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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

FG’s school feeding scheme in Ebonyi faces collapse


The Ebonyi Commissioner for Education, Prof. John Eke, says  the Federal Government’s Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in the state has been “a massive success” contrary to the view of monitors of the programme, who warned that the programme is being derailed and will collapse.
Eke, who is also the chairman of  state implementation committee of the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abakaliki that the initial challenges encountered by the cooks  in the programme have been overcome.
According to him, the cooks were initially unable to access their money deposited in Heritage Bank which he said had only one branch in the state.
The professor said  the state government’s intervention made Federal Government to use  First Bank  which eased  the problem of cooks accessing fund deposited in the bank for the programme because the bank has many branches.
He said that government and its agents have no direct access to  the fund  meant for the programme.
Eke, however  said the N70.00 allotted for  the meal of each pupil is not enough to provide a pupil a balanced meal because an egg cost N40.00  in view of  the rising  costs of food items in the market.
But, some concerned  citizens monitoring the  implementation of  the Federal Government’s initiative have  decried the way and manner  in which the programme is being run  in the state.
They  spoke  in separate interviews emphasising  the need for the operators of the programme to follow the guidelines as stipulated by the Federal Government.
They noted that primary school pupils were not being served quality food for  the five school days as stipulated by the FG’s guidelines.
NAN recalls that Ebonyi was one of the five states that received N400 million  for the continuation of  its Home-Grown School Feeding Programme in January, 2017.
Under the free Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, an estimated  5.5 million pupils  in the five states including Ebonyi would be fed for 200 school days and  N93.1billion has  been appropriated for the feeding scheme in the 2016 budget.
Mr Jerome Nwoba,   a concerned citizen keen at monitoring  the programme,  told NAN that government’s intention was being thwarted due to the manner the programme was executed in the state.
According to him, primary school pupils were fed with less than N30  for a meal as against N70 approved by FG .
He said that the vendors claimed that they were only managing with little resources made available to them by their handlers.
“The programme is a total failure in Ebonyi and an urgent review of the programme is needed including investigation into how money  is being released to fund the programme in the state; this is  necessary to salvage the appalling situation.
“Vendors are provided with about N20,500 to feed 43 pupils for five days in some schools while the amount is less in some other schools.
“If you breakdown the amount, it’s less than N30 a day per a meal while FG provided N70  for a meal per a day.
“I guess some persons are somewhere allegedly sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government and an urgent probe will unmask the elements undermining the programme.
“In all the three primary schools visited in Izzi Local Government Area including Achara Unuhu, Akpurata and Amanato community primary schools, the story is the same, ” Nwoba said.
He said that the food vendors were threatening to quit the programme unless the FG intervened and addressed the noticeable lapses.
Another concerned  citizen, Mr Ikechukwu Ogbonna, said he monitored the implementation of the programme in three schools and interacted with cooks in the different schools.
He said that the cooks complained of underfunding, making it impossible to serve the pupils with decent meals.
He further claimed that the affected cooks have threatened to quit the programme unless there was proper funding of the programme.
“In Adangene community primary school, Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area with 115 pupils only N21,000 was released to feed them for five days.
“In Akpe-Amanachi community primary school in Abakaliki Local Government Area, the story is not different; N6, 000 was released to feed a school population of 134 pupils for five days, and no feeding has taken place for two weeks now in the school.
“In Amandim community primary school in Mgbom, Ugwulangwu, Ohaozara with 85 pupils, N21,000 was released to feed the pupils for five days.
“In most cases, pupils are served food on their palms and in a most unhygienic manner, ” Ogbonna said.
Mrs Queen-Juliet Ijezie said only one out of five schools she monitored in Izzi local government area fed the pupils once since the school feeding programme began in the state.
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Lagos 5th top destination of Fortune 500 companies


Lagos is the fifth leading destination of Fortune 500 companies within the Middle East and Africa, according to a new report released today by Infomineo (www.Infomineo.com), a global business research company specialising in the region.
Lagos is ahead of Cairo but queues behind Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Nairobi.
Egypt remains behind the leaders due to political instability, however, it has seen a 250% increase in Fortune 500 investment since 2015, the report said.
Germany and France are leading in terms of coverage rate while China has the lowest presence in the region.
The Middle East Africa (MEA) region has become increasingly important for the majority of global Fortune 500 companies, said the report.
The report focuses on multinationals looking at entering, or already present, in the Middle East and Africa region. Overall, there was a 17% increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg being the leading destination for Africa.
The Infomineo analysis includes the regional footprint of multinationals in the MEA region, the most commonly chosen cities, and the factors which influence the selection of a region, country and city – each element revealing the dynamic growth patterns within the region and a clear trend of Fortune 500 companies establishing presence in MEA.
In 2016, 196 Fortune 500 companies had established a dedicated regional headquarters in the MEA region. In the Middle-East, Dubai is the most popular choice with 138 companies establishing a dedicated entity in the city. There has also been a marked uptick in companies deciding to cover MEA from outside of the region – 38 companies up from 22 have established a regional headquarters in areas such as London, Brussels and Paris.
Industry type plays a pivotal role in the selection of city and country. Financial services are more likely to base MEA coverage from London, while technology companies are more inclined towards Casablanca or Lagos. The latter city is also the premier location for organisations looking to manage their operations across Western Africa with 12 Fortune 500 companies already established in the city.
Automotive and Healthcare tend to have a presence in both Africa and the Middle East, while Technology is more inclined to having a presence from the outside.
Nairobi, in Kenya, is the leading destination for the FMCG companies and tends to be the top choice for organisations looking to service Eastern Africa.
Dubai and Johannesburg are the most popular hubs overall, but both Casablanca and Nairobi are rapidly gaining traction and international awareness.
Casablanca has the highest growth rate overall, while Dubai has the highest count. The same can be said for London, which has tripled its number of regional HQs serving the region, acting as an MEA hub.
Given the geographical proximity and the talent pool present in the city, it could be that London is playing the role of a first step into the MEA region, especially for Japanese and North American companies.
There are numerous factors which impact on the organisation’s selection of a specific city. These include the local market potential, maturity of the industry, existing competitors, political stability and the quality of the employment market, among others. Determining the attractiveness of a location along these clear lines assures the Fortune 500 companies of a stable and profitable investment and significantly mitigates risk. The most attractive cities are Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Nairobi, and at the lower end of the spectrum, Cairo, Paris, Algiers and Cape Town.
Infomineo has undertaken in-depth analysis and research on the MEA region, revealing the various factors inhibiting or inspiring Fortune 500 uptake. The findings provide organisations with a thorough understanding of markets and factors which ensure a steady base of operations from which organisations can expand into the growing MEA market, and establish brand and identity within the growing middle classes. Further data on the report can be found here
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Ecobank writes off N221.7b loan, posts N50b loss


Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), on Tuesday cleaned its books of non-performing loans, by making a provision of N221.7 billion in its 2016 audited accounts.
The bank said that its impairment charges, showed a jump of 110.7 per cent compared with N105.2 billion recorded in 2015.
It said that the results released on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on April 18, showed that the bank recorded a growth of 22.3 per cent in gross earnings to N665 billion in 2016, from N542.7 billion in 2015.
The net interest income rose by 25.3 per cent to N284 billion, from N226.6 billion in 2015.
Profit before impairment charges stood at N188 billion, up from N146 billion.
ETI said, however, the N221.7 billion impairment charges led the company to close the year with a loss before tax of N33.7 billion compared with a profit before tax of N40.5 billion in 2015. The bank added that loss after tax stood at N52 billion, as against a profit after tax of N21.25 billion in 2015.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, Mr Ade Ayeyemi said group revenues remained resilient despite a tough year of macro- economic headwinds .
Ayeyemi said the headwinds included a weaker economic environment, particularly in Nigeria, and the weakening of its reporting currency in terms of dollar with African currency, especially the Nigerian Naira where 40 per cent of the group’s revenues have historically been generated.
“Separately, our end of year bottom line performance has been impacted by our voluntary adoption of a full impairment charge regarding our legacy loan portfolio, for which a resolution vehicle was set up.
“The first private sector funded resolution vehicle of its kind in Nigeria, with the sole objective of ring-fencing the legacy loans from Nigeria’s core bank. This, among others, would allow management to focus on delivering results.
“Our business philosophy was founded on international best practice in terms of accounting and asset quality.
“So whilst the impairment charge has impacted our earnings, our accounting treatment has been for the right reasons and we are in better shape for the future as a result,” he said.
While assuring that stakeholders that the group has strengthened its entire risk management architecture, he said the bank would also also focus on bringing down impairment cost.
According to him, the bank will also improve the collection and what have been provided for so that the bottom line would be robust going forward.
Ayeyemi disclosed that the proposed $400 million convertible bond issue will be used sensibly and profitably, of which $200 million would be used to repay the short-term financing used in setting up the resolution vehicle.
“The remaining $200 million is for a conscious debt restructure of the maturity profile of the ETI Holdco balance sheet.
“We are delighted to have very high subscription levels to the issue from existing shareholders, in the region of $300 million.
“The conversion price of the offer is six cents compared to a current price of three cents with an interest rate of 6.46 per cent above LIBOR,”he said.
The GCEO added he remained confident in the result of the cost-cutting efforts,  saying:
‘Our ability to deliver a leading service for our customers which will be reflected in improved key performance indicators in 2017 and beyond. Ecobank’s twin goals are generating sustainable returns above the cost of equity whilst maintaining the highest international standards and we treat both goals equally.
“Reputations are hard won and easily lost and we will never compromise that. We have a bright future ahead and I look forward to the future with confidence.”
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Osun NYSC Donates Wheel Chairs to Physically Challenged Persons


National Youth Service Corps, NYSC Osun State in partnership with Grace Project International have donated wheelchairs worth thousands of naira to three physically challenged persons in Ede.
Coordinator of NYSC in Osun state, Emmanuel Attah said the wheel chairs which was donated by Grace Project International was part of their contribution to NYSC  in ensuring  the actualization of institution’s  social responsibility to the people.
 The three physically challenged persons are the first beneficiaries. It was designed to test and I want to assure you that the next beneficiaries will be more and would be distributed across the state.
  This gesture is an attestation of the passion which the director general of NYSC, Brigadier General S. Z Kazaure have in developing not only the corps members, staff, but also the various communities where corps members are posted to serve their fatherland.
Attah who represented the NYSC director general said that the choice of Ede as the first beneficiary was not a coincidence, but a deliberate effort in that Ede is where the NYSC orientation camp is located.
The DG, however, called on the host communities to continue to support NYSC scheme and to see the corps members as their own children. Noting that NYSC will continue to develop the various communities in the state and impact on the people positively.
Oba of Ede, Muniru Adeshola Lawal said yesterday during the ceremony that he was excited as his domain is the first to benefit from the gesture.
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Governor Aregbesola Submits List Of Commissioners after two years in government


The Governor of Osun, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has submitted 39 names of Commissioners and Special Advisers to the State’s House of Representatives for confirmation. On Tuesday, the speaker of the state Assembly, Rt.Hon. Najeem Salam read the names of the nominees as sent by the governor, at the plenary, putting an end to speculations.
The 39 names as read from the letter of the governor, by the speaker include:
Arch.Akintunde Akinado
Mr Lani Badarinwa
Mrs Idiat Babalola
Mr Kolapo Alimi
Mr Olateju Muhideen
Mr Mudashiru Toogun
Mrs Latiffat Giwa
Mrs Kobolaji Akande
Mrs Toun Adegboyega
Dr Rafiu Isamotu
Mr Kunle Ige
Mr Bola Oyebamiji
Mrs Taiwo Oluga
Mr Korede Idowu
Mr Kola Omotunde Young
Mr Ismail Ademola
Senator Mudasiru Hussein
Mr Mikhail Adejare
Mr Ademola Adeyinka
Hon Ipoola Binuyo
Mr Ismail Jayeoba  lagbada
Dr Olalekan yunusa
M Babatunde Ibirogba
Mr Femi popoola
Dr Mrs Yemisi akionla
Mr Remi Kolajor
Mr Bola ilori
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Mr Tunde Ajilore
Engr Remi omowaye
Engr Kazeem Salami
Engr Afeez Oladede
Dr Adebisi Obawale Snr
Mr Bisi Odewumi
Mr Jimoh Gbenga Akano
Dr Olugbenga Oyinlola
Dr Bashiru Ajibola
Mr Gbenga Awosode
Mr Adeola Tejumola
Adeola tejumola
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