By Adedapo Adesanya
The Governor of Ondo State, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, has enjoined the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to support the state seaport project.
Mr Akeredolu said this at a one-day stakeholders’ forum on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula for the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) by RMAFC in collaboration with the Ondo state government on Tuesday in Akure.
Represented by his Deputy, Mr Lucky Aiyedatiwa, the Governor said with adequate support, the Ondo seaport would become a major revenue spinner for the state.
He pointed out that the current revenue formula does not reflect the existing reality on the ground, hence the need for it to be reviewed for the overall development of every sector of the economy.
The Governor said his administration has made frantic efforts to improve the state’s internally generated revenue with over N2 billion revenue generated monthly from around N700 million during the previous administration.
“It is also worth mentioning that the current level of insecurity of lives and property has further put a great deal of responsibility on our states, in the bid to confront crime and criminality within our borders.
“It is daily becoming more apparent that the Federal Government alone can no longer bear the burden of providing adequate security for the entire country.
“This, among other things, informed the collective determination of the South West Governors to establish the Western Nigeria Security Network, otherwise known as ‘Amotekun Corps’, which is indeed an effort in keeping faith with our unwavering resolve to ensure the security of lives and property of our people.
“As we all know, maintaining a security outfit of this magnitude requires a lot of financial and material resources.
“I must stress that we have not thrown our hands up in the air in dire frustration, rather we are exploring all avenues to bring more development, and by extension, more funds to the state.
“Consequently, we are in the process of establishing Port Ondo, having been blessed by providence with the largest coastline with its great potentials for a viable seaport.
“The revenue that will be accruable from an Ondo seaport is better imagined as this project alone is capable of transforming the economic narrative of the State and equally compete with oil as a major ‘cash cow’ for the country.
“We, therefore, enjoin RMAFC to support the Ondo Seaport Project, as a major revenue spinner and support the State in ensuring its approval and eventual takeoff,” he said.
Mr Akeredolu expressed hopes that the efforts of RMAFC in reviewing the existing revenue formula will yield positive results for the people.
On his part, the Federal Commissioner, representing Ondo State at the RMAFC, Mr Tokunbo Ajasin, reiterated their commitment to a fair and equitable revenue formula to the three tiers of governments.
Mr Ajasin said that the last general review of the Revenue Allocation Formula was carried out in 1992 but the political structure of the country has since changed with the creation of six additional states and an increased number of local governments.
He said that the last attempt to review the formula was in 2014 by the commission but this failed at the final process.
The federal commissioner later hoped that the exercise would produce a just and accepted sharing revenue formula for the federal, state and local government to achieve their desired goals.
Highest Percentage of Women Entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa—Report
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor has revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.
As a result of the rising rate of women entrepreneurs in the region, Visa is expanding its global She’s Next initiative to empower women entrepreneurs on the continent, bringing practical insights and valuable tools needed to grow and advance their businesses.
The initiative comprises a series of programs giving women entrepreneurs access to insights via research and engagement with small businesses, private and public sector communities and educational resources. She’s Next, empowered by Visa, will also bring networking opportunities in partnership with She Leads Africa; a community of over 700,000 women entrepreneurs, and lastly financial support and solutions to enable digital capability.
To coincide with the launch, Visa has unveiled new research titled Understanding Women Owned SMEs, which explores the role of technologies including digital payments in enabling the business success of female entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria.
The research highlights the top business challenges experienced by women entrepreneurs in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, the impact of COVID-19 on these businesses and how digital payments have accelerated business growth in over 80% of the businesses surveyed.
Commenting, Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa, stated that, “According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage of women entrepreneurs in the world, with 26 per cent starting and managing a business on the continent in the last year.
“We aim to encourage and enable even more participation of women in driving the economy, through our She’s Next initiative,” says Aida Diarra, Senior Vice President & Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at Visa. “Our research shows that female-led businesses face unique challenges throughout their entrepreneurial journey, and we are committed to helping these business owners across Africa to identify opportunities for growth.”
As one of the largest electronic payment networks in the world, Visa provides products, services and programs that go beyond payment tools to deliver the value of Visa’s network by helping small businesses to be more competitive today and in the future.
Visa believes that economies that include everyone, uplift people everywhere and it focuses every day on enabling access to digital commerce for both buyers and sellers. For small businesses, Visa is taking steps to address the access gap and be a payments network that truly works for everyone.
Lagos Eyes PPP to Bridge Infrastructure Gap
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Efforts would be made to work with the private sector to deliver projects that are of immense long-term impact on the residents of Lagos State, the Director-General of the Office of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the state, Mr Ope George, has assured.
Mr George, who admitted that there was an infrastructure gap in Lagos State like in most states of the federation, emphasised that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu was committed to bridging this gap by taking advantage of the people-friendly PPP model to deliver projects that impact Lagosians positively.
According to him, his office was working tirelessly to engage private investors to bridge infrastructure gap in critical sectors such as transportation, health, traffic management, and housing development.
Speaking during a media interview, the DG stated that the state government was delivering infrastructure that are visible and such that people can get immediate value for them.
He further stated the resolve of the state government to shorten the delivery time-frame of projects and policies that affect the people directly; while being creative, innovative and ensuring diversification in delivering people-friendly PPPs to the good people of Lagos State.
Mr George cited Awa Bike, a bike-share scheme in partnership with Awa Bike Limited, as one of the numerous PPP initiatives.
“This non-motorised transport initiative is in tandem with the resolve of the Lagos State Government to tackle traffic congestion in the state.
“Rapid urbanisation is a major challenge in most cities across the world; so, the vision of this government is to make commuting in and around the megacity less stressful and to bring down the cost of transportation.
“Another benefit of Awa Bike is that it promotes good health and environmentally friendly. It is also very affordable,” he said.
He also said the ultra-modern Medical Park, which the state government is constructing in Ikoyi, as a centre of medical excellence with state-of-the-art equipment and infrastructure, as well as the Maternal and Child Care Centres in Ajah, Eti Osa and Alimoso, equipped with modern facilities using the people-friendly PPP model, were also among the impact projects embarked on by the government.
In the aspect of transportation, Mr George stated that through the partnership with Artezia, a technology company with speciality in the traffic management systems, the state government has strengthened enforcement of responsible driving with the deployment of technology devices that capture processes and stores traffic violation data as well as billing payment for vehicle inspection solution for traffic offenders.
He added that the construction of units of houses at Ilubirin Housing Estate and student hostels at the Lagos State University (LASU) were also some of the quick-wins, people-friendly projects that the state government was undertaking for the betterment of the lives of residents of the state.
Nigeria Customs Seeks Help to Combat Crime
By Ashemiriogwa Emmanuel
In order to effectively tackle the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stressed the need for synergy amongst sister agencies.
The Comptroller General of Customs (CGC), Mr Hameed Ali, emphasized this while speaking at a strategic convergence of security experts at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS).
The meeting, which was aimed at proffering solutions to the insecurity threats tormenting Nigeria, saw the participation of 43 Senior Executive Course, held in Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.
Represented at the event by the Assistant Comptroller General of Customs, Mr Adewale Adeniyi, the CGC noted that, “To contend with the numerous border and national security challenges in the country, especially with the rising tide in terrorist activities and bandits across the country,” all the security agencies need to collaborate.
“Customs has been making tremendous efforts to reposition the policy implementation nomenclature for enhanced operational efficiency,” he added.
Mr Ali explained that in spite of the commitment of customs towards bringing about peace and security, the emergent security threats were still potent enough which calls for additional strategies to mitigate.
Speaking as a guest lecturer, the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Mr Ahmed Audi, also stressed the importance of synergy, adding that there was no other better time to put collaborative efforts than now for peace to reign in the country.
He said, “Nigeria is facing asymmetric war, which is a very serious conflict and if asymmetric war has dealt with other countries and held them for one or two decades, Nigeria is not an exception and the only way is to face this head-on.”
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