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Okonjo-Iweala will drive global trade, says World Bank

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The international financial architecture is ‘skewed in favour of rich and creditor countries’, the World Bank has said.

President of the bank, David Malpass exposed the partial state of the architecture at the close of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings 2021 Development Committee meeting, in Washington D.C. yesterday.

He said the disturbing state of the global financial system was exposed last year by the COVID-19 pandemic, which made challenges and staggering needs of every country’s economy even clearer.

Malpass said, “One major challenge is that the current international financial architecture is heavily skewed in favor of the rich and creditor countries. It is ever important that all voices are heard. I urge all of us to consider how we can restore growth in developing countries and help reverse the growing inequality, in terms of access to vaccinations, unsustainable debt, and adverse climate impacts.”

According to him, the bank is developing a better line of sight forward, and the collective efforts to poverty, climate change, and inequality will be the defining choices of this age.

“Now is the time to move urgently toward opportunities and solutions that achieve sustainable and broad-based economic growth without harming climate, degrading the environment, or leaving hundreds of millions of families in poverty,” Malpass said.

He also expressed the hope that World Trade Organisation (WTO) will facilitate effective global trade deals under the watch of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala  The is its Director-General,

He said: “I would also like to acknowledge our former World Bank colleague, now Director-General of the WTO, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who is joining us today. It is a point of pride that we have IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and Ngozi – two good friends and women who have previously been members of the World Bank team – leading our sister institutions and playing critical global roles in the development agenda today.”

“I had the privilege of hearing strong presentations by both these women leaders at the IMFC meeting. With Ngozi as a champion, we’re looking forward to having a strong focus on trade facilitation and development in future Development Committee meetings.”

Malpass said the Development Committee plays an essential and unique role in the international cooperation architecture.

“I have said this before – it is the only forum in which the governments of developed countries and developing countries, creditor countries and borrower countries, come together with a primary focus development and resource needs for developing countries.”

He said the World Bank goal on COVID-19 was to act quickly and to help as many countries as possible to respond to the pandemic.

“These actions include new COVID-related emergency health programs in 112 countries, vaccination operations that we expect will reach $4 billion of commitments available in 50 countries by mid-year, and a quick doubling of our trade and working capital finance to help fill the banking vacuum that hit private sectors. In 2020, the World Bank achieved a record 65 per cent growth in commitments, Group-wide commitments topped $100 billion for the first time, and we expect this elevated level of delivery to continue in 2021.”

He said the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) maintained strong levels of investment in 2020, filling critical gaps in private sector financing, including short-term liquidity and trade, caused by the global recession.

Malpass said the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes has continued to ensure that international disputes under investment contracts, laws, and treaties are resolved effectively and impartially, which is key to mitigating risks that may otherwise deter much needed private investment for economic recovery.

On debt, he said he strongly welcome the G20’s decision on April 7 to extend the DSSI to end-2021.

He said: “We are working closely with the IMF to support the implementation of the G20 Common Framework, as detailed in this joint paper. I welcome the clear statement in the G20’s communique that ‘the need for debt treatment, and the restructuring envelope that is required, will be based on an IMF/World Bank Debt Sustainability Analysis’ as an input to the creditor committee deliberations.

“In both these debt efforts, greater transparency and participation are important elements. I urge all of you to disclose the terms of your financing contracts, including re-schedulings, and to support the World Bank’s efforts to reconcile borrower’s debt data more fully with that of creditors”.

On vaccines, he said the World Bank have been pleased to see the rapid development of safe vaccines and their deployment in some poor countries, but we are deeply concerned about the limited access around the world.

“The IFC is making investments to help manufacturers expand vaccine production, as well as increase the availability of medical equipment and critical supplies. We’re working closely with the international community, including WHO, Gavi, and UNICEF, and have conducted over 140 vaccine readiness assessments and we are working with countries to address challenges from cold chain and logistics to community outreach.”

“We’re also supporting countries to access vaccines both through COVAX and directly from manufacturers. We remain focused on the goal of vaccinating as broad a group of countries as possible.

“Once again, transparency is key. To accelerate progress, the world needs much more information sharing regarding export and supply commitments and requirements.

“Finally, to recover from COVID-19, we will need integrated, long-run strategies that emphasize green, resilient, and inclusive development (GRID). This must be aligned with the need for policies that help countries increase literacy, reduce stunting and malnutrition, ensure clean water and energy access, and provide better healthcare.

“We must help countries improve their readiness for future pandemics. We need to help them accelerate the development and adoption of digital technologies. We need to work to improve and expand local supply chains and strengthen biodiversity and ecosystems. In our efforts to rebuild, we can generate a recovery that ensures a broad and lasting rise in prosperity, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.”

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Court grants 12 Igboho’s associates bail

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An Abuja Federal High Court has granted bail to detained 12 associates of Yoruba nation advocate Sunday Igboho.
Justice Obiora Egwuatu, in a ruling a moment ago, granted eight of them, whose bail application was not challenged by the Department of State Services (DSS) bail at N5 million each.
Justice Egwuatu granted bail at N10 million each for the other four, whose application was challenged by the DSS.
The judge also ordered each of the detainees to produce two sureties and asked them to remain in the custody of the DSS until they were able to meet the bail conditions.

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Igboho supporters granted bail after one month in detention

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A federal high court in Abuja has granted bail to 12 supporters of Sunday Igboho who were arrested in Oyo state.

 

Operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) had on July 1 raided Igboho’s residence in Oyo and arrested 12 of his supporters.

 

The arrested persons were subsequently moved to the federal capital territory (FCT) where they have been in detention.

 

Subsequently, the suspects through their lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, filed an application asking the court to “inquire into the circumstances constituting grounds of their arrest and detention since July 2, 2021, and where it deems fit admit applicants on bail”.

 

At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Olajengbesi, counsel to the applicants, asked the court to admit his clients to bail.

 

“There is no need to continue to keep them with the respondents,” he said.

 

Commenting on the bail application, David Awo, DSS counsel, had said he was not opposed to bail for the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th applicants.

 

He told the court that the remaining four applicants (2nd, 12th, 5th, and 6th) were still being investigated.

 

Ruling on the bail application, Obiora Egwatu, the presiding judge, said it is clear that no charge has been preferred against the applicants and that they have been in detention since they were arrested.

 

He said the applicants have a right to liberty and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

 

He admitted the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10 and 11th applicants to bail in the sum of N5 million and two sureties each.

 

The judge said the sureties must be residents of Abuja with an acceptable means of identification and passport photographs. They must also provide evidence of tax payment of two years and swear to an affidavit of means. The residence of the sureties shall also be verified by the court.

 

“For the 2nd, 5th, 6th and 12 applicants, since no charge has been preferred against them, bail is equally granted to them in the sum of N10 million and two sureties in like sum,” the judge ruled.

 

“The sureties shall be resident in Abuja, provide means of identification, passport photograph, evidence of tax payment within 2 years and depose to an affidavit of means.

 

“One of the surety must be a civil servant in the employ of the federal government or any of its agencies on level 12 and above. He shall provide the original of his employment letter and promotion letter. The residence of the sureties shall be verified.

 

“Each of the 3rd, 4th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th applicants, shall report at the office of the respondents every first Monday the month, commencing from the first Monday in September 2021.”

 

At the initial court session which was held on Monday, officials of the DSS had barred journalists from covering the trial.

 

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) subsequently described the action as a threat to the rule of law and democracy.

 

Emmanuel Ogbeche, chairman of the FCT NUJ, had called on “relevant authorities” to take “necessary measures to protect and ensure journalists’ safety on duty”.

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Anxiety in NYSC camps as COVID-19 cases hit 109

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There are fears among young graduates currently at the various camps of the National Youth Service Corps across the country, as at least 109 prospective corps members are said to have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

The NYSC orientation camps were opened at the weekend for Batch B, Stream 1 of this year’s season of the national youth service.

The cases were detected following mandatory COVID-19 tests conducted on reporting corps members. The identified cases, our reporters gathered, have been moved to isolation centres in the respective states.

The NYSC officials at the states level have constituted COVID-19 Vanguard, a team to aid enforce compliance to health protocols on the camps.

The Federal Government on Monday raised the alarm over the spread of the contagious Delta variant of the virus to more states, as authorities mull fresh lockdown for the worst-hit states.

Data obtained from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control shows a sharp spike in incidences with 851 cases recorded in the first two days of August.

The agency’s statistics indicate that 11 persons died from COVID-19 complications on the second day of the month.

In Edo State, for instance, 17 corps members tested positive for the virus at the point of registration.

It was gathered that all the corps members were tested for the virus before being admitted into the camp.

The state NYSC Coordinator, Mrs Abiodun Olubukola, had during the swearing-in ceremony inaugurated COVID-19 Vanguard as part of efforts to ensure strict adherence to the COVID-19 protocol.

The Chief Medical Director, Stella Obasanjo Hospital, Edo State, Dr Osagie Ebomwonyi disclosed that 17 corps members in the state were currently receiving COVID-19 treatment at the hospital’s isolation centre.

The personal assistant to the state NYSC Coordinator, Mr Ozeto Waheed, confirmed the development.

An employee of NYSC at the orientation camp in the Mangu Local Government Area said the camp had recorded 26 cases since the commencement of the orientation exercise.

In Gombe State, the Director-General of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brigadier General Shuaibu Ibrahim has called on corps members posted to the state to avail themselves at the testing centre to know their COVID-19 status.

The NYSC DG was in Amada Temporary Orientation Camp following the recently reported COVID-19 cases, where 25 corps members posted to the state tested positive for the disease.

He said that it is mandatory for every corps member to get tested and adhere to the rules, adding that they must comply with the non-pharmaceutical rules to stay safe and return to their parents healthy.

 

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