FG Launches Project To Boost MSMEs In Nigeria

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria, MSME, Micro, Small and Medium EnterprisesThe Federal Government has launched a nationwide project code-named “MSME Clinics” to address the challenges faced by Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, launched the project on Tuesday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Professor Osinbajo said that the project would serve as a one stop shop to address challenges faced by small business owners.

The Governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was among the state governors at the event, identified lack of access to finance as one major problem facing the sector.

The Minister of Trade, Industry and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, however, assured operators that the results from the project would improve the sector.

A study by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that over 37 million MSMEs operated in Nigeria between 2010 and 2013.

Many of the businesses were said to have operated in the face of several challenges including administrative bottlenecks faced in getting government’s approval to register their businesses.

The project, which is expected to run till February 19, comes as part of the government’s efforts to address some of the challenges.

The facilitators of the project have been asked to interact with small business owners in 21 cities of the federation, with a view to identifying their challenges and providing immediate solutions.

The cities highlighted are Aba, Lagos and Ilorin among others.

Kwara State Govt. Begins Construction Of Underpass To Decongest Traffic

Kwara Governor, Governor AhmedKwara State government has started the construction of a 3.7 billion Naira Geri-Alimi Split Diamond Underpass in Ilorin, the capital city.

The Governor of the State, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, said the underpass bridge was part of efforts to decongest traffic.

At the flag off ceremony, Governor Ahmed said the project, to be funded through the newly launched Kwara State Infrastructure Development fund (IF-K), is expected to be completed in 18 months.

The Governor, who toured the area on Wednesday, made his first stop at Geri Alimi roundabout in Ilorin in southwest Nigeria.

Every morning and evening, movement in the area is usually difficult due to traffic jam. Most people in the state’s capital ply the route to their various destinations. Man-hours are lost to the situation daily.

In order to ease the suffering of the populace due to constant traffic jam, the state government has decided to construct what it called Diamond Underpass Split in the area.

Governor Ahmed said the underpass, when completed, would not only ease flow of traffic but add aesthetic value to the Geri-Alimi axis of the metropolis.

He assured the people of the metropolis that alternative roads would be provided to ease “the momentary inconvenience that the project may cause to road users”.

“Property owners that may be affected by the project would be compensated in line with relevant laws,” he said.

The Governor told people gathered for the take-off ceremony that more projects such as the dualisation of Zango University of Ilorin Road, new campuses for the State University in Ilesha-Baruba and Osi, captured under the IF-K funding window, would be carried out and brought to completion without delays.

Briefing the reporters at the ground of the underpass project, the consultant noted that being a gateway to the northern part of Nigeria, the project was necessary to ease traffic situation in the area.


Governor Ahmed Calls For Restructuring Of Local Govt.

Kwara Governor, Governor AhmedThe Kwara State Governor, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, has called for the restructuring of the local governments in the country.

He explained that the need of restructuring was necessary for the state government to meet the needs of the people especially in the provision of the democratic dividends.

Governor Ahmed made the call at the recent meeting held with senior civil servants in the state on the challenges bedeviling the local governments in the state.

He wondered how the third tier of government could not provide basic needs of the people but only used their monthly allocation to pay salary alone which he said is not forthcoming with the dwindling federal allocation.

Governor Ahmed noted that the basis for their creation has been incapacitated and urged for roundtable discussion on why they were created, where they are presently and how to improve for the future generation since they are closer to the grassroots.

Governor Ahmed Expresses Displeasure Over NULGE Strike

Abdulfatah-AhmedThe Governor of Kwara State, Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, has expressed displeasure over the protest held by the state civil servants.

He made this known during a meeting with the labour leaders and Chairmen of Local Government Councils.

The meeting was held in order to resolve the non-payment of the workers salary arrears.

The meeting was attended by the leadership of various unions in the state which include, the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT), Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE).

Governor Ahmed promised to ensure that their salaries are paid promptly but with some conditions attached.

He added that the larger percentage of last month’s allocation was given to offset primary and junior secondary school teacher’s salary to save the education sector from collapse to ensure that pupils go back to school.

The Governor stated that since the allocation from the federation has been dwindling, complaints should be directed at the council chairmen on how to increase their internally generated revenue to augment in paying local government salaries.

He also gave the labour leaders three conditions on how to put a permanent stop to non-delay in the payment of salaries.

The conditions include sharing the allocation as they come on monthly basis, which could mean collecting half salary monthly; calculation of the number of days worked by each worker before collection based on number of days and outright reduction of staff strength in order to collect full salary.

At the end of the three-hour meeting, they agreed not to retrench workers but promised to get back on the remaining two options.

Recently, the staff of the sixteen local government held a demonstration in Kwara State.

They took to the streets in the state capital protesting non-payment of six months’ salary arrears by local government chairmen.

The protest took them to the gate of Government House where they demanded to see the governor to inform him of how they are being treated by their employers.

CCT Trial: Saraki’s Lawyer’s Ill Health Stalls Appeal

Bukola Saraki, Senate President, CCTThe hearing of the appeal of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) at the Abuja Federal Court of Appeal has been stalled on Thursday.

The court was unable to sit on the matter as a result of the ill health of Dr. Saraki’s counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi.

The trial was on Wednesday stalled due to the absence of the prosecution’s chief witness, Mr Michael Wetkas, who was testifying in another case.

The Senate President is being tried at the tribunal for alleged false declaration of assets while serving as the Governor of Kwara State.

Saraki’s Trial: Groups Condemn Statements Allegedly Made By APC Chairman, Oyegun

John-Oyegun-APC-LeaderThe Coalition of Civil Society and the All Progressives Congress Democratic Vanguard have condemned statements credited to the Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Chairman, Dr John Oyegun, on the Senate Presidency.

The group alleged that Dr. Oyegun had said that the APC would not hesitate to sacrifice the position of the Senate President for the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the case of an eventual conviction of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Senator Sarki is facing trial for alleged false declaration of assets.

In a statement by the Coalitions’ convener, Olugbenga Olumegbon and Secretary, Olufemi Akindele, the groups said: “We categorically State that as Politically conscious Nigerians, we are not unmindful of the fact that the entire scenario of the trial of the Senate President is politically motivated judging by the fact that despite being Governor of Kwara State for eight years and Senator from the same state, the Code of Conduct, never deemed it necessary to invite nor investigate facts surrounding the asset declarations by Dr. Saraki until he eventually became the President of the Nigerian Senate against the wishes of some demi-gods and Political Lords in June 2015”.

The statement said that it was disturbing that persons like Dr. Oyegun and some of his co-travellers were in the pull-him-down campaign against Dr. Bukola Saraki, and “going the extra mile to undermine the sacrificial effort of Dr. Saraki and many of his likemind supporters, in dethroning the monsterous PDP, from government at that crucial moment of our National History”.

“May we remind Nigerians, that in as much that we are committed to the anti-corruption effort of the incumbent APC administration in our country, we remained opposed to every attempt to use such as a tool of intimidating perceived political opponents just for the purpose of hijacking political positions,” the statement further read.

The coalitions reminded the APC Chairman of the courage displayed by Senator Saraki in leading the revolution which later became known as the new PDP, and how it eventually aided the victory of the APC at the Presidential election in 2015.

They also reminded “those who have placed their inordinate ambitions above the collective interest of the revolutionary team of the APC and the mass of Nigerian people to remember that we may not have been where we are today, without the zeal, fearlessness and determination of the men and women of noble intention, led by Dr. Bukola Saraki to wrestle power from the then ruling party, PDP”.

They therefore demanded “for a stoppage to the use of institutional authorities for the pursuit of individual political ambitions or primordial interest”.

Kwara APC Says Mrs Saraki’s Invitation By EFCC Is Political

SarakiThe Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described the invitation of the wife of the Senate President, Mrs Toyin Saraki, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission (EFCC) as politically motivated.

They claimed that the invitation was made in order to ruffle her husband.

While addressing Journalists on Monday, the state Chairman of the party, Balogun Fulani Ishola, wondered why the invitation was not done nearly five years after her husband had finished his tenure as the Governor of Kwara State.

‘Selective Justice’

Mr Ishola urged the anti-graft body to come out clean and not mix the crisis at the National Assembly, involving her husband, with her personal life.

The State’s APC said that it took the intervention of elders of the party to stop the women in the state from expressing their anger over what they termed ‘selective justice’.

However, Senators of a group called ‘Like Minds’ in a statement signed by Senator Dino Melaye, said although they did not want to make any hasty conclusion, they were surprised that about five years after Senator Saraki left the Kwara State Government House, the EFCC suddenly realised the need to invite the wife for questioning.

They urged the Commission to perform its lawful duties without any form of external control.

Kwara Governor Dissolves Cabinet

kwara State
Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, re-elected for a second term in office in the April 11 election.

The Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has approved the immediate dissolution of the state executive council.

Also affected by the dissolution are Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants, Liaison Officers, and Youth Employment Coordinators.

The statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Isiaka Gold, said all boards of government-owned companies, commissions, parastatals and organisations other than those of statutory status are also dissolved.

Meanwhile, all Commissioners are advised to handover government properties in their custody to their permanent secretaries while heads of other Ministry Department and Agencies must handover to the most senior officers in their establishment.

The governor expresses sincere appreciation to all the affected political office holders for their immeasurable contributions to the success of his administration in the last four years and wished them success in their future endeavours.

He also looks forward to a continued robust partnership to move the state forward.

Governor Ahmed was re-elected for a second term in office which would take effect from May 29.

Saraki Speaks About Nigerian Politics, Reforms And Moving On After PDP

VFTP - Bukola SarakiFormer Governor of Kwara State and also Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, Bukola Saraki, is our guest on this edition of ‘View From The Top’

Saraki, who is currently the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment, is also a vocal commentator on national issues, and he speaks on several issues of concern, ranging from Nigeria’s Agriculture reforms, to the development of infrastructure.

The 2-time Chairman of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum, also speaks on the activities of the Governor’s Forum and the crisis it had experienced in recent times; as well as his defection from the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) into the opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC).

Enjoy the video.

Governor Ahmed Speaks On Kwara Development

Gov. AhmedDr. Abdulfatah Ahmed is the 19th Governor of Kwara State, and the 6th civilian governor of the state since the creation of the state in 1967.

Even though he became governor in 2011, he had been involved in the administration of the state for 10 years having been a 2-time commissioner during the administration of his predecessor, Governor Bukola Saraki.

He is the guest on this edition of ‘View From The Top’. Enjoy this interview where he speaks about the development of the state and his plans for sustaining the development programmes initiated by his administration.

NGF Imbroglio: Governor Ahmed Calls for Reconciliation

In a split in loyalty within the governors of the 36 states of the Federation over the just concluded Nigerian Governors’ Forum election, where the incumbent chairman of the Forum; Rivers State Governor; Chibuike Amaechi was re-elected with 19 votes and Plateau State Governor; Jonah Jang who is claiming that the election was rigged as he had 16 votes, are both laying claims to the position of the Chairman of NGF, the Kwara State Governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has asked that a peaceful path of reconciliation be engaged so as not to lose sight of the peer review for development which motivated the forum’s emergence in the first place.

In a press statement released by the Chief Press Secretary to the State Governor, Governor Ahmed called on other State governors to shun divisive political tendencies and bury the hatchet while focussing on using the NGF as a platform for driving the intended development for the benefit of the people.

Governor Ahmed emphasized that a peaceful path should be taken to resolve any rancour within the State governors rather encourage discord amongst themselves.

“If there are issues as regards the election of the Forum’s chairman, we should use the same platform to resolve them rather than fanning the embers of discord in the media. Our choking security challenges should not be compounded with political conundrum,”

Governor Ahmed therefore called on the leadership of South-South Governor’s Forum, the Northern State Governors’ Forum, the South East Governors’ Forum and their colleagues from the South West to utilise their various platforms to strengthen the Forum and complement the leadership at the Federal level.

According to him, as a peer-review platform for good governance, the NGF should offer critical development advice to first term governors such as himself so that democracy can be made more meaningful for the people, stressing that deliberate efforts should be made to ensure that the system is not overheated.

Dangote To Create 1 Million Jobs By Investing $600million In Sugarcane Production

The President, Dangote Group of Company, Aliko Dangote, has declared that the sugar arm of his company will invest over $600million in the production of sugar in Kebbi, Kwara and Sokoto states.

Dangote made this known during a visit to the Governor of Kwara state, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed, where he expressed satisfaction with the government’s effort at revolutionising agricultural in the state.

According to him, his company intends to replicate what it did in the cement industry by targeting about 65million tonnes of sugar which he said could produce about one million jobs for the people.

Dangote emphasized that in the next five years; the company would produce and grow two million tonnes of sugar, as part of efforts to ensure that Nigeria is self-sufficient in consumables instead of depending on importation.

He said Nigeria was wasting quite a lot of money in the importation of about two million tons of sugar, adding that the company has identified Patigi local government area of the state for the sugarcane plantation.

Dangote further expressed the hope that by cooperating with people and Kwara state government, the project would take-off before the end of the year.

The Kwara state Governor, pledged that his administration was very committed to work with investors in the bid to transform the economic lives of the people.

Mr Ahmed also gave the assurance that his administration would create enabling environment for would-be investors to operate coupled with adequate security for the growth of the economy.

He noted that Nigeria would never get it wrong if it invests in agriculture as the northern part of the country was endowed with arable soil which could be utilized for agriculture as a foreign exchange earner for the nation.