- Kachikwu Now U.S. Citizen, Bags Multiple Awards
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, was on Thursday conferred with multiple honours, including honorary citizenship of the State of Georgia in the U.S., the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Kachikwu was also conferred with honorary doctorate degree by the Trinity International University of Ambassadors, and Keys to the State of South Carolina and City of Stonecrest, State of Georgia.
The event, which held at the Capitol Hill of the state in Atlanta, also featured the declaration of Oct. 25 as `Emmanuel Kachikwu Day’ by the State of South Carolina.
Senatorial and Legislative hosts, the Black Caucus of the State Legislature, took turns to eulogise Kachikwu’s “unimpeachable” reputation for integrity, intelligence, fairness and kindness.
The legislators – Gloria Butler, Michael Rheft, Donzella James, Roger Bruce, Billy Mitchel, Howard Mosby, Erica Thomas, Sandra Scotts, Pam Stevenson, Jason Lary, and John King, also expressed pride at their African heritage.
NAN reports that State of Georgia has the largest Black Caucus in the U.S. hosting 60 members, and is described as the ‘heartbeat of African-Americans, with about 3.2 million black population.
Ms Dawkins Haigler, Chair Emeritus of the Black Caucus, and most of the other legislators, said they had done their ancestry tests, which confirmed that they were between 65 per cent and 85 per cent Nigerians.
The lawmakers said they always knew they were Africans and were proud to identify with their motherland, adding that they had sponsored several trips to Nigeria.
Responding to the awards, Kachikwu, who was visibly elated at the honours, said he was “extremely humbled” and dedicated the honours to President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Usually I don’t lack words but today, I think I do by the happenstance of today. I think the award is fantastic but what I think is more important is the symbolism of the awards.
“The fact that citizens of the United States, especially our Black brothers and sisters, decided today to recognise a very humble nation that has nearly half of the population of Africa and command the great economic heights of Africa and is bound to be the leader of tomorrow in the world.
“That country is Nigeria; and for those of you who haven’t been there, you should be there; you should be in a hurry to get there.
“You will attest to the fact that it is only a matter of time before Nigeria finds its feet and finds its own and become a power to recognise.
“I thank President Muhammadu Buhari who gave me the opportunity to serve in various capacities that are bringing some of these awards today.
“Not only for his self belief but his determination as the leader to go outside the political mainstream and pick somebody he believed could help in the arduous task of trying to change the oil environment.
“It is still work in progress; there’s still a lot of work to be done but we’re very committed.
“The problem with Nigeria isn’t the disagreement that we have, it isn’t the things that we have not achieved, it isn’t the sometimes black sheep name that pervades all over the world about Nigeria, that is not the problem with Nigeria.
“The problem of Nigeria is the unwillingness of the young and the old to forge collectively in a very transparent manner, to shake up what is vibrantly sleeping giant.”
According to him, Nigeria is primed for growth, success, generative leadership and to hopefully be the sitting home of most Black Americans.
Kachikwu said he was always very humbled to be called a Nigerian because “despite its challenges, it is the most wonderful place in the world to be in”.
The minister also said he was always proud to be called a ‘minister’ in the sense in that it was not different from an ordained pastor there to serve his people with a lot of transparency.
“Quite frankly, I’m nothing more than a humble servant. And if there’s something this President has achieved, it is the fact that ministers have become commonplace people, no longer the ego-strapped people to be celebrated.
Kachikwu recalled the challenges the administration was confronted with when it came on board, including the crash of oil price, the lowest crude production in decades, and recession.
He, however, commended management and staff members of the ministry who worked assiduously with him.
According to him, they set ambitious goals, and expressed pride that most of the targets are being met.
“So, today, the recognition that I get, I receive in honour of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Also, in honour of my colleagues who have worked very deeply with me and I think some of the things that we’ve achieved over the last three years, we didn’t think were possible.
“Into the next five years, I see a Nigeria where there will be power available for all nationals, where our refineries will work so we do not have to import petroleum products, where young people can set up businesses and do not need to know anybody in the system to be able to make that business grow.
“A Nigeria where irrespective of where you come from – North, South, East and West – we will become brothers,” he said.
Among the dignitaries who attended the event were the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, Directors, heads of agencies of the ministry, Nigerian officials in the U.S., and members of the Nigerian community, among others.
Coronavirus – Angola: Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Oil Price Shock
The COVID-19 pandemic and the shock from the falling price of oil have put severe pressure on Angola since the country’s second review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in December 2019.
Only months after the conclusion of the second review in December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic reached Angola, ushering in economic and health crises. The decline in oil prices further strained the economy, which is heavily reliant on oil exports. The economic downturn and social distancing to contain the spread of the virus have been damaging, especially given the large informal sector.
A swift response to the crisis
The Angolan authorities adopted timely measures to tackle the challenges arising from the COVID-19 shock. Measures to protect public health included quarantine, social distancing, closing of borders with limited exceptions, closures of schools, restaurants, and public events, and limited transportation. The government recently approved a prudent supplementary budget for 2020 using a conservative oil reference price. It has also introduced a comprehensive set of fiscal and monetary measures to support economic activities.
On relief to help vulnerable people:
• Tax exemptions of value-added tax (VAT) and customs duties on goods imported under humanitarian aid and donations.
• VAT tax credit for imported capital goods and raw materials for producing essential consumption goods.
• Interest-free, deferred payment option for social security contributions.
• Regulation of prices for a list of medical goods.
On government spending:
• Freeze of 30 percent of purchases on nonessential goods and services.
• Reduction in the number of ministries from 28 to 21.
• Suspension of selected, nonessential capital expenditures.
• Decrease in travel and real estate investments.
• Additional liquidity support to banks and a liquidity line to buy government securities from nonfinancial corporations.
• A credit-stimulus program.
• Temporary suspension for debt service payments.
• Requirement for banks to provide credit to importers of essential goods.
A proactive external debt management
The government needs to safeguard its ability to continue to service its debt on schedule, even under the current trying circumstances. The government has therefore availed itself of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative. They have also secured selected debt reprofiling operations with some of their large creditors.
Financial support from the IMF
On September 16, 2020, the IMF’s Executive Board approved the third review under the EFF and additional financial support to Angola to help mitigate the impact of the crises. Accordingly, the IMF has provided $1 billion to Angola, bringing its total expected financial support to about $4.5 billion under the three-year program. The authorities are strengthening their public financial management to improve accountability for the funds received from the IMF and debt relief from creditors.
The path to recovery
It is important for Angola to continue to stabilize the economy, control inflation, keep the reform momentum, and safeguard financial stability. It is also crucial to persevere with structural reforms, such as privatization, improvement in governance in state-owned enterprises, and strengthened legal frameworks. These reforms will help improve the business environment and pave the way for foreign direct investment and growth-enhancing economic diversification.
Republic of Korea Contributes Rice and Cash to Assist Ugandans threatened by locusts
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed 5,000 metric tons of rice and US$300,000 in cash from the Republic of Korea to provide much-needed relief assistance to 781,000 people including refugees and Ugandans threatened by locusts.
“WFP is extremely grateful for the continued generosity of the Republic of Korea since 2018 and its appreciation of the immense humanitarian needs in Uganda, which were suddenly made even more complicated by COVID-19,” said WFP Officer in Charge Ryan Anderson.
”This contribution of 5,000 metric tons of rice found us at a crossroads when we were considering whether to make deeper ration cuts for refugees because of a shortage of funding, even as we have evidence that they already face high food insecurity,” he added.
Combined with other contributions, the rice may allow WFP to maintain rations for 1.26 million refugees at the current 70 percent of a full ration for a while. Valued at US$4.3 million, it will also meet cereal needs of 614,000 refugees in seven settlements towards the end of the year.
The additional US$300,000 in cash will enable WFP to meet the relief needs of 167,000 people in the northeastern region of Karamoja, which is the most food-insecure region in the country and is threatened by a combination of malnutrition among its residents, locusts, floods and animal diseases.
“The Republic of Korea is committed to supporting vulnerable groups of people in Uganda, especially refugees fleeing conflict and nationals faced by chronic food shortages and malnutrition,” said Ambassador Ha Byung-Kyoo.
“We also are very pleased to continue making contributions of rice, which we have heard is appreciated by the refugees and contributes to much needed dietary diversity,” he added.
WFP was forced to reduce rations for refugees in April to 70 percent of a full ration because of funding shortages. The economic pressures that COVID-19 has brought on donor capitals has further complicated funding to feed refugees. WFP is putting in place safety measures in 13 refugee settlements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during food and cash distributions.
The Republic of Korea has contributed rice to WFP in Uganda annually since 2018 in support of 1.43 million refugees – the highest number of refugees hosted by any country in Africa.
The US$300,000 contribution will also contribute to supporting WFP assistance in Karamoja. Even though families in the region were able to harvest some crops in August, despite repeated sightings of locusts between February and July, the very presence of the pests in the region threatens both agriculture and vegetation needed for animals. Relief food helps to cushion families as the government and UN partners work to control the impact of locusts.
UAE May Reverse Visa Restriction on Nigerians Today Amid Airlines Ban
Nigerian Government Pressures UAE to Revisit Visa Restrictions
Barring any last-minute hitches, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will today, review the visa restriction placed on Nigerian travellers, following the ban of Emirates Airlines from the most populous black nation.
Sources at the company’s his office in Lagos confirmed that the issue was being reviewed, and the “right” diplomatic approach taken.
This came as aviation stakeholders commended the Federal Government for going “tough and playing tit-for-tat with countries that would not accept Nigerian travellers into their domains.”
The Federal Government, following pressure from some quarters, banned Emirates Airlines from Lagos and Abuja airports, effective today, over refusal to grant fresh visa applications submitted by Nigerians.
The government earlier banned European carriers, with the exception of British Airways, over travel restrictions.
Emirates officials said: “We have met with the Nigerian government on this issue, and we assured them that we will resolve it. We are presently working on it.”
“I hope this issue will be resolved before Monday. One thing I will assure you is that the issue will be resolved earlier than expected,” a manager said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Finchglow Travels, Bankole Bernard, said assurances had been given on the matter.
He noted that Nigeria was third-biggest market to Emirates, adding that the UAE would do everything to sustain their operations.
“UAE should have resolved this matter long ago. The ban means that they will lose the market, and they know the implication.
A market lost is never easily regained. Right now, we are certain that the ban will only affect Monday flights, and hoping that things will be normal by Tuesday,” he added.
The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, at the weekend, via his twitter handle, announced the suspension of Emirates Airlines from Nigeria, saying the ban would take effect from today.
Emirates Airlines’ situation was reviewed, and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday, September 21, 2020,” he said.
The President Muhammadu Buhari administration had in August warned that Nigeria would activate the principle of reciprocity in granting permission to airlines to resume operations in the country as it reopens its airspace.
It said the decision was informed by the embargoing on flights from Nigeria by some nations.
Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, Angolan TAG, Air Namibia and Royal Air Maroc were not approved to operate flights into the country.
Aviation stakeholder, Julius Akintunde, said the measures were in the best interest of the economy.
Also speaking, Secretary-General of the Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), urged that the reciprocity should be done with caution in order for the Nigerian market not to be undermined by neighbours.
Business2 months ago
Nneka Ede Purchases Portuguese Football Club, Lusitano Ginasio Clube
News3 months ago
British High Commission to Start Accepting Visa Applications From Nigerians Soon
Business3 months ago
Seplat Appoints Emeka Onwuka as CFO, Executive Director
Forex3 months ago
Naira-USD Exchange Rate to Hit N430 – Report
Finance3 months ago
DSS Arrests EFCC, Acting Chairman, Magu
Government3 months ago
FG Puts School Resumption Plan on Hold as COVID-19 Cases Hit 30,000
Forex3 months ago
Naira Declines Against Pound, Euro After Devaluation
Business3 months ago
TAJBank Joins e-Commerce Giants- Launches Nigeria’s 1st Ethical Online Mall