1. BUHARI PRESIDES OVER LOW-KEY 60TH ANNIVERSARY AT EAGLE SQUARE
President Muhammadu Buhari Today in Abuja presided over Nigeria’s 60th Independence celebration with Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo; former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon; former President Goodluck Jonathan and other personalities in attendance.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the low-key event, which took place at the Eagle Square, Abuja, was held strictly in compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
Buhari, who appeared in white traditional attires of Babbar Riga with a white cap, was accompanied by his wife, Hajiya Aisha.
The president inspected the quarter guards before marching to the State box to receive national salute.
The national salute was followed by rendition of the National Anthem.
The colourful Independence Parade was performed by the Armed Forces and the para-military agencies while the Nigerian Air Force organised fly-past displays to commemorate 60th anniversary.
The parade was led by Lt. Col. Muktar Haruna
Buhari, accompanied by vice-president Yemi Osinbajo and other personalities, signed the anniversary register
Other dignitaries at the event included the Senate President Ahmad Lawan; Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed, and some top dignitaries.
The former Vice-President Namadi Sambo and Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, retired Rear Admiral Augustus Aikhomu also attended the event
Others were; the Service Chiefs, top government functionaries and members of the diplomatic corps.
2. Why NAFDAC introduced e-registration – DG
The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) says the agency introduced e-registration to simplify the registration exercise for its customers.
NAFDAC’s Director-General, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
She also said the agency would embrace digitisation in carrying out its activities in order to reduce frequent human interaction.
Adeyeye noted that the reforms in the agency also involved the training of staff to meet the demands of various customers.
Part of the reforms, she added, is aimed at creating a disciplined workforce geared toward service delivery.
“Our staff do so much work on a daily basis.
“We go through danger, including the threat of kidnapping, and with all these, we have to have a disciplined workforce.
“Our reform unit work round the clock, our staff have been trained, we are trying to look at the act regulating the agency and make sure we increase fines for those who violated our law.
“National task force against counterfeit and unregulated products is resident in NAFDAC; there are also standby policemen who follow us during the investigation.
“We are mopping up the mess created in NAFDAC Adeyeye added.
She further said that the agency had decentralised power to zonal offices to allow for direct interaction with customers and promote the ease of doing business initiative.
Adeyeye stated that the agency is determined to promote Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
She said that the agency had decentralized the food and simple cosmetics to the zones to allow for direct interaction with customers.
3. India congratulates Nigeria on 60th Anniversary
India has felicitated with President Muhammadu Buhari and the government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the occasion of the country’s 60th Independence anniversary.
Mr. Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, confirmed this in a statement in Abuja Today.
He said the congratulatory message was conveyed in a letter delivered by the High Commission of India in Nigeria from the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, on behalf of himself and the Government and people of India to the Nigerian leader.
The Indian leader noted that India and Nigeria had always enjoyed close and friendly relations, adding that the “engagement is age-old, deep-rooted and multidimensional.”
“India and Nigeria seek healthy growth and prosperity for both nations and share common concerns, priorities, and approaches to major international issues.
”India is taking over as a member of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-2022. During this period, India would like to work towards a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System – NORMS.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Your Excellency for the assistance extended for repatriation of Indian citizens in Nigeria in the wake of COVID-19. I look forward to further strengthening our bilateral ties.”
The Indian President also wished Buhari “good health and well-being, as well as for the continued progress and prosperity of the friendly people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
4. AfDB partners with FG, Microsoft to create 9m jobs in 10 years
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched an eLearning Digital platform to create nine million jobs in Africa’s digital economy in the next 10 years.
According to a statement from the bank’s website, the Federal Government and Microsoft launched the Digital Nigeria eLearning Platform to provide marketable digital skills for the country’s youth.
The platform will leverage the AfDB’s Coding for Employment initiative and build linkages between the public and private sectors.
Mr. Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy said the platform would support the development of a large pool of digitally literate and skilled citizens.
“We are championing a paradigm shift that lays emphasis on skills. This is a growing trend across the globe.
“The digital literacy and skills pillar recognises the fact that citizens are the greatest assets in any economy, including the digital economy,” the minister said.
Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for the bank’s Nigeria Country Department, said the new normal had accelerated the demand for digital services and fourth industrial revolution technologies across all sectors.
“From artificial intelligence, the internet of things, social media communication, digital learning platforms, augmented and virtual reality, drones, 3D printing and so much more–the world has undergone massive disruption.
“The African Development Bank is committed to supporting the Nigerian government to realise a fully integrated digital agenda,” Faal said.
Ghada Khalifa, Middle East and Africa Director for Microsoft Philanthropies said that Microsoft was committed to creating inclusive economic opportunities in light of the economic crisis created by COVID-19.
“We are investing in building the capacity of five million African youths by 2025, and excited about our collaboration with the African Development Bank and the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in Nigeria with the launch of the Digital Nigeria platform to provide Nigerians with access to digital skills to meet the demand of the job market,” Khalifa said.
According to the statement, the eLearning Platform is a key component of the Digital Nigeria Programme, which aims to empower innovators and entrepreneurs with the skills to thrive in the emerging digital economy.
It offers courses in web development, content creation, and data science, among others.
The platform also uses gamification techniques to teach problem-solving, collaboration, creative thinking and basic coding.
It would be continually updated with new courses and leverage partnerships to provide training certifications.
Content will be accessible via a website and a mobile app.
The Digital Nigeria programme aligns with AfDB’s strategic agenda to create 25 million jobs in agriculture, information communication technology, and other key sectors by 2025.
The agenda would also equip 50 million African youths with competitive skills.
5. FG should unlock gas potential for economic development — Dangote boss
The Federal Government has been tasked to deploy new strategies required to unlock the potentials and maximize the use of natural gas in Nigeria.
Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Mr. Devakumar Edwin, who made the call, said there was the need to find ways to exploit and utilize Nigeria’s natural gas to impact positively on the nation’s economy.
Speaking at Mr. Edwin, BussinessDay’s 2020 Virtual Conference, which had “Gas Market Development – the Opportunities, Drivers & Challenges,” as its theme, he said: “The industry uses varieties of hydrocarbon feedstock from the refinery and natural gas.
“One of the problems facing the industry is the lack of reliable feedstock supplies. Nigeria has the potential to be a major petrochemical producer. With proven gas reserves, not much has been accomplished with respect to the effective exploitation and utilization of this resource as most of the nation’s natural gas production has been liquefied for export.
“In sub-Saharan Africa, we produce raw materials and export to other countries. Our products are refined or manufactured and exported back into the continent. Really, the raw materials are taken out and value-added and brought back to the continent.
“Nigeria has done well in respect to the reduction of gas flaring to almost 10 per cent and exporting natural gas to generate revenue.”
He said: “But, our focus at Dangote is how to add value to the natural gas. After all, this Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) that is being imported by various countries is used as fixed stock. They use this natural gas to generate power, fuel, and as feedstock. The value-added products are thereby exported to Nigeria.
“If you look at petrochemicals, we import almost all our petrochemicals into the country. Fertilizer is also being imported into the country. So, if we focus on adding value to natural gas that we produce in the country and export the finished products, be it fertilizer, petrochemicals, our export revenue will be much larger.”
Continuing, he said: “The pipeline project will make it readily available for commercial use; nullify the need for future gas import; lead to diversification of Nigeria’s economy; increase government revenue (and meet the demand for domestic petrochemical products); ensure an increase in FX from exports and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
“The pipeline project will make gas readily available for commercial use; nullify the need for future gas import; lead to diversification of Nigeria’s economy; increase government revenue (and meet the demand for domestic petrochemical products); ensure an increase in FX from exports and the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.”
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