From Magnus Eze and Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said that the Federal Government will support the Nigerian Institute of Welding (NIW) to enhance the capacity of welders, as part of its efforts to grow the economy and ensure that small and medium scale industrialists contribute to national development.
Speaking when the President of the Nigerian Institute of Welding, Dr. Solomon Edeberi, visited him in Abuja, the minister stated that there was no reason the country should not produce most of the machines needed locally.
Onu said: “The time has come for us to pay sufficient attention to welding technology because it is very important to the manufacturing sector.” He said through this the Nigeria would produce machines and equipment needed in the country.
Earlier, the President of NIW told Onu of the institute’s desire to partner the ministry in the area of research into agro equipment, fabrications, electrodes and waste management.
“With mechanised production, we must be able to produce rice locally. We must be able to process cassava and grains locally, which can only be achieved through welding engineering,” Edeberi stated.
He lamented that over $8billion was lost to expatriates yearly in the area of wielding engineering, adding: “We want to ensure that even road side welders are qualified and certified, so that there will be no excuse for government, organisations, institutions or individuals to bring foreigners into Nigeria to do welding works.”
NCC: NCC receives 6,163 complaints from telecoms subscribers in Q2
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it received 6,163 complaints from telecommunications subscribers in the second quarter of 2016.
Mr. Abdullahi Maikano, the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB) of the commission, made the disclosure to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) yesterday in Lagos.
Maikano said that of the 6,163 complaints, 4,739 issues were resolved, giving a resolution of 76.9 per cent. He also said that the commission received 23,694 complaints from telecommunications consumers in the first quarter. The complaints received in the second quarter reduced by 17,531 or by 73.99 per cent compared with that of first quarter.
The director said that the reduction was as a result of the “2442 Do Not Disturb’’ directive of the regulatory body to the operators.
He said that the complaints by telecommunications users were on issues of billings, customer care/call centre, call set-up, faulty terminal, health issues, internet service and promotion.
According to him, other complaints were those of recharge cards, Short Messaging Services (SMS)/Multi Media Services (MMS), Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) and Value Added Services (VAS).
Pension: PTAD, ICPC sign MoU to flush out ghost pensioners
From Uche Usim and Amaka Nzenweaku, Abuja
The Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to detect and flush out ghost pensioners and government officials harbouring them on their payroll.
The Acting Director General/Chief Executive of PTAD, Murtala Oluwatoyin, who stated this in Abuja, said the agency recently discovered 800 multiple and fraudulent accounts scattered in many commercial banks in the country.
He also revealed that an average of N16 billion was spent monthly on payment of pensions, even as he revealed that the major issue that greeted him on assumption of office as PTAD boss was poor records and database of pensioners in various government agencies.
Said he: “About 15, 000 bogus names from the payroll have been detected and we transferred the savings from these 15, 000 non-existent pensioners to pay genuine pensioners with outstanding payments.
“We’ve paid part of 33 per cent arrears being owed pensioners. For those in the paramilitary, I’ve paid all the outstanding 33 per cent arrears. That was from the savings I’ve made. For civil service pensions, we’ve paid 12 months and I’m still planning to pay them another 12 months very soon. For the parastatals, I’ve been able to pay 12 months, but we have issues of records with them. Before they were unbundled to us, some of the trust funds have been paying. We’re asking for information to know how much has been paid and how much is outstanding. All these are based on the savings I’ve made and that is the ghost names we’ve been able to remove from the payroll. No additional funds has been released to us”, he explained.
The acting PTAD boss also cautioned pensioners to be cautious and wary of the activities of fraudsters who contact pensioners claiming to facilitate the payment of their pensions for a fee.
BUDGET: We’ve lost 50% expected revenue to militancy – Udoma
From Basil Obasi, Abuja
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has said that the sale of national assets will help provide needed fund for full implementation of capital projects in the 2016 budget and get the economy back on the path of recovery.
Senator Udoma, who made this disclosure in Lagos at the weekend while briefing newsmen on the forthcoming Nigeria Economic Summit, said that due to the activities of Niger Delta militants, the country has already lost almost half its expected revenue, which has necessitated government to urgently source funds to ensure faithful implementation of the 2016 budget.
In a statement by his media aide, Mr. James Akpandem, Udoma said the objective of Federal Government’s fiscal stimulus plan is not to sell off all major critical national assets but to source immediate funds to reflate the economy and implement capital projects in the 2016 budget.
The other option, according to the minister, would have been to source for additional loans, beyond the level of borrowing already projected for in the 2016 budget, which is not a wise option, as it would raise the level of debt service to an unsustainable level.
Expressing the optimism that Nigeria will come out of recession stronger, Udoma said: “The current situation provides the country with an opportunity to revamp the economy and put reposition it towards the path of sustainable growth.
BUDGET: Reforms’ll take us out of recession – FG
From Basil Obasi and Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja
The Federal Government has placed premium on the successful implementation of the State and Local Governance Reform Project (SLOGOR), explaining that it would be useful in the design of policy options to usher the economy out of recession.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Fatima Nana Mede, who disclosed this at the just-concluded SLOGOR retreat in Calabar at the weekend, explained that a sustainable solution to the current economic misery in the country entailed collaborative efforts by government at all levels.
Mrs. Nana, who was represented by the Director of Administration in the Ministry, Mr. Chris Ezeilo, noted that the SLOGOR project represented an opportunity for identifying feasible options to finance development plans at sub-national level and also foster good governance by mainstreaming inclusive growth and development in the implementation of the project.
In his address, Frank Eta, Cross River State Commissioner for International Development Cooperation, who represented Governor Ben Ayade, noted the relevance of the SLOGOR project in addressing the issue currently being experienced in the recession period and commended the European Union (EU) and the World Bank for initiating the project.
He briefed the meeting on the innovative revenue generation strategies, including donor coordination frameworks being implemented by the Cross River State government for sustainable development in the state.
The SLOGOR project being funded by the EU and managed by the World Bank in the six states of Anambra, Cross River, Jigawa, Kano, Osun and Yobe, is aimed at improving transparency, accountability and quality of public finance and human resource management systems, with a view to strengthening governance in the participating states.