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Bankers unite in support of Nigeria’s most vulnerable in a visit to IDP camps in Maiduguri

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Some of Nigeria’s leading bank executives came together to show solidarity with their fellow Nigerians affected by the ongoing crisis in Borno State. In a collective visit to two camps for internally displaced people in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, companies and banks that are part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund – Private Sector Initiative reiterated their commitment to the humanitarian response and taking ownership of it.

“These are our people, this is our country, and this is our problem. As much as we are getting help from the rest of the world, we must be able to find solutions for our own people. As a Nigerian, the people I met here today are our brothers, our sisters and our children, and I don’t wish to see any single one of them living in the conditions we saw here today,” said Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Limited.

“That gives us the impetus and the drive to take the situation more seriously than we ever did.
Our vision is beyond what our companies can do. Our goal is to get every single Nigerian to own this situation,” she concluded.

Mrs. Awosika led a delegation that included Mr. Biyi Olagbami, Executive Director of Ecobank, Mr. Kyari Bukar, Co-Chair of the NHF PSI Steering Group, and Mr. Olumide Akpata, Senior Partner of Templars Law Firm, among others, to Maiduguri where they met and interacted with displaced men, women and children who are bearing the brunt of the ten-year conflict in Nigeria’s northeast.

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As the protracted crisis continues, Nigeria’s private sector is stepping into the realm of humanitarian response and has pledged to contribute resources and identify collaborative avenues to address the humanitarian needs of more the 7.1 million people in need across Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.

They joined the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr. Edward Kallon, who emphasized the crucial role Nigeria’s private sector has to play in driving forward effective solutions.

“The Nigerian Humanitarian Fund Private Sector Initiative is an innovative platform to foster effective collaboration between the UN, the Government of Nigeria and leading Nigerian business. We are here today to see how we can work with them to mobilize action and resources to meet the needs of the displaced people in north-east Nigeria,” said Edward Kallon, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria.

This second visit of private sector leaders to Borno State was part of the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund-Private Sector Initiative (NHF-PSI). The NHF-PSI is a ground-breaking global initiative created in Nigeria and managed by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on behalf of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator. The initiative will see Nigerian companies join donor countries in pooling donations and resources together. The platform aims to create a more collaborative and effective response by bringing awareness to the ongoing humanitarian crisis – one of the most severe in the world – which is predominantly affecting women and children.

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Fourteen of Nigeria’s leading companies signed up to the initiative launched in Lagos in November 2018, which will harness their financial resources, innovative capacity and entrepreneurial drive in support of the humanitarian response. The NHF-PSI offers a measurable and accountable platform for companies to pool their resources together to more effectively transform the lives of millions of their fellow Nigerians.

To date, the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund has raised $90 million in contributions and pledges, thanks to the generous support of seventeen donor countries, and aspires to raise $80 million from the private sector. The unique collaboration presents an unprecedented opportunity for Nigerian businesses to lead the way in bringing Nigerians together for Nigeria.

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Makinde spends 74 hours with state officials drawing plan to transform agriculture

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IITA, AfDB salute Makinde’s vision

At a retreat in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to chart a path for transforming agriculture, Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde set a record in governance, by spending more than 72 hours with his state officials designing an implementation plan for Oyo state agribusiness.

The governor also promised officials of the state that the administration will give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the state.

“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the state the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” Gov Makinde said at the retreat that was facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 15-19 August.

Gov Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the state. He said the state would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investor confidence.

Since assumption of office on 29 May 2019, Gov Makinde has pledged to transform the narrative of agriculture with the view to making it the pillar of the state’s economic development. The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the state.

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Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery commended the governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.

“I have never seen such a commitment from a governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the state to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria,” he added.

Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied division with the African Development Bank said the commitment of the state to agriculture was a step in the right direction.

“Let me also commend you (the governor of Oyo state) for organizing this very important meeting, and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state,” he added via skype.

Dr. Fregene urged the state government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state.

“For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business,” he explained.

According to the AfDB director, the Bank would be willing to support the state in its quest to transform agriculture.

The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a vision for the state in agriculture, identifying the obstacles to the vision, developing strategic actions to deal with the obstacles to the vision, and developing an implementation plan.

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Adebowale Akande, Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the state to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.

Makinde appoints Owoseni, former Lagos, Benue Commissioner of Police, Special Adviser.

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Bola Ige complex wants to reclaim lost glory, as Oyo govt reveals plan

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As part of the efforts of the Oyo State Government in creating conducive environment for businesses within the State to thrive, the present administration has revealed its plan in restoring Bola Ige International Business Complex, Gbagi, Ibadan back to international standard as provided in the master plan of the market.

 

This was contained in a communique issued after a stakeholders’ meeting held recently at the market between the market leaders and the task force committee set up by Governor Seyi Makinde to restructure the business complex.

 

The Chairman of the task force committee, Sanitarian Olusoji Oyewole in his briefing, assured the market men and women that the State Government remained committed to providing them the basic facilities that would promote the economic activities in the market.

 

“The Oyo State Government under the leadership of Engineer Seyi Makinde has deemed it fit to ensure that Bola Ige International Business Complex regains its lost age-long status as a major hub of wholesale textile materials, servicing both neighboring, far and distant States in Nigeria,” he said.

 

“The intention of the administration in setting up this task force is not to witch-hunt anyone in the market but rather towards seeking their cooperation and support for proper waste dumping of refuse, hygienic toilet facilities,

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large number of parking lots for convenience and easy access to the market as well as considerable open spaces in construction of approved buildings.”

 

He, thereafter urged the market community to keep to the environmental laws and town planning regulations of the State, noting that the market stood to benefit if commercial activities were carried out in clean and serene environment.

 

In his remarks, the representative of the elders’ forum in the market, Chief Adebayo expressed appreciation to the State Government and further pledged support of the market community towards the actualization of restoring the market to international standard.

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Pay For Temporary Use of Road Setbacks or We Take Them Over’ – Oyo Govt Warns Business Organizations

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Business organizations that built on the mandatory setbacks on major roads in Oyo State for temporary usage have been warned to pay for these spaces or have them taken over by government.

 

The Executive chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John Adeleke disclosed this on Thursday, saying the State administration was not happy with the attitude of most organizations using these spaces for failing to meet their financial obligations to the State despite being served many demand notices by the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).

 

Adeleke who spoke with Journalists at his office shortly after an enforcement exercise under the Management of Public Space Scheme (MOPS) embarked upon by Oyo State Internal Revenue Services (OYSIRS) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

 

He stated that for Government to be able to provide amenities in the State, organizations and other business owners needed to remit taxes, levies and dues to the rightful place as their civic duties.

 

He said, “Setbacks in public places are government properties and to use them, there should be payment for temporary use of such places. Most organizations have taken this for granted for so long and that is what necessitated our action at this point.

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“The focus of the first phase of the enforcement exercise is on the Banking Industry after that we will move to other sub-sectors. The government will recover the setbacks unless those affected do what is required.

 

“In the past, series of correspondence, plea and stakeholders meeting with those concerned yielded no response. Also,the second phase will come soonest and will reach others that refused to comply with the payment option.”

 

While appreciating those that complied,The Executive chairman implored other business owners and individuals with outstanding taxes,levies,charges and fees to pay up so as to forestall drastic step against them.

 

Among areas covered during the exercise are Total Garden, Agodi and Bodija all within Ibadan metropolis.

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