By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A foremost economic analyst, Teslim Shitta-Bay, has knocked the federal government for saying its proposed plan to impose an additional 20 per cent ad-valorem excise tax on carbonated soft drinks was to control the consumption of sugar in the country.
About two weeks ago, the soft drinks group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) alleged that the government was planning to generate more funds from the sectorial group.
A few days ago, an organisation known as the National Action on Sugar Reduction held a peaceful demonstration in Abuja urging the government to increase taxes on sugary drinks and invest the revenue into public health.
But Mr Shitta-Bay noted that raising taxes cannot be used to solve the health problems associated with sugar consumption, stressing that similar actions taken by the government in the past have left the country’s health sector in a mess.
According to him, controlling sugar consumption is essential but raising taxes is not the solution.
He submitted that the best way to control sugar consumption is by setting and enforcing regulations around the amount of sugar used in carbonated drinks.
In addition, a social awareness programme explaining the consequences of excessive sugar consumption should be made with messages placed on non-alcoholic carbonated drink bottles, like the country’s Chief Medical Officer’s warning on a cigarette pack, he said.
Mr Shitta-Bay, drawing a similar parallel with the tobacco sector case, stated that the sector also suffered a similar fate.
He disclosed that the regulatory position was such that advertising of tobacco was banned. Meanwhile, the effects of that were that the smokers migrated to other unregulated substances and drugs, including tramadol and sundry substances.
“Yes, the health issue can be connected to economic development, but in this case, there is no justification to use health to rationalise simply because the carbonated soft drinks sector has not violated the regulations,” he said.
Also commenting, the sectorial group of MAN accused the federal government of using emotional blackmail to justify its proposed tax.
In a statement made available to Business Post, the group said it was surprised that the government was calling a dog a bad name to hang it.
It stated that it was wrong for the federal government to allegedly sponsor a faceless group to stage a protest in its support, claiming that sugar was the cause of stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and cancers.
“Citizens’ health is a significant responsibility of all governments, and any action to protect citizens’ health is desirable and should be supported. But the false attribution of sugar-related ailments to a single cause or product is wrong,” the group stated.
LASEMA Battles to Curtail Fire Outbreak at Balogun Market
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) has said it was working tirelessly with other agencies to put out the fire at 3/5 Gbajumo Street, Balogun, Lagos Island.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the organisation said it received a distress call from concerned persons in the wee hours of today over the unfortunate incident.
It was gathered that a 5-storey building at the Balogun Market was gutted by fire, destroying properties worth millions of Naira.
Giving an update on the situation, LASEMA said the joint teams, which rushed to the scene of the inferno, were having a constraint preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.
“The agency received a distress call around 12:30 am today, Thursday, January 26, 2023, regarding a fire outbreak at No 3/5 Gbagumo street Balogun market, Lagos Island, which prompted the immediate activation of the Emergency Response Team to the scene of the incident.
“Consequent upon arrival at the scene of the incident, information gathered revealed that some shops (rubber shoes and clothes are stored) on the first floor of a 5-storey building was gutted by fire. However, the cause of the fire could not be ascertained.
“Fortunately, there is no loss of life or casualty involved in the incident.
“Collaborative efforts to put out the fire are ongoing by the agency’s Response Team and its fire unit, alongside Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Federal Fire Service, Police Force, CBD, LASAMBUS, LNSC and NEMA.
“However, the joint teams have a constraint which is preventing the fire trucks from having direct access to the source of the fire, which are the shops constructed on the road blocking all routes.
“Efforts are still ongoing to prevent the spread of the fire to nearby buildings. Operations are also still ongoing,” the statement said.
Tinubu Never Blamed Buhari for Fuel Scarcity, Others—Onanuga
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Director of Media and Publicity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Mr Bayo Onanuga, has said the party’s presidential candidate, Mr Bola Tinubu, did not blame President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
On Wednesday, during his campaign in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Mr Tinubu accused some powerful persons were behind the current scarcity of petrol in Nigeria, as well as the scarcity of the new Naira notes.
President Buhari is the Minister of Petroleum Resources, and fuel scarcity has remained for months under his watch. He also approved the redesigning of the Naira when Mr Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), brought the proposal to him.
But while speaking yesterday, Mr Tinubu said, “We will use our PVCs to take over government from them. If they like, let them create a fuel crisis; even if they say there is no fuel, we will trek to vote.
“They are full of mischief, they could say there is no fuel. They have been scheming to create a fuel crisis but forget about it. Relax, I, Asiwaju, have told you that the issue of fuel supply will be permanently addressed,” he said at the campaign rally.
“Whoever wants to eat the honey embedded in a mountain won’t worry about the axe. Is that not so? And if you want to eat palm kernel, you would bring a stone and use it to break it; then the kernel will come out. It’s not easy to…
“Let them increase the price of fuel, let them continue to hoard fuel, only them know where they have hoarded fuel, they hoarded money, they hoarded naira; we will go and vote, and we will win even if they changed the ink on Naira notes. Whatever their plans, it will come to nought,” he added.
His comments generated mixed reactions, with some commentators saying he was indirectly indicting Mr Buhari for the crisis facing the country.
But Mr Onanuga rebuffed this, saying the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting to “create a wedge between our presidential candidate and President Muhammadu Buhari.”
According to him, the former Governor of Lagos State was only empathising “with the Nigerian people facing the dual crises of fuel and new Naira notes scarcity.”
“For the records, Asiwaju Tinubu, during the APC campaign rally at Abeokuta on Wednesday, in his statement, did not mention, blame or accuse President Muhammadu Buhari for the current challenges in the country.
“Asiwaju Tinubu was only adverting the government’s attention to the sabotage being carried out by some Fifth Columnists in the system, possibly working in cahoots with the PDP.
“The CBN officials, including Governor Godwin Emefiele, have said many times that enough new Naira notes have been supplied to the banks, yet our people complain that they have not been able to get the new notes.
“In recent days, many ATMs are either not working, or when working, they are dispensing the old notes, just a few days to the January 31 deadline.
“Similarly, Asiwaju Tinubu is aware of the salutary efforts by President Buhari to end the fuel queues by chairing a 14-man panel. Yet the queues and agony continue.
“For a presidential candidate, who cares about the suffering of our people, he has a duty to warn the government that its efforts to make life better for Nigerians are being sabotaged on several fronts.
“Our presidential candidate only re-echoed what is well known and acknowledged, even by President Buhari himself, at different fora: That there are Fifth Columnists in and outside of government who often throw spanners in the works against good intentions and programmes of the government.
“How does an advisory genuinely made by Asiwaju Tinubu to protect and create goodwill for the government of his party become an attack? It can only be so in the jaundiced view of the PDP,” a part of the statement issued on Thursday said.
DLM Capital Sponsors Employee’s Philanthropic Projects
DLM Capital Group, a development investment bank, partnered with the Shile Akinjo Charity Foundation (SACF) on two of its charity initiatives: “Love Feast on the Street” and “Back-to-School Project.”
Shile Akinjo, a corporate finance associate at DLM, started SACF in 2022 to support low-income families and the less privileged to fight poverty, receive decent health care, and achieve a basic education.
The “Love Feast on the Street” was held on the 17th of December 2022 to celebrate Christmas with over 400 kids at Makoko Slum, Yaba, Lagos. The day’s highlights include face painting, a dance competition, popcorn, food, drinks, and the gifting of party packs to the kids.
The “Back-to-School Project” was held on the 20th of January 2023 at The Light School and Boanerges School at Akesan, Alimosho, local government. All the pupils in basic 1–5 were given school supplies such as school bags, socks, notebooks, pencils, biros, erasers, rulers, crayons, water bottles, and snacks.
Shile Akinjo commented on the initiative, stating, “Happiness is as essential as food if a child is to develop into normal manhood or womanhood.” Being able to put smiles on these kids’ faces is fulfilling, and we will continue to carry out initiatives that support these goals. I am grateful to Mr. Sonnie Ayere and DLM Capital Group for their full commitment to these projects. I feel lucky to work for a company that supports and encourages its employees to do good things for the community.
In a statement highlighting DLM’s sponsorship of the projects, Chinwendu Ohakpougwu, Head of Corporate Communications, said: “At DLM, we are committed to impacting human lives. The management of DLM will continue to support good causes that promote the welfare of others.”
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