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Dr. Akwasi Osei, The Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Authority said that the proposed Mental Health Levy is necessary in view of dwindling resources and in comparative to the high level of challenges facing Ghanaians

“One of our biggest expectations for 2020 is to establish the Mental Health Levy that we’ve been clamouring for,” Dr Osei said.Authorities in the West African state of Ghana are  contemplating the introduction of Mental health Levy special tax to fund different programmes and policy of the government on mental health.

 “Already, there is a Mental Health Fund established by virtue of the law but what would feed the fund is largely the levy. But we are developing a levy to regulate the management of the fund so when the levy comes we already have the protocol and the policy to manage the levy. We are preparing the grounds” he explained.

Dr Osei further advised that the Mental Health Board is developing a policy of how to manage that fund when it is finally established. He stated that mental health has been malnourished, orphaned and deprived of resources for years.

“To bring parity and a level of equality with other health conditions, there is a need to give a lot of resources and that means more funding to mental health than exist.”

He expressed delight in the budgetary allocation for mental health for 2020,He also indicated plans by the Authority to get mentally challenged people off the streets and communities.

At the UK-Africa Investment Summit which held in London, the UK announced the Growth Gateway ;a service to help African, UK and other international businesses trade with and invest in each other.

It was stated that;

The service will help businesses access the UK government’s trade, investment and finance offer for Africa all in one place. It will be made up of:

  • online information: a section of great.gov.uk will provide up-to-date information on the UK government’s trade, investment and finance offer, as well as African market guides, UK sector guides and a tool to help businesses understand what support they may need, and how best to access it; the content will be available in English, French and Portuguese
  • a UK-based team of trade and investment professionals: to help African firms export to the UK, find investment partners, and help UK and international companies to trade with and invest in Africa; the team will work closely with Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith

The eligibility status requires;

Growth Gateway’s online service will be available for all African, UK and international businesses. Additional support will be accessible to businesses seeking to combine commercial development with social impact in Africa.

Growing prosperity through trade and investment

The UK government is determined to provide support for African businesses to find trade and investment partners and access UK advice and expertise.

For UK businesses, the service offers further assistance to help British businesses to find new business partners and capitalise on opportunities for international growth in African market.

On Monday, the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, stated in her office that the “Ogun State Government is set to key into the Revolving Drug Fund established in 2019 to promote bulk purchase of drugs from manufacturers for end-users to buy at competitive prices.

Coker said: “The Governor Dapo Abiodun-led government will not take the provision of qualitative health service for granted.“Our vision is to make Ogun the health tourist destination of choice and attractive to all and sundry, including investors.

This will provide economic empowerment and job opportunities for our people“The renovation and equipping of primary health centers across the 236 wards in the state will commence soon and every resident of the Gateway State must have access to quality healthcare, irrespective of location.

 According to her, this will make healthcare services available to all, adding that the scheme will cover pregnant women and children up till the age of five, including screening of communicable and non-communicable diseases.

She said that the present administration was determined to make the health sector attractive to both residents and non-residents in a way that would provide solutions to health issues and attract investors to the sector.

The commissioner further said that government would not take training and continuous professional development of its health workers for granted, noting that delivery of quality services across the primary, secondary and tertiary tiers of the health sector remained a priority.

  “We will also equip and staff these facilities adequately to ensure that the public are given best services.” According to the commissioner, since Ogun has the best life expectancy in Nigeria, government will not relent in maintaining the status.

On Monday, the Tanzania government is expected to switch off about 10 million unregistered sim cards in order to lessen rising crimes in the country.Officials say the move is aimed at  reducing cybercrime, which jumped by 82% in Tanzania in 2017.

The biometric registration will link SIM cards to identification cards or foreign passports and fingerprints. Nowadays, phones are like banks, said Fredrick Ntobi, of Tanzania’s Communication Regulatory Authority.

“Sometimes, you might mistakenly send money to various places. Because the details of the one who received the money will be known, it will be easier for your money to be returned.”

Expectedly, long queues have formed in several centres across the country as people try to beat Monday’s deadline to register their Sim cards.

Officials say only 20 million Sim cards have been registered, leaving more than half of active cards at risk of being switched off.

Many Tanzanians have criticised the government for not allowing enough time to complete the registration .But Tanzania Communication and Regulatory Authority has blamed people for waiting until the last minute to complete the registration.

The government said the registration was intended to deal with cybercrime and fraud but critics fear it would allow the authorities to eavesdrop on citizens, particularly during elections.

The resident of Ile Epo community in the Abule – Egba area of Lagos counted their losses on Monday after a petroleum pipeline explosion.

Five people have been confirmed dead, 11 buildings, 17 shops and 36 vehicles including 33 trucks, were burnt by the inferno which started around 8;30pm on Sunday night. The pipeline was said to belong to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

The chairman of Truck Driver Association in the area, Ibrahim Ariyo blamed the explosion on the compromise on the part of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps. He said “ what happened was a compromise on the part of the personnel of the NSCDC security post is close to where the pipeline was punctured.

My question to the NSCDC personnel is why can’t they stop the vandals from carrying out the operation?

He said they have lost millions of naira worth of vehicles to the incident, he complains that he does not know where his people will start from because the burnt trucks are their only source of livelihood, including him.

A resident of the area, Abiodun Olusola, who lost his two bedroom house to the inferno, plead the government to come to the aid of the community. He also said he was inside when he heard the sound of the explosion and ran out without taking anything with him and that it took the fire 45 minute before getting to his house.

Another resident, identified herself as Mama,said she was about preparing food when she heard the sound of the explosion, she had to run for her life taking only her phone. She also said all her goods were burnt by the inferno.

The governor of Lagos state Babajide Sanwo – Olu sympathized with the affected families on twitter.

He tweeted: “ my thoughts and prayers are with the families businesses affected in the unfortunate incident at Abule – egba. We are thankful for the brave members of LASEMA & our fire service that swung into action, working all night to reduce the impact. Pipeline vandals will be shown no mercy”

‘We must work together to ensure man-made incident like the Abule – Egba fire incident are avoided. Security and information gathering along volatile corridors will increase and a stronger synergy with communities must happen. We all have a role to play

This year’s Africa CEO’s Forum will be held in Abidjan, côte d’ivoire, in March, with the theme “Capitalism for Many ; A New Horizon for the Afircan Private Sector” according to the organizers, Paris – based jeune Afrique Media Group.

The event will come just before the Africa continental Free Trade Area commencing in this July, which will create a borderless $3.4 trillion market.

The forum will bring together 1,800 business and financial leaders, heads of government and policymakers. On the agenda will be the roles of large African companies on the continent where the wealth gap is widening.

In addition, participants will explore ways of building successful family and state enterprises ,closing the gender gap and nurturing talents.

The impact of capitalism is the subject of the discussion across the globe, and Africa’s private sector cannot afford to be left behind, said Amir Ben Yahmed, Jeune Afrique Media Group managing director.

Speaking to eastern Africa  in Nairobi, Mr yahmed said that although there are many threats facing businesses, crafting strategies towards a more inclusive society create opportunities. 

For africa to thrive, he added, businesses must join the debates on “ capitalism for many” combining the imperative of the” doing well” for the investors and ” doing good” for the wider society

The Federal Road Safety Corps has drafted a driving license scheme that will enable Nigerians moving to the United States and some European countries moves without taking a fresh driving course. The scheme comes with a valid national driving licenses.

The assistant Corps Commandants of the FRSC, Okechukwu Chukwuma said the FRSC would partner with Nigerians in Diaspora Commission Chairman (NIDCOM) to fast track the application process for Nigerians abroad upon their arrival in the country.

He also said the partnership is aimed at creating a stressless process for the Nigerian Diaspora to obtain their driving license during their stay in Nigeria.

The NIDCOM media officer, Gabriel Odu stated that the commission’s Secretary, Dr Yakubu Bassi, described the visit of FRSC delegate as timely. 

The secretary gave an assurance of the commission’s support to the FRSC in the area of public enlightenment on road safety adherence .

The secretary advised the FRSC to organize in -house training for MIDCOM staff on safe driving as part of its corporate social responsibility

The Economic Financial Crime Commission arraigned Aisha Alkali Wakil, popularly known as mama boko haram. She is the chief executive officer of Complete Care and Aid Foundation. She was brought before a Maiduguri High Court. 

The other two persons arraign along mama Boko Haram are Tahiru Daura and Prince Lawal Shoyade, the program Manager and the Country Director of the NGO respectively.

 EFCC brought a 5- count charge of conspiracy and cheating against Mama Boko Haram and the two others. They were arraigned before Justice Aisha Kumal.

Benjamin Manji, the prosecutor, said that three persons and one Saidu Mukhtar (at large) since June and august 2018 at Maiduguri, Borno State conspired to obtain money under false pretense, contrary to section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Fraud Related offense Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act

They were also charged with obtaining “ with the intent to defraud” the sum of 45 million from one Mohammed Umar Mohammed of Nyeuro International Limited under the pretense of executing a contract, which is an offense contrary to section 1 (1) of the Advanced Free Fraud Act and punishable under law. 

Also cheating, contrary to the section 96 (a) and punishable under section 97 of the Borno state penal Code Law Cap102, as well as all induced “ with the intent to defraud” 

The fifth charge was that they collected 3000 bags of 50kg white beans worth 65 million under “false “ contract , contrary to section 320 and punishable under section 322 of the Borno state penal Code Law Cap 102

The three accused pleaded not guilty 

President Muhammadu Buhari met with the United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson to seek the cooperation of the National Crime Agency of the United Kingdom in the investigation of fugitives from Nigeria living in UK

The president’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina in a statement in abuja said the president called the Prime Minister in London on Monday during a bilateral meeting. The two leaders met on the sidelines of UK- Africa Investment Summit 2020.

Buhari said that the anti- corruption war going on in Nigeria is making tremendous impact though slow. He said the cooperation of the NCA UK is needed. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the former Minister for petroleum, Diezani Alison – Madueke and some other Nigerian fugitives had fled into exile since the current administration came on board in 2015.

The federal High Court in 2017, presided by Justice Abdulazeez Anka, has ordered the final forfeiture of the 7.6 billion alleged loot recovered by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Allison – Madueke. 

The President gave an update on the positive development in Nigeria in different area of national endeavor to Mr Johnson. He said on the war of insurgency, things are a lot better, they have been able to clear the mind of the people on the true philosophy of boko haram though there were challenges in the area of resettling displaced people, it was resolved.

Mr Johnson Appreciated Mr Buhari “for being a regional leader who gives strong encouragement to the West “ He congratulated him on job created through agriculture and encourage him to do more. He also lauded the Nigeria President for what he called the “social and economic benefits” that has accrued to the country since 2015.

Mr johnson also promised that the necessary cooperation needed by the Nigeria government on its fight against corruption through the national crime agency.

Governor Kayode Fayemi, the All Progressive Party will collapse and cease from existing by 2023. The governor said that president Muhammed Buhari has been the unifying force and when he leaves the ruling party, APC will collapse.

The chairman of the Governor’s forum said this while responding to a question on the crisis within the ruling party. He said, “If we are not careful; if we do not institutionalize processes and procedures in the party and make it more inclusive than it is, we will not have a party when President Muhammadu Buhari leaves government. This is because he is the unifying force of our party”.

The governors were instrumental to the emergence of Adams Oshiomhole as the chairman of the party. He was their colleague, so they worked together. I don’t think there’s a view about the leadership of the party in the PGF. I think there’s a clear view that the party can do a lot more than it has done,” Fayemi said.

He also said people should ignore him even as he expressed confidence that the party would witness a successful transfer of power from one region to another, reiterating that the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu remains the most qualified and competent candidate to take over from Buhari.

Recently, former Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu mentioned that the governing party will collapse in 2023 if the party fails to be more inclusives. He further said that the ruling party will lose all the election by 2023 which will lead to the final death of the party. He said the party will get no vote during the next election if the party fails to put its house in order.

Shittu added by saying the ruling party APC and People Democratic Party share the same ideology in approach to governance. 

Akon, the Senegal- American singer has signed an agreement with the government of Senegal to build a cryptocurrency based economy city named Akon city. The agreement was finalized on the 17th of January of 2020.The singer initially announced plans to create a city in the west African country, which will use his own cryptocurrency called the Akoin for currency, at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in 2018.

In reference to the statement released in 2018, the Akon city will be built on the land that was given to Akon by Macky Sall, the president of senegal. The three square miles of land, near the country’s capital is located “ within five minute “of the Blaise Diagne International Airport.

Presently in development, Akon Crypto City is the first of its kind, 100 percent crypto-based city with Akoin at the center of transactional life. Akon said that he hoped that the city would be the first of many that uses cryptocurrency   – a digital currency based on blockchain, which is a set of digital records that track transactions chronologically and publicly.

 The Singer said “If it works, we will scale it out to all the other countries in Africa so all the cities are connected. It’s going to be a 50- to 100-year project, most likely. I probably won’t even live to see it finished. But for the project in Senegal, we have a 10-year deadline for that city to be built out.” 

Before Akon City, Akon was behind a project known as Akon Lighting Africa, with the goal of providing the means to harness and utilize solar power to various African nations. Solar power will also be a defining feature of Akon City, described in a recent Travel and Leisure story as an “eco-tourism destination” that will be run completely by solar power and other forms of renewable energy.

The Supreme Court will today deliver judgment in the governorship appeals from Kano and Sokoto states over the March 2019 elections. Anxiety fills the two states ahead of the judgment which will either confirm or upturn the elections of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje who contested on the platform of APC or Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who contested under the umbrella of the PDP. 

After the lawyers in the matters made their submission, the seven- member panel of justices led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammed had adjourned the two appeals for judgement today, 20th january 2020

Justice Tanko Muhammad had explained why the appeals was adjourned for judgment today was to avoid breaching the provision of law on time limit for the disposal of eclections pettions. Section 285 (7) of the Constitution provides that: “An appeal from a decision of the election tribunal or court shall be heard and disposed-off within 60 days from the date of the delivery of judgment.”

In references of last week’s verdict in the supreme court sacked Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State in favor of Sen Hope Uzodinma of APC,  

The counsel to PDP candiddate in kano, Adegboyega Awomolo ( SAN) had asked the supreme court to overturn the decisions of the court of Appeal and the governorship electoral tribunal and affirm his client as the winner of the March 9, 2019

Also, Governor Ganduje through his lawyers, Offiong Offiong (SAN) and M.N. Duru, argued that the submissions by Kabiru-Yusuf and PDP were based on wrong premises which did not take cognizance of the attack on the Returning Officer. They, therefore, asked the apex to dismiss the appeal and affirm their victory in the election. 

The Sokoto appeal, Alex Izinyon, counsel to the APC candidate asked the supreme Court to nullify the election of Tambuwal because he had not led evidence to justify the 342 votes which separate him from the  APC candidate. Aliyu polled 511,661 votes against 512,002 votes by Tambuwal after conclusion of collation in the rerun.

The lawyer to PDP and Tambuwal, Emmanuel UkALA (SAN) and Muyiwa Akinboro ( SAN) asked the Supreme court to dismiss the appeal. They argued that they have met the standard proof to win the election.

Tambuwal was said to have been in abuja since the date for the commencement of the hearing on the appeal was fixed by the Supreme Court. He only went to sokoto to perform the laying of wreath during the Armed Forces Remembrance

Yusuf Dingyadi who is an aide to Governor Tambuwal, said they have nothing to fear, stressing that the Sokoto governorship case at the Supreme Court is unlike that of Imo where the governor lost his seat. “APC built its petition on assumption and there is no way assumption can hold because you have to prove beyond reasonable doubt “ he said

The Oyo state Governor, Seyi Makinde and the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and top government officials set out to inspect the standard rail lines on the 20th of January 2023

The assessment started from Ebute Metta to Apapa where the Federal Government hopes to decongest the traffic at the Lagos Port by extending the rail project to that axis.

Having seen the level of work done at Lagos-Ibadan rail line, the minister of transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, Monday took back his words that the project would be completed in April. The former governor of Rivers state, accompanied

Recall that Amaechi had promised to complete the job before April 2020. He asked Lagosians and Nigerians at large to exercise patience, assuring that the work would finish in April. His words, “There is huge improvement compared to the last time we came. We will all agree that there is huge improvement.

“ The contactors has promised that by the 20th of december the tracks would have gotten to (omi adio station) in ibadan, Oyo state. Amaechi said that the focus will no longer be on the tracks, but on the completion of the stations, then comunications and signaling. Once we get communications and signaling complete, we are out of Lagos-Ibadan.

President Muhammed Buhari had a meeting with Nigerias diasporas in the United Kingdom on the 18th of Jannuary 2020. The meetings was attended by World Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.

The thirty years old celebrate his victories with the president on Saturday. Excited Joshua prostrated to president Buhari, paying homage to him in line with tradition of Yoruba cultural group. 

Joshua presented his heavy weight title to the president. He surely made the meeting a memorable one by taking pictures with the president.  

The meeting had the attendance of Governor Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state, as well as minister for foreign affairs, Goffery Onyeama and his trade and business.

Others that attended include ; The Chairman/ CEO of national in Nigeria in diaspora commission , Abike Dabiri Erewa and Nigeria High Commissioner to UK Justice Adesola Oguntade among many other dignitaries.

Joshua met with the president after he has defeated Andy Ruiz and reclaims his titles, IBF, WBO and WBA titles.

The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Sunday has aid that “amongst other benefits, the new tax law will consolidate efforts already made in creating the enabling environment for improved private sector participation and contribution to the economy as well as boost states revenues.”

Professor Osinbajo also noted that according to the President, “the Finance Bill will support the funding and implementation of the 2020 Budget. We shall sustain this tradition by ensuring that subsequent budgets are also accompanied by a Finance Bill.”

To lessen fears that low-income persons and companies will be diminished by the new law, reduce the burden of taxation on vulnerable segments, and promote equitable taxation, the Finance Act 2019 has extended the list of goods and services exempt from VAT.

The additional exemptions include the following

Basic food items such as; Additives (honey), bread, cereals, cooking oils, culinary herbs, fish, flour and starch, fruits (fresh or dried), live or raw meat and poultry, milk, nuts, pulses, roots, salt, vegetables, water (natural water and table water)Locally manufactured sanitary towels or pads.Services rendered by microfinance banks.

Tuition relating to nursery, primary, secondary and tertiary education.

Nigeria’s increased new VAT rate of 7.5% is still the lowest in Africa, and one of the lowest anywhere in the world. (South Africa VAT: 15%; Ghana: 12.5%; Kenya: 16%; Egypt: 14%; Rwanda: 18%; Senegal: 18%

Seven African leaders are in Lome, the capital of Togo, as a summit against fake drugs kicked off on Friday, The two-day summit is under the sponsorship of the Brazzaville Foundation.

It is said to be the first time in history African heads of state are gathering on the issue of fake drugs on the continent which continues to plague especially sub-Saharan Africa. Discussions at the political and health level are on the agenda to build a reliable strategy to tackle fake drugs.

President Faure Gnassingbe is hosting colleagues such as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Congo Republic’s Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Niger’s Mahamadou Issoufou, Macky Sall of Senegal, Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Adama Barrow from The Gambia.

The Togolese described the phenomenon of fake drugs as a daily humanitarian scandal and that the time to act and stamp it out had arrived.

“It affects millions of people, either indirectly because these drugs do not treat those who believe they are treating themselves, or directly because the falsified products used kill,” he said in a tweet.

The Brazzaville Foundation, an independent NGO based in London is teaming up with Initiative Lome to address the problem of fake drugs which is a big public health issue in sub-Saharan Africa.

Experts have stressed that porous borders and weak governance of health systems are some of the main factors that causes the procreation of fake drugs.

Clarke Energy, Liverpool’s engineering company is helping African businesses reduce carbon emissions thanks to innovative hybrid engines.

During a visit to Merseyside, international Development Minister Andrew Murrison opened a new engine repair workshop at the company, which will make power plants across Africa more efficient and support Africa’s drive for clean energy.

 Minister Murrison met the Overhaul and Repair Centre Manager, Dave Nicholls, to see first-hand how high efficiency gas engines are being repaired in Knowsley in Merseyside and sent back to African nations. 

Similar units are being deployed across Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and Cameroon improve the reliability of power to businesses and communities, helping to keep the lights on and power flowing in countries with unstable energy systems.

Dr Murrison also announced a new DFID-funded testing lab for solar products ensuring that solar panels and appliances meet global standards and households have access to good quality, reliable clean energy.

A multi-millionaire Adire and garment textile factory, Heritage Apparel, has been inaugurated by Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta.

The factory, which was at the Adire section of the OOPL, was an initiative of a London-based entrepreneur, Abisade Adenubi. Obasanjo urged other investors to support and learn from the London-based entrepreneur who came to invest in the country.

While inaugurating the project, the former President described it as commendable, adding that it would benefit the people of the state. Obasanjo also commended the entrepreneur for keying into his initiative of making Adire a global outfit.

He said, “After the initiative from me, the one who has taken it to greatest height is this young woman, Abisade, and the credit for where we are today should go to her.

In her remarks, Adenubi expressed readiness to partner the OOPL on how to begin the mass production of  Adire textile.

She added that plans were underway to begin the mass production of garments and apparel which include uniforms for security operatives, public sector officials and schools. Adenubi, disclosed that the factory would also be focusing on vocational training and empowerment of young people in textile production, garment making and tailoring.

Haruna, said the agency could intervene in several areas. Noting that Yobe State was blessed with mineral resources, He observed that if the state government could partner with NASENI, youths in the state would be trained on how to use locally-developed technology to harness the minerals.

He went ahead to sight examples such as water projects or irrigation, using small hydro-Kinetic turbine,and solar energy produced by the agency to be used to generate electricity.

He added that schools that were destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents would also be refurbished by providing primary and secondary laboratory equipment to be powered by solar.

He said this would also create jobs for the youth, men and women in the areas to make it impossible for them to be recruited into criminal groups.

“The collaboration between NASENI and Yobe State University would see to the training of unemployed youths in the area in new skills through waste to wealth technologies that are available in NASENI,” he said.

On Sunday, the Lagos State Government said full implementation of the cashless policy at the Lekki/Ikoyi Bridge Toll Plaza would commence on Monday, January 20th.

 Dr Frederic Oladeinde, the state Commissioner for Transportation, in a statement by the Public Affairs Unit of the Ministry, said that full implementation of the policy had become necessary. He said the cashless toll initiative had the objective of impacting positively the “reduction of traffic queue length and journey time for Lagosians.”

Oladeinde urged those who are yet to obtain their e-tags to do so as full compliance is being enforced, since the additional two weeks grace for motorists to align had elapsed. He praised the general public for their cooperation and compliance during the implementation period.

Mr Yomi Omomuwasan, the Managing Director, Lekki Concession Company Ltd., also highlighted fIve seamless ways by which people could make their e-payments. The methods include: Interswitch Quickteller Payout, Unified Payment, One Card Direct Top Up, Capricorn Digital And GT Bank’s Simple Pay.

Omomuwasan said that these included e-tag, the vouchers system, the e-card and the LCC Mobile App for top-up. He promised that the company would work round the clock to ensure the success of the new policy. (NAN)