From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The new Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hameed Bobboyi, has said that there was no alternative to fixing basic education, thus calling on governors and other relevant stakeholders to join force with the Federal Government to revamp the basic education sub-sector.
Speaking at the headquarters of the commission in Abuja, on his first day in office, Dr. Bobboyi said that basic education remains key to achieving the needed quality education and production of critical mass of manpower to drive government’s development agenda.
While acknowledging multiple challenges confronting basic education sector in Nigeria. Bobboyi expressed confidence that the much-desired quality basic education would be realised, if only all relevant stakeholders worked together towards achieving that.
“We cannot get it right without properly laying a solid foundation for the growth and development of basic education in Nigeria. Yes, basic education is on the concurrent list but we all need to work collectively to revamp the sector. I understand that the Federal Government has done a lot through UBEC and we will sustain that, and also meet with the state governments and relevant stakeholders in this regard for the inputs,” he said.
The new UBEC boss, however, pledged to give priority attention to the welfare of staff of the Commission, while also urging them to continue to discharge their duties with utmost level of patriotism, honesty and hard work.
Meanwhile, the former Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr. Suleiman Dikko, in his remark identified ted low access to matching grant by some state governments as major challenge of the commission, noting that the current administration had made remarkable improvement in access of the intervention funds by some state governments.
FINANCE: Kaduna invests N12.5bn on SME, collaborates with BoI
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Divisional Head, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), North, of the Bank of Industries, BoI, Alhaji Umaru Shekaru, has said that the Kaduna State government has invested N12.5 billion in the SME scheme, in collaboration with the bank.
Speaking at a forum organised by the BoI in Lagos, Shekaru stated that the SMEs’ were targeting investment to the tune of N30 billion.
According to him, the Kaduna State government had explained that all eligible indigenes could access the loan, stating that the BoI would train beneficiaries on how to access loan and in investment.
“The bank assists beneficiaries to focus on industries, documentation and explanations on the simple one digit interest rate,” he said.
He also disclosed that at the moment the BoI had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 17 states in the country, while asking those states that had not shown interest to do so.
The SME head, North, disclosed that Dangote investment Limited had brought some millions of Naira to the BOI on zero per cent interest, stressing that the bank charges only five per cent interest.
Earlier during the stakeholders meeting, Executive Director, financial inclusion, Mr. Jonathan Tobin, who anchors borrowers programmes of CBN, lamented that so much money was spent by the country in importing food. He commended Governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Abubakar for his vision on rice planting of the state.
The director recalled that recently, President Muhammed Buhari had launched the dry season farming, which Kebbi State was taking advantage of.
BUDGET: FG to review 2016 budget if … – Udoma
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Federal Government has said it would review the 2016 budget if there are clear indications that fall in revenue expectations will persist. It, however, reinstated its commitment to full implementation of the budget.
Budget and National Planning Minister, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, made this disclosure while responding to questions at a town hall meeting inspired by the Alumni Association of the Nigeria Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Abuja yesterday.
Udoma explained that at the inception of the current administration, the economy was facing several challenges, including declining oil prices and production, which led to declining external reserves, with its attendant shocks on other sectors of the economy.
The 2016 budget, he explained, was, therefore, designed to deal with these problems and in doing so government had to take a deliberate decision to deviate from the past by assigning a reasonable portion of the budget to infrastructure development.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said decline in the economy started more than seven years ago when successive government gave more premium to recurrent expenditure to the detriment of capital spend.
The finance minister, however, noted that the present administration had decided to reverse the trend with increased capital expenditure and diversification of the economy.
ENVIRONMENT: FG to subject GMOs to scientific tests – Minister
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government has assured Nigerians that whatever decision it takes on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) would be based on the outcomes of scientific investigations.
Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, who stated this at a public function in Abuja yesterday, explained that government would not be swayed by the cacophony of views on GMOs, but would, instead, aggregate the views and subject them to scientific studies.
This came as the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) and Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) Nigeria organised a one-day sensitisation on Genetically Modified Organisms and Agricultural Biotechnology for the staff of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in Abuja.
Opening the programme, the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Belema Wakama, said that it was expedient for the personnel to be fully abreast of the issues, concerning GMOs to enable them educate others. She noted that biotechnology was strategic in driving the economic diversification process of the present administration, particularly, as it concerned job and wealth creation as well as food security.
Director General of NABDA, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, disclosed that the enlightenment programme would also be taken to the Federal Ministry of
Niger Delta: FG, Equatorial Guinea partner on economy, security
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Federal Government and Equatorial Guinea have concluded plans to strengthen bilateral relations on economic and security issues, aimed at safeguarding the wellbeing of both countries and their citizens.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, made the disclosure in Abuja while playing host to the Ambassador of Equatorial Guinea to Nigeria, Mr. Job Obiang Esono Mbengono.
Pastor Usani, while recalling the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries in March 2016, noted that collaboration in maritime security between the two countries demanded commitment based on their strategic location in the Gulf of Guinea.
The minister revealed that a platform would be created to ease investment between investors from both countries, as a means of improving their economies.
He further disclosed that there were investment opportunities in maritime, coastal and manufacturing sector, among others, for Equatorial Guinea investors in Nigeria.
In his remarks, the ambassador said his country was interested in things that happen in the Niger Delta region, as happenings in the area also affect his country.