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Mass production of Andriod phones, others to kick off in Abuja — FG

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…Initiative will address unemployment

By Ogaga Ariemu

The Director General of the Industrial Training Fund, Mr Joseph Ari, has said that the federal government agency is currently concluding plans towards mass production of Android phones for Nigerians.

This is coming as Ari stated that the initiative, when implemented will address unemployment in Nigeria.

He disclosed this in Jos on Monday during a media briefing organised by the ITF to unveil its strategic policy direction for the 2022-2025 period.

According to the DG, apart from the need to widen the capacity of the machines involved in the mass production of Android phones, there was also the need for the agency to finalise the legal framework for the purpose intellectual property rights.

Ari said, “Yes, it is true that in June last year, we gave a sample of our android mobile phone to Mr President, Muhammadu Buhari but you know that the issues surrounding productions are long and varied. As I speak to you, two weeks ago, I was able to inspect the Assembly plant which has now been installed at the Model Skill Training Centre in Abuja because we needed to widen the capacity of the machines but they have now been installed.

“We needed to also work with other regulatory agencies in terms of drawing the legal framework and other things and we are now at the concluding end to find the legal framework for the purpose of intellectual property rights. So, from that June last year till now, we have done a lot to ensure that we roll out the mass production of the Android mobile phones and even a private company in Lagos. Afrione an Indian company has also approached us to partner with us in the area of capacity building and we have already signed a memorandum of understanding in that regard. So the roll plan is on course.”

The Director-General decried the high rate of unemployment in the country which he noted stood at over 33 per cent, pointing out that the situation had persisted mostly because over 23 million Nigerians that were desirous to work but without requisite skills.

“It is based on the above and in line with our mandate of developing a vast pool of skilled manpower sufficient to meet the needs of the public and private sectors of the national economy, coupled with resolutions at the recently concluded ITF National Skills Summit in Abuja, that we found it imperative to review and refocus our strategies to address the above challenges and to meet the skills requirement of the nation in line with global best practices. In arriving at our strategies, we considered the need to scale up our activities to address the soaring unemployment and other socio-economic challenges by leveraging on our three Es (Experience, Expertise and Expansive network), deployment of technology for wider coverage and more flexible service delivery.”

Ari explained that the new policy framework, which had as its theme, ‘Re-Engineering Skills for Sustainable Development’ had external and internal components.

“To actualise this, the Fund will develop National Occupational Standards; Evaluate and certify apprentices, technicians and craftsmen; Train and certify learning and development professionals and; Create and maintain a data bank on skills training. When fully in place, our efforts will lead to the development of a robust National Occupational Standard (NOS); create a pool of certified apprentices, technicians and craftsmen as well as assessors and verifiers as well as create a pool of certified learning and development professionals and a regulated skills training environment,” he added.

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BDCs committed to checkmating attack on the Naira – ABCON boss

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The President, Association of Bureau De Change operators of Nigeria (ABCON), Aminu Gwadabe, says the BDC operators are committed to wading off attacks on the Naira by speculators.

Gwadabe said this in an interview with journalists on Wednesday in Abuja.

According to him, ABCON, as a self-regulatory body, has platforms to check excesses of BDC operators.

“We have inaugurated state chapters whereby we can have a data repository of participants in the forex market.

“This is for the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to understand this market and to know the participants, give them a simple registration,” he said.

Gwadebe said that what the foreign exchange market needed was a kind of harmonisation; a centralisation and KYC to know all participants in the business.

“This will enable the CBN to track other players in the market other than the BDCs and their levels of involvement.

“The BDCS are collaborating with the regulatory authorities for physical verification of offices using technology.

“We want to balance international obligations with our own objectives. International obligations are templates that have been built without our input.

“We are coming with our own template to balance it. We have seen some illegal economic behaviour, and the CBN and the security agencies are aware, and I am sure they will nip it in the bud,” he said.

He said that the recent wave of depreciation of the Naira was of concern to the BDCs operators.

“I am happy that the authorities, and even the BDCs as operators, have identified the peer-to-peer (P2P) platform.

“The P2P is a platform like the Binance, where speculators use the dollar to buy USDT, a stablecoin that is pegged at one to the dollar.

“As long as Binance and such other platforms continue to be profitable, the Naira will continue to depreciate.

“There are many of them in the system. Binance has been nipped in the bud, but there are still many. They are online platforms with no registration, no restrictions,” he said.

Gwadabe said that the CBN and the security agencies were already aware of the antics of the platforms.

According to him, they are more of an illegal economic behaviour, and the people behind them have no patriotism in them.

“People have turned dollars to be an asset; to be a commodity of trade that is why those platforms continue to thrive.

“We have seen where people are buying dollars into their domiciliary accounts to finance these schemes.

“A lot of millions of dollars are going out from the system. It is one USD to one USDT. The market can be liquid.

“Binance alone has four billion dollars liquidity and more than two million transactions.

“Most of them source money to finance their transactions from the open market, and that is one of the reasons why Naira is depreciating,” he said.

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Agro-cargo airport will improve economy of Ogun — Assembly members

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By Omobolaji Adekunle, Abeokuta

Members of the Ogun State House of Assembly Committee on Works and Infrastructure have conducted an assessment visit to the State Agro-Cargo International Airport, Iperu, positing that the project upon completion and take-off would further improve the State’s socio-economic values.

Members of the Committee led by the Chairman, Hon. Adegoke Adeyanju, who were conducted round the facility by the Project Manager of Craneburg Construction Company, Nicholas Mfarrej, opined that the project possessed enormous economic potentials that would add value and attract investment opportunities to the State.

Adeyanju, in company of the Minority Leader, Lukman Adeleye, Olusegun Kaka, Lukmon Atobatele, Damilola Soneye and Wasiu Ayodele lauded the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun’s ingenuity for initiating the project, stating that the level of work done by the contractor was commendable.

Taking the lawmakers round the facilities, the Project Manager, Nicholas Mfarrej said that the project was over 80 percent completed, assuring that it would be delivered within a record time.

Mfarrej also took the Assemblymen to other facilities within the airport including the warehouse, passenger lounge, control room, crew room, cargo warehouse, runway, control tower, apron, watch tower, fire station and administrative building amongst others.

He noted that adequate quality control measures with modern engineering techniques were being deployed at every phase of the construction of the project.

In another development, the lawmakers visited the damaged portion of the collector drainage on the Ojumele-Ajegunle Road in Makun-Sagamu, which was being rehabilitated, tasking the residents of the area to embrace maintenance culture of the project, thereby desisting from indiscriminate dumping of refuse that often silt up the drainage.

The Chairman called on the State Ministry of Environment, as well as Urban and Physical Planning to put in place measures towards checkmating the excesses of residents who often violated environmental and building regulations, causing impediment hindering the flow of water into the drainage, especially during the rainy season.

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Sokoto Assembly adopts motion to establish Skills Centre for Displaced Widows

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The Sokoto State House of Assembly, on Wednesday, approved a motion advocating for the establishment of an Educational and Skills Acquisition Centre to support widows displaced by banditry and other security challenges in the state.

 The motion, which was moved by Alhaji Abubakar Shehu (APC- Yabo) and seconded by Alhaji Atiku Liman (PDP-Silame), also urged the state government to repurpose the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre for the initiative.

Shehu highlighted that the Sultan Maccido Waqf Centre, originally established by the State Zakkat and Endowment Commission in collaboration with Qatar Charity Organisations, could serve the purpose effectively.

He stated the importance of empowering widows and their children, emphasising the need to transition them from dependency to self-sufficiency.

“The conversion of the Centre into an Education and Skill Acquisition Centre for widows and children displaced by banditry is crucial to empower them economically and prevent them from becoming a liability to the society,” he stated.

The lawmaker expressed concern about the sight of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the metropolis, often seen begging without access to economic activities or education.

He said the proposed center would offer training in various skills such as catering, knitting, tailoring, cream making, welding, mechanics, carpentry and building, among others.

Shehu emphasised that funding for the centre should be a joint responsibility of the state government, Zakkat Commission, international donors and individual contributions.

Contributing to the discussion, Alhaji Bello Idris (APC-Gwadabawa North) stressed the importance of conducting a comprehensive census of IDPs in the state to ensure proper support and utilisation of the centre once established.

Following deliberations, Speaker Alhaji Tukur Bala conducted a voice vote, and the motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers.

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