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Lagos finalises register to open guidelines, set to restart economy

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The Lagos State Government says it has set the process of re-opening its economy in motion, with the rollout of ”Register-to-Open” guidelines.

Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu said this at a webinar organized by First Securities Discount House (FSDH) Group, with the theme: ”A Global Pandemic: Local Realities and Peculiarities – A View from the Frontlines”.

Sanwo-Olu was a panelist in the online discussion that also featured Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State and Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, with about 1,200 people participating from across the globe.

He said that the state government was daily battling the reality of balancing reactivation of economic activities and the continuation of the state’s response to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor said that the battle to stop the ravaging virus in Lagos had subjected the state to a delicate situation.

He said it was a situation of having to manage hunger resulting from weeks of a slowdown in economic activities and also the movement of consumer goods to keep the economy afloat.

Sanwo-Olu said that the four-page Register-to-Open guidelines were the major part of the measures initiated to achieve phased re-opening of the state economy.

According to him, the government has offered incentives that will affect its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), in order to prevent job loss in critical industries that provide employment for a large number of people.

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Sanwo-Olu said that the state government remained committed to tackling COVID-19 and breaking the cycle of its transmission.

He, however, said that there was a need to address hunger and job loss that could arise from the prolonged lockdown of the economy.

”We have been caught in a very delicate situation between managing COVID-19 on one hand and managing hunger and sustaining an economy that is not only dependent on commercial activities in Lagos alone but also other states across the federation.

”We have had weeks of engagement with players in the fast-moving consumer goods sector and part of the measures we are taking is that, we are giving them additional clearance to work for longer hours.

”Besides, we initiated what we called Register-to-Open, which is a thorough guideline to help the residents ahead of the full re-opening.

”Some of the things we will be seeing in the four-page guideline is, how we want to manage space at various places of business and what numbers of personnel and clients we expect at a given period, which must be based on the sizes of the facilities.

”As we prepare for this phased re-opening, we are giving priority to sectors that have a higher number of labor,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The governor, however, maintained that the re-opening would not be done in haste.

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He said that the construction and manufacturing sectors would be accorded high priority for full re-opening, given the high level of employment they generate.

According to him, the entertainment, hospitality, and aviation industries will be considered in the second phase of the intervention.

Sanwo-Olu said that the weeks of inertia in the economy also had a significant impact on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), that millions of small-scale businesses operating in the state could completely fold up if the economy was not fully reactivated.

He said that the state government was granted a three-month moratorium to MSMEs that applied for loan facilities at the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF).

Sanwo-Olu also said that the government had started to compile data of registered MSMEs in the state for operational support that would cushion the effect of economic slowdown on their businesses.

”The other part of our intervention is our conversation with big corporations in various sectors on the requirements they may want from us to ensure that they do not retrench their staff in this emergency period. This conversation is very important.

”The companies have given us a retinue of incentives they want us to give and these are the things that will affect the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

”We are willing to make this sacrifice to prevent loss of livelihood for millions of our citizens,” the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu said that in the course of the lockdown, the state government provided palliatives for over 800,000 households, as there was the need to bring succor to residents that lived on a daily wage.

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He said that people must trust the government on the management of the coronavirus and data being churned out.

”Lagos has been affected both on the healthcare and economy sides. We have had to take a deep dive into our budget and have about 25 percent cut, which is not a very good number for us.

”This is the time we need to continue to spend to stave off pressure on our citizens. However, we need to be prudent at this time and cut unimportant expenditures. Salary is one thing we cannot even touch.

”In terms of direct economy, entertainment industry, hospitality, land transportation, and aviation businesses have been affected significantly.

”These sectors are large employers of labor. We are thinking through on how to reset these sectors in a graduated manner and bring back the economy on the full swing,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Politics

Anywhere there is strict law and order, a lot of Nigerians would have problems – ambassadorial nominee

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Covid-19: China reports 27 new cases, death toll at 4,632 after data revisions

Nigerians in China having disputes with authorities because they find it difficult to abide by the stringent laws

An ambassadorial nominee, Mr Ismail Abba, has given reasons Nigerians living in China are having disputes with Chinese authorities.

He added that anywhere that you have strict law and order, a lot of Nigerians would have problems

Abba, who appeared before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Friday, stated this while answering a question from a member of the Committee, Senator James Manager, on how he hoped to address the hostilities between the Chinese officials and the Nigerians there if posted to the country.

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The nominee said from his diplomatic experience in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, a lot of Nigerians usually had problems in any country where there were strict laws.

He said they found it difficult to cope “because many things Nigerians take for granted in their own country are taken seriously in other climes.”

He further stated,

“The challenges that Nigerians are having in China are not limited to China alone.

“I discovered in the course of my career because I had worked on the consulate immigration desk, I found that anywhere that you have strict law and order, a lot of Nigerians would have problems.

“ This is because a lot of things we take for granted here, others don’t; that is the number one problem.

“The second problem is that of constructive engagement. The job of a diplomat anywhere in the world is to constructively engage his host country to the benefit of his home country.

“We have a big distraction to the point that the consular issues tend to overshadow the real diplomatic issues and then your engagement with the host country would be always about prisoners, among others.

“When I was in China, we had about 2,000 Nigerian students in China from all over the country, a lot of them on self-sponsorship and private sponsorship and they were doing very well and the Chinese respected them.

“The people that the Chinese do not respect are those who come in with tourist visas, overstayed and did nothing, that is the problem.”

He said the consulate often enlightened the people whenever they arrived in China.

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Politics

Dissolution of Zamfara LG councils unconstititional – APC

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The Zamfara chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has condemned the dissolution of the 14 Local Government administrations by the state government, describing it as unconstitutional.

The state APC Chairman, Alhaji Lawal Liman, made the condemnation in an interview with the Newsmen

Reports have it that the state house of assembly had on Thursday recommended the immediate dissolution of all the councils for alleged negligence on security and financial recklessness.

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Gov. Bello Matawalle, after approving the recommendation of the house, appointed caretaker chairmen to pilot the affairs of the 14 councils.

Nine of the chairmen who had defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were among those appointed as caretaker chairmen of the LGAs.

Liman described the dissolution as a violation of the Constitution, saying the APC as a law-abiding political party would not accept it.

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He said the party would follow due process to challenge the government on the matter.

“The matter of tenure of local government chairmen is before the court, therefore, we will follow the Constitutional means to challenge the government over the issue.

“This is very unfortunate, the way PDP led government is violating the constitution to protect its political interest.”

He also said that the dissolution was a “political blackmail” against the five LG council chairmen who refused to decamp to PDP.

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Liman called on APC supporters in the state to remain calm, saying the party was working to protect their interests.

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Nigeria Update

Governor Bello lifts lockdown, insists Kogi is COVID-19 free

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COVID-19: Bello orders two weeks total lockdown in Kabba/Bunu LGA

The lockdown imposed on Kabba-Bunu Local Government Area of the state over suspected cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19), has been lifted by the Kogi state government.

Governor Yahaya Bello who made the announcement at the Government House in Lokoja on Friday, June 5, said the decision of lifting the lockdown in the local government area was reached after samples which were tested came back negative.

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The Governor who insisted that Kogi state still remains a COVID-19-free state urged residents of the state to observe protocols of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to curb the spread of the disease.

This is coming days after the NCDC announced that two Coronavirus cases were confirmed in the state. Dino Melaye also confirmed this by revealing that he knows one of the patients.

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