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Lagos State Government Finalises Register-To-Open Guidelines, Set To Restart Economy

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We’ve Sacrificed Our IGR to Prevent Job Loss– Sanwo-Olu

Lagos State Government has set the process of re-opening its economy in motion, with the rollout of Register-to-Open guidelines. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the State Government daily battles the reality of balancing reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the State’s response to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The Governor said the battle to stop the ravaging virus in Lagos had subjected the State to a delicate situation of having to manage hunger resulting from weeks of slowdown in economic activities and also the movement of consumer goods to keep the economy afloat.

He said the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines were the major part of the measures initiated to achieve phased re-opening of the State economy, adding that Government had offered incentives that will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in order to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of labour.

Sanwo-Olu disclosed this development while speaking at a webinar organised by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: “A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”. The Governor was a panelist in the online discussion that also featured Governors of Kaduna and Edo states, Mallam Nasir el-Rufa’i and Godwin Obaseki.

The webinar had about 1,200 people who participated from across the globe.

Sanwo-Olu said the State Government remained committed to tackling COVID-19 and breaking the cycle of its transmission, but added that there was need to address hunger and job loss that could arise from prolonged lockdown of the economy.

He said: “We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only depended on commercial activities in Lagos alone, but also other States across the federation. We have had weeks of engagement with players in fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.

“Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening. Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities. As we prepared for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have higher number of labour.”

The Governor, however, maintained that the re-opening would not be done in haste, but said construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given the large number of employment they generate. He added that entertainment, hospitality and aviation industries would be considered in the second phase of intervention.

Sanwo-Olu said the weeks of inertia in the economy also had significant impact on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), stressing that millions of small-scale businesses operating in the State could completely fold up if the economy is not fully reactivated.

In addition to granting three-month moratorium to MSMEs that applied for loan facilities at the Lagos State Employment Trust Funds (LSETF), Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had started to compile data of registered MSMEs in the State for operational support that would cushion the effect of economic slowdown on their businesses.

He said: “The other part of our intervention is our conversation with big corporations in various sectors on the requirements they may want from us to ensure that they do not retrench their staff in this emergency period. This conversation is very important. The companies have given us a retinue of incentives they want us to give and these are the things that will affect the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We are willing to make this sacrifice to prevent loss of livelihood for millions of our citizens.”

In the course of the lockdown, Sanwo-Olu said the State Government provided palliatives for over 800,000 households, pointing out that there was need to bring succour to residents that live on daily wage.

The Governor said people must trust the Government on the management of the coronavirus and data being churned out.

Answering a question on the biggest consequence which COVID-19 had on State economy, Sanwo-Olu said: “Lagos has been affected both on the healthcare and economy sides. We have had to take a deep dive into our budget and have about 25 per cent cut, which is not very good number for us. This is the time we need to continue to spend to stave off pressure on our citizens. However, we need to be prudent at this time and cut unimportant expenditures. Salary is one thing we cannot even touch.

“In terms of direct economy, entertainment industry, hospitality, land transportation and aviation businesses have been affected significantly. These sectors are large employers of labour. We are thinking through on how to reset these sectors in a graduated manner and bring back the economy on the full swing.

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The Country’s Economy Sliding Into Depression – Gov. El-Rufai

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has said Nigeria’s economy is going into a state of depression.

The governor said all the states are presently dealing with very difficult situation as they battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

El-Rufai said this while speaking to State House correspondents on Friday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The economy is going to go into depression; there is nothing we can do about that; revenues have collapsed; yet you still have to invest in more public health facilities.

“Most of the leaders have to invest in treatment despite the condition and weighed to invest in security.”

He added that it is a difficult time for those at the leadership positions even as he called on all leaders to work in unity.

“This time is a very difficult time to be in a leadership position and that is why the people and the leaders must all work together and pray for God to end this Coronavirus pandemic.

“It is a major problem, but we are working together,” El-rufai added.

The Kaduna Governor, however, added that Nigeria will surely overcome as a resilient nation.

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Maikanti Baru, Former NNPC GMD, Dies at 60

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Maikanti Baru, the immediate past group managing director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is dead.

He was 60 years old as at the time of his death, and only two months away from his 61st birthday.

This was disclosed by Mele Kyari, the current GMD of the state-run oil company.

“My brother, my friend and my mentor, Dr Maikanti Kachalla Baru, immediate past GMD of NNPC died late last night,” Kyari said.

“He was of exemplary character and disposition. May Allah forgive him and have mercy upon him.”

Baru was appointed NNPC GMD by President Muhammadu Buhari in July 2016, a position he held up until 2019.

Baru announced his retirement from NNPC in July 2019 when he clocked the age of 60.

“Today, having clocked the statutory age of 60, I have retired from the services of NNPC. I wish the new GMD Mallam Mele Kyari and his Team success. Thank you President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to serve,” he tweeted on July, 2019.

Baru was born in July 1959 in Misau, Bauchi state.

He attended Federal Government College, Jos for his secondary education where he graduated in 1978.

In 1982, he obtained his bachelor of engineering degree from Ahmadu Bello University.

Baru has a doctorate in Computer Aided Engineering from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom.

He was the 18th GMD of NNPC.

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Court Jails Six Air Force Personnel Over Badeh’s Killing

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A general court martial in Abuja has jailed six personnel of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) who were attached to Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff (CDS).

The late Badeh served as Nigeria’s chief of defence staff between January 2014 and July 2015.

Badeh died from the gunshot wounds he sustained in an attack on December 18. He was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi road when he was shot dead.

In a statement on Saturday, Ibikunle Daramola, NAF director of public relations and information, said the six officers, who were supposed to provide armed security for Badeh, were jailed on Friday. But he did not indicate the jail terms of the convicts.

He said the personnel involved are Tom Gwani, Amu David, Philemon Degema, Sabo Simon, Mukhtar Abdullahi and Alfred Alexander.

“Six NAF personnel, who were aides to the former CDS were awarded various sentences by the GCM sitting at the NAF Base, Bill Clinton Drive, Abuja,” he said.

“The personnel were standing trial for various offences. Delivering his judgment, the President of the GCM, Air Commodore David Aluku, pronounced the six accused personnel guilty of various charges.

“These included their failure to perform military duties, by absconding from the convoy of the deceased former CDS, while it came under attack, as well as conduct to the prejudice of service discipline, for giving false statements.

“The charges against the accused also included other civil offences of criminal conspiracy and miscellaneous offences relating to property, for illegally disposing of 79 rounds of 5.56mm live ammunition issued for the protection of the late CDS, among others.

“While pleading in mitigation, the Defence Counsels urged the court to show leniency, describing the accused persons as first time offenders. The sentences were announced as being subject to confirmation by the Appropriate Superior Authority.”

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