Bolt Food marks Nigeria’s Independence with 40% discount on orders

A food delivery service company, Bolt Food, has announced a 40 per cent discount on two orders by customers in commemoration of Nigeria’s 62nd Independence Anniversary.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the company said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

It said that the two orders would be on Bolt Food app between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

“Understanding the importance of food in connecting people and society, Bolt Food is pleased to offer a 40 per cent discount on two orders on the app between the Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 2022.

“The Bolt Food app is rich with top food vendors making tasty and yummy delicacies.

“To help Nigerians ‘chop better’, Bolt Food is offering a simple way for you to reconnect with culture through food,” it said.

The company in the statement describes food as an important element that connects people from one generation to the other.

“Food is the linchpin of society, and it embodies the rich history and culture of a people.

“It not only creates a connection amongst individuals in ways other elements of culture cannot, but it supersedes its role and stands to define culture itself sometimes.

“Food binds Nigerians together in more ways than can be imagined. People share many laughs and sorrows around the tabletops than they do anywhere else.

“Stop taking food, especially local delicacies, for granted and appreciate the stories it tells of traditional and culturally rich people,” it added.

Nigeria @ 62: The rise, challenges of education sector

Over the past 62 years, Nigeria’s education has made tremendous progress. It is safe to argue that it is one of the sectors that have recorded the highest level of advancement.

In 1843, the first Primary School was founded in Badagry, Lagos under the name, Nursery of Infant Church. It became St. Thomas Anglican Nursery and Primary School in 1845.

The establishment of a secondary school followed years later, in 1859, named CMS Grammar School, Bariga, Lagos.

The number of primary schools in Nigeria has grown exponentially since then, particularly after independence in 1960.

Today, Nigeria’s primary education is one of the largest in Africa, with enrolment figures put at several millions of pupils.

The Federal Government has, over the years, initiated several policies to ensure that this foundation of the education system remains strong.

One of the policy measures was the National Primary Education Commission, Etc. Act of 1993 which sought to create a separate body for the management and supervision of primary education.

However, the most robust post-Independence policy on primary education in Nigeria came with the return to civilian rule in 1999 with the creation of Universal Basic Education policy which was later supported by the UBE Act of 2004.

The Act stipulates compulsory basic education for children up to Junior Secondary School, as covered under the 6-3-3-4 system of Education.

The Act also prescribes punishment for parents and guardians who failed to enroll their wards into schools.

The Act has been domesticated at the state level, with the state governments and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) operating their version of Universal Basic Education Commission under the name State Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).

But as Nigeria marks its 62nd Independence anniversary, observers say although the primary tier of education has evolved, there remain areas that can be improved upon.

For instance, development partners have expressed worries over the increasing number of children, particularly girls, that are not in school in spite of the UBE Act.

A recent UNESCO report puts the number of children in this category at 20 million. The UN agency said the matter had been aggravated by conflicts in different parts of Nigeria.

However, the Federal Government has faulted the UNESCO figures. Mr Ben Goong, the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education told newsmen recently that Nigerians should disregard the report.

“We use a reliable template with National Population Commission (NPopC) to calculate this in order to arrive at a reliable and acceptable figure”, Goong said.

Whether the figure is right or not, the Federal Government said an independent Nigeria with a solid basic education is achievable.

“The federal government also plans to double primary school enrollment from 46 to 90 per cent and secondary school enrollment from 40 to 80 per cent.

“In terms of primary school enrolment we want to double it from 46 per cent to 90 percent by 2030. Specifically, focusing on doubling female enrolment,” said Mr Yosola Akinbi, Senior Special Adviser to the Vice President on Economic Matters.

Before independence, Nigeria had only one university, the University of Ibadan, established in 1948 as University of London College. Today, from the lone university, Nigeria’s tertiary education has blossomed.

As at the end of 2021, Nigeria has 170 universities, a figure that has been spurred by the libralisation of ownership of universities.

The breakdown shows that the Federal Government owns 43 university, the state governments own 48 of them while 79 of them are private universities.

The polytechnic sub-tier has also witnessed tremendous growth these past years. Yaba College of Technology is credited to be the oldest polytechnic in Nigeria, having started in 1934 as Yaba Higher College.

Today, Nigeria has no fewer than 159 polytechnics made up federal, state and privately owned polytechnics while the number of Colleges of Education and Monotechnics stands at no fewer than 205.

Although the number of tertiary institutions has grown tremendously, some stakeholders say this has not been matched with the quality of the graduates from these institutions.

The say the progress of the institutions had been hampered by a variety of factors such as under-funding and industrial disputes between workers unions and governments.

Some of the unions are Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), among others.

The consequence of the challenges are numerous but have been particularly felt in the brain drain syndrome, and in some cases, under-rating of certificates from Nigerian universities by the international community, including in academics.

It has also been felt in ranking of university platforms who have always rated Nigerian universities lowly.

For instance, in the 2022 Times Higher Education ranking, only 6 Nigerian Universities made it into top global 1,200+ universities in research, with University of Ibadan being the highest ranked at between 401-500.

Against this background, Rep. Julius Ihonvbere, chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education, has urged the federal government to declare a state of emergency on school infrastructure nationwide to boost the quality of education.

He spoke recently in Abuja at a national education summit organised by Human Development Initiatives (HDI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

“There is a problem of absence of policy consistency and even when we have good policies. there is very limited follow-up,” he said.

However, the minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government is determined to deliver a tertiary education system that Nigerians will be proud of.

Adamu gave the assurance through Dr Sunny Kuku, Pro-Chancellor, University of Benin and Co-founder, Eko Hospital, at the third edition of Taxpayers’ Forum, organised by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

“I wish to urge all stakeholders in the education sector, especially the public tertiary institutions, that the government is determined to ensure that it transforms the entire landscape of our institutions”, he said.

 

CREDITED: Funmilayo Adeyemi, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Stakeholders urge FG to utilise funds from SSB taxes for health financing

Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to direct funds from taxes collected from Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSB)  to finance health issues.
They made this call at a Stakeholders Roundtable organised by the National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR) a Non-governmental Organisation  in Abuja.

The meeting is themed “Exploring pathways for Increasing the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Tax”.
Speaking at the event, Mr Bernard Enyia, Secretary-General,  Diabetes Association of Nigeria and  Co-chair, National Action of Sugar Reduction Coalition, said there was need to insist that government spends the funds got from taxing SSBs to improve health systems.
“We have achieved the fight where N10  per litre has been imposed as exercise tax for manufacturing of sugar sweetened beverages. So the reason for the meeting is to step up on how the funds will be utilized.
“Also to expand our engagement to other relevant stakeholders who will help, so that healthy food policies, not just sugar sweetened beverages, can be made so Nigeria can achieve good health.
“We are building up to channel pathways in which government of the day, be it the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Nigerian Custom Services and NAFDAC as well as agree on a decision on how a citizen will benefit regarding the utilisation of the fund.”
Enyia added that they are also looking at ways to bring about an increase in the taxes to meet up with the World Health Organisation standard which is 20-30 per cent.
” So it’s not as if we are asking too much but it’s that, at the level of the National Assembly, that was all that was approved. We are trying to gather more evidence and data to show that that percentage is a far cry. So we need to achieve the WHO standard which is 20 per cent to 30 per cent.
“We realised that there was no policy that the money should be channelled to the health care delivery system, so there must be a legislation and that is what we’re pushing here.
“So the coalition will continue to engage every relevant stakeholder  in this case the legislators that will help to channel and make a policy that will be adopted.
“Nigerians, generally, need to know the harmful effects of excessive consumption of sugar in our drinks and other products. We must know the dangers of consuming it and we are also letting them know the benefits of tax.”
Enyia also a diabetic patient, said  the tax was not just there to generate funds for government but  intended  to be plowed back to the health care system.
“It is a win-win for both the government and the citizens. We generate funds for the government and then health benefits for the citizens.
“So, if we have this understanding, then everyone would have to support this particular move so that at the end of the day, we would have good health care condition for our citizens,” Enyia said.
Prof. Adebayo Adeyemi, Director, Scientific Affairs, Nigerian Heart Foundation and Former Vice-chancellor, Bells University of Technology, said that just as TETFUND was earmarked to fund university infrastructure, every tax derived from SSB should be used to strengthen  health facilities.
Adeyemi also a former president of the Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFST) noted that  the tax should be used for public health and public health financing especially in the  treatment of Non-communicable diseases.
On his part, Dr Samuel Adejare, Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Health, National House of Representatives, said enough had not been done to review the laws in the country.

He urged the coalition and citizens to always ensure they pass any bill they want to become law through the members of the national assembly to facilitate its fast movement in the house.

Adejare also called for more advocacy and education on the general public to make them understand the reason for these taxes, adding that the national assembly would be ready to support them.

According to him, the revenue from SSB cannot not just be diverted to health financing until there is a legislation and policy on it, just is it is with TETFUND, he therefore, urged the coalition to come up with bills that will help achieve this.

Mr Denis Ituma, Chief Superintendent of Customs Department of Excise, Free Trade Zone and Industrial Incentives said all companies producing SSB have been complying fully with the payment of the tax.

According to Ituma, customs had started the implementation of taxing all companies producing SSBs since June 1st, 2022, this he said started with the sensitisation of the companies on the need for the taxation.

“The N10 per litre of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages has been implemented on June 1, and  all excise duties have been collected and paid into the federation account.

Ituma however, noted that one of the challenges in the policy document given to NCS was that some products made from milk like yoghurts, bobo, etc were not included in the list of beverages to be taxed adding that this should be addressed.

He also called on the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Commission (NAFDAC) to beam their search light on labelling of products noting that most labels on products do not carry the composition of ingredients used in the production of the products.

Responding on the issues of fake labels and composition of SSB products, Mr Ozigis Abdalsalam, Director FCT, NAFDAC said the agency have regulation on nutritional sweeteners in respect to adults and children.

“We are a scientific organisation that work with evidence, there are other strategies that can be used to regulate sugar consumption, also post marketing surveillance is used to monitor products to ensure quality sustainability.

“You also can buy and sue a company for defective products which NAFDAC must be aware of,”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that National Action on Sugar Reduction Coalition (NASR) is a coalition with the goal of promoting healthy lifestyles by reducing consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs)in Nigeria.

World Bank approves $750m to boost Nigeria’s business environment

The World Bank has approved 750 million dollars for the Nigeria State Action on Business Enabling Reforms (SABER) Programme-for-Results.

This is contained in a statement obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the World Bank website on Friday in Abuja.

The statement said the 750 million dollars International Development Association (IDA) credit, will help Nigeria accelerate the implementation of critical actions that will improve the business-enabling environment in states.

“Nigeria has made progress in advancing reforms to eliminate constraints in the business environment, especially through actions driven by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).

“However, Nigeria’s ability to attract domestic and foreign investment remains low compared to its peers.

“Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are capable to catalyse private investment but vary significantly in their efforts and ability to do so,” it said.

It said given the importance of state-level reforms, the government developed a new programme called SABER, to accelerate the implementation of critical actions that improve the business-enabling environment in Nigeria’s states.

The statement said the government’s SABER programme builds on the successes of PEBEC.

“It aims to strengthen the existing PEBEC-National Economic Council subnational interventions by adding incentives.

“These incentives are results-based financing to the states, and the delivery of wholesale technical assistance available to all states, to support gaps in reform implementation.”

It said the Programme-for-Results supports the most critical state-level business enabling reforms of the government’s SABER programme.

The  statement said, the programme is open to all states in Nigeria and FCT, given their ability to take concrete steps towards addressing major business-enabling environment challenges around land administration.

“Also around regulatory framework for private investment in fibre optic infrastructure, public-private partnerships (PPP) and investment promotion frameworks and services, and business enabling regulatory environment.”

It said the programme was in line with Nigeria’s National Development Plan (NDP) which sets an ambitious strategy to pursue sustained private sector-led economic growth.

“The NDP is aimed at generating 21 million full-time jobs and lifting 35 million people out of poverty by 2025. ”

The statement said SABER would support states to improve the efficiency of land administration and the regulatory framework for private investment in fibre optic infrastructure.

“SABER will also support states to improve the services provided by investment promotion agencies and PPP units, and the efficiency and transparency of government-to-business services.”

The statement quoted Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, as saying:

“Private sector investments remain the major vehicle to create more jobs, increase revenues to the states and improve social and economic outcomes for citizens.”

The statement quoted Bertine Kamphuis, Task Team Leader for SABER, as saying “overall, the SABER program looks to consolidate and deepen business enabling environment reforms across more states.

“The use of the Program-for-Results model, which ensures disbursement of funds after achieving results, helps the government in strengthening its programme by incentivising institutional performance at the state level, through results-based financing.

Kamphuis said states would be responsible for achieving the programme results and thus will be leading the implementation of the programme.

Felabration 2022: Artist wins artwork competition, gets N550,000 reward

A Nigerian Artist, Babatunde Anigioro, has emerged the winner of the 2022 Felabration Artwork competition.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winner was announced after 55 different artworks competed fiercely for the winning prize at the competition which held at Kalakuta Museum at Ikeja, Lagos on Friday.

Uzoma Vincent’s sculpture entitled ‘Freedom’ emerged as the runner-up with a token of N250,000 while Oluwatomi Kazeem’s ‘Despite All Odds’ came third and was rewarded with the sum of N150,000.

NAN also reports that Felabration is an annual festival of music and arts commemorating the life and times of the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, popularly known as Fela.

It is also a month-long music and lifestyle festival in honour of the legacies of Fela, who is the Afrobeat progenitor, and legendary musician.

In its sixth year and with the theme ‘Fear Not 4 Man”,  the renowned Judges Sarah Boulos, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, and Mufu Onifade, carefully rated the works of various artists from around the world who competed to win the coveted prize money, fame, and honour.

The judges took turns to express their views on the competition while commending the increased turnout of submissions.

Speaking, Boulos, a Lebanese and Founder of the Society for Performing Arts in Nigeria, said she was moved by all the artworks, while noting that compared to previous years, it was becoming more discerning to fall in love with one art than the other.

On his part, Onifade, a thespian and art curator, said the artworks had great aesthetic values but only a few followed the theme in their works.

“I take a general outlook of all the 55 works and one thing that stands all of them out except one is that they are rich in aesthetics, they have the quality that made them qualify but many of them are lacking in the area of theme and that’s why we are here as judges.

“The area that carries the larger mark is the theme but any work that wins is definitely rich in content,” he said.

Similarly, Shyllon, an Art Collector and founder Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art at Pan-Atlantic University, explained the elements which the judges used while giving marks to the artists.

“We have found improvement on the quality of works by the artists and have indicated clearly how Felabration has become popular with many artists getting involved.

“The work that won has all the ingredients of creativity, and originality and has the theme because Fela’s life is what we are trying to portray with the competition.

“He’s very relevant today and for a very long time to come, his ideology will continue to soar,” he said.

NAN reports that the judges also commended some exceptional artworks which included John Ali’s ‘Emancipation,’ same as Olaore Titus’ artwork, Osisisi Anointing’s work, and the artwork of Romeo, a Zimbabwean artist.

Others are: Samuel Kayode’s ‘Silent Noise’, Tolu Pencilz’s painting of ‘Aproko Doctor’ and Variety Brown’s painting of Fela all elicited discussion among the judges.

Some other artists works that competed include Gbadamosi Ebenezer with ‘Other Side’, Oyelakin Emmanuel with ‘Violinist,’ and Obinwu Esther with ‘Dark and Beautiful’.

NAN also reports that submissions included different art from Digital Painting, Pastel, Oil on canvas, and Sculpture.

Speaking, the runners-up, Vincent and Kazeem, lauded the organisers of Felabration for the opportunity given them to showcase their talents.

Present at the event are Yeni Kuti and Made Kuti, (daughter and granddaughter of Fela).

How harnessing non-oil sectors will discourage more debt- Experts

Some financial analysts have urged the Federal Government to harness opportunities in the non-oil sector to enhance the nation’s revenue and discourage the need for more borrowing by the country.
They said this in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
The Chief Executive Officer, Ogu Investment, Mr Mosses Igrude, advised the federal government to put more effort in ensuring that the agriculture  sector and its value-chains shore up revenues for the government.
“The government should improve the insecurity headwinds and begin to harness the enormous prospects in cash crops produced.
“Cash crops, when properly harnessed, is a veritable money spinner that can change our revenue profile, and the essence of incurring more debt can be abetted,” Igbrude said.
He noted that the federal government could grant more incentives to the mining sector,  to ensures it contributes adequately to the country’s fiscal revenues.
Igrude also said that the federal government could also tackle the headwinds associated with crude oil theft to boost the nation’s earnings.
He said, “Ending permanently oil theft in the Niger Delta region is imperative, to address our fiscal revenue challenges. So, the need for the country to be into much debt will not occur.
“It is worrying that this stage of our development our authorities cannot effectively secure our vital investment assets within our waters.”
Also, the President Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria(PSAN), Mr Boniface Okezie, said the federal government could focus more on reducing its borrowings and be conscious of how it expends recovered corrupt funds.
“They are hundreds of billions of Naira claimed to have been recovered by the anti-corruption agencies of government.
“The authorities can begin to allocate  such funds to meet competing demands of the society, so long it has no legal challenges associated with such funds, Okezie said.
He noted that the current administrations should take conscious effort in ensuring it reduces the need for more debt as the current government wind down next year.
“We expect the government to ensure it stops all the leakages in the economy and intensify the fight on insecurity in the country.
“Then the regimes successor will initiate policies that can spur growth because government is a continuum,” Okezie said.
Also, the Chief Executive Officer Proshare Nigeria Ltd., Mr Femi Awoyemi, said the federal government could further diversify the economy.
“Diversifying the economy will enable other productive sectors to effectively improve government revenue.
“Then, our economy can grow such as other developing ones, which are not reliant on single primary produce,” he said.
He noted that the tiers of government should endeavour to reduce the high cost of governance which also has negative impact of the nation’s revenues.
NAN reports the nation’s total public debt stock, representing the domestic and external debt stocks of the federal government and the 36 state governments and the Federal Capital Territory, was N42.84 trillion ($103.31 billion) as at June 30.

All-commodity group import index increases by 0.07%- NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says the All-commodity group import index on average increased by 0.07 per cent, with the highest increase recorded by “Vehicles, aircraft and parts.

This is according to the NBS Commodity Price Indices for Q2 of 2022 released in Abuja on Friday.

The report said this is followed by products of the chemical and allied industries” and “Live animals; animal products”.

The NBS said the All-commodity group export price index on average also increased by 0.18 per cent in Q2 2022.

It said the increase was majorly attributed to an increase in the prices of “wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal and articles”, “paper making material; paper and paperboard, articles”, and “plastic, rubber and articles thereof”.”

The report said the All products Terms Of Trade (TOT) index on average increased by 0.11 per cent.

“This was as a result of increases in the prices of “wood and articles of wood, wood charcoal and articles”, “paper making material; paper and paperboard”, and “miscellaneous manufactured articles.”

The TOT represents the ratio between a country’s export prices and its import prices.

The NBS said the All-region group export index also increased by 0.18 per cent mainly due to rise in prices of export to all regions except America.

The report said the All-region group import index increased by 0.07 per cent due to changes in import prices to some of the regions.

It said the All-region terms of trade on average increased by 0.11 per cent due to the rise in export prices to all the regions compared to the rise in import prices from all the regions.

The report said the major export and import markets of Nigeria in Q2, 2022 were India, Spain, The Netherlands, The United States of America, Indonesia and China.

[email protected]: Nigerians hail military successes against insurgency, banditry

As Nigeria marks 62nd Independence Anniversary, some residents of the North-East have commended the military and other security agencies over the successes recorded in the campaign against Boko Haram insurgency and criminal activities.
They also lauded President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration’s commitment to end terrorisim, banditry, and kidnapping, protect lives and property as well as secure territorial integrity of the country.
The residents who spoke in Damaturu and Maiduguri, said the feat achieved addressed threats being posed by the terrorists to national security and Nigeria’s corporate existence as a sovereign state.
They opined that the decade-long insurgency was on the verge of extinction sequel to the successes recorded by security forces as well as rehabilitation and resettlement programmes initiated by the government.
A resident of Maiduguri, Chidi Omeji said that terrorism in the region was a major threat that challenged Nigeria’s quest to nationhood in it’s over 60 years of independence.
Chidi, who is also the National Coordinator, Citizens Initiative for Security Awareness (CISA), noted that banditry and kidnapping also presented another threat in parts of the North-West and North-Central regions.
“For you to understand where we are now in terms of insecurity, you must reflect on where we are coming from.
“Security challenges are dynamic and every nation experience one form of insecurity or other.
“Today, Nigerian security agencies led by the Armed Forces are really on top of the situation.
“They put extra efforts in ensuring that the majority of the population are protected.
“There is seeming peace around country despite pockets of insecurity unlike the situation in 2014 and early 2022,” he said.
He said the military and security agencies had shown committment by ensuring paradigm shift in the conduct of operations which resulted to recent positive results against terrorism and other criminal activities.
According to him, the president has demonstrated great political acumen to transform the military and other security agencies to enable them to protect the country against internal and external aggression.
This, he said, was a spectacular achievement towards guaranteeing a unified and peaceful country.
Another resident, Mr Abdulrahman Muhammed, Coordinator, Media Advocate for Peace Foundation, said the military succeeded in decimating the insurgents and restored peace to the troubled North-East and other parts of the country.
He said that a swath of territories hitherto under the insurgents’ control in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe had been liberated.
The peace ambassador noted that over 70,000 insurgents had surrendered sequel to the renewed military onslaught against the terror group.
Also, Ali Abbas, an Associate Professor, Political Science Department, Yobe State University, said  the efforts of the security forces against insecurity would herald Nigeria’s quest for sustainable democracy.
“Insecurity poses serious challenge to political stability and development in Nigeria.
“People are asking what is the value of democracy if it cannot guarantee protection of lives and properties.”
“Terrorism, kidnapping and mass abduction among others, had never happened in the country. This does not allow Nigerians to appreciate the political development in the country.
”Because, to some, it is not just about political development, but about political, social and economic development, which translates to better life, prosperity and so on,” he added
In the same vein, Babagana Wakil, a Maiduguri based Political Analyst, lauded the Federal Government over the establishment of the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) to fast track Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (RRR) prgramme in the war-ravaged region.
Wakil also commended the government for its poverty eradication initiative such as the N-Power, Social Investment Programme (N-SIP), among others.
He said the gesture would eradicate poverty, enhance wealth creation, promote economic security as well as address root causes of violent extremism and other criminal activities.
“We appreciate the government and security agencies for their commitment towards building a unified and secure country.
“Their contributions saved the country from eminent danger, and we are proud of our country,” he said.

National transport policy ready soon – Minister

The Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, said his vision for the transportation sector was to inaugurate a national transport policy before May 2023.

Sambo, who said this in an interview with maritime reporters on Thursday in Lagos, said as part of the policy, the Nigerian Railway Corporation would be unbundled.

According to Sambo, the ministry will do everything possible to make sure that the industry gets a national transport policy by May 2023.

“There are few grey areas; incidentally those grey areas, we are very conversant with because they seem to have generated conflict between the Ministry of Works and Housing and the Transportation Ministry.

“And those grey areas I can assure you that we will put them behind us. As soon as we convene the next meeting anytime from now, after that meeting, we should know the next step to take,” he said.

The minister added the national transport policy would be part of the legacies his administration would leave for Nigerians.

“I want to say that it is not how much time one has but what we can do with the little time. In fact when you are conscious of the fact that you have little time, you seem to achieve more.

“This is because one is more focused, you put in more time and energy than the person that says he has four years and will take his time to work.

“I want to say that it not impossible to achieve a lot within the few months we have,” he said.

Sambo said one of the things he also wanted to see was the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.

“Before I came, there was a committee that was set up by my predecessor to look into the unbundling of the Nigerian Railway cooperation.

“This country has invested a lot of money including debts to construct rail lines, very critical national infrastructure which must pay itself. We cannot have an agency that is the regulator and operator at the same time,” he said.

He noted that some of the lines would be concessioned as the ministry had started soliciting for those interested in running the lines.

He pointed out that this would make the railway corporation more competitive, cost efficient and generate revenue for government.

“I want to see a Nigerian Railway Corporation that is not three-in-one. It’s a vision I have and I pray that my team siting beside me at this table will join me in pushing this,” he said.

Sambo said the country was blessed with natural resources of ocean and inland waterways, that it had no business exploiting oil because of its damaging effect on the environment.

He emphasised that Nigeria was actually a maritime country, and there was no reason it could not survive on maritime alone, and He that all that was needed was the right policy in place.

“The maritime sector can drive the economy of this country, it is achievable. I will be elated if we are able to a lay good foundation for those coming after us to operate.

“That is why I also emphasis team work; if we work as a team I believe we will succeed and I know I have the best team beside me,” he said. 

Blockchain adoption will boost financial inclusion, SME growth- Expert

Mr Peter Adekeye, Chief Executive Officer, Boom, an e-commerce platform, says increased blockchain adoption will improve financial inclusion for Nigerians and help support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the country.
Adekeye, in a statement on Friday, said that blockchain adoption will also help to conduct business efficiently within and outside Nigeria.
According to him, Boom, Blockchain technology is to enable financial inclusion for all Nigerians and help the private sector to grow.
He said, “Our mission at Boom is to provide the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked consumers, and those seeking a safe alternative to traditional commerce with the unprecedented ability to buy, sell and pay for everything online.
“This is done without a bank account, fostering financial and business inclusion for all”.
Adekeye noted that the organisation would therefore be taking its e-commerce, without banking solution, to the masses.
He said “Boom wallet is for sending, receiving and storing money, as well as paying for goods and services, locally, nationally and internationally.
“Boom chats is for ultra-secure text, audio and video communications while Boom social is for community building and management.
“To ensure compliance with local and international regulations, all Boom users must go through KYC at signup,” he said.
Adekeye noted that a merchant or consumer in Nigeria could purchase goods and services internationally by simply converting the Naira into Multicoins through Boom certified resellers nationwide.
“On Boom, everybody can be a Multicoin reseller, thanks to Boom, financial inclusion for all Nigerians and all Africans, is now a reality,” he said
According to him, the Boom application could be downloaded for free in both IOS and Android in the Apple Appstore and Google Play store respectively.
He said the Boom application which opens on Oct.1, would be available in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba in addition to English, French and Spanish languages.