with major disruptions to essential services and strains on the workforce. This has been magnified for the Commonwealth’s small and least-developed states.
As Commonwealth Health Ministers convene, we all share a clear need to ensure our health systems are well-prepared, well-resourced, and flexible enough to withstand the shocks caused by health-related emergencies – and to provide the foundation for sustainable development.
We can achieve these goals by working together and I am confident that we can emerge from this week’s Commonwealth Health Ministers Meeting, and look towards the World Health Assembly and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, with renewed unity and purpose.”
In keeping with the spirit of cooperation among member states, participants will have the opportunity to share knowledge and good practices in building resilient health systems, reflect on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to inform ongoing recovery, and explore innovative approaches that can be adopted by member countries on challenges such as vaccine inequity and strategies to bolster health systems.
This ministerial meeting will build on existing commitments from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in 2018 and the CHMM meeting in May 2021, including advancing Universal Health Coverage (UHC) goals towards global health security, addressing Non-Communicable Diseases, Cervical Cancer, Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), as well as COVID-19 recovery and resilience.
The 2022 Commonwealth Malaria Report will be launched on the margins of the meeting, providing a snapshot of the challenges and progress being made to meet malaria targets. It will also show important insights into the trends in malaria interventions in the run-up to CHOGM and the Kigali Summit on Malaria and NTDs.
Breakout sessions will also offer a platform to discuss the latest regional issues regarding pandemic management, digital health, and sustaining health gains.
This year’s meeting is being chaired by Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Dr Christopher Tufton, and will include a keynote address from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom.
At the conclusion of the meeting, a ministerial statement that outlines policy proposals for adoption and implementation will be issued and serve as a collective commitment for Commonwealth countries. A set of key policy recommendations will also be put forward for discussion at the upcoming CHOGM in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2022.
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