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Winners emerge in NCDMB National Essay Competition, as Board harps on in-country value addition



Winners of the 7th Nigerian Content Annual National Undergraduate Essay Competition, 2023, were unveiled on Wednesday at the Lady Daima Memorial Event Center, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at a well-attended ceremony. It was the Grand Finale of the competition, with the top 10 finalists awarded prizes.

Overall best was Miss Iruoma Favour Lazarus, a 200-level student of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She received a cheque for one million naira (N1,000,000.00) and an HP laptop.

The second prize went to Miss Lucy Agbalu, a 100-level student of Microbiology at the University of Calabar, who had a cheque for seven hundred thousand naira and an HP laptop, while the third prize was won by Akinduyite O. Samuel, who received five hundred thousand naira and a similar laptop.

In an address to the “Award and Prize-giving Ceremony,” the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, said the Board seeks to “inculcate local content consciousness among students of our higher institutions,” thereby creating champions of such an endeavour.

He described local content as “an existential necessity for every nation, particularly for developing nations like Nigeria.” That much was evident from the resilience of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021.

The NCDMB boss noted that the topic of the essay competition, which was ‘Nigerian Content and the Lessons from COVID-19,’ was well-conceived “considering how the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our world.” He said at the height of the pandemic, “the movement of persons and goods was disrupted for several months, forcing every nation to rely on their local resources for survival.”

According to him, “The Nigerian oil and gas industry survived that period because of the huge local human and infrastructural capacities we had developed since the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act in 2010.” Efficient implementation of the Act, he pointed out, “ensured that Nigeria’s oil production continued without interruption, even when all the expatriates had left the country.”

Engr. Wabote, who was represented by the Manager, Corporate Corporations, Barr. Esueme Dan Kikile, called on policy-makers at different levels of government and in the private sector to take deliberate steps “to develop resilient and sufficient human and infrastructural capacities in key sectors of our national fabric, which can withstand any external shocks in future.”

While commending winners of the essay contest and the consultants, Mahogany Century Concepts Limited, he said the Board has sustained the competition for seven years because of the huge importance it attaches to it, and that the intention is to challenge students in tertiary institutions to sharpen their writing skills and engage youths in productive activities.

The annual essay competition is one of several initiatives of the NCDMB designed to benefit the youth segment of the Nigerian population. Others include the ‘Integrated Institutional Strengthening and Upgrade,’ under which the Board has undertaken and completed massive renovation of technical workshops and installation of world-class facilities in institutions like Government Technical College, Amoli in Enugu State, Government Technical College, Abak in Akwa Ibom State, Government Technical College, Port Harcourt, and the University of Ibadan Vocational School.

The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Allen A. Agih, in his opening speech, commended the NCDMB for its remarkable contributions to capacity building in the country. He corroborated the point made by the Executive Secretary on how the resiliency of the oil and gas industry withstood the pandemic, stating, “Nigerians did not run to foreign countries when COVID-19 struck.” He was represented by Mr. Fibainonine G. Paulley.

Chief Executive Officer of Mahogany, Mr. Eyinimi Omorozi, thanked the Executive Secretary and Management of the NCDMB for the sponsorship of the essay competition and contribution to national development.


Cardoso approves CBN’s reviewed service charter



CBN governor, Mr Yemi Cardoso, has approved the reviewed “Service Charter’’ of the apex bank.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the service charter is a requirement of the Business Facilitation Act 2022 for driving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

It compels the CBN to fully comply with the directives of SERVICOM on improvement of customer service delivery.

The CBN stated on Thursday in Abuja that the charter outlined the working relationship between the bank and its external customers.

“The document clearly outlines the bank’s mandates, vision, mission, and core values.

“It contains the list of services offered by the bank through its various departments and the service standards for each service.

“The service charter also includes a standardised customer complaints form for reporting service failures as well as a mechanism for addressing failures in any of the bank’s services,’’ it stated.

It added that the service charter reiterated CBN’s commitment to effective and prompt service delivery to its stakeholders and to its customers.

“It enables our customers to know the range of services provided by the bank as well as the standards at which these services would be provided.

“It equally states redress procedures in the event of service failure from any of our service windows.

“The charter applies to all stakeholders and customers of the bank,’’ it stressed.

In the Foreword to the reviewed document, Cardoso reiterated CBN’s commitment to providing more responsive and citizen-friendly governance through quality service delivery that is efficient, accountable and transparent.

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2024 budget to bring 61% increase to health sector, reduce brain drain — FCTA



The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) says the 2024 budget will bring about 61 per cent increase in the nation’s capital’s health sector and reduce brain drain.

Dr Adedolapo Fasawe, the Mandate Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretariat of the FCTA, disclosed this
on the sidelines of the 2023 Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), FCT chapter Health Week in Abuja.

Fasawe said the N27.5 trillion budget christened “Renewed Hope”, would bring about drastic infrastructure development in the FCT health sector and improved wellbeing for doctors and health workers.

She added that “the budget is an increase over the last budget. We believe this will translate to a 61 per cent increase in
our health indices, better equipment in our hospitals, and we will be able to employ more doctors.

“For every doctor who leaves the system, we replace the person. As people leave, we also have people looking for jobs.

“Most people leave not because of poor salaries or poor working conditions, but because they don’t have the right equipment to work with at times.

“We hope the `Japa syndrome’ will reduce with the improved budget; we also hope to see the right equipment and expansion of hospitals and better roll-call.”

She, therefore, encouraged FCT residents, especially the poor and vulnerable, to register under the insurance scheme at the primary or secondary health facilities to access free healthcare services.

She explained that “for the FCT health insurance scheme, we have a plan for the vulnerable; it is for the poor who cannot afford healthcare. They are by law statutorily mandated to be taken care of once they are registered under the scheme.

“So, if you fall under that group — poor, no job, no social security, visit any of our primary or secondary healthcare centres, where you will be assessed and registered.”

Earlier, Sen. Ireti  Kingibe of the Labour Party (LP), representing the FCT, had appealed to doctors and other health workers not to relocate abroad, but rather stay back in the country and support the government and stakeholders to strengthen the health system.

Kingibe, who was represented by Dr Juliet Essien, a Clinician, said “the FCT will continue to receive improved budgetary allocation for its health sector.

“It is no secret that our healthcare is facing numerous challenges, but we need to address issues such as brain drain, infrastructure, accessibity and the wellbeing of healthcare professionals.”

Also, Dr Rahman Olayinka, the President of ARD, FCTA, said the health week was to provide a platform for members to share insights and draw government’s attention to crucial matters within the health sector.

It will be recalled that President Bola Tinubu recently presented the 2024 budget to the National Assembly.

A budget breakdown showed that the country’s health sector got N1.33 trillion, while the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, presented N61.6 billion budget to the lawmakers for 2024.

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CAC, FIRS strengthen collaboration for economic growth



The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) are strengthening their existing collaboration to ensure economic growth.

Registrar-General of the CAC, Mr Hussaini Magaji, said this on Thursday in Abuja when he visited the FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr Zacch Adedeji.

Magaji said the visit was to familiarise and further cement already existing collaboration between the CAC and the FIRS.

Speaking on CAC’s mandate vis-à-vis its relationship with the FIRS, Magaji said the CAC had created a platform for integration with the FIRS, thereby making the process of business registration seamless.

He emphasised the need for greater cooperation and collaboration between the two agencies that are strategic to national economy, especially as it relates to revenue generation.

Magaji said it was pertinent to identify and formalise the enormous number of unregistered online businesses to boost the country’s revenue.


Responding, the FIRS chairman stressed the need to have a robust inter-agency relationship to make FIRS to perform better.

Adedeji said while the CAC registered and nurtured companies, the FIRS awaited the companies to mature before it began to assess them.

He added that the FIRS relied on the CAC to drive voluntary compliance by obtaining data from the former.

He noted that both agencies needed to reinvigorate their existing standing technical committee to interface more often to cement their long-standing relationship and to engender capacity building.

Also speaking, the Coordinating Director, Digital and Information Support Group of the FIRS, Ms Chiaka Ben-Obi, said Tax Identification Numbers (TINs) were now generated for all entities upon registration.

Ben-Obi said this was a departure from the past when the FIRS supplied the CAC with TIN.

While appreciating the CAC for the introduction of online electronic submission of audited accounts, she said the FIRS was studying the possibility of having an interface with the CAC in that regard.

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