FG Registers 100,000 SMEs In Three Months

The federal government, Friday, said about one hundred thousand MSMEs were registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) between October to date.

Acting Registrar-General of the Commission, Lady Azuka Azinge made this known during a media roundtable in Abuja.

Ms Azinge said the presidential directive to reduce the cost in registration of businesses for three months was responsible for the achievement.

Lady Azinge said the aim for the reduction was to revamp the country’s economy through support to the micro, small and medium enterprises whose activities contribute to the development of the economy.

It would be recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbai, SAN, in September directed the reduction of registration of MSMEs businesses from 10,000 to 5000 under the presidential enabling business environment council.

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TraderMoni: Vice President Osinbajo Visits Warri Market To Assess Disbursement Of Loan

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, on Friday visited the Warri Main Market and Ogbe Ogonogo Market, Asaba in Delta State to assess the disbursement of the TraderMoni scheme.

TraderMoni is an Empowerment Scheme of the Federal Government created specifically for petty traders and artisans across the country.

Under the scheme, two million petty traders across the country would get N10,000 collateral-free loans this year.

Osinbajo, shortly after touching down at the Warri Airport, proceeded to the Palace of Olu Of Warri Ogiame Ikenwoli for a courtesy visit.

Osinbajo was given massive welcome at the palace where he addressed an enthusiastic crowd.

He explained that TraderMoni, a brainchild of President Muhammadu Buhari, was meant to empower no fewer than 2 million petty traders in 2018.

“Today, I am here to flag off the TraderMoni scheme –one of those schemes initiated by President Buhari.

“We have looked at the whole commercial landscape of Nigeria; the largest number of people engaged in commerce are petty traders.

“They are small traders; some of them table top traders; some of them selling on trays and the whole is usually not more than N2000 to N5000.

“The president then decided, following an experience which he had with the Katsina Foundation which he was the chairman, that it is important to give these petty traders some kind of a loan—N10,000.

“When they pay back, we give them N15,000, when they pay back, we give them 20,000 and we keep increasing all the way to N100,000 so long as they come back.

“It is meant to empower the petty traders,’’ he said.

The vice president said that there was nothing political about the scheme as was being insinuated.

He said it was unfortunate that because the scheme had gained popularity, some people were attacking it.

At the Warri Main Market, Osinbajo was given a rousing welcome by a waiting crowd which cheered and hailed as the vice president acknowledged cheers.

He went round the market lines and stalls to have a one on one exchange with the traders.

Afterwards, the vice president proceeded to palace of Ovie of Ughelli Wilson Oharisi 111 on a courtesy call.

At the Ogbe Ogonogo Market, Asaba, Osinbajo was also received by broom wielding crowd.

He went round the market and had one on one interactions with the traders who told the vice president their successes with the TraderMoni.


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Prof Osinbajo Praises President Buhari At 76

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has heaped praises on his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari as he turned 76 on Monday.

Osinbajo who is in Vienna, Austria to participate in the Africa-Europe High Level Forum with other African and European Heads of States or Government, described Buhari as a man who genuinely loves Nigeria.

Osinbajo alongside Buhari are seeking a second term in office in the forthcoming general elections billed for February 2019.

Sending his greetings, Osinbajo took to Twitter and wrote, “To a man, who has been exemplary in life and his commitment to Nigeria,” he tweeted along with a painted sketch of Buhari.

He added that, “To a man who has a great sense of humour,” he said of Buhari who had three failed attempts to be President.

“To a man who genuinely loves the Nigerian people and to a man I am privileged to call Boss, Happy 76th Birthday!” Osinbajo wrote.

President Buhari was born in Daura on 17 December 1942, and after his early education in both Daura and Katsina, he joined the army in 1961.

After initial training at the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) now known as Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), Buhari went for cadet training at from 1962 to 1963 at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England.

He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant at the age of 20, and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta.

From then on, his military career blossomed. At the head of several commands, before, during and after the civil war, Buhari in 1973 attended the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India.

After the 1975 coup that brought Murtala Muhammed to power, Buhari was appointed governor of the North Eastern state, where he is now leading, as civilian president and commander-in-chief, a charge of Nigerian troops against Boko Haram insurgency, since 2015.

In 2003, Buhari had his first shot at the presidency. He did not win. He tried again in 2007 and 2011 and again failed to win.

On his fourth attempt in 2015 alongside Prof Osinbajo, he made the record as the first challenger to defeat an incumbent in the presidential election in Nigeria.

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Vice President Osinbajo To Participate In Meeting Of Africa, Europe Heads Of Government In Vienna

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, would be participating in the Africa-Europe High Level Forum with other African and European Heads of States or Government holding in Vienna, Austria on Monday, December 17, and Tuesday, December 18.

At the High-Level Forum, hosted by the Austrian government on behalf of the European Union and the African Union, Prof. Osinbajo would be speaking on the forum’s theme ‘Taking cooperation to the digital age’.

The High-Level Forum will promote innovation and digitalisation according to the organizers in the EU and AU, “as important enablers of our future development, so that everyone can benefit from the ongoing digital transformation.”

The forum aims at assessing “how current partnerships between Africa and Europe contribute to this goal, complementing the ongoing implementation of the joint declaration of the 2017 Abidjan Summit between the African Union and the European Union, which, among other things, highlighted the importance of unlocking the potential of the digital economy for Africa and Europe. It also aims at contributing to the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.”

During his trip to Vienna, Prof. Osinbajo would hold a townhall meeting with the Nigerian community in Austria; and also attend several bilateral meetings with European government leaders, including the Prime Minister of Czech Republic, Andrej Babis; Prime Minister of Finland, H.E. Juha Petri Sipilä; the Federal Chancellor of Austria, His Excellency, Sebastian Kurz; and the UK Minister for Africa, Harriet Baldwin.

Prof. Osinbajo would also meet with top officials of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Vice President leaves Abuja late Sunday night and is expected back on Tuesday.

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Nigerian Tech Hub: What Vice President Osinbajo Has Done In Three Years – Aide

Special Assistant to Nigeria’s Vice President on Innovation and Entrepreneur, Mr. Ife Adebayo, Saturday, stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has worked with private sector to set up four technology incubation hubs, and engaged with over 10 other hubs in the country.

In a response to a tweet from one @JajaPhD questioning Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s statement that the current administration has built six tech hubs, the Presidential aide noted that the ex-President Goodluck Jonathan administration set up one hub in four years, which was eventually shut down due to lack of support from the same administration.

According to him, the failure of the past administration in establishing just one hub was a “good learning point for the present government” which in three years, has recorded huge achievement in the technology sector.

Mr. Bosun Tijani of CcHub, and an expert in the tech space, added that two hubs were fully seed (Lagos and Tinapa) by the past administration but failed due to the inability of the then government to allow private players to run it.

“It was never clear whether the folks in Abuja quite understood the concept of the obligation. By and large, any decent accelerator takes approximately 3 classes to crack the code. Pretty clear IDEAHub never got its total agreed upon cash support.

“It was a bad idea expecting government money to run it in the first place. The set up cost for hubs are typically the biggest pain. It should have been seeded and handed out. The DNA of idea hub was wrong from start. It didn’t take six months for diesel to start running out,” Tijani narrated.

In a series of tweets, Mr. Adebayo explained that the National Social Investments Program working with Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), engaged with private sector players to seeing to the implementation of government footprint and direct and indirect interventions in the tech ecosystem.

His tweets: “In the North East, in partnership with development partners, private sector & universities, we setup @Northeast_iHub, focused on providing innovative solutions to humanitarian challenges in the region. Today the hub is 3D printing prosthesis for amputees among other amazing things.

“In the North Central & South East, we worked with @vplatformhub and @genesystechhub to run programs (Hackathons, Bootcamps, Incubation, Business support, startup finance etc). The businesses generated millions in revenue and millions in convertible business leads.

“The Startup companies supported have employed an average of 4 people within the one-month incubation program. The citizens are more aware and inspired to launch startups and the program had a total combined reach of over 10,000 persons in just 2 months.

“In the North West, a hub is in line to receive a $500k World Bank grant, and engaging with other hubs in the region to run a similar program as the North Central and South East. Hubs in other regions are also in line to receive the funds.

“In the South West, working with private sector players  and the Ondo State government, in particular the office of @OlumbeAKinkugbe, we setup @premierhubng;  focused on supporting start -ups in agriculture, manufacturing, ICT etc. The hub is currently running programs supporting regional start ups.

“In the South South, working with the private sector and the Edo State Government’s @EdoInnovates program, we set up the @SSInnovationHub focused on education, tourism, oil and gas, security.

“In Lagos, in partnership with the @EDC4SME of the Lagos Business School, we set up the @nigeriacic as part of the World Bank’s Climate Technology Program. The center is focused on supporting climate smart businesses, research on climate change & its impact, data & analytics etc.”

The Presidential aide further revealed that conversations are currently ongoing with partners to set up an MIT Supply Chain Lab in Abuja, to focus on supporting supply chain & logistics programs, start ups and MSMEs, research and data on supply chain issues in Nigeria.

“Working with Google, the Office of the Senior Special Assiatant on Sustainable Development Goals, and partners like @MindThe_GapNG, have successfully trained over 500,000 Nigerians in digital skills in 2016/17.

“Other hubs like @CivicLab have run various programs that have received government’s support, Civic is currently running the Student Innovation Center programs across the country. And this has already been launched in the Ado Bayero University in Kano & University of Lagos. Enugu is next,” he added.

Adebayo further stressed that all hub engagements are private sector driven.

“Learning from the issues of the ONE hub setup by the last admin in FOUR years, we run programs that are private sector driven, and data/evidence drives every action. This is why we have partners like the World Bank, Google, development partners, institutions like universities and polytechnics etc working with our private sector partners. The hubs are able to leverage on Govt’s convening power to bring together these partners.

Everything done was based on evidence. First thing we did was with @dalbergtweet, & development partner funding, we developed the “Strategic Framework & Implementation Plan for Job Creation”. This was the foundation for everything we did. 

“One of the sectors prioritized was ICT. We then ran a regional innovation mapping, which produced the “Innovation as a Catalyst for Growth” report. This report formed the foundation for engagement with hubs and other ecosystem players in the country.

“Also, as part of the Aso Villa Demo day program, an initial 79 Start Ups received first tranche of start up finance of approximately $1.5million dollars, more than 50 of them have received a second tranche, bringing total start up funds support disbursement to about $2.5m.”


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No Country Can Survive With Grand Corruption, Vice President Osinbajo Says At Germany Diaspora Town Hall Meeting

The problem with Nigeria is not about resources or planning, but the poor management of resources in the past bothering on grand corruption, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

Speaking last night with a cross section of Nigerians living in Germany, Prof. Osinbajo, while responding to questions during a town-hall meeting, said those who have made away with the nation’s resources should be made to account for it, and that going forward such corruption does not happen again.

According to him “the greatest problem Nigeria has is one of grand corruption; that is the biggest problem we have, not the problem of planning or plans; and grand corruption is the reason why we are not moving as fast as we should in our country.”

He added, “that there is no country in the world that can survive if its resources are stolen the way Nigeria’s resources are stolen.”

The Vice President noted that most of the issues raised by the Nigerians in Diaspora at the meeting around lack of energy, infrastructure, quality and extensive health care services, education and security can be traced back to the management of resources, while calling on Nigerian citizens to hold leaders accountable for the nation’s wealth.

The Vice President spoke and took over 30 questions at the town hall meeting in Berlin, described by many of the attendees as the first of its kind since 1999, when civil rule was restored in Nigeria.

Prof. Osinbajo stated that one of the key issues the Buhari administration is dealing with in partnership with European leaders now is the repatriation of the country’s stolen assets stashed abroad, adding that the Federal Government was equally having conversations with European countries on the subject of migration of Nigerians to Europe.

He told the gathering that government was concerned about whole migration issue and has started negotiating with European countries. He added that European countries can partner with Nigeria by investing in the country thereby discouraging the kind of migration of young people that is now prevalent. He was optimistic the challenge can be effectively addressed through Nigeria’s collaboration with its European partners.

Explaining Federal Government’s efforts at addressing unemployment challenges, the Vice President observed that a young population of about 60 per cent creates a yearly addition of about 1.4 million graduates to the unemployment market.

He, however, revealed that the Buhari administration is addressing the matter from several fronts such as the Federal Government employment of 500,000 graduates under the N-Power scheme, as well as through other social investment programmes like MarketMoni and TraderMoni.

Still on government efforts, he noted that, “one of the areas we are hoping to get employment is through agriculture. What we have done with agriculture is we have given 760,000 farmers direct loans under the Anchor Borrowers scheme”; generating more interests among farmers especially in the North, which is where a lot of farming is going on.

Responding to the issue about the wild insinuation that made the rounds to the effect that the President died last year, Vice President Osinbajo told the audience, which included cross sections of Nigerians in Germany, Ambassadors of Nigeria to Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, that it was ridiculous for anyone to suggest that the President was dead. He said it did not make sense to say the President died abroad and that no one knew.

Continuing, he said, “is it possible that anyone will die here in Germany and no one will know he died and somehow he will be flown out quietly out of a country like England? I think it is just so absurd. I think it is not something we should take half seriously. I think we should be properly informed,” he submitted.

On health care delivery services to majority of Nigerians, Prof Osinbajo agreed on the need to extend good health care to all Nigerians, but he pointed out this can only be achieved through compulsory health insurance policy.

Underscoring the urgent need to develop a functional educational system, the Vice President announced that the Buhari administration was developing a robust education policy, saying “education is the basis of all we’re doing.”

In the next number of years by 2050, “we are going to be third most populous country in the entire world. So if we don’t get education right we are in deep trouble, it means if we don’t get our education policy right, we are going to have millions of young people out there doing nothing; nothing can be more dangerous than that.

“But if you look at our education policy and what we are trying to do a lot of it is technology based. We are working on our curriculum with some technology institutions and companies like MIT, Oracle, Cisco, and quite a few, just to develop the curriculum. The educational policy is what we call STEAM; we have added Arts to STEM and we are looking at how to deliver that policy in the cheapest and quickest possible way using technology.

“Part of our plans is to reconstruct 10,000 classrooms annually; it is not just to fix the structure, it also involves technology; to put technology into those classrooms to make sure we have the model right and we have so many countries that are interested in partnering with us”.

“Technology in my view is really the way to go; to expand our capacity to train teachers and to train them quickly and this is contained in our Next Level document”, he stressed.

On the ongoing strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Vice President said negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU was continuing and he expressed hope that an agreement can be reached with soon.

The Vice President is today headlining the Nigerian-German Business Dialogue in Berlin.

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Osinbajo To Launch Trader Moni In Akwa Ibom

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), is set to launch the N10,000 collateral-free Trader Moni scheme in Akwa Ibom.

Former governor of the State and Senator, Godswill Akpabio, disclosed this at the weekend while addressing supporters at his campaign kick off and inauguration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) office in Ukana, Essien Udim Local Government.

Akpabio noted that market women in the state would benefit from the scheme with cash grants by the Federal Government.

According to him, Akwa Ibom appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts in infrastructural development, and the appointments the APC administration had offered Akwa Ibom sons and daughters.

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20,000 Saraki Followers Dumped PDP For APC In Kwara

Not less than 20,000 political followers of Senate President Bukola Saraki, on Friday, dumped the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital.

The decampees were led by a former Commissioner for Youth and Sports development in the state, and ex-leader of the PDP in Kwara South senatorial district, Barr. Kayode Towoju.

The group made their decision known to the public and were received by the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo during a town hall meeting organised by the Kwara APC Youth Stakeholders led by Mohammed Brimah the SA to the President on IDPs (Social Investment)

The leader of the decampees expressed their gratitude to the President Muhamadu Buhari Administration for the unprecedented attention given to Social Investments and infrastructure by the Federal Government in Kwara and other neighboring States which has had direct impact in the economy of the State, they also expressed their readiness to mobilize other people to rescue the State from political slavery and return it to the fold of Progressives, come 2019.

While receiving the decampees, the Vice President Osinbajo urged Kwarans to support the President Buhari administration to do more for the people of Kwara, and desist from a system that gives so much to few individuals and nothing for the people. He said the time has come to unite all progressives in the State to ensure victory for the APC in the 2019 general election.

In an interview with Mr Brimah after the event, he mentioned that while the APC in the State may have faced a few challenges of recent, the resolve of the party members and stakeholders to put the collective goal of Kwara State’s liberation above personal interests is glaring and undoubtedly one of the main reasons attracting the PDP and Saraki followers who have been living in fear to decamp, as they can now see for the first time the seriousness and sincerity of purpose of the party to achieve this liberation in the State. He also thanked the several youth groups and general public who turned out enmass for their rousing welcome for His Excellency the Vice President to the State of Harmony.

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Vice President Osinbajo Urges Nigerians To Be Prayerful, Thankful

Vice President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has urged Nigerians to thank God for his goodness to Nigeria and also prayed for a more prosperous country.

Speaking with State House correspondents after the State House Chapel for the annual End of Year Thanksgiving Service in Abuja yesterday, Osinbajo said Nigerians had every reason to be extremely thankful to God.

“It has been a year where God has shown his faithfulness in some many ways; I think what God is also telling us that the coming months and the coming years will be even better.

“Our country is going forward; our country is getting better and better; our country will prosper; our country will be a place of abundance; all of us will enjoy the fruit of this land.

“So, my message is that we should continually thank God because God has helped us a great deal and he is set to help us even more,’’ he said.

The vice president had earlier during the service offered a special thanksgiving prayer to God for His mercy, grace and kindness to Nigeria.

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FG Committed To Ending HIV/AIDS In 2030 – Osinbajo

The federal government has said it is committed to ending the HIV/AIDs epidemic by 2030.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, stated this yesterday during the commemoration of this year’s World AIDS Day at the State House in Abuja.

Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, said in spite of the gains achieved so far, concerted effort would be required to achieve end to the pandemic within the targeted time frame.

The vice president said that it was in this regard that the country embarked on the National AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The survey was flagged-off by President Muhammadu Buhari in June this year.

Osinbajo further added that the federal government is also committed to increasing funding for HIV response and ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services. He added that for the first time government has included treatment of people living with HIV on its programme in Taraba and Abia states in the 2019 budget.

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Maritime Varsity’ll End Restiveness In Niger Delta – Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the establishment of Maritime University in Niger Delta will help end restiveness in the region.

Osinbajo stated this during a meeting, on Thursday, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, with representatives from three universities; a delegation from the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) led by the President, CMU, Prof. Fritz Pinnock; and his Nigerian counterparts – the Vice Chancellor, Maritime University, Prof. Maureen Etebu; and the Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.

According to him, “The Maritime University is an important part of our journey of developing the Niger Delta, as it would tackle restiveness among youths by providing them with education and training, and so benefit them. So, the Maritime University is a win-win for Niger Delta and Nigeria.”

He stated that the academic partnership between Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) in Jamaica, and two Nigerian universities – University of Lagos and the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State – would be mutually beneficial to each country’s human capital development. 

Osinbajo added that the partnership between the CMU and the two Nigerian universities (Maritime University and UNILAG) was coming at the right time to help develop the country’s human capital.

“Our relationship with Jamaica is a very important one for us and we must continue to explore the very many areas of collaboration to benefit us all. We are truly grateful for the hand of fellowship extended to us,” he said.

Also at the meeting was the Acting High Commissioner of Jamaica, John Clarke; and a former governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, who is the Pro-Chancellor/Chairman of the Governing Council of Maritime University.

The Maritime University, which commenced full academic activities in April, is part of the Buhari administration’s Niger Delta New Vision aimed at developing the region.

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Presidency Raises Alarm, Says Opposition Plotting To Tarnish Osinbajo’s Image

The Presidency on Thursday raised the alarm that the fund mismanagement allegation raised against Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is aimed at tarnishing his image and paralysing the President Muhammadu-led administration.

In a statement on Thursday by the Presidential Political Adviser, Senator Babafemi Ojodu, said there is nowhere in the House of Representative Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness report where there is an allegation of corruption against the Vice President.

He said claims against him from some quarters regarding the report were mere political contrivances intended to distract him.

“It is evident that the opposition is in search of a company for their acts of grand corruption which brought Nigeria to its knees as of May 2015. They cannot find that company in the Vice President.

“It is now evident through the NEMA report, that the opposition is indeed making frantic efforts to tarnish the image of the Vice President,” Ojodu said.

He explained further that even after the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee, Honourable Ali Isa had admitted that the Vice President was not mentioned in the report, the opposition still found it expedient to continue, to attack the reputation of Professor Osinbajo.

“Even the House Committee Chairman has said there was no allegation of corruption against him. The only allegation is that he approved funds for the emergency operations in the North East from the Consolidated Revenue Fund not budgeted funds. This conclusion we have proved to be false. The funds approved were from budgeted funds, specifically the Rice Levy.

“Let us remember that the approval granted by Prof. Osinbajo was in response to the threat of hunger and starvation based on information received from the United Nation World Food Programme in April, 2017.

“The organization had issued a warning that it would be reducing its vital support to about 1.8 million IDPs by as much as 85%, due to the corresponding reduction in funding by the donor countries. Around the same time, the United Nations Commission for Refugees in Geneva also warned of the growing risk of mass deaths from starvation among people living in the conflict areas.

“Besides, it is also important to note that the procurement process was not ignored in the release of funds, as alleged. Section 43 of the Public Procurement Act makes provision for emergency procurement, in which case the procuring entity is allowed to engage in direct contracting for goods and file a report thereafter with the Bureau of Public Procurement,” he explained.

Senator Ojudu, however, promised that the administration will not be distracted and will continue to cater for Nigerians.

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