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National Assembly Passes Education Bank Bill, Seeks to Provide Interest-Free Loan to Students

Nigeria seeks to establish a structured education bank to provide student loans and support students

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University - Investors King

The Nigerian Senate has passed the student loan establishment bill to support Nigerian students and parents/guardians going through tough times.

The bill which was sponsored by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila was passed by the lower chamber earlier this year.

The proposed legislation titled ‘Bill for an Act to provide for easy access to higher education for Nigerians through interest-free loans from the Nigerian Education Bank’ seeks to provide interest-free loans to Nigerian students in the higher institutions within the county. 

Investors King learnt that with senate concurrence,  a clean copy would be produced and transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent. 

If signed by the president, the bill will see to the establishment of the Nigerian Education Bank which shall have powers to supervise, coordinate, administer and monitor the management of student loans in Nigeria. 

Additionally, the Nigerian Education Bank will have the mandate to receive applications from students through their respective institutions of learning. The body “Nigerian Education Bank” will also have the power to screen applicants and administer loans to those who met the laydown requirements. 

Without prejudice to gender, religion, tribe, position or disability of any kind, the bill shall ensure that all Nigerian students have equal rights to access the loan. 

While commenting on the bill, the House speaker, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila noted that the bill will ameliorate the hardship being faced by Nigerian students especially those who come from low-income families. 

He added that the legislation will also promote and enhance education among the youth by making it easy to study. 

“A well-educated citizenry was critical to the nation’s development and its ability to compete in the global economy” he noted. 

Although Investors King can not ascertain the requirements to access the loan, sources closer to the development however revealed that the major criteria is to be a student in any of the higher institutions of learning in Nigeria be it a University, Polytechnic or Monotechnic. 

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Brain Drain is Really Brain Gain in Greece

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Brain Drain

By Dimitris Tsingos, Founder, Starttech Ventures

The tech talent shortage in Greece is often blamed on the so-called “brain drain”. But I see nothing wrong with software engineers from Greece moving to other countries and exploring opportunities there.

It is a necessary step for progress, development, and modernization, writes Dimitris Tsingos, Founder of Starttech Ventures, a Greek network of start-up companies.

The so-called brain drain has been observed in many countries, not just in countries in the Middle East and Africa but also in my country Greece. Hundreds of thousands of highly skilled young professionals have migrated after the financial crisis in search of better prospects in more developed economies.

The real problem lies in the unidirectional nature of the flow; many skilled workers leave, and fewer are coming to our countries to work in them.

Traditionally “brain drain” has been considered quite a significant problem. To put it simply, it is thought to be wrong. What if we looked at it from another perspective? Could this phenomenon bring something good? Could we talk about “brain gain” instead of “brain drain”?

Countries that have continuously experienced high economic growth, such as China and India, demonstrate that the mobility of a high-skilled workforce can play a decisive role in improving the home country’s economy. And on top of that, modernizing its society.

You see, many of them will finally return home. Others will stay there and act as ambassadors and ‘bridges’ between the home and the host nation. Also, many send money home to their families (called remittances). As the world bank states: “there is strong and unambiguous evidence that supports the argument that remittances alleviate poverty in developing countries.”

Many studies also show that diversity in the form of people from different walks of life, with different experiences and networks from other countries, helps companies grow faster and find new opportunities. Many of our companies witness that the diversity in their teams contributes immensely to the company’s creative output.

It is just a different point of view: The mobility of people is in many ways good for the world! When mobility increases, new opportunities will present themselves while old ones disappear.

At Starttech Ventures, we recognized the power of “brain gain” long ago. In our portfolio companies in Athens, we already employ individuals of more than twelve nationalities who, for various reasons, decided to move and work here. And we encourage people to see opportunities in other parts of the world. So, we would be happy for people from Greece to find work in start-ups in different countries and vice versa. That would make us learn more from each other and strengthen ties between our countries, helping both economies grow.

I firmly believe that there’s no reason for our countries not to be able to attract skilled workers that want to live and work in them. There are many fabulous places worldwide with a booming tech scene, and we should help more people worldwide know about the opportunities we provide. And we could work together to do that.

Thus, we are proud to announce the Work-in-Greece initiative, which aims to support the relocation of innovative Software Engineers that want to work in Greece. And, with that, build stronger ties and collaborations between companies in both countries to mutually benefit all societies!

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Immigration Service Orders Passport Offices to Work on Saturday

Passport offices to work on Saturdays across the country amid the surge in demand

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Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has directed passport offices across the country to work on Saturday amid the surge in demand for international passports. 

The directive which was contained in a statement released yesterday by the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tony Akuneme, noted that the directive is aimed to enable the Service to reduce the backlog occasioned by the 2020 and 2021 prolonged lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The CG has directed that passport offices across the country with a high volume of pending applications to work on Saturdays. (However), the Saturdays preceding the Christmas and New Year holidays are exempted.

“The period for this exercise is expected to be every Saturday commencing from December 3, 2022, to January 28, 2023, between the period of 10 am and 2 pm,” the statement partly read.

Investors King understands that Nigerians have been going through a long queue while trying to acquire an international passport. In some cases, it could take as long as four to six months.

This long queue has created room for racketeering. A standard passport which normally costs N26,000 is being done at the rate of N50,000. It could be as high as N70,000 to N100,000 in some cities such as Abuja and Lagos.

According to the statement, the Controller-General of the immigration service has also approved the deployment of the Passport Controller in Ekiti to Jigawa, while the one in Ondo was moved to NIS Zonal Office in Ibadan.

The CG added that he will hold passport officers accountable for any acts of indiscipline by officers under their watch.

Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has cautioned Nigerians on the dangers of irregular migration, so as not to waste their future. 

The CG who gave the advice disclosed that the service will intensify its efforts to sensitize Nigerians on the danger of irregular migration.

He noted that most of the victims are being brainwashed by travel agents who only care about making money from such trips. 

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Passengers Groan as Air Tickets Increase by More than 100%

The price of Jet A1 which was N200 in December 2021 is currently sold at N800 per liter

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Arik Airplane - Investors King

Travelers have lamented the arbitrary increase in air tickets. The increase which has now caused one-way tickets from Abuja to Lagos to rise above N150,00 has been blamed on the scarcity of aviation fuel also known as Jet A1. 

The price of Jet A1 which was N200 in December 2021 is currently sold at N800 per liter. The increase is mostly due to scarcity and the rise in foreign exchange.

A check by Investors King on the booking pages of some domestic airlines shows that a one-way trip from Abuja to Lago on Air peace Airlines costs between 65,000 to 150,000 depending on the flight schedule. 

On Air peace, Lagos to Anambra on 23rd of December  2023, goes for N150,000.

Similarly, while a lot of near-date seats have been sold out on MaxAir, medium-distance date ranges between N65,000 to 80,000 nairas.

The same thing goes for Dana Airlines. A check on Dana Airlines shows between N66,000 to N85,000 from Abuja to Lagos on an economy ticket. 

According to some industry experts, other factors that are driving the price of air tickets include the demand that often comes with the yuletide period.

Looking at the available seats, it is obvious that many people had already booked seats ahead of the festive period. Additionally, the demand for air tickets was also driven by the political season. 

Investors King understands that campaign activities often drive the demand for air tickets as politicians and their supporters move from one state to the other. 

Furthermore, the Nigerian aviation industry is faced with high operating costs, taxes, and surcharges. 

Airlines also have to pay for landing costs and multiple aviation agencies’ charges among others. 

It will be recalled that in February 2022, Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) pegged one-way ticket fares to a minimum of N50,000 amid the scarcity and sharp rise in the price of aviation fuel. 

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