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Nigeria, Others Lose $110bn Yearly to Food-borne Diseases —World Bank

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  • Nigeria, Others Lose $110bn Yearly to Food-borne Diseases —World Bank

Nigeria and other low-income and middle-income countries across the world, especially in Africa and Asia, spend $110bn in lost productivity and medical expenses in treating illnesses arising from unsafe food, a World Bank report has disclosed.

In a statement on the report made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, the World Bank said that the new study found that the impact of unsafe food costs low and middle-income economies about $110bn in lost productivity and medical expenses each year.

It added that a large proportion of the costs could be avoided by adopting preventive measures that improve how food was being handled from the farm to the fork.

Better managing the safety of food will also significantly contribute to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals, especially those relating to poverty, hunger and well-being, the bank said.

The statement read in part, “Food-borne diseases caused an estimated 600 million illnesses and 420,000 premature deaths in 2010, according to the World Health Organisation.

“This global burden of food-borne disease is unequally distributed. Relative to their population, low- and middle-income countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa bear a proportionately high burden.

“They account for 41 per cent of the global population, yet 53 per cent of all food-borne illness and 75 per cent of related deaths.

“Unsafe food threatens young children the most: although children under five make up only nine per cent of the world’s population, they account for almost 40 per cent of food-borne disease and 30 per cent of related deaths.”

The report entitled, ‘The Safe Food Imperative: Accelerating Progress in Low and Middle-income Countries’, translates the grim statistics into economic terms to focus government attention on the need for greater investment, better regulatory frameworks, and measures that promote behaviour change, the bank said.

The total productivity loss associated with food-borne diseases in low and middle-income countries is estimated at $95.2bn per year, and the annual cost of treating food-borne illnesses is estimated at $15bn.

According to the World Bank, other costs, though harder to quantify, include losses of farm and company sales, foregone trade income, the health repercussions of consumer avoidance of perishable yet nutrient-rich foods, and the environmental burden of food waste.

The statement quoted the Senior Director of the Food and Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank, Juergen Voegele, to have said, “Food safety receives relatively little policy attention and is under-resourced. Action is normally reactive — to major food-borne disease outbreaks or trade interruptions rather than preventative.

“By focusing on domestic food safety more deliberately, countries can strengthen the competitiveness of their farmers and food industry and develop their human capital. After all, safe food is essential to fuel a healthy, educated, and resilient workforce.”

For many low and middle-income countries, rapid demographic and dietary changes, among others, are contributing to wider exposure of populations to food-borne hazards, stretching if not overwhelming prevailing capacity to manage food safety risks, the bank added.

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 long experience in the global financial market.

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Economy

Illegal Withdrawals: Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over $1.05bn

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House of representatives

Rep To Investigate NNPC, NLNG Over Illegal Withdrawal of $1.05bn from NLNG Account

The Nigerian House of Representatives has concluded plans to investigate illegal withdrawal of $1.05 billion from the account of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The decision followed the adoption of a motion titled ‘Need to Investigate the Illegal Withdrawals from the NLNG Dividends Account by the Management of NNPC’ moved by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, on Tuesday.

The House adopted the motion and mandated its Committee on Public Accounts to “invite the management of the NNPC as well as that of the NLNG, to conduct a thorough investigation on activities that have taken place on the dividends account and report back to the House in four weeks.”

Elumelu said, “The House is aware that the dividends from the NLNG are supposed to be paid into the Consolidated Revenue Funds account of the Federal Government and to be shared amongst the three tiers of government.

“The House is worried that the NNPC, which represents the government of Nigeria on the board of the NLNG, had unilaterally, without the required consultations with states and the mandatory appropriation from the National Assembly, illegally tampered with the funds at the NLNG dividends account to the tune of $1.05bn, thereby violating the nation’s appropriation law.

“The House is disturbed that there was no transparency in this extra-budgetary spending, as only the Group Managing Director and the corporation’s Chief Financial Officer had the knowledge of how the $1.05bn was spent.

“The House is concerned that there are no records showing the audit and recovery of accrued funds from the NLNG by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, hence the need for a thorough investigation of the activities on the NLNG dividends account.”

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Economy

FG Gives Radio, Tv Stations Debt Relief, Writes Off 60 Percent Debt

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TSTV

FG Reduces Tv, Radio Stations Licence Fee by 30%, Writes Off 60% Debt

The Federal Government has reduced the existing licence fee paid by all open terrestrial radio and television stations by 30 percent.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.

He said the Federal Government has also decided to write off 60 percent of the N7 billion loan owed the government by television and radio stations.

He explained that the N7 billion is the total outstanding from television and radio stations on the renewal of their operating licences.

Mohammed, however, said for any station to benefit from the 60 percent debt relief, such a station must be ready and willing to pay the remaining 40 percent within the next three months.

According to him, the debt relief offer would open on July 10th and close on the 6th of October.

Mohammed said, “According to the NBC, many Nigerian radio and television stations remain indebted to the Federal Government to the tune of N7bn.

“Also, many of the stations are faced with the reality that their licences will not be renewed, in view of their indebtedness.

“Against this background, the management of the NBC has therefore recommended, and the Federal Government has accepted, the following measures to revamp the broadcast industry and to help reposition it for the challenges of business, post-COVID-19:

“(a) 60 per cent debt forgiveness for all debtor broadcast stations in the country; (b) the criterion for enjoying the debt forgiveness is for debtor stations to pay 40 per cent of their existing debt within the next three months.

“(c) Any station that is unable to pay the balance of 40 per cent indebtedness within the three-month window shall forfeit the opportunity to enjoy the stated debt forgiveness.

“(d) The existing license fee is further discounted by 30 per cent for all open terrestrial radio and television services effective July 10, 2020.

“(e) The debt forgiveness shall apply to functional licensed terrestrial radio and television stations only. (f) The debt forgiveness and discount shall not apply to pay TV service operators in Nigeria.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation to Average 12.2 Percent in 2020 Says PwC

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Inflation

PwC Says Inflation Will Average 12.2% in 2020

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has predicted that the nation’s inflation rate will average 12.2 percent in 2020.

In the report titled ‘Demand and supply shocks from COVID-19 keep inflation higher for longer’, the company based its projection on the rising cost of goods and services due to the supply shocks to commodity and the COVID-19 negative impacts on the economy.

The report explained that the supply disruption brought about by lockdown measures put in place to mitigate COVID-19 spread pushed headline inflation to its highest in 23 months in the month of May 2020.

Nigeria’s headline inflation rose by 12.4 percent year-on-year in the month of May. Its fastest pace of increase in 26 months, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

However, PwC said because of the growing global uncertainty due to the projected second wave of COVID-19 and declining household incomes, headline inflation will increase from the average of 11.4 percent recorded in 2019 to average 12.2 percent in 2020.

“Barring a second wave of the pandemic, which could further threaten outlook for global economic growth, coupled with the absence of major shocks to food supply in Nigeria, inflation outlook for rest of the year could be influenced by two factors. Firstly, the elevated base effect, and secondly, waning household incomes. The first factor is likely to have a greater impact.”

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