Monday, 25 September 2017

The executive order issued recently by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, may have yielded fruits as the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), has since cancelled multiple checks at the Murtala Muhammed International Airports in Lagos. The development would give relief to passengers travelling through the airports, who hitherto, were subjected to multiple checks and levies by different agencies of government.

Travelling through the Nigeria’s airports has often been a nightmare compared with airports in other climes, where passenger screening is performed largely at just one point. FAAN should therefore hasten to extend the cancellation to all other airports in the country to enhance smooth travel and give Nigeria a better image.

Managing Director of FAAN, Saleh Dunoma, disclosed in Lagos, after a meeting with all the security agencies, that FAAN had cancelled multiple checks of passengers and luggage at airports nationwide to improve free movement and passenger experience.

Consequently, the multiple checks by the various law enforcement agencies had been harmonised in line with the executive order.According to Dunoma, the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos had been chosen to begin the implementation, being the busiest airport in the country. Henceforth, a single screening unit would be seen at the departure halls of the airport.

Dunoma stressed that all the agencies had come together to effectively and seamlessly implement the order without compromising security procedures. This is indeed very important as there should be no security lapses as a result of the new arrangement.Under the new regime agencies would check luggage of passengers at designated areas and not within the departure halls as was the case before.

Last month, Acting President Osinbajo endorsed and signed three Executive Orders expected to boost the ease of doing business in Nigeria. The development is expected to increase patronage for locally manufactured goods and remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks that stifle business growth in the country.

The three executive orders touched on the promotion of transparency and efficiency in the business environment; timely submission of annual budgetary estimates by all statutory agencies, including companies owned by the Federal Government; and support for local contents in public procurement by the Federal Government.

Certainly, Osinbajo should be commended for the move to remove the bottlenecks that have so far hindered business dealings in Nigeria. It would be recalled that Nigeria ranked 169th position in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business index for 2017 out of the 190 countries surveyed.

The report indicated that Nigeria moved up by only one point from 170th position on the 2016 ranking. This, obviously, is not a favourable commentary on Nigeria, Africa’s giant. It is little wonder then that business activities in Nigeria are low and the economy is not as it should be.

The World Bank report, for instance, revealed that  Nigeria ranked 138th position in terms of  Starting a Business,  174th position in terms of  Getting  Construction Permit, 180th position in terms of  Getting Electricity, 182nd position in terms of Registering Property,  44th position in terms of Getting Credit, 32nd position in terms of Protecting minority investors, 182nd position in terms of Paying Taxes, 181st position in terms of Trading Across Borders, 139th position in terms of  Enforcing Contracts, and 140th position in terms of   Resolving Insolvency. It is only in the area of access to credit that the country moved up to 16th position.

The implication is that the country has a lot to do to redirect and quicken the tempo of doing business. Given the magnitude of the problem, what the FAAN is doing is just a little token but, certainly, a good starting point.

Carrying out passenger screening at one designated point would help decongest the airport departure halls apart from removing undue delays caused by multiple checks by different agencies of government.

The World Bank report has given an insight into how much improvement that is needed to make things work well. From starting a business to registering property and resolving insolvency, as the case may be, improvement is needed.

This demands a total overhaul of the business environment and a new business culture. The problem applies not only at the federal level but also in the states and local governments. FAAN should, however, diligently implement its reform at the airports to serve as a shining example to other areas of the political economy that suffer opaqueness.

Published in Parliament

LONDON -- Chelsea are closing in on the £35 million signing of Monaco midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, sources have confirmed to ESPN FC.

The Premier League champions identified Bakayoko, 22, as a priority target heading into this summer, and after weeks of negotiations both clubs now expect the deal to be completed once personal terms with the player are finalised.

Bakayoko's arrival at Stamford Bridge will pave the way for Nemanja Matic's departure, with Jose Mourinho keen to bring the Serb to Manchester United and confident of completing a deal that could be worth up to £40 million, before taking his squad to the United States for preseason on July 9. 

Chelsea hope that Bakayoko -- who was rewarded for his role in Monaco's run to the Ligue 1 title and Champions League semifinals with a debut cap for France in March -- will be the first of several high-profile signings as they aim to give coach Antonio Conte a squad capable of competing on multiple fronts.

The £35m fee agreed for Bakayoko will make him the most expensive midfielder in Chelsea's history, and the most lucrative signing since the club-record £50m acquisition of Fernando Torres from Liverpool in January 2011, though the Blues expect that figure to be surpassed by the end of this transfer window.

Juventus wing-back Alex Sandro is another name on Conte's wish, and he has reportedly made it clear that he would like to move to Stamford Bridge.

Talks are also ongoing with Everton over striker Romelu Lukaku, who is Chelsea's preferred choice to replace the unsettled Diego Costa.

Courtesy: espnfc.us

Published in Sports

Tanzania has threatened to arrest and expel activists, as well as de-register all non-governmental organizations that campaign for gay rights.

Homosexuality is a criminal offense in the East African nation, where the law states that suspects convicted of having "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" could face up to 30 years in jail.

At a rally late on Sunday, Tanzania's Home Affairs Minister Mwigulu Nchemba said both domestic and foreign campaigners for gay rights would now face punitive measures in the country.

"Those who want to campaign for gay rights should find another country that allows those things," Nchemba said in the capital Dodoma. "If we establish that any organization registered in our country is campaigning for gay rights ... I will deregister that organization. If a Tanzanian national is doing that campaign, we will arrest him and take him to court ... and if it is a foreigner, we will immediately order him to leave the country."

The planned crackdown comes amid repeated warnings against "immoral behaviors" by President John Magufuli, who is nicknamed "the Bulldozer" for pushing through his policies.

Last week, he rejected calls to lift the decades-long ban on pregnant students from attending state schools, drawing criticism from rights groups.

Nchemba said Magufuli's decisions were final and non-negotiable.

Since his ascent to power in 2015, Magufuli has been praised by some Western donors for his bid to stamp out corruption and cut wasteful government spending.

Opponents, however, accuse him of becoming increasingly authoritarian by curbing political activity and cracking down on dissent.

Published in News & Stories

Fifty-two migrants have been found dead in the deserts of central Niger, near Séguédine.

A group of 75 set out in three vehicles but were abandoned by traffickers, who feared the security forces.

A local official told the BBC that dozens of bodies had been buried, and 23 survivors were taken to the town, although one later died.

African migrants travel through the desert aiming to reach Libya and cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

However, the journey is perilous as the migrants are crammed into pick-up trucks and have few supplies.

Two weeks ago Niger troops rescued 92 migrants who were on the brink of death in the Sahara Desert.

The group, which included women and children, was abandoned without water and food.

Published in News & Stories

President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on Monday evening stepped up their bid for re-election by citing their achievements as  they accused the Opposition of “copying” them.

During a session preceding the official launch of the Jubilee manifesto, the two leaders argued that they had achieved a lot within a short period.

“We should be happy with what we have achieved. We need to work harder for what lies ahead of us,” said Mr Kenyatta.

“There are many things they said we can’t accomplish, which we have. I am sure if given time, there is more we can accomplish.”

DEFENDING RECORD

The President was defending his record, citing Huduma centres, free maternity healthcare, regional integration and improving relations with the outside world.

“You were told that if you elect us, the world will reject us. Today, people from various countries want to visit Kenya. There is no country that has refused to accommodate a Kenyan president,” he argued, referring to the image issues surrounding their cases at the International Criminal Court.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto during the launch of Jubilee party Manifesto at Safaricom Kasarani stadium on Monday, June 26, 2017. PHOTO DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

“This is a government that works for the people. We also work with the people. We do so because at the end of the day this country belongs to 45 million people.”

OUTLINED ACHIEVEMENTS

Before the launch of the manifesto, the two leaders and Cabinet Secretaries engaged the audience when they outlined their achievements over the past four and-a-half years.

Foreign CS Amina Mohamed and her counterparts Aden Mohamed (Industrialisation) and Joe Mucheru (ICT) presented their figures, arguing for the Jubilee Party.

President Kenyatta relied on the ministers to tell the story of the achievements of the Jubilee administration.

Ms Mohamed described Kenya’s global picture as one that could only get better.

ESSENTIAL CONTACTS

“We have risen from a country of essential contacts to one that welcomes the President of the United States, His Holiness the Pope and over 50 global leaders,  and hosts 16 summits and 15 major conferences,” said Ms Mohamed.

She added: “In four-and-a-half years, we have increased foreign investment by 400 per cent.”

Mr Mohamed described what he said was opening up of the trade sector and removal of bureaucracy in the conduct of business

“We have made it very easy to do business and we have been cited by the World Bank as the third most improved country on ease of doing business,” said Mr Mohamed.

SECURE JOBS

Mr Mucheru focused on improving Kenya’s IT services. He explained how the government was helping the youth secure jobs through online searches.

Narok Governor Samuel Tunai (left) and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko during the launch of Jubilee Party manifesto. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

But it was always going to be a government-versus-Opposition affair. Mr Ruto was the first to criticise opposition leaders, saying they want to do things like what the government has done.

“Our record of the last four- and-a-half years speaks for itself. We are the only political party that has a track record,” he said.

“We have a superior plan for our country, which our competitors can only copy and we welcome them to copy because it is the best.”

BLAMING OTHERS

The President chipped in: “The difference between us and them is, as my brother, the Deputy President has said, is like day and night. The difference is this — there are those who seek leadership by blaming others.”

“Then there are those who seek leadership by seeking to correct mistakes and offer hope, opportunity and the future.”

The President said he was voted in when some individuals were questioning his ability to lead, especially in light of the case he and his deputy were facing at the International Criminal Court.

Published in Business and Economy

On behalf of my wife, family and government, I wish Muslims in Ghana and around the world Eid Mubarak.

We thank Allah for seeing us through one month of fasting, prayer and devotion. I have no doubt that after nights of intense prayer and devotion, Allah would increase his favour upon our country and, insha Allah, by the next Ramadan our country would be better than it is today.

The month of Ramadan has certainly drawn us closer to Allah than we were before. It has also taught us the virtues of prayer, patience, piety and faith. These are virtues that we need all year round. I, therefore, urge all of us to hold fast to these values and not lose them merely because we are no longer in Ramadan.
Above all, let the spirit of friendship, brotherhood and love that characterized our activities in Ramadan continue to influence our relationship with our fellow Ghanaians. With a sense of unity of purpose, we shall realize our goals.

I wish you a happy celebration and may Allah make our nation great and strong.

Published in Parliament

•Agencies compile list of stolen arms, ammunition
•Suspect arrested by NSCDC, handed over to JTF


Security agencies in Bayelsa State are probing the identity of Suoyo mentioned by the notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeje Onwuamadike, aka Evans, as one of his gang members in the state.

Evans, in one of his numerous confessional statements, named Suoyo as one of the active members of his gang, who had the assignment of buying arms and ammunition, for their operations.

He said: “When Suoyo, who lives in Bayels State, called me and expressed fears, I also assured him that nothing was going to happen. I told him I was making plans for another operation and needed him to go into the creeks and buy a new set of arms and ammunition”.

But security commanders in Bayelsa were said to have met over the weekend to analyse Evan’s confessional statement to unmask the real identity of Suoyo.

In the meeting which held in Government House in the presence of Governor Seriake Dickson, the security commanders were said to be certain that that the Suoyo mentioned by Evans was the same person recently arrested by the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in the state.

Suoyo Dickson was arrested and paraded on Thursday by the state Commandant of NSCDC, Mr. Desmond Agu, in connection with the recent attack on a pipeline belonging to the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC).

Suoyo, popularly known as Hustler, reportedly led a gang of vandals that attacked the Agip pipeline at Lagosgbene, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state on May 30, 2017.

He was, however, arrested on June 16, 2017 at Agbigiba community in Southern Ijaw.

Suoyo, in his confessional statement, also admitted having some criminal camps in the creeks saying he led an oil and gas task force operating in Southern Ijaw to destroy the camps but became frustrated when the task force failed to reward him.

On how he attacked the pipeline, he said;: ”I used two handsaw blades and handsaw to open up the point, I cut the handle in the valve, I fetched 20 litres of petrol, I lit spark lighter and threw it into the pipe and burnt it.”

”I burnt the pipeline because the task force did not keep to their promise of employing us after making us to show them our bunkering camps and the subsequent destruction by the military.

”We showed them our camps, eight of them. All the camps did not belong to me. Three were mine while other groups have five. After showing them, the task force engaged the military to destroy our camps.

”The other groups, whose camps were destroyed were not happy with me. They said I betrayed them and they started planning to kill me and my family members. The situation put me under pressure more so the employment they promised all of us after seven days did not materialise”.

It was gathered that Agu, after parading the suspect, handed him over to the Joint Task Force, Operation Delta Safe (ODS) for further investigations.

A security source, who spoke in confidence, said at the meeting of the security commanders in Yenagoa, which was attended by the heads of ODS, the police and NSCDC, it was agreed that Suoyo should be subjected to further investigations.

Following Evans’ confession, the security heads were said to be linking him to the theft of service rifles of security operatives especially policemen in the state.

They recalled many attacks on operatives by criminals, who only fled with arms and ammunition handled by their victims.

“The security heads also agreed to compile a list of such stolen arms and ammunition in the state and send it to the Force Headquarters to know whether they were among the ones recovered from Evans.

“The Suoyo mentioned by Evans seems in all ramifications to be the same suspected arrested by the NSCDC recently in connection with attack on a pipeline. The security heads in the state believe so and they will surely carry out further investigations to determine his linkage with the Evans’ gang.”

Published in News & Stories

Hirving Lozano’s courageous second-half header sealed Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win over 10-man Russia on Saturday and fired them into the Confederations Cup semi-finals.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera’s towering kick from inside his own half on 52 minutes. 

Russia’s hopes of a comeback were further hampered in the final 20 minutes when Yury Zhirkov was sent off for a second yellow card.

“We knew it was going to be tough, we played well against them,” said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“We are building a team which has the skills and determintion to play against any team. We could have scored more goals if we had moved the ball around better.”

While the hosts bow out, Mexico progress as Group A runners-up to play the winners of Group B in Sochi next Thursday.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov was left rueing his side’s missed chances.

“It was an interesting match for sure, we knew we had to win and did everything to tip the game in our favour,” said Cherchesov.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t react to their goals and then had a man sent off, even then we tried to score. My team did the best they could.”

Having made eight alterations for the team which beat New Zealand, Osorio again rang the changes against Russia with only defender Araujo and forward Giovani dos Santos retained in the starting line-up.

Lozano replaced from Raul Jimenez in a completely different forward line alongside Mexico’s all-time top scorer Javier Hernandez and former Arsenal winger Carlos Vela.

Recovery mission
Just as they did in the 2-2 draw with Portugal and subsequent victory over New Zealand, Mexico made a slow start and again fell behind.

Mexico captain Andres Guardado picked up an early booking that will rule him out of the semi-final, while the video assistant referee was summoned to reject Russian penalty claims after Fyodor Smolov went to ground in the area.

Russia went ahead though as Smolov hit the post, with Aleksandr Erokhin knocking the rebound to Samedov who drilled past Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa.

But the goal sparked Mexico into life and they were level just five minutes later.

Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Mexico lost Diego Reyes to injury just before the break when the Espanyol defender rolled his ankle making an innocuous pass.

The linesman’s flag denied Spartak Moscow’s Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano’s brave gamble paid off.

Herrara’s thumping clearance was allowed to bounce just outside the Russian area, with Lozano clattered by Akinfeev as he nipped in front of the keeper to head into an unguarded net on 52 minutes.

Mexico then had another goal ruled out for offside following more consultation with the video referee, and Russia suffered a further blow when Zhirkov was dismissed on 68 minutes.

Substitute Igor Smolnikov blazed over from close range with quarter of an hour remaining to compound Russia’s misery.

Published in Sports

All Kenyan schoolgirls are to get free sanitary pads, the government has said. It is hoped the move will improve access to education in a country where many cannot afford sanitary products like pads and tampons.

According to the UN's education agency, one in 10 girls in sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their period.

Some girls reportedly lose 20 per cent of their education for this reason, making them more likely to drop out of school altogether.

The amendment to the education act, signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta this week, states free, sufficient and quality sanitary towels must be provided to every girl registered at school, as well as providing a safe and environmental sound mechanism for disposal.

Published in News & Stories

President Paul Kagame has said that Rwanda will proceed with the planned phase-out of importation of second-hand clothes despite the threats that it could lead to a review of eligibility to access duty-free access to the American market.

President Kagame made the remarks yesterday while addressing a news conference moments after submitting his nomination papers to the National Electoral Commission (NEC).

Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania’s eligibility to trade with the US is under review, following the region’s move to phase out the importation of used clothes.

The review could see Rwanda and her neighbours lose duty-free access to the American market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Kagame, however, said the situation leads Rwanda to make a choice between continued importation of used clothes and developing the local textile industry.

He said that despite the consequences of being locked out of AGOA, Rwanda is keen on developing its local textile industry.

“Rwanda and other countries in the region that are part of AGOA, have to do other things, we have to grow and establish our industries,” Kagame said.

“We are put in a situation where we have to choose; you choose to be a recipient of used clothes with a threat hanging or choose to grow our textile industries, which Rwandans deserve at the expense of being part of AGOA.

“This is the choice we find that we have to make. As far as I am concerned, making the choice is simple, we might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way,” he added.

The President noted that this is not the first time that Rwanda has had to make tough decisions in the interest of citizens.

EAC member countries have moved to phase out the importation of used clothes and shoes across the East African region as part of an industrialisation plan to give rise to the growth of the local textile industry.

As part of the move, Rwanda last year increased taxes on used clothes from $0.2 to $2.5 per kilogramme, while taxes on used shoes will increase from $0.2 to $3 per kilogramme.

Budget focus

In the 2017/18 Budget Estimates, the Government also eased taxes on inputs under the Made-in-Rwanda initiative, which is expected to facilitate the growth of the local textile industry.

President Kagame is one of the African heads of state advocating for improved engagement terms between African countries and Western countries for mutual benefit.

Kagame has said several times that it’s time to consider Africa as an equal partner in development as opposed to a beneficiary requiring donations and aid.

As part of the move to make the continent less dependent on external financing, Kagame was last year asked to spearhead the African Union reforms.

He said he will continue playing the role as requested by the African heads of state to support the reforms process.

Kagame is scheduled to present a progress update at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, next month.

The President said that the intention by African leaders to change status quo was a huge step.

“The fact that the leaders of Africa have found it necessary to do things different is a very big step,” he said.

Going forward, he said the move by the continent will reduce the impact of external factors on the continent’s socio- economic progress.

Courtesy: The New Times - www.newtimes.co.rw

Published in News & Stories
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