By Sodeinde Temidayo David
In a bid to increase power supply and provide uninterrupted power to its residents, the Lagos State Government has announced the release of 20,000 free prepaid meters to low-income areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, Mr Olalere Odusote, disclosed that the meters would be distributed to residents of the Alimosho Local Government Area of the state in the first state.
He said the gesture was made possible with a Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) signed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources with Ikeja Electric and Sahara Power Group.
“This Memoranda of Agreement is to ensure the provision of uninterrupted power to residents, especially the low-income areas,” Mr Odusote stated, adding that it aims to increase power supply to at least 22 hours daily from about eight to 12 hours daily.
The Commissioner disclosed that the implementation would be ensured and that a number of feeders that can provide power in 20,000 low-income areas have been identified with plans to replicate the initiative across the state.
“We have identified a number of feeders that can provide power in these communities and implementation would start immediately.
“Our intention is to replicate this gesture in other areas of the state once the pilot phase is successfully executed,” the Commissioner said.
This initiative is part of efforts to solve the problem of metering and infrastructure deficit to ensure these areas get power supply which is also measurable.
On her part, the Managing Director of Ikeja Electric, Mrs Folake Soetan, expressed the firm’s readiness to support the Lagos State Government in ensuring an uninterrupted power supply to residents of the state.
Also, the Managing Director of Sahara Power Group, Mr Anthony Youdeowei, disclosed that the company will be transparent in its dealings with the Lagos State Government and Ikeja Electric to provide power supply for Lagosians.
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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