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COVID-19: Obasanjo Library sends workers home ‘temporarily’

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In what was tagged “temporary cessation”, the management of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State has asked its workers to go home until further notice following the effect of the COVID-19 on the business.

OOPL is founded by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Apart from some top members of staff, cleaners, and security guards were most affected by the “temporary lay-off.”

The sprawling OOPL which has various units including guest house, zoo, cinema, halls, bar, car wash among others, was battling delay in the payment of salaries before coronavirus worsened the situation, findings revealed.

One of the workers at the security unity told reporters, “We were owed up to four months salaries last year before it was cleared.”

The source said a number of the workers are equally owed between two to three months’ leave bonuses.

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A letter signed by the Library’s head of human resources, administration, and procurement, Olanike Ogunleye conveyed the decision of the management to the workers.

The letter indicated that the affected workers’ would be recalled when business picks up, saying there are not eligible for any payment “during the period of cessation.”

“As you are aware, the current COVID-19 pandemic has had a toll on all our business significantly. This has resulted in making some difficult business decisions.

“Due to this situation, we regret to inform you that your employment will be put on hold until further notice.

“This temporary cessation is effective from 31st May 2020 and until business picks up and you are recalled back to work, please note that you are not eligible for any payment during this period of cessation,” the statement partly reads.

Our correspondent who visited premises of OOPL located at Oke – Mosan, Abeokuta, on Saturday, observed that it was business unusual as grave silence pervaded the vicinity. Contrary to what’s obtainable in the past, only five security guards were seen at the two gates of OOPL alongside two supervisors on the ground to secure the environment.

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The Managing Director of OOPL, Vitalise Ortese told Daily Trust that the decision was informed by the reality of the period, saying “we didn’t make single kobo since March.”

He described as mischief, the report by a section of the online news platforms that the organization “sacks its workers.”

“We did not sack anybody. It was clearly stated there, temporary cessation. We have not made a kobo since March 16 or thereabout.

No bailout and we didn’t get palliative from the government. How do we pay salaries? It’s normal we have to allow people to go temporarily.

“It happens everywhere. Banks are laying off and other organizations have asked people to go home. Everyone is affected, including me. All members of staff are affected. Obasanjo’s children are affected, even Obasanjo himself is affected,” Ortese said.

 

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AfDB: Nigeria, others risk $236.7b losses in GDP

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected that Nigeria and the rest of the continent will suffer a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) loss of $189.7 billion this year.

The AfDB’s African Economic Outlook released yesterday stated: “Africa could suffer GDP losses in 2020 between $145.5 billion (baseline) and $189.7 billion (worst case).’’

The report noted that pre-COVID-19 estimates of African GDP had predicted a growth of $2.59 trillion for the year.

According to the AfDB,

“some losses are carried over to 2021, as the projected recovery would be partial.”

For 2021 projected losses, AfDB said,

“could be from $27.6 billion (baseline) up to $47 billion (worst case) from the potential GDP of $2.76 trillion without the pandemic”.

The continental bank said the most affected economies will be countries

“with poor healthcare systems, those that rely heavily on tourism, international trade, and commodity exports, and those with high debt burdens and high dependence on volatile international financial flows”.

The pandemic, the report stated, has triggered a sudden uptick in inflation, in some cases by more than five per cent in the first quarter of 2020.

This, the bank said, “has mainly been caused by disruptions in the supply of food and energy, the bulk of which are imported”.

According to the AfDB, “overall,  although headline inflation, which includes food and basic energy prices, would be expected to rise, core inflation might remain stable until demand picks up after the pandemic”.

To the governments, the AfDB cautioned that “expansionary fiscal spending could double already high fiscal deficits’’.

“In 2020, deficits are projected to increase twofold, to eight per cent of GDP, in the baseline scenario,  and to go as high as nine per cent in the worst-case scenario,” it said.

This worsening fiscal position, the AfDB said, “would be the result of above-the-line increases in budgetary outlays on COVID-19-related health spending, unemployment benefits, targeted wage subsidies and direct transfers, and tax cuts and deferrals”.

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On the debt side, the AfDB predicted that COVID-19 will “add to sovereign debt burdens as COVID-19 heightens the likelihood of a widespread and far-reaching sovereign debt crisis if debt is not properly managed”.

According to the bank, many countries in Africa entered the crisis period with high debt-to-GDP ratios, which are projected to increase further by up to 10 percentage points beyond the pre-COVID trajectory in  2020  and  2021.

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The sovereign debt buildup the bank lamented “is particularly worrisome because of its changing risk structure in Africa as a result of the increasing share of commercial debt Eurobonds and other private creditors and the high foreign currency denomination of Africa’s debt.”

Remittances which grew to $86.2 billion in 2019 on the back of a pickup in global economic growth and rising migration has now been threatened by COVID-19 and exposed countries which rely heavily on remittances to shocks “especially in high-income economies where migrant jobs and incomes are threatened.”

Foreign direct investment which picked up in 2018 by 10.9 per cent, reaching $45.9 billion, and improved further to an estimated  $49  billion in 2019 is also expected to fall in 2020 as investors reduce or postpone their investments amid uncertainties.

Official Development Assistance (ODA), which has risen since  2016  (by  1.2 per cent in  2018),  could be constrained by the impact of the crisis on advanced economies.

In 2021, the number of extremely poor, the AfDB said: “could increase by 34-49.2 million due to the pandemic as GDP growth continues to fall below population growth rates.”

Specifically, Nigeria being and Africa’s most populous country “would record the largest increases 8.5 in the baseline scenario in 2020, and 11.5 in the worst-case scenario. There will be an estimated job loss in the tens of millions.

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The AfDB advised African governments that “given the global scale of the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions, governments and development partners must respond in a coordinated, targeted, and rapid manner to be effective in limiting its impacts.”

According to the bank, “across Africa, the response must be  well-sequenced  and  multipronged,  involving: a  public  health  response  to  contain  the  spread  of  the  virus  and  minimize  fatalities.”

It called for “a monetary policy response to ease liquidity constraints and solvency risks, a fiscal response to cushion the economic impacts of the pandemic on livelihoods and to assist businesses, labour market policies to protect workers and their jobs, and structural policies to enable African economies to rebuild and enhance their resilience to future shocks.”

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Nigeria records 503 new COVID-19 cases, total now 29, 879

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Nigeria, on Tuesday, recorded 503 new cases of COVID-19 in 20 states, bring the total confirmed cases to 29,879, with 669 deaths.

Of the new cases reported by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, Lagos which is the epicenter, leads with a total of 153 cases, followed by Ondo State with 76 confirmed cases.

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Other states are Edo-54, FCT-41, Enugu-37, Rivers-30, Benue-24,Osun-20, Kaduna-15, Kwara-13, Abia-9, Borno-8, Plateau-6, Taraba-5, Ogun-3, Kano-3, Kebbi-2, Nasarawa-2,  Bayelsa-1 and Gombe-1.

So far Nigeria has discharged a total of 12,108 and had recorded 669 deaths as of July 7.

The NCDC report also revealed that 203 cases were discharged in the last 24 hours in 11 states— Edo, 87; FCT, 33; Lagos, 23; Rivers, 19;  Akwa Ibom, 17; Ebonyi, 12; Kano, 5; Gombe, 3; Ondo, 2; Bauchi, 1 and Ogun, 1.

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Also, 11 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours in six states: Oyo -5, Rivers -2 Adamawa 1, Akwa Ibom 1, Bayelsa -1, and Gombe- 1.

503 new cases of COVID19Nigeria;

Lagos-153
Ondo-76
Edo-54
FCT-41
Enugu-37
Rivers-30
Benue-24
Osun-20
Kaduna-15
Kwara-13
Abia-9
Borno-8
Plateau-6
Taraba-5
Ogun-3
Kano-3
Kebbi-2
Nasarawa-2
Bayelsa-1
Gombe-1

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29,879 confirmed
12,108 discharged
669 deaths

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Ghana reopens 600 Nigerian shops after six months

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Over Six Hundred (600) shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been reopened to business by the Ghanaian government has been under lock and key for over six months.

According to a statement signed on Tuesday by Gabriel Odu of Media, Public Relations and Protocol Unit of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) the President, National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) Ken Ukaoha disclosed this on Solidarity visit to the Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Tuesday, in Abuja.

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Ukaoha stated that the visit to NIDCOM is to commend and appreciate the Chairman/CEO Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa for her untiring and unrelenting efforts in resolving the lockdown of Nigerian shops in Ghana for over six months.

Ukaoha believes that the ECOWAS Protocol of the Free Movement of Persons, Goods, and Services shouldn’t be observed in breach but rather be observed in the spirit of brotherhood and diplomatic reciprocity.

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In a similar development, Abike Dabiri-Erewa lauded the NANTS led by its Ukaoha for appreciating NIDCOM’s role in the reopening of Nigerian shops in Ghana, the statement said.

She also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and stated that the intervention was multi-level especially at the highest level of diplomacy and bilateral relations between Ghana and Nigeria. Dabiri-Erewa urged Nigerian traders in Ghana to always obey the laws of their host country and conduct themselves with respect and dignity.

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It could be recalled that shops belonging to Nigerian traders in Ghana have been on lockdown since December 2019.

The reopening of the shops may also have been connected with the effort being made by the Ghanaian Government to appease the Nigerian government in order to resolve the recent face-off with Nigeria over the demolition of a residential building within the premises of the Nigerian High Commission in Accra, the Ghanaian capital.

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