House Of Reps Commitee Denies Indicting Osinbajo In NEMA’s Probe

The House of Representatives say it did not indict the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo SAN, in its probe report on the national emergency management agency as reported in some quarters of media.

Chairman House Committee on NEMA and disaster preparedness, Hon. Isah J.C made the clarification while raising a matter of privilege on Tuesday at the floor of plenary.

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NPower To Become Africa’s Largest Post-tertiary Job Scheme, Says Osinbajo

Following the successes recorded in the N-Power programme of the Buhari administration and the growing need for government’s direct intervention in job creation, the Federal Government will expand the N-Power scheme to accommodate 1 million beneficiaries in the next phase, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

The Vice President who stated this while responding to a variety of questions from Nigerians across different professions and persuasions, at a town hall meeting in Abuja yesterday, said the programme would become the largest post-tertiary job scheme in Africa.

According to him, “the idea of N-Power is supposed to be government’s own programme of direct employment and training. At the moment, we have taken up to 500,000 and in the next phase we are looking at another 200,000 and closely followed by another 300,000.

“In all, we will be employing up to a million, and that will be the largest post-tertiary job programme in the entire Africa. The reason why we have done this is because of the employment problems that we have, we may not be able to engage everybody but at least government must give some direct provision of jobs.”

Prof. Osinbajo explained further that though government could not pay more than the N30,000 currently paid to beneficiaries and also fix all the unemployment issues, it is working on creating the enabling environment to ensure that beneficiaries as well as other unemployed Nigerians become useful to themselves.

He said: “It is infrastructure that will create the opportunities to provide more jobs, especially through manufacturing and Industry.

“So, we are doing roads and rail, providing power; that is the way we can develop industry. We are energizing our markets at the moment, putting solar power in the markets. We have designated 300 markets, we have done Ariaria in the South East, Sabon Gari in Kano, Surat in Lagos, Isikan in Ondo, Gbagi in Oyo and we are expanding so that more people can work.”

On the need to engage more women in productive activities, Prof. Osinbajo said: “one of the ways the Buhari administration is engaging more women is through our GEEP loans.”

He said: “56% of our GEEP loans go to the women. So there is a lot of preferential advantage that we give to women and this is because women are effective managers of resources; they pay back these loans when they are given.”

Speaking on the misconceptions about the borrowing arrangements of the Buhari administration, the Vice President said, the country, under President Buhari, was not in a terribly bad debt situation as insinuated in some quarters.

According to him, very frequently you find people creating fear about the issue of debt and saying that this government has borrowed more than previous governments.

“I want to give you the facts and figures on the debt issue. The dollar denominated debts of Nigeria – that is the debts of the Federal Government, the States and Local governments.

“In 2010, Nigeria’s debt was $35 billion; 2011, it was $41billion; in 2012, it was $48 billion, in 2013, it became $64 billion; 2014, it rose to $67 billion; 2015, it fell to $63 billion; 2016, $57 billion; 2017, $70 billion; 2018, it is $73 billion. So, the difference between 2015 and now is $10 billion.

“One of the things that I always want you to bear in mind is that when oil prices are at their highest, between 2010 and 2014 that was when we had the sharpest rise in debts.”

Continuing on the debt issue, Prof. Osinbajo said “the other thing that I want us to bear in mind is what is called debt to GDP. Our debt to GDP is one of the lowest among the countries that are frequently compared to us. Our debt to GDP is 20%. When you compare it to other countries, you will see that Ghana is about 68% whereas Ethiopia’s is 48%. In terms of the size of our economy and debt, we are doing okay”

He, however, agreed that “Nigeria may have an issue with debt to revenue”, noting that “we are not collecting enough revenue compared to what we want to spend.”

“Are we collecting enough taxes? If you look at the FIRS figures, it says 914 Nigerians pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. Of the 914, 912 live in Lagos and the other 2 live in Ogun state, no other Nigerian outside of Lagos and Ogun pay the self-assessed tax of more than N10 million. So, we are simply not collecting enough revenue,” he added.

The Vice President said the Federal Government in collaboration with the States was working on harmonizing tax collections in order to address issues relating to multiple collection of taxes.

He said: “this is a problem that we are dealing with all across Nigeria. It is one of the issues we are dealing with under the ease of doing business. We are addressing the sub-national. How we can harmonize taxes. The second phase of our ease of doing business is focused on the collection of multiple taxes; there is no reason why that should continue.”

On the ASUU strike, the Vice President said that government is engaging the leadership of the union, noting that “the next meeting is on Thursday, November 15, 2018”.

He, however, explained that “we are dealing with a population of about 200 million people who depend on a budget of about N8.6 trillion and of that amount, 70% of it goes to salaries and overheads, and it goes to less than 2 million people. It is impossible to answer to all of the monetary needs of people by the size of the federal budget”.

On healthcare financing, Prof. Osinbajo said the Buhari administration has done much even as it has earned 60% less than the previous administrations.

According to him, “the first thing to bear in mind is that health care financing has suffered over the years even when we were earning the most money, we were underfunding healthcare.

“In 2015 when we came in, the healthcare budget was N22.7 billion and as of today we moved that to N86.5 billion and we are earning 60% less. Education was N23 billion in 2015, now it is N102 billion. The issue really is one of government commitment. For the first time, in the 2018 budget, we are setting aside 1% of our consolidated revenue to the health sector.”

Earlier, the Ministers of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; Industry, Trade and investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah; Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi; and Agriculture, Dr. Audu Ogbe, responded separately to issues relating to their various ministries.

The town hall meeting was organized by Act Now, a non-political group that works in promoting transparency and good governance as well as youth participation in governance.

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Excitement As Osinbajo Takes Trader Moni To Ikotun, Igando, Ile Epo Markets

Three markets in Lagos State, Ikotun, Igando and Ile Epo, were on Monday thrown into frenzy as Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, activated the TraderMoni scheme in the markets.

TraderMoni is a Federal Government’s initiative aimed at providing two million petty traders across the country with collateral-free loans before the end of the year.

Excited crowd thronged and cheered as Osinbajo walked into the markets.

Shouts of TraderMoni, TraderMoni, ‘baba’ ‘baba,’ Osinbajo Osinbajo, rented the air, while security operatives had a field day controlling the crowd.

The vice president, who acknowledged the cheers, inspected the markets and had one-on-one interactions with the traders.

Also in the team was Daddy Showkey, a “galala singer’”, whose presence  added fervour to the visits as his fans hailed and surged to exchange banters with him.

TraderMoni is designed to help petty traders expand their trade through the provision of collateral-free loans of N10, 000.

The loans are repayable over a period of six months

Under the scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15, 000 to N50, 000 when they repaid N10, 000 within the stipulated time period.

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Attack On Tradermoni Is An Attack On Hard-working Nigerians, Says Laolu Akande

The call by some individuals under the auspices of a group named Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum to suspend the TraderMoni, one of the microcredit schemes of the Buhari administration’s Social Investment Programme, is both unbelievable and unfortunate, according to Mr. Laolu Akande, Spokesperson to the Vice President.

Akande, who was reacting to news report credited to the group, noted that such an attack on the Social Investment Programme (SIP) is a direct confrontation with the millions of Nigerians benefitting from all the SIPs, especially the projected 2m total who will be receiving the collateral-free loans by the end of the year.

“It is deceitful for anyone or group to accuse the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, of advance vote-buying through TraderMoni, a micro-credit scheme designed to assist the bottom of the pyramid petty traders nationwide. This was the false claim contained in a communiqué jointly signed by the leadership of a group called Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum recently.”

According to Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, “We do not think the Nigerian people are up for sale, nor can they be bought. Such suggestions are an insult on our collective identity. And calling for the suspension of a scheme that improves the businesses of ordinary, hardworking Nigerians, like petty traders, is not only unfair, but an attack on the common man.

“The Social Investment programme of the Buhari administration started in 2016, and the TraderMoni scheme is a part. So, it is false to even insinuate that the scheme was meant for advance vote-buying when it was conceived two years ago.

“TraderMoni, which is part of the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) under the SIPs, is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral- and interest-free loans from N10,000. The loans are repayable over a period of six months.

“Also, it would seem naysayers cannot withstand the fact that this administration is fulfilling its promise. Would they rather share the funds among themselves instead of supporting petty traders? Afterall, in some few instances, a combined sum of N100 Billion was shared under the former administration. If that N100 Billion had been given to petty traders as loans, like the Buhari administration is doing now at N10,000; 10 million petty traders nationwide would have been beneficiaries.

“We will not choose to engage with the notion that Nigerians and their loyalty are for sale. This administration has proven over and over again that it is committed to the welfare of everyday Nigerians, the common man. That is why we started the largest Social Investment Programme in the history of our country. And we will not relent in staying connected with our people.

“This is a major reason why TraderMoni, which has since been formally launched in 33 states and the FCT, will continue nationwide as we intend to reach 2 million Nigerians by the end of the year. Over 809,000 Nigerians are currently beneficiaries of the microcredit scheme.

“Despite this being a season of upcoming elections and desperate politicians resorting to desperate measures, it is irresponsible for any group to play politics with the welfare of ordinary Nigerians – hardworking petty traders, who are simply making honest living and trying to support their families – and a microcredit scheme which is meant to help improve their businesses and means of livelihood.

“Besides the fact that petty traders are major contributors to the informal economy, most of them do not have access to loans from commercial banks which require collateral or interest, which would help them grow their business, and so the country’s economy.”

“Again, through TraderMoni, the Buhari administration is empowering ordinary Nigerians by improving financial inclusion in the grassroots.”

Akande clarified further that beneficiaries of TraderMoni are not required to show their Personal Voters Cards (PVCs) or any document to qualify for the interest-free loans. This is why the enumeration is done in the open markets and wherever the traders ply their trade.

“The Social Investment Programme includes the Home Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP); Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT); Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP) (MarketMoni, FarmerMoni & TraderMoni) and the N-Power job scheme

“The Home-Grown School Feeding programme is now feeding over 9 million primary school pupils a free meal a day in 26 states nationwide; while almost 300,000 Nigerians are beneficiaries of the Conditional Cash Transfer.

“So far, over one million Nigerians are beneficiaries of GEEP schemes – MarketMoni, FarmerMoni and TraderMoni, while 500,000 young Nigerian graduates have been employed under the N-Power job scheme.

“Thus, we urge the group to halt its needless attack on the largest and most ambitious social investment programme in Nigeria’s history, and rather join hands to help our people.

“The Buhari administration remains committed to the welfare and upliftment of the common man and all Nigerians, regardless of party affiliations, and the Social Investment Programme is one of the major planks of this administration to improve their livelihood.”

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GEPIn Says Osinbajo Was Never Indicted By Reps Report

A policy group has dismissed reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was indicted by the House of Representatives over the crisis rocking the National Emergency Management Agency NEMA).

Global Economic Policy Initiative (GEPIn) president, Bernard Okri, noted that since the sack of six NEMA directors in April it had been monitoring the House of Representatives and its brazen support for the corrupt directors.

“We have watching keenly the probe of the suspended NEMA directors by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the vested interests blackmailing and intimidating the current NEMA leadership, as reflected in the questionable intervention of the House of Representatives ad hoc committee.

“This is corruption fighting back but what is even more frightening is the fact that the Vice President has been dragged into this because he sits atop the NEMA board.

“It would be recalled that in April, this same House of Reps committee had invited the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita and acting EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu over the legality of the suspension of these directors.

“Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of the CSF had said that the Vice President and NEMA board members acted in line with Public Service Rules on the suspension of the Directors and staff of the agency.

“Similarly, the EFCC had in a report to the Presidency recommended the disciplinary measure to enable it to conduct unhindered investigation and have access to vital records.

“Since the suspension of these directors, the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness chaired by Ali Isa (PDP Gombe) has been looking for ways to remove the NEMA DG, Mustapha Maihaja, so they dragged the VP’s name into it.

Okri said the group condemns and frowns at the plots by “corrupt politicians” to drag the Vice President who chairs the NEMA Board into the obvious and unnecessary politicization of the EFCC probe.

“But to claim that the VP illegally approved the release of N5.8 billion in June 2017 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account to NEMA is a complete mischief.

“Only the President has the powers to approve monies, not the Vice President as alleged by the House of Reps in its report.

“Secondly, it is important to know that the monies allocated for NEMA in always imputed in the budget. The Federal Government does not release money indiscriminately.

“For me, this is the clearest case of corruption fighting back. The House of Reps should not drag the Vice President into its mess.

Okri noted that it was all stage managed particularly because of the way Premium Times reported the matter. “It’s ludicrous to publish an unconfirmed report with BREAKING. This is a case that has been ongoing since April.

“Where the reporters at Premium Times sleeping when this matter began? They are part of the corruption fighting back but we will not allow it. We will stand on the side of the truth.

GEPIn stressed that Nigerians connect with VP Osinbajo because he has built his career on integrity.

“We know Prof. Osinbajo as a man of integrity and leader with strong positive character and integrity. No one would be allowed to baselessly tamper with the good reputation he has painstakingly erected over the years.

Okri said the sacked directors, Akinbola Hakeem Gbolahan, Director of Finance and Accounts; Mr. Umesi Emenike, Ag. Director, Special Duties; Mallam Alhassan Nuhu, Director, Risk Reduction; Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim, Pilot in-charge Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit; Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji, the Chief Maintenance Officer and Mr. Kanar Mohammed, the Director of Welfare should face the probe by EFCC.

“The directors are innocent until proven guilty but increasingly they are proving that they are guilty by lobbying politicians and the media to report fake news, they should know that the Buhari administration will not tolerate any kind of corruption.

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Woos Canadian Investors To Nigeria

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged Canadian investors to take advantage of opportunities that exist in different sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Osinbajo spoke on Monday at the opening of the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit 2018 in Abuja.

He said that Canadian investors were familiar with opportunities in the power generation, renewable energy, development of gas to power, mining of solid minerals, agriculture and food processing, manufacturing and real estate sectors.

Osinbajo said that Nigeria and Canada had a long history of friendly relations as Commonwealth countries, as federations, as well as a shared commitment to promoting global peace.

According to the vice president, the summit, which has as its theme “Fostering Strong Business Partnership into the Future” further confirms the mutual desire for deeper engagement not just between both governments but also business communities in both countries.

He said Nigeria was Canada’s largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that there were opportunities and scope for increased trade and investment ties between the two countries.

“Our medium-term economic plan, documented in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) identified some of the sectors that many Canadian investors are already very familiar with as priority sectors.

“Power generation, renewable energy, development of gas to power, mining of solid minerals, agriculture and food processing, manufacturing and real estate.

“However, opportunities also abound in social infrastructure (education and healthcare) as well as physical infrastructure (air, land and sea transport).

“While we formulate the policies in government, we expect the private sector to make the necessary investments and encourage Nigerians and foreign investors to work with us towards the realisation of these opportunities.’’

Osinbajo said that to accelerate the mobilisation of private capital towards the achievement of the ERGP, the Federal Government conducted ‘Focus Labs’ over a period of 17 weeks in the first half of 2018.

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Takes TraderMoni scheme to Lagos

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, formally launched the TraderMoni Scheme in other markets in Lagos, South West Nigeria.

The event was in continuation of the Buhari administration’s TraderMoni scheme, which has so far given N10,000 collateral and interest-free loans to over 800,000 petty traders nationwide.

A statement from of the Office of the Vice President said the Prof Osinbajo launched the scheme in Ketu, Bariga and Oshodi markets in Lagos.

“While there are so far over 809,000 beneficiaries of TraderMoni, over 1.1 million Nigerians – market women, traders, artisans, farmers – are currently beneficiaries of GEEP, which comprises FarmerMoni, MarketMoni and TraderMoni.

“FarmerMoni loans start at N300,000, and are for farmers in farming clusters, via farm aggregators, while MarketMoni is a 6-month interest-free credit of between N50,000 and N300,000 for small businesses – medium-scale traders, market women, artisans, and youth in market associations – under the auspices of their cooperative societies,” it said.

Under the TraderMoni scheme, beneficiaries can get access to a higher facility ranging from N15,000 to N100,000 when they repay N10,000 within the stipulated time period.

The micro-credit scheme under the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), was first formally launched on August 7 in five markets in Lagos State – Mushin, Ikotun, Agege, Ketu, and Abule Egba areas.

TraderMoni, which is part of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme (N-SIP), is designed to assist petty traders across the country expand their trade through the provision of collateral and interest-free loans from N10,000.

The loans are repayable over a period of six months.

“The scheme, which has since been formally launched in 33 states and the FCT, is expected to reach 2 million petty traders by the end of the year.

“Also, through TraderMoni scheme, the Buhari Administration aims to take financial inclusion down to the grassroots, and uplift Nigerians at the bottom of the pyramid, considering the contribution of petty traders to economic development.

“The Federal Government is also aware of the fact that many of the petty traders don’t have what the commercial banks require to grant them loans,” the release stated.

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PDP Rejects Osinbajo’s Comment On Debt Profile

The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has countered Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s claims on legacy debts inherited by the Buhari administration.

Vice President Osinbajo had last Saturday at the ninth Public Lecture of Sigma Club at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, said the Buhari-led administration inherited $63 billion debt and had only borrowed $10 billion since it took office in 2015.

He had said, “In 2010, our debt was $35 billion, $41 billion in 2011, $48 billion in 2012, $64 billion in 2013, $67.7 billion in 2014, $63.8 billion in 2015, $57.8billion in 2016, $70 billion in 2017 and $73 billion in 2018.

“The nation’s debt as at today is $73 billion, an increment of $10 billion from the $63 billion inherited in 2015.”

He said the nation’s oil earnings was $119.8 billion between 1990 and 1998, $481 billion from 1999 to 2009 and $381 billion from 2010 to 2014, while the present administration had only earned $112 billion from June 2015.

“The earnings from oil from 2010 to 2014 were the highest recorded in the history of the country. This is a period when the price of oil per barrel sold from $100 to $114”, he had said.

But the National Publicity Secretary of the Party, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, while addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, said in a desperate attempt to divert attention from the failures of the Buhari administration, Osinbajo falsified financial templates to argue that this government had no blame in the accumulation of debts under its watch.

He stated, “The PDP also wishes to bring to the attention of Nigerians to the deliberate distortion of facts by Vice President Osinbajo regarding the nation’s debt profile, which escalated to a frightening proportion under the Buhari administration.

“It is an incontrovertible fact that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts than any other administration in the history of our nation.

“Our dear vice president forgot Nigerians are aware that between 2016 and 2017, under President Buhari, our annual borrowing was about N3.7 trillion as against the N1.04 trillion annual borrowing perimeter between 2008 and 2015. Between 1999 and 2007 the annual borrowing perimeter was as low as N96 billion naira.

“To deceive the public and divert attention to the alarming borrowing spree of the Buhari administration, the APC-led federal government converted domestic debt borrowed in naira under its watch, to the US dollar so that the very high exchange rate will make the domestic debt look smaller in dollars.

“This is a deceptive picture because domestic debt was accumulated in naira and not in dollar.”

Ologbondiyan pointed out that the domestic debts of states were not part of the database until 2013, and therefore, a sincere comparison of debts over the years should have focused on total external debt and federal government’s domestic debt.

According to him, “In view of the above, if Vice President Osinbajo, a professor of law, was not being economical with the truth, the appropriate comparison should be to have the domestic debt in naira and convert the external debt to naira to get national debt for each of the years, which show that the Buhari administration has accumulated more debts than any other administration.”

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National Livestock Transformation Plan: NEC Sub-Committee Engages With Local Communities

In furtherance of the realization of the objectives of National Livestock Transformation Plan established by the National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, the technical sub-committee established by NEC is continuing its engagements with local communities in affected States in the northern part of the country.
 
The engagements which commences from 29th October till end of current crop harvest period, is taking place in seven frontline states in the North Central and North East regions of the country as part of the implementation strategy to institute lasting peace in affected areas.
 
Aimed at consolidating on previous interactions with local communities, the engagement will eventually lead to the development of local conflict prevention, resolution and mitigation frameworks.
 
Speaking on the importance of the meetings with stakeholders, the Senior Technical Adviser on Agriculture Policy in the Presidency, Dr. Andrew Kwasari stated: “we anticipate that working with the communities in this consultative way will address the perennial conflicts between agrarian and pastoral communities by mutual consent to seek peaceful resolution of issues”.
 
Continuing, he said, “our goal is to ensure that communities are well-prepared with conflict prevention and resolution tools in addition to supporting the way of life of all their members in the regions particularly in the forthcoming dry season when competition for resources of land, water and pasture intensifies within the communities”.
 
According to him, initial engagements and fact-finding missions by the sub-committee which took place between February and March 2018, resulted in the consolidation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
 
The government team in the sub-committee include representatives from the Presidency, Ministries of Agriculture, Interior; Office of National Security Adviser; National Orientation Agency; National Commission for Nomadic Education; National Emergency Management Authority; Nigeria Police; National Security Civil Defence Corps; Federal Commission for Refugees and Displaced Persons.
 
Other members are Civil Society Organisations in partnership with the Governors of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba and Zamfara States.
 
As you will recall, the National Livestock Transformation Plan proposed by the Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh include six pillars, namely Economic and Investment; Conflict Prevention and Resolution; Justice and Security; Humanitarian Relief; Information, Education and Strategic Communication and; Research and Innovation.
 
The Plan is conceived to forge concerted collaboration of the Federal Government and State Governments with a view to align public and private sector investment, which has potential to end the historic violent conflicts between crop and livestock farmers as well as unleash enormous economic, socio-cultural and human capital development for the regions and the entire country.
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FG, Govs To Meet On Minimum Wage Today

The Economic Management Team, and state governors will be meeting today, Monday, to harmonize the new minimum wage, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige told state house correspondents on Friday after consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo at the Aso Rock Villa.

Dr Ngige expressed optimism that the meeting would come up useful outcomes before the submission of the report of the Tripartite committee on the new wage.

He said there was no cause for worry by the Labour Congress over the draft white paper on industrial harmony approved by government.

Labour unions had proposed on N30,000, the private sector, the federal government and state governments proposed N25,000, N24,000 and N20,000 respectively.

The minimum wage currently stands at N18, 000

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National School Feeding Programme To Become Africa’s Largest By End Of 2018, Says Osinbajo

By the end of 2018, with the number of new States in the country joining the National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, it is set to become the largest school-feeding programme in Africa, says Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

He stated this in Tunisia, where he delivered a keynote address at the closing ceremony of the 20th Annual Global Child Nutrition Forum held at Four Seasons hotel in Tunis, stating that the programme “has been by all accounts, a remarkable success.”

Speaking on the philosophy underlying the Programme, Prof Osinbajo told the 353 delegates from 9 countries, which include experts in the nutrition industry, United Nations officials from World Food Programme, Global Child Nutrition Fund, the World Bank and stakeholders that “Nigeria took the decision to embark on a school feeding programme as an important part of our human capital development agenda, by tackling the broader issues of eradication of poverty, food and nutrition security, and increasing school enrollment.”

He added, “it is becoming clearer that the 21st Century will be defined by knowledge and skills. The nations that are best able to present the most knowledgeable and most skilful citizens will prevail in commerce, in science and technology and of course, will enjoy the greatest prosperity and the longevity to enjoy the prosperity. Nations that do not invest enough to produce the required level of talent and skills will be left behind. A farther distance than ever before in the history of mankind.”

Emphasizing on the importance of the school-feeding programme, he posited that “For developing countries such as ours and of course many African countries, by far the greatest challenge for us in the next three decades is that of effective investment in the health and education of our population. Nutrition is key to both, to enable children usefully participate, learn and develop mentally and physically to be able to compete in an increasingly competitive global environment.”

“By 2035, Africa will have 1.2billion people. Over 50% of that number will be young persons under the age of 25. Today, 60 per cent of the unemployed in Africa are young people”, he observed.

Expatiating on the scope and cost of the Programme, Prof. Osinbajo said “at a cost of $0.19 per child per day, we are able to provide a balanced meal for every one of the children. 9,300,892 million pupils in 49,837 public primary schools in 26 states across Nigeria benefit daily.”

According to him, “at current numbers, the programme costs $1,767,169.48 per day and over $183million has been invested so far in the programme. The programme employs 95,422 cooks, and over 100,000 smallholder farmers linked to the programme, supplying locally sourced ingredients. This translates to 594 cattle, 138,000 chickens, 6.8 million eggs, 83 metric tons of fish that are procured, prepared, and distributed each week. As you can imagine, the quantity of starch and vegetables required for this program on a weekly basis is equally impressive”.

The Vice President highlighted the physical and health benefits to children currently being impacted, he stated that “energy and nutrients with established links to cognition- carbohydrates, protein, fat, iron and iodine as well as minerals with public health importance, are targeted by the NHGSF”, adding that “the program aims to provide 50% of the recommended nutrient intake targets for protein and prioritized micronutrients (iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A, folate and vitamin C and 30% of energy because of the high burden of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in Nigeria.”

Other benefits achieved under the programme include a ready market and a sustainable income for our farmers, as well as improved livelihoods for cooks with access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs. “Financial inclusion is a key enabler to reducing poverty and boosting prosperity”.

“Moreover, with the capturing of their biometrics and the opening of bank accounts as a prerequisite to their participation in the programme, we are ramping up on our country’s needs for identification, planning and social inclusion efficiencies in Nigeria.”

He told the audience that the success of the programme in a short time is due to factors such as unequivocal political will, transparency and accountability, good value for all participants in the value chain, multi-sectoral coordination and strategic partnership with international donors such as Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation and Partnership For Child Development, Imperial College.

Prof Osinbajo earlier commended the Global Child Nutrition Forum and World Food Programme, for providing such an excellent opportunity for the global school feeding community to come together to share ideas, learn from and inspire each other.

Present at the occasion were Hatem Ben Salem, Minister of Education, Republic of Tunisia; Arlene Mitchell, Executive Director, Global Child Nutrition Fund; Don Burdy, Specialist at World Food Programme/World Bank; Daniel Balaban, Director of Centre of Excellence Against Hunger in Brazil and other regional representatives of WEF and GCNF, international donors as well as other participants.

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Vice President Osinbajo To Share Nigeria’s School Feeding Success In Tunis

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been asked to deliver a keynote message at the ongoing Global Child Nutrition Forum in Tunis, capital of Tunisia on Thursday.

Prof Osinbajo will speak on the successes of National Homegrown School Feeding Programme, NHGSFP, which was introduced by the Buhari administration.

Nigeria was specifically invited to share its experience because it has the biggest public education school feeding programme in Africa.

The School Feeding Programme presently feeds 9.2 million primary pupils across 26 States in Nigeria, the largest school feeding programme in Africa.

The NHGSFP is one of the schemes under the National Social Investment Programmes designed to reduce poverty and out-of-school children in Nigeria.

The NHGSF programme is part of a 500 billion naira funded Social Investment Programme announced by the Buhari administration to tackle poverty and improve the health and education of children and other vulnerable groups.

The Federal Government of Nigeria sees NHGSFP as a priority in its Economic Recovery Growth Plan and its commitment to invest in human capital.

According to statistics, 60 per cent of drop outs were in Primary 1 – 3 so it was important for the FG to streamline focus on first feeding pupils in primary school.

VP Osinbajo will be accompanied by senior officials of the government.

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