From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Acting Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Femi Akingbade, yesterday disclosed that the agency would henceforth subsidise the payment of premium for all pregnant women and children under-five years who have enrolled in the Community Based Social Health Insurance Programme (CBSHIP) for a period of three years in Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
This is even as he stated that seven states in Nigeria had already signed the bill for the establishment of State Health Insurance Agencies into law. They include Bauchi, Kaduna, Lagos, Delta, Sokoto, Abia and Anambra.
Speaking at the official flag off of the Bwari Area Council CBSHIP in Bwari, Akingbade noted that the target of his agency was to achieve the presidential mandate of ensuring universal coverage for Nigerians by the year 2025.
He said: “The implication of this projection is that by the end of 2017, 51 million Nigerians should be able to access healthcare services without having to pay out of pocket at the point of service.
“Let me assure the nation that we at NHIS remain confident that this target is achievable, especially with the increased public confidence in our programmes.”
He also said that his agency had introduced a laudable programme for primary school children designed to catch young children christened: Public Primary Pupils Social Health Insurance Programme.
According to him, “it is expected to cover about 24 million children of school-going age between six and 12 years in public primary schools nationwide.
“When fully on stream, it is envisage that the programme will facilitate the inculcation of the culture of health insurance among young Nigerians from a tender age.”
NOA: NOA urges families to uphold high moral values
From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, has said that the family is bedrock of any society to uphold high moral rectitude.
The NOA boss noted that all nations derived their identities from entrenched values, which are transmitted from generation to generation by families, stressing that this gives the strength and historical direction towards greatness for individuals and countries generally.
Abari, who made call at the 9th National Development Summit of Traditional Rulers in Abuja yesterday, said the high dependency rate and extended family ideals in Nigeria, occasioned by the cultures and norms, gave the family a great and huge task in the development of a modern society.
He described the theme of the summit; “Rediscovering Family Potentials Towards Societal Redefinement” as apt and capable of setting the pace of the nation’s greatness.
In his words: “Our ethics, values and world view are impacted significantly by the family we are raised in; good families largely produce good citizens.”
The DG appealed to all Nigerians, irrespective of religious, tribal and political affiliations to join hands to build a strong, united and virile country, noting that great cities and civilisations were never built in a single day.
Earlier, the Chairman of the Summit Governing Council, His Royal Majesty; Emmanuel Abe, said that royal fathers must support government reforms, urging them to join in the campaign for transparency and accountability in public affairs.
COMMERCE: Abuja Chambers of Commerce hosts Iranian envoy
From Walter Ukaegbu
Morteza Rahini, Iranian Ambassador to Nigeria yesterday said that his country was planning to invest in key areas of construction, pharmaceuticals, power, oil and gas and agricultural sectors
Rahimi stated this when he led a delegation to visit the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in Abuja
According to him, “the visit is predicated on development and fostering of business relations between both countries.
“The sectors that we believe that Nigeria and the Islamic Republic of Iran could have similarity and cooperation are pharmaceuticals, road construction, building constructions, oil, gas and energy.”
The envoy said that Iran and Nigeria have enormous resources, stressing that his home country would want to invest in the oil and gas by-products
He expressed belief that with collaborations in the key areas of the economy and opening up investment opportunities in the sector could spur further growth between the two oil producing countries.
Said he: “It would be better that both countries produce other commodities through the crude materials, rather than exporting the crude and only getting petroleum product in return, he said
“Both countries are selling oil and gas cheap. We have to bring out our countries from this situation. We must add value to our oil resources now, and we have found in Nigeria a strategic partner in this venture. Instead of us exporting only crude and getting petroleum in return, we could refine locally and also explore investment opportunities in other petroleum bye products.”
The president, ACCI, Mr. Tony Ejinkonye, said that the visit was in preparatory to the visit of the Iranian Foreign Minister to Nigeria this month.
Ejinkonye said that the ambassador would lead a delegation of organised private sector from the country to Nigeria.
“As the voice of the organised private sector in the country, the ambassador is engaging us to look at possible areas of business cooperation, as they come with business delegation,” he said.
FINANCE: Nigerian, Indian trade volume hits $16bn
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The trade volume between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and India has hit $16 billion, the Indian High Commissioner-designate to Nigeria, B. N. Reddy, has revealed.
The Indian envoy, who spoke in Abuja during the launch of the India-Nigeria Business Promotion Council, said as biggest trading partners in Africa, both countries must share experiences and assist each other in areas of interests.
Reddy said: “India supports the core objectives of the new administration in Nigeria. These are security, employment and empowerment. We will work with the government of Nigeria to achieve these goals and objectives.
“Nigeria is India’s largest trading partner in Africa. And India is Nigeria’s biggest trading partner in the world. We are gaining some experiences in our country and India will be glad to share these experiences with Nigeria.”
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, in his remarks, said the country was willing to learn from the experience of India.
He however, pleaded with Indian investors, who were present at the event, to open world class hospitals and medical centres in Nigeria in order to halt the media tourism of Nigerians to India.
He said: “There is a lot to learn from India. India is our biggest trading partner. I am hoping that the launch of this partnership will be the beginning of many good things to come. Nigerians have been going to India for medical tourism.”
Former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwuesili, who also spoke, bemoaned the trade imbalance between Africa and India.
She called for its review, while urging the Federal Government to create an enabling environment so that investors can come into the country.
“India’s trade with Africa is about $300 billion. Out of that, Africa accounts for about $32 billion,” she added.