Science & Tech:
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
A Lagos-based agency of the Federal Government, the Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIRRO) has developed high nutrient food products to mitigate the spate of malnutrition, especially in the camps of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) across the country.
Director General of FIIRO, Dr. Gloria Elemo, who disclosed this to newsmen in Abuja yesterday, said government, was worried about the mortality rate of infants in the camps.
Elemo said the agency was working closely with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the US Pharmacopeia but would want Nigerian companies to be involved in the mass production of the food products.
While the DG declined to give out the name of a new biscuit developed by the agency, she explained that most of the 250 technologies of the agency are food based.
She said: “We have over 250 technologies and most of them are food-based. We have food for the IDPs; food to boost diet. It’s being targeted at the IDPs, especially with the high infantile mortality that is going on in the camps. The deaths are becoming scary.
“We are working with companies that can produce these foods in large quantities. The USAID; United States Pharmacopeia are in collaboration with us in ensuring that the food comes out.”
The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology had in February signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NASCO Foods Limited, Jos to commercially produce High Nutrient Density (HND) biscuits for pupils.
Government said the implementation process of HND biscuits for the National School Feeding Programme (NSFP) would tackle the increasing food challenges of primary school children between the ages of five and 13 years.
Nigeria, China to collaborate on agric, health
From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Nigerian and Chinese governments yesterday pledged to collaborate in the area of agriculture, manufacturing, health, infrastructure and education.
Speaking when the representatives of Peoples Republic of China, led by the Vice Minister of Commerce, Mr. Qian Keming, visited, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, she said that China came to Nigeria at a very important period in Nigeria.
She expressed her gratitude for the speedy manner China attends to matters that concern Nigeria through its China Eximbank, adding that Nigeria would be happy to collaborate with China in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture and education.
Adeosun noted that Chinese government had shown itself a dependable ally and Nigeria was happy to do business with China.
Earlier, Keming had said that they were in Nigeria to see how they could collaborate with Nigeria in terms of financing Nigeria’s economy.
He said that his team had earlier visited Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and the Minister of National Planning and Budget, Senator Udo Udoma.
Chinese Minister of Commerce, who spoke through an interpreter, told Adeosun that Osinbajo suggested that both countries should collaborate in construction, agriculture and economic diversification.
Fashola sets rating targets for DISCOS on safety and performance
From Dennis Mernyi, Abuja
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, has directed Nigerian Electricity Management Services (NEMSA), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) and the Market Operator to implement ranking criteria in order to assess the safety and payment performance of Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
Fashola, who gave the directive at the meeting with power sector stakeholders held at Shiroro Hydroelectric Plant in Niger State, explained that the decision was sequel to the spate of cases in electrocutions, as recently reported on locations in Eko and Abuja DISCOs, although the families were compensated in record time.
The minister insisted that the companies should embark on system upgrade to reduce or totally eliminate this hazard, thereby reducing the incidence of electrocution and other related accidents.
Already, as an incentive to the compliant firms, Port Harcourt Disco has been ranked first in safety compliance category for the month of May this year.
In order to assist Discos with the upgrade plans, the minister directed them to take ownership of abandoned transformers and sub- stations in their domain. This he assured would help them to energise their networks, thereby increasing availability of power supply to households.
Owing to obvious constraints, the ranking for payment performance will commence in June, hence the full ranking for metering loss reduction and service delivery will be made public in July, 2016.
Customs pegs new duty rate at N286 to a dollar
From Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
Hard times would be awaiting Nigerians, especially importers of goods, as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has fixed N286 as new duty rate.
Our correspondent learnt that NCS has raised its duty rate on imported goods from N197 to N 286 in the country.
This was coming even as the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Mr. Wale Adeniyi, on behalf of the Comptroller General of Customs last month denied fixing a new rate at N285 to the dollar.
In a statement then Adeniyi said there were misleading publications in some online platform about new duty rate.
Reacting to the development, the founder, Nigeria Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, who confirmed the development, said that actually importers and freight forwarders were in for trouble.
According to him, imported goods were to cost more than it was before, adding that his organisation would soon react on the issue. He lamented that since the appointment of the new comptroller-general of customs, he has been very far away from maritime operators, which is not the best.
According to him, “if he has been close and has not distanced himself from the people, he would have been able to understand what the people’s problem at the ports were.”
He, however, did not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Col Hamid Ali, explaining that it could have been better if the Federal Government had appointed a retired custom officer, who is familiar with customs proceedings.
“You know before the appointment of Ali, about five deputy comptrollers-general were jostling for the post, but Buhari brought somebody from outside the customs. I he needed to go outside, he should have brought an experienced former customs officer,” he said.