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Microsoft to support Nigeria’s economic plan – Osinbajo

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Microsoft Corporation says it wants to offer Nigeria digital transformation support to actualise its Economic Sustainability Plan.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave the hint in a virtual meeting with Microsoft Corporation team led by its President, Mr Brad Smith, saying the company’s interest in supporting the efforts of the Federal Government was a welcome development.

He said this could be leveraged to address issues affecting the youths, especially in engaging them productively.

The VP said this would be a continuation of the technology company’s investment in Nigeria after the establishment of an African Technology Development Centre in 2020, all in affirmation of the efforts of the Buhari administration in the creation of a viable technology ecosystem in Nigeria.

Google Inc in July 2020 announced plans to establish its first Google Launchpad Space outside the United States in Lagos. Also, Facebook, in September of same year, made public its decision to open an office in Lagos as part of its planned expansion in sub-Saharan Africa. HUAWEI on the other hand last November promised the Vice President that the company would position Nigeria as a technology center for the African continent.

Osinbajo, who spoke on the need to constantly engage with the youths, noted that Nigeria’s case was peculiar given that the youths constituted a larger percentage of the country’s population, hence the need for all stakeholders to pay more attention to that demography.

He said, “It seems to me that there is just a wave of general anger around the world and people are generally impatient. Impatient with government, impatient with practically all of the formal structures there are.

“But I am open and happy to hear what views there might be on trying to engage and engage even more with young people (and in our case, that is 70 per cent of our population, if not more). So, we are really talking not just about the youth population but the Nigerian populace because that is the majority. So, whatever it is that we are able to deploy to be more inclusive, to engage even more, is really a solution for the entire populace as opposed to a solution for just a segment of our population especially given the fact that young people constitute 70 per cent or even more.”

He also said, “We have a digital innovation initiative which we hope will be the foundation for doing far more in the digital space than we are doing at the moment.”

Osinbajo added, “I have always wondered how Microsoft can just be a much more effective partner with us as a country.

“Beginning with the African Development Centre, which I think is excellent, I think it shows the commitment of Microsoft in developing the digital centre here in Nigeria. And it also shows the company’s confidence in the sort of talents that we have and the commitment of government to ensuring that we develop that talent in the best possible ways that we can.”

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, said the Federal Government had already put in place the necessary structures to partner with Microsoft and other tech companies in developing Nigeria’s technology ecosystem.

He said the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy, the National Policy on E-governance, among others, had been adopted by the Buhari administration to support the growth of technology and innovation in the country.

In his remarks, Smith said his company’s vision for investment in Nigeria was to create Africa’s most viable technology ecosystem.

He said the company’s investment in Nigeria was a demonstration of its enthusiasm about the digital transformation ongoing in Nigeria under the Buhari administration.

He proposed a 90-day timeline for stakeholders on the government side and from Microsoft, to iron out details of the various areas of collaboration.

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Nigeria’s inflation records first drop in 20 months, now 18.12%

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Nigeria’s inflation rate dropped to 18.12 per cent in April this year from 18.17 per cent recorded in March, the first decline in headline inflation in 20 months.
This is contained in the latest consumer price index report just released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The last time the consumer price index which measures the rate of change in the price of goods and services dropped was in 2019 when it slowed from 11.08 per cent in July to 11.02 in August.
The NBS, which announced this on Monday, stated that the food inflation also reduced to 22.75 per cent in April from 22.95 in March.
“The urban inflation rate increased by 18.68 per cent (year-on-year) in April 2021, down by 0.61 the rate recorded in March 2021(1.60), while the rural index also rose by 0.95 per cent in April, down by 0.57, the rate recorded in March 2021 (1.52 per cent),” the report said.
It also stated, “The rise in food index was caused by increase in prices of Coffee, tea, coca, bread and cereals, soft drinks, milk, cheese and eggs, vegetables, meat, oils and fish and potato, yam and other tubers.
“On a month-on-month basis, the food sub index increased by 0.99 percent in April 2021, down by 0.91 percent points from 1.90 percent recorded in March 2021.”
The report noted that food inflation on a year-on-year basis in April was highest in Kogi at (30.52 per cent), Ebonyi (28.07 per cent), Sokoto (26.09 per cent), while Abuja (18.63 per cent), Akwa-Ibom (18.51 per cent), and Bauch (17.64 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in year-on-year inflation.
“On a month-on-month basis, however, April 2021 was highest in Kebbi (2.46 per cent), Ekiti (2.42 per cent), and Kano (2.17 percent) while Abuja (0.05 per cent) recorded the slowest rise in the month-on-month food inflation with Rivers and Ogun recording price deflation or negative inflation.”

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FG to launch maritime security strategy next month

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The Federal Government will launch a maritime security strategy next month to address challenges in the sector, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi has said.
He stated this in Abuja on Monday while playing host to the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria, Daniel Bertrand, who paid him a courtesy visit in his office.
Amaechi said, “The crisis in the maritime sector is insecurity and it is more complex than the world knows, but the Federal Government has come up with a solution and it is ready to take off. The Navy, Police, Army and State Security Service are involved.”
A statement by Anastasia Ogbonna, Acting Director (Press and Public Relations), Ministry of Transportation, quoted the minister as saying that if successful, maritime insecurity would be addressed while noting that countries in the Gulf of Guinea may elect to adopt it.
He said, “Sixty-five per cent or 75 per cent of crime comes from our waters and if we are able to eliminate it, then we will be making a lot of progress.
“If you are on air, you will see what is happening in the water. If you are inside the waters, you will be able to respond. A helicopter has the capacity to drop in the naval men when they see anything suspicious.”
He added that the partner would be willing to compare notes with anyone who wanted information for the purpose of securing the Gulf of Guinea.
Ambassador Bertrand had earlier presented a letter to the minister requesting the support of the Nigerian government for the Belgium candidate for the position at the International Maritime Organization.
He also promised his country’s readiness to support the implementation of maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.

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Limit your speed to 30km/h, FRSC tells all motorists

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FRSC Corps Marshal, Boboye Oyeyemi

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week, the Federal Road Safety Corps has asked motorists to limit their speed to 30 kilometres per hour in urban or built-up areas for all categories of vehicles.
The global safety week will be celebrated between Monday May 17 and Sunday May 23, 2021.
The Bauchi Sector Commander, FRSC, Mr Yusuf Abdullahi, made the recommendation on Monday in a statement issued by the FRSC Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Rilwanu Suleimanu.
The corps said speeding was responsible for about 30 per cent of crashes in Nigeria.
Abdullahi explained that the corps would be using the 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week to carry out an advocacy programme where people would be educated on the issue.
He said, “The 6th UN Global Road Safety Week will focus on the issue of speed.
“The week advocates for safer streets motoring by making 30 km/h speed limits, the norm for cities worldwide in places where people mix with traffic.
“The week is concerned about policy commitments at national and local levels to deliver the 30 km/h speed limits in urban areas and to generate local support for such low speed measures in order to create safe, healthy traffic flow within Urban cities globally.
“As a lead agency in road safety management and administration in Nigeria, the FRSC is hosting the event and embarking on nationwide advocacy to replicate this global activity in selected Nigerian Cities.
“Pursuant to this, the Bauchi State command of the FRSC organises public education campaign programmes to inculcate the norm of 30km/hr speed limits among road users.”
He called on the general motoring public to always adhere to the maximum legal speed limit while in the city or in built up areas so as to prevent crashes, its attendant injuries as well as its fatalities.
Abdullahi, who further stressed the need to avoid speeding, considered among the critical traffic violations with high risk factor, said speeding would lead to increase in crash severity, resulting in more fatalities or injuries.
The sector commander explained that more damage would be caused to vehicles involved in speeding when they crashed, thereby increasing the likelihood of such vehicles not drivable thereafter.
“Speeding also leads to extra fuel consumption and frequent replacement of auto parts, among others,” he said.
The public advocacy programme would include media charts, roadshows, visits to hospitals, and advocacy visits to stakeholders, including policymakers and others.

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