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FAO: 9.8 million people in FCT, 16 northern states battling hunger

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An agency of the United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organisation says at least 9. 8 million people living in 15 northern Nigerian states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are suffering from food insecurity.

It said the findings were the outcome of a food analysis made available on Thursday.

It specifically stated that Abuja, Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Benue, Gombe, Taraba, Katsina, Jigawa states were struggling with food insecurity and malnutrition.

Others are “Kano, Bauchi, Plateau, Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Niger and the FCT,” it stated.

Speaking at the presentation of the analysis, the FAO Representative in Nigeria and the ECOWAS, Fred Kafeero, said the results of the analysis had exposed the need for urgent intervention by the government.

“The presentation of the results of the October/November 2020 Cadre Harmonise (CH) analysis for the 16 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria is such an important stage in determining our next actions and effective response In ensuring food security and nutrition in the country.

“The Cadre Harmonlse or CH (as is popularly called) is a regional framework for the consensual analysis of acute food and nutrition insecurity situations across West African countries through these framework areas of risk of mal-and undernourishment and the food insecure populations are identified.”

He said, “The exercise, which has now been adopted by the Nigeria Food Security stakeholders since 2015 aims at applying the outcome of the analysis in preventing food crisis by identifying the areas affected and the populations as well as proffering appropriate measures towards improved food and nutrition security and livelihoods.

“Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to inform you that the CH analysis results in Nigeria have become the major yardstick for estimating the areas and population of vulnerable people in need of humanitarian assistance as presented in the annual Humanitarian Needs Overviews (HNOs) and the Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs) especially in the three BAY states of NE.

“This October/November 2020 CH analysis happens to be different from the previous years, as it took Into consideration the unprecedented impact of the COVID -19 pandemic on the various outcomes of FNS and the inference of the various FNS contributing factors.

“Despite the relaxation of the COVlD-19 lockdown measures, several households are still currently experiencing difficulties in accessing their basic food and nonfood needs due to disrupted livelihoods. This has resulted in reduced HHs opportunities for income and food and nutrition security.”

The result of the analysis also projects that 13.9 million people may suffer from food insecurity from the affected states in 2021.

Kafeero explained further that “in this context, FAO and partners have adapted their programme to respond to the Increased need. For the 2020 rainy season In NE, FAO reached 63,300 HH with quality seeds and fertilizers distribution.

“Another 12,000 HH have been reached with livestock support. We are planning to reach about 19,000 HH for the upcoming dry season in collaboration with the FMARD, WFP and IFAD.

“The exercise, which has now been adopted by the Nigeria Food Security stakeholders since 2015 aims at applying the outcome of the analysis in preventing food crisis by identifying the areas affected and the populations as well as proffering appropriate measures towards improved food and nutrition security and livelihoods.”

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Buhari signs N983bn supplementary budget into law

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed the 2021 supplementary appropriation bill of N983 billion into law.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (House of Representatives), Umar El-yakub, announced this while briefing state house correspondents after the signing.
He said a total sum of the supplementary budget assented to is N982,729,695,343, adding that the supplementary budget would be largely focused on funding security and health concerns.
The assent by the President is coming a month after the Federal Executive Council approved the supplementary budget for the year 2021.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said the budget contained an aggregate sum N770.60 billion to further enhance the capacity of the defense and the security agencies to address current and emerging security challenges in our country.
Ahmed said a total of N83.56 billion expenditure is set aside in the budget for COVID-19 vaccine programme, covering 30 million vaccines from Johnson and Johnson and the logistics costs related to the deployment of the vaccines.
The budget also has N40 billion provision to take care of the needs for allowances to the health, education sectors, and other wage-related issues.
Ahmed had added that the supplementary also had N1.69 billion for the Nigeria Comprehensive AIDS programme.

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Gas-powered mass transit buses set for operation in Nigeria

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A revolutionary mass transit operation using ECO-Green buses is soon to be introduced in some Nigerian city centres.
The buses already being used in major cities of the world are powered by flare gas recovered compressed natural gas (CNG), which is usually flared in the Niger Delta, Nigeria and causing environmental pollution and crisis in the region.
Chief Executive Officer of Austrian Technologies Nigeria Limited, Johann Rieger, said the ECO-green buses had been built on European standards for critical climate and infrastructure as in Nigeria.
According to him, the buses are the safest and most economic public mass transit vehicles that can reduce carbon footprints by 95 per cent and operating cost by 30 per cent.
Specifically, he said the buses, coming with a lifespan of at least 15 years, had been equipped with engines of higher emission standards (Euro 5) with no toxic, smog or smoke, guaranteeing reduced noise and lower fuel costs. In Malaysia, those buses run 15 years with over 90% average uptime.
Rieger also said the project would guarantee local capacity building of the buses through extensive transfer of the technology and know-how within a short time of the entire value chain.
Indeed, he said, “Up to 70 per cent of all components of the eco-green buses should be manufactured or assembled locally within five years of operation including the first green engine.”

He said the project would come with uniquely designed and efficient drivers’ safety training that would allow safe increase of passengers’ capacity by 30 per cent in accordance with international standards of public transport.

He said the vehicle had been built with the highest operational standards and expected to save the operator a minimum of $25,000 in comparison to any other large capacity bus.

He noted that six eco-green buses would do the job of at least 10 biggest BRT buses currently being operated in Nigeria and by switching over to locally available natural gas, he said at least $20,000 of foreign exchange is also saved.

He noted that driving with natural gas is the most environmentally friendly solution wherever this green fuel is available. They partnered already with local CNG suppliers who are ready to invest and guarantee 24/7 availability of the gas directly inside the bus depot of operators anywhere in the country.

About 90 per cent uptime, and maximum efficiency and transparency would be guaranteed through permanent real-time monitoring of each bus by eco- telematics and extended after-sale service with 24/7 spare parts availability and directly including service and wear parts for the first two years, said Rieger.

Some of the unique features of an ECO-green bus are given as roof mounted CNG cylinder with up to 500km range and gas leakage detection system and tyre pressure monitoring system.
The air and surfaces in their buses is permanently and chemical free sanitized by their ECO Viroxx air conditioning system with bipolar ionization.
Others are speed limiter, alcohol test and driver’s fatigue detection with driver’s biometric identification, CCTV camera system that can be directly integrated into the city surveillance system reverse camera; handicapped ramp and wheelchair area.

Rieger listed some of the technical features of the bus as electronic dashboard with extended eco-telematics system, real time driver’s feedback on safety and economic driving; on board video education in cooperation with UNICEF.
The bus is said to come on the same bus platform as 8.7m for 60 passengers; 10.5m for 80 passengers, 12m for 100 people and 18m accommodating 160 passengers.

 

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Autochek, Appzone collaborate on flexible vehicle finance solution

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Autochek automotive technology company has entered into a partnership with Appzone Group, a leading FinTech firm, to provide Nigerians with quick and flexible access to car financing, including those in the rural areas.
The partnership, according to the two firms, will see the Autochek platform integrating with Appzone’s proprietary digital core banking service, BankOne, in facilitating access to credit from over 400 microfinance institutions for people across the country.
Speaking at the official signing event, Chief Technology Officer at Autochek, Chetan Seth, said, “Obtaining access to financing in Nigeria is a tedious process. At Autochek, we are committed to providing consumers with seamless access to credit in order for them to own their vehicles. With technology, we are able to provide vehicle financing at sca d this will be accelerated even further by integrating with le, an Appzone’s network.
“We are very much customer-focused and we operate in an on-demand economy, we therefore recognise the need to efficiently provide a plethora of options for customers to access loans. Our partnership with Appzone will enable us to further increase their options through access to the microfinance banks currently available on their platform.”

Mr Mudiaga Umukoro, the CEO of Appzone Core, a subsidiary company of Appzone Group said, “BankOne is our flagship product and Africa’s foremost banking-as-a platform (BaaP) solution. Over the last 10 years, we have focused on digitizing the microfinance sector. We have enabled over 400 microfinance institutions spread across the entire country, with the capability for fully-digital banking operations. And now through our partnership with Autochek, these institutions available can now provide quick digital loans to prospective car owners anywhere in Nigeria.
“What this ensures is a win-win approach as MFBs can target more customers as well as increase revenue through loan offerings, whilst customers across the country, either in urban or remote areas, are more easily empowered with business and/or personal vehicles with little hassle.”
Some details about the new auto loan arrangement provided in a statement indicate that the credit sourcing process starts with the listing of prequalified vehicles from the dealers on Autochek’s platform.
Potential customers have the opportunity to select their choice from a pool of cars that have gone through a 150 point inspection process carried out by Autochek’s accredited technical experts.
The customers are then able to submit their loan applications digitally through the autochek website to over 400 financial partners currently available on Appzone’s BankOne network. Within 24 hours, customers receive multiple offers and have the option to select their most preferred financial partner.
Appzone transitions all accepted loan applications into the BankOne’s proprietary credit administration module which automatically enables the account opening, underwriting and eventual disbursement.
The customer is now able to get a transparent step-by-step update throughout the whole process.

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