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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

RBM to highlight issues in Covid-19 - ITREALMS

Barely one month to the 2020 World Malaria Day, the RBM Partnership to End Malaria has disclosed that it will highlight the importance of robust health and surveillance systems and sustaining malaria prevention as well as control interventions as the world grapples with COVID-19, helping ensure millions of the most vulnerable are protected from malaria, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The global awareness day will also emphasize the importance of upholding progress and commitments made in the global fight to end malaria.

World Malaria Day is observed on 25 April each year to raise awareness of the global burden of malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that puts half the world at risk and kills a child every two minutes. Led by the RBM Partnership to End Malaria, World Malaria Day educates citizens in malaria affected countries on simple actions they can take to prevent malaria, highlights the impact of investments in ending malaria, and engages community, national and global leaders to ensure ending malaria remains a priority on the global agenda. In 2018, these investments saved almost 600,000 lives and prevented nearly 100 million malaria cases compared to 2000 levels.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Malaria Day 2020 will urge greater investment in building and supporting resilient health systems to protect and advance progress against existing infectious diseases like malaria and be prepared to effectively address new outbreaks like COVID-19.

Dr Abdourahmane Diallo, CEO, RBM Partnership to End Malaria, noted that as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the critical importance of strong health systems to fight deadly infectious diseases like malaria, which is still one of the leading causes of child mortality across Africa. Progress against malaria can only be achieved with increased investment, and World Malaria Day is a crucial opportunity to remind global leaders of their commitments to end this preventable and treatable disease. We must close the annual US $2 billion gap in funding to reach all those at risk with the life-saving malaria tools they need, and boost research and development of new, transformative tools to stop the cycle of extreme poverty. This will further strengthen existing efforts to address ongoing public health challenges like malaria and emerging ones like COVID-19.”

The global theme for World Malaria Day, ‘Zero Malaria Starts with Me’, emphasizes everyone’s power and responsibility – no matter where they live – to ensure no one dies from a mosquito bite. The theme is inspired by the pan-African movement of the same name, which engages and enables political leaders, the private sector, communities, and other members of society to take actions that will protect their families and help communities and countries thrive. Already, 14 countries have launched national Zero Malaria Starts with Me campaigns, and several others are planning to do so this year, in support of this growing movement.

World Malaria Day 2020 will highlight, recognize and revitalize the involvement of high-burden countries in Africa, which account for approximately 70% of the global malaria burden. Messages will engage political decision-makers, the private sector, civil society, the academic community and the public to take ownership of global malaria control and elimination efforts.

It will also shine a spotlight on the successes achieved in reducing the malaria burden around the world, including countries like India and those in the Greater Mekong Sub-region that made significant progress in recent years, as well as on countries recently certified malaria-free or that are on track to reach the 2020 elimination milestone set out in the global malaria strategy.

Malaria is increasingly a disease of poverty and inequity, with the most vulnerable at greatest risk of dying from a mosquito bite – particularly pregnant women and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, nearly 900,000 children in 38 African countries were born with a low birth weight due to malaria in pregnancy, and children under five still accounted for two-thirds of all malaria deaths worldwide.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Saturday, March 21, 2020

CS-SUNN applauds Niger State on nutrition budget - NaijaAgroNet


The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has applauded the Niger State Government for its improvement in budgetary provisions from 80 million in 2017 to 210 million in 2020, reports 

This development, the civil society group said drastically reduced the stunting and loss of children in the state.

This assertion was made during a high level advocacy and policy dialogue on the nutrition situation in Niger State organized by Niger Government in collaboration with Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS) & CS-SUNN, held at Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi Conference hall.

The Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka stated that children in the state cannot grow normal brain as future leaders without proper nutrition, she commended the multilateral partnership and policy adoption by the state government and urged the state planning commission to further scale up the budget line for nutrition in order to achieve the implementation level.

Mrs Eluaka scored Niger State high, but charged that more need to be done in the state in tackling issues of nutritious foods.

In his submission, the Project Manger of CS-SUNN, Sunday Okoronkwo, confirmed a scale-up in the state of 163 per cent nutritional growth and 57.1 per cent performance as of 2019 which he ascertained as impressive.

Similarly, Niger State Nutritional officer, Asma’u Abubakar Mohammed confirmed that the state women have improved in tems of exclusive breastfeeding and adopting local foods supplement for nutritional development which she said is quite remarkable.

The Secretary to the State Government (SSG) represented by the Permanent Secretary Economic Affairs, Alhaji Babawachiko Yahaya described nutrition as a multi-sectoral approach that need to be scale-up from communities, to villages down to ward level, local governments and state, he stated that CS-SUNN must synergize with state assembly as part of high level advocacy to scale nutrition up in Niger State.

Meanwhile, the Honorable Commissioner, Niger State Budget and Planning, Honorable Mamman Musa, reiterated that Governor Abubakar Sani Bello administration has prioritized nutrition as number one sectoral approach in the state, Honorable Mamman Musa said it is satisfactory as the state is scored the best in the country in term of scaling up nutrition.

On her part, Wife of the state governor, Dr Amina Abubakar Sani Bello, represented by the Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, Niger State Ministry of Health, Pharmacist Hamza Tijjani, hailed the organizer of the high level advocacy on scaling up nutrition in the state as commendable, he however recommended that policy on nutrition should be further scaled up and adopted by our local women at all levels.
*Hammed Salawu, Minna

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Africa: CoVID-19 gains 453 new cases in one week - NaijaAgroNet


The African continent witnessed rise of some 453‬ new cases of CoronaVirus, also known as COVID-19 victims confirmed in 34 countries in Africa as of 19 March, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Investigations by NaijaAgroNet revealed that about a week ago, the continent had 147 cases.

Although the region has seen a significant increase in confirmed cases recently, there are still fewer cases than in other parts of the world.

“The rapid evolution of COVID-19 in Africa is deeply worrisome and a clear signal for action,” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Director for Africa. “But we can still change the course of this pandemic. Governments must draw on all of their resources and capabilities and strengthen their response.”

Twelve countries in the African region are now experiencing local transmission. It is crucial that governments prevent local transmission from evolving into a worst case scenario of widespread sustained community transmission. Such a scenario will present a major challenge to countries with weak health systems.

“Africa can learn from the experiences of other countries which have seen a sharp decline in COVID-19 cases through rapidly scaling up testing, isolating cases and meticulously tracking contacts,” said Dr Moeti.

Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic will evolve in Africa is still a work in progress. The response will need to be adapted to the African context – the demographics on the continent are very different from China, Europe and the USA. Africa has the world’s youngest population and it appears that older people are more vulnerable to COVID-19. However, preliminary analysis finds that people with underlying conditions are at higher risk. Across the Region, nearly 26 million people are living with HIV. Over 58 million children have stunted growth due to malnutrition. So it is possible that younger people will be more at risk in Africa than in other parts of the world.

WHO has been supporting governments with early detection by providing COVID-19 testing kits to countries in Africa, training lab technicians, and strengthening surveillance in communities. Forty-five countries in Africa can now test for COVID-19: at the start of the outbreak only two could do so. WHO is also providing remote support to affected countries on the use of electronic data tools, so national health authorities can better understand the outbreak in their countries. Personal protective equipment has been shipped to 24 countries, and a second shipment is being prepared for countries with confirmed cases.

“COVID-19 is one of the biggest health challenges Africa has faced in a generation,” said Dr Moeti. “We can only stop this virus through solidarity. And the world is coming together. Donors are stepping up to the plate and providing funding while private sector in many countries are offering their support as well.”

Lessons learnt in addressing previous epidemics are being used as a foundation to respond.

Basic preventative measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For this reason, WHO is helping local authorities craft radio messaging and TV spots to inform the public about the risks of COVID-19 and what measures should be taken. WHO is also conducting rumour management in all affected countries, and is guiding countries on setting up call-centres and hotlines to ensure the public is informed.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor
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Monday, March 16, 2020

11 Northern States Yet to Domesticate Child's Rights Act - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated 11 states in the northern part of Nigeria are yet to domesticate child's rights Act, reports NaijaAgroNet:.

Arising from a one-day Consultative Meeting on Women and Countering Violent Extremism in the North East organised by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Abuja with the support of Norwegian Agency for Development and Cooperation (NORAD), stakeholders underscored the fact that 11 northern states are yet to domesticate this Act.

Leading speakers, a consultant on the subject matter, Prof. Patricia Donli, decried that some children in the Northeast have known nothing but violence, explaining that the lack of implementation of relevant laws that protects that protects the rights of children has given rise to varying degrees of abuses.

"Rape cases are on the increase in the North East. We have four cases in Maiduguri IDPs alone last week. Just recently two sisters were raped by a teacher, a little boy was nailed on his head. General hospitals smell so bad because of girls suffering from VVF due to child marriage," Donli said.

She regrets that 11 northern states are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act (CRA) enacted in 2003 and the VAPP Act and even in states which have, implementations have been very slow due to lack of coordination among actors and political will from government.

Donli urged states government not to see these policies as acts that promotes child rights but see it as policies that will he used to protect their children and place priority on them. She also called for increased awareness on the law among the populace.

Speaking further on the state of violence and conflicts across the country, Donli bemoaned the poor participation of women in Countering Violent Extremism, despite the unique role they play in restoring peace.

She recalled that Nigeria launched its second National Action Plan for the Implementation of UNSC1235 and related resolutions on 9 May 2017, for the period between 2017 and 2020. NAP being one of the most powerful tools governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society have to increase the inclusion of women in politics and peacebuilding, and the protection of women and girls in times of war, was domesticated to State level State Action Plan (SAP) she said.

She however said only four states in the North East has the SAP to include Boronu, Gombe, Yobe, Adamawa. This according to is due to a lack of political will in the part of government.

Donli also noted that the awareness level of SAP is very low hence the need for sensitisation. "even if this places have SAP, the implementation is very poor, you find out that people are not even aware of its existence."

She also highlighted a lack of planned budget as a constraint in the domestication and implementation of the law.

Speaking, the National Coordinator, WANEP-Nigeria, Ms. Bridget Osakwe, regrets that women and girls bear most of the brunt of violence, yet are excluded in the peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes.

Osakwe explained that, in the North East geo-political zone, violent extremism has increased in tenacity from unabated attacks from the violent extremist group Boko Haram.

"Since the inception of this Islamic extremist group in 1995, it has continued to intensify attacks in the North-Eastern States and other parts of Nigeria. Over 40,000 Nigerians have been killed in more than 2,300 incidents reflecting a wide range of ethnic, religious, political and economic tensions across large portions of the country.

"This accounts for almost 40% of the total deaths more than any other source of social violence in the country," she said.

The head of programmes, WANEP, Ms. Patience Obaulo, however informed that the project seeks to promote women’s participation in countering violent extremism to advance the implementation of Nigeria National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 at the local level in North East Nigeria.

She stressed that the role of women relating to countering violent extremism (CVE) is a critical security issue that directly relates to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the eight supporting resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, most notably UNSCR 2242 and 2349.

A representative from the ministry of women affairs. princess Idonije applauded WANEP for convening all traditional institutions and relevant CSOs to foster ways on improving the right of women and girls.

Oma Nweke/Editor

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Saturday, March 14, 2020

Lagos LGAs to partner CS-SUNN on nutrition advocacy - NaijaAgroNet

The Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs, Dr. Taiwo Olufemi Salam, has assured the readiness of his office to partner with the Civil Society-Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) at local levels of governance, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Dr Salam gave this assurance in his remarks during a courtesy advocacy visit by the leadership of CS-SUNN led by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, National Steering Committee Chair on Advocacy, Mrs Aji Robinson, and Coordinator, Lagos CS-SUNN, Dr Modupe Akinyinka.

He pledged to ensure active participation of local government chairmen across the state during a proposed sensitization nutrition workshop.

As said by him, this is crucial to help in championing and deseminating correct nutrition information down to the grassroot governance.

He also advised that CS-SUNN make pamphlets available as part of the programming to deepen the understanding of participants, especially those who make laws at the local levels.

Although, Salam acknowledged that often requisite resources are not readily available and often population accuracy become an issue.

He urged families to make certain they take good care of their families in alignment with their economic status.

Men, he advised must control their third legs and manage what they can afford by ensuring control of children.

“We must start with education at the grassroots,” he declared.

Earlier in her address, leader of the delegation, Mrs. Eluaka noted that CS-SUNN is part of the six major networks actively involved in nutrition emancipation globally under the Multi-Stakeholder Platform (MSP).

She explained that these include the government, United Nations (UN) agencies, Civil Society Organisations, Businesses, Donors and Academia Networks respectively.

In Nigeria, she traced the root to the November 14, 2011, when the Federal Government of Nigeria joined the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN Movement) by then Minister of Health, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwu; an indication that Nigeria was ready to join forces in addressing malnutrition in the country.

At the states, she noted that there are Committees on Food and Nutrition, just as she called for cash-backing of budget lines on nutrition and related subjects.

Lagos, she said, has a high malnutrition rate of 17.2 per cent, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In addition, Mrs. Eluaka pointed out that WHO further revealed that Lagos has high stunting rate of 6 per cent, whereas stunting above 5 per cent has been classified as high by this world health body.

Eluka, equally sought for collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs towards ensuring Lagos State Executive Council endorse relevant policies to scale up nutrition in the state.

Other members of the CS-SUNN on ground for the advocacy visit included, Mrs. Ebere Okey-Onyema, Secretary, Lagos CS-SUNN, Mrs. Ewa Ekpeyong, Assistant Secretary, Lagos Chapter, Remmy Nweke, Editor at NaijaAgroNet and Natioanl Coordinator, Media Centre Against child Malnutriton (MeCAM), Director of Outreach & Research, MeCAM, Mrs Julie Ekong, Member-CS-SUNN, Sam Akinyolode of Revive Agriculture Africa, to name a few.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Nutrition tops Adesina's agenda @Sierra Leone - NaijaAgroNet


At the instance of the President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio at the AU Summit in February 2020, President Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank (AfDB) is in the country with top on his agenda being nutrition, reports 

The working visit which will make a visit to the country, from 11 to 13 March.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that the visit presents an opportunity to deepen discussions on several fronts, particularly on how the Bank can assist Sierra Leone to implement the 2019-2023 National Development Plan, which focuses on human capital development.

Both presidents will use the visit to discuss the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative, which works to fight against malnutrition, an issue of huge concern for the country.

The Bank’s Country Strategy (2013-2019) for Sierra Leone approved 28 projects, covering diverse sectors: transport, water, agriculture and energy, among others.

Bank projects have also contributed to enhanced peace and stability in Sierra Leone and the Mano River Union Region.

Sierra Leone was one of the founding members of the Bank Group. Since 1967, the Bank has financed projects and programs for a cumulative amount of $758 million.

NaijaAgroNet recollects that AfDB is Africa’s premier development finance institution, comprising three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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What life after OPEC for Africa asks NJ Ayuk - NaijaAgroNet

Underneath the panic caused by Coronavirus and the fall out of OPEC+ lies opportunity for African oil producers:
Sometimes it is easy to forget how interconnected human lives across the globe have become. Perhaps we no longer talk as much about globalization as we used to in the 1990s because it is no longer an issue to be discussed or protested against, it is simply the reality that surrounds us. And there is no cruder evidence of that than the Coronavirus.

Despite the fact that the virus hasn’t yet affected African nations in anyway as seriously as other regions of the world, a fact the World Health Organization is still unable to explain, forecasts already indicated that just through reduced demand for African exports, the virus was expected to wipe at least USD$4 billion in revenue from the continent’s economy. Most of that was simply because China in particular, and Asia and Europe in general, were reducing oil and gas consumption dramatically as transport and economic activities came to a standstill in light of the epidemic that already forced several dozens of millions of people to be put under quarantine.

Last week, news reports indicated that oil traders in Africa were unable to find buyers for fifty-five Nigerian oil cargoes as global demand crashed. By last Friday morning, the virus had wiped the equivalent of USD$5 trillion in value from the global stock markets. That’s two and a half times the GDP of the whole African continent.

And all that was before OPEC+’s Friday meeting in Vienna. Wasn’t that one surprising?

I believe it is safe to say that few people could have expected this outcome. After all, for the last three and a half years, the world, and the oil industry in particular, had learned to trust the alliance of OPEC countries with Russia and other oil producers to work together to stabilize the markets and guarantee a sustainable price for the barrel of crude.

Through their decision to cut down oil production to address reduced demand and balance out the effect of the US shale play, all together, they were keeping 1.7 million barrels of oil per day away from the market, a landmark decision of cooperation like we had never seen in history. Perhaps also because of its novelty, of its width and because it was dependent on the will and cooperation of so many, it also fell victim to the infestation this virus has brought.

The Saudi-led consortium of nations was proposing a combined further cut of 1.5 million barrels per day to continue to match the decline in global demand. The Russia-led group was not going to go further than 600 thousand. The conclusion… no new cuts at all and no renewal of the previous cuts. The OPEC+ alliance that saved the industry from collapse in 2016 has, at least for the moment, come to an end. All bets are off. At the end of April, when the current agreement ends, all restrictions will be lifted and the world is bracing for an oil flood.

The markets have already factored that in, with the Brent and the WTI registering its biggest daily crash since the beginning of the first Gulf War. While oil seems to have rebounded slightly today, it will take time to make up for Monday’s 25% crash. That is, if the recovery is anywhere in sight, since Saudi Arabia announced it was ramping up production and selling its oil discounted by as much as USD$8 per barrel, on a barrel priced at little more than USD$30.

In all honesty, the situation looks bleak. If Saudi Arabia and Russia do go on having a price war, a USD$20 barrel is possible, if not probable.

But what does this mean for Africa?

Several African petroleum and energy ministers were in Vienna last Friday, both as members of OPEC and as members of APPO. Shortly before the announcement on the fall of the agreement, they had decided to strengthen cooperation between African oil producers, promote synergies, intra-african trading, and knowledge exchange. Surely, we need that more than ever.

For the moment, however, there is no reason to panic. Surely, things might get worse before they get better, as the world battles this rapidly spreading virus. And surely, some oil dependent African nations will suffer with reduced revenue. Angola’s state budget, for instance, was designed for an oil price of USD$55 not USD$35. But we have survived the oil price crisis of 2014, and we will survive this one two. Further, most African producers have learned from the past experience and have adjusted themselves to respond to price crashes. The progressive economic diversification the continent has witnessed in recent years will also contribute to minimize the impact of this situation. Yes, final investment decisions might be slightly delayed until the situation stabilizes, but they will come in due time.

So what’s next?

If 2020 is showing itself challenging for African energy, 2021 will be a year of opportunity, but for that to happen, we have to start adapting now, laying down the policies that will allow us to take advantage of the future opportunities. It is in moments of crisis that true leaders have the opportunity to shine.

While it is difficult to predict the future, there are a few deductions and inductions we can try to make with some certainty.

One, is that neither Russia nor Saudi Arabia want a low oil price and there is a limit to how long they are willing to sustain it. No one gains from it and if anyone has the capacity and funds to sustain it for a longer period of time is Saudi Arabia. So, it is not really a price war, since it can’t really be a war if you already know the winner at the head start. Already, Russia has suggested it might be open to negotiate coordinated cuts within OPEC+ during the group's next meeting in May/June.

What seems likely that will happen, is that the first to suffer from this will be American shale producers. This sector was already finding it hard to finance itself in recent years but continued to unbalance the market with its rapid response times to price fluctuations. These producers are highly leveraged, and it is likely that most will go bust in the present situation. This is something Russia and Saudi Arabia tried to do back in 2015/2016. While it did not succeed at the time, it might have better chances now.

Further, in three months time, at the time of the next OPEC+ meeting, the virus situation might also be very different. This week, president Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak, in a clear demonstration of a strong response to a rapidly evolving situation that seems to be stabilizing. China itself is an extremely leveraged economy and can not afford to slow down for much longer. It can be expected that demand in the country will start rising again in the foreseeable future. If that happens in a scenario when the US shale sector is no longer able to respond, it might just be that the price will climb higher than it was before the virus, and with Saudi Arabia securing for itself a much larger slice of the global marketplace. Again, things will get worse before they get better, but they will certainly get better.

So, for African nations, this is the time to position ourselves correctly, and that will require close attention to international developments and close cooperation, to be able to take advantage of new opportunities. The African Energy Chamber will be instrumental in that, but so will be the African members of OPEC. The time to show statesmanship and stay close to Saudi Arabia and the decision-making table is now. To grow Africa’s relevance in the international oil stage by showing level-headedness and cooperation in face of a global crisis. If we take that route, we will come out of this stronger than ever.

*Courtesy: NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of pan-African corporate law conglomerate Centurion Law Group, and the author of several books about the oil and gas industry in Africa, including Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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Thursday, March 5, 2020

Nutrition advocacy: Lagos establishes committee, CS-SUNN drums support for policy document - NaijaAgroNet

Lagos State government has established a committee to train, advocate and implement nutrition sensitive interventions for women and children, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Disclosing this at a one-day advocacy visit by the Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) led by its Executive Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Lagos State, Mrs. Yewande Falugba, said that with this committee in place, Lagos is ready to collaborate with CS-SUNN to deepen uptake of nutritious diets and ethics among citizenry.

In her remarks, CS-SUNN Executive Secretary, Mrs. Eluka, commended Lagos for the milestones achieved in times including the dedication of budget lines for some nine Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

She sought the PS support for domestication of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition in Lagos State.

In addition, CS-SUNN sought for support in approval, release (cash backed) and implementation of the policy document and Strategic Plan of Action by the State Executive Council (SEC).

CS-SUNN further requested for mobilization of high level members of the State Executive Council to endorse the policy document and strategic plan of Action for Nutrition.

As said by Mrs Eluaka, the malnutrion index of the state, which stunting rate stood at 17 per cent and wasting at 6.6 per cent.

“Going by the WHO standard, these indices call for emergency response.

“This invariably has impact on state development and growth,” she said.

The ES was accompanied by the National Steering Committee Chair on Advocacy, Mrs Aji Robinson, as well as the Lagos CS-SUNN advocacy team including Dr Modupe Akinyinka, Co-ordinator - CS –SUNN, Lagos State Chapter, Mrs. Ebere Okey-Onyema, Secretary, Lagos CS-SUNN, Mrs. Ewa Ekpeyong, Assistant Secretary, Lagos Chapter, Remmy Nweke, Editor at NaijaAgroNet and Natioanl Coordinator, Media Centre Against child Malnutriton (MeCAM), Mr. Lanre Olotu of Hepatitis Care Foundation, Member-CS-SUNN, Sam Akinyolode of Revive Agriculture Africa.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that this advocacy visit is part of the Partnership for Improving Nigeria’s Nutrition Systems (PINNS) project and designed to strengthen the Nigeria nutrition systems to be more Result –driven, Effective, Serviceable, Efficient and Transparent (RESET) under the management of Civil Society Scaling Up-Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in line with its mission ‘to mobilize State and Non -State actors to generate evidence, build capacity, advocate and stimulate communities to scale up Nutrition in Nigeria.’

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Egube applauds CS-SUNN on advocacy, explains why Lagos voted N7bn on health insurance – NaijaAgroNet

The Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Samuel Egube, has applauded the Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), over the advocacy at ensuring Nigerians eat healthy meals, reports NaijaAgroNet.

CS-SUNN, NaijaAgroNet gathered, is a non-governmental, non-profit making coalition, made up of organizations with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen has food and is nutrition secured.

Welcoming the delegate from CS-SUNN on a courtesy visit to his office and led by the Executive Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, the Commissioner noted that nutrition has become a multi-sectoral subject that should be embraced by all.

He applauded CS-SUNN for championing nutrition education in the country, which longterm effect is good health for the citizens.

“Nutrition is a deliberate attempt to make life better for the citizen,” he declared.

Lagos, Egube said, has to push for the social health insurance and even voted the sum of N7 billion for this scheme.

ALSO READ: CS-SUNN commends Lagos over nutrition budget lines in 9 MDAs - NaijaAgroNet

He equally charged Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) not to relent on their efforts, but to encourage Lagosians to take the scheme seriously.

“Nutrition is everyone problem and CSO have lots to do than the government,” he asserted, stressing that more could be do with partnership.

Earlier, the Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs. Eluaka in the company of Aji Rachael Robinson - Sub-Committee Chairman Research, Programme Manager, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo, Lagos State Coordinator at CS-SUNN, Dr (Mrs) Modupe Akinyinka, National Coordinator, Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM), Mr. Remmy Nweke.

Equally in attendance were the Lagos State Director in the ministry, Mrs. Otuyalo and State Nutrition Officer (SNO) Mrs Olubunmi Braheem among others.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

CS-SUNN commends Lagos over nutrition budget lines in 9 MDAs - NaijaAgroNet

The Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has commended the Lagos State government for creating nine budget lines for nutrition across its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), reports NaijaAgroNet.

Giving this commendation on behalf of CS-SUNN, its Executive Secretary, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka during a courtesy visit to the Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Samuel Egube, on Tuesday at the State Secretariat, Alausa-Ikeja.

In addition she said that Lagos has what it takes to develop multi-sectoral policies that will stimulate nutrition in the state.

She also noted that Lagos was the first to sign the six months maternity leave into law, and congratulated ‘Eko’ for this fit.

The Executive Secretary further called for more positive actions in promotion of nutrition especially in children in Lagos. Stressing that the effect of malnutrition and stunting in the state, usually poses negative economic indexes should be addressed.

CS-SUNN also requested for approval of the state specific nutrition policy among other related plans by the State Executive Council (SEC).

In his response, the Commissioner, Mr. Egube, noted that nutrition problem is everybody’s problem.

“Everybody must come together. There is need to pull volunteers that will act together to deliver a society where basic nutrition is no longer a problem," he said.

NaijaAgroNet recollects that CS-SUNN launched in 2014, pursues her lofty goal by engaging government and non-state actors to raise awareness, sustain commitment and actions to effectively tackle under-nutrition in Nigeria.

The CS-SUNN delegation led by Executive Secretary, Mrs. Eluaka included the Sub-Committee Chairman on Research, Aji Rachael Robinson, Programme Manager, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo, Lagos State CS-SUNN Coordinator, Dr (Mrs) Modupe Akinyinka and Secretary, Mrs Ebere Okey-Onyema, National Coordinator, Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM), Mr. Remmy Nweke, and in attendance of the Lagos State Director in the Ministry, Mrs. Otuyalo and State Nutrition Officer (SNO) Mrs Olubunmi Braheem.

Nenye Dom/Editor

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Food for All Africa launches campaign for 1000 free lunch box - NaijaAgroNet


The Food for All Africa is partnering with Ghana Food Movement and Chef Elijah Addo for the fundraising campaign to distribute 1,000 free lunch box and meals on the 8th International School Meals Day to school children within Akuapem-Mampong in the Eastern region of Ghana, reports 

The International School Meals Day, 
NaijaAgroNet gathered, encourages children and young people around the world to connect and talk to each other about the food they eat and the role that it plays in their lives. 

The 2020 edition, NaijaAgroNet also gathered, would hold on 12th March, 2020 with the theme ‘Sharing our Successes’. 

Chef Elijah Addo, founder of Food for All Africa noted that thinking about favorite foods, developing nutritional projects and discussing where food comes from and who provides it all offer opportunities to share time with family, friends and communities.

"This year’s theme allows pupils to share stories and undertake learning about what works well in relation to their meals — whether that’s how the food is grown or cooked, the recipes used, how it’s served or who it’s served by. We want to know! Maybe it’s a favorite family recipe, or food provided at school and served by a favorite member of the school feeding catering team," he said.

Addo pointed out that every day, millions of children take a giant step out of poverty simply by going to school. But no child can take that step on an empty stomach. 

"It takes nutritious food for them to be able to learn and grow up healthy," he said.

Equally, Addo cited for instance, the World Food Programme (WFP) recent reports, stressing that there are 66 million primary school-age children who attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.

"I have had the opportunity to interact with school children in both Ghana and across the world. I must confess that given the importance of school lunch to our children, we need to do all within our means to secure the safety and quality of meals that Ghanaian children eat in school. We must all get involved”

School lunch is critical to student health and well-being, especially for low-income students—and ensures that students have nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. Research shows that receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces food insecurity, obesity rates, and poor health

Food for All Africa has since 2018 been commemorating the International School Meals day in Ghana with a stakeholders forum on improving the school feeding programs across communities currently not covered by Governments National School Feeding programme.

Through extensive research and feedbacks from stakeholders, they realized the safety of food served in most of the schools is compromised due to the plates used by the school children. It is in line with addressing this challenge that they are fundraising to provide 1,000 free lunch box and meals to school children within the Akuapem-Mampong vicinity of the Eastern region. For each GH¢15 donated you have provided a lunch box and balanced meal on the day to one school child.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Nigeria ranks bottom 10 on child flourishing - NaijaAgroNet


The ranking is based on factors including measures of child survival and well-being such as health, education, nutrition, equity and income gaps.

The report, A Future for the World’s Children?, includes a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing.  Nigeria ranks 174 out of 180 countries, below Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

The report finds that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children. According to the report, no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

“This demonstrates how far we still need to go in Nigeria to ensure children can live healthy lives in an environment where they can thrive. We know that investing in the future of our children, giving them an education and making sure they are healthy and receive the right nutrition, works to provide a better future for everyone.  We all have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health and future of every Nigerian child,” said Claes Johansson, UNICEF Nigeria Representative a.i.
According to the report, while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions – disproportionately from wealthier countries – threaten the future of all children. If global warming exceeds 4°C by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.

The index shows that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds.

“More than 2 billion people live in countries where development is hampered by humanitarian crises, conflicts, and natural disasters, problems increasingly linked with climate change,” said Minister Awa Coll-Seck from Senegal, Co-Chair of the Commission. “While some of the poorest countries have among the lowest CO2 emissions, many are exposed to the harshest impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Promoting better conditions today for children to survive and thrive nationally does not have to come at the cost of eroding children’s futures globally.”   

A manifesto for immediate action on child and adolescent health

  1. Stop CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on this planet
  2. Place children and adolescents at the centre of efforts to achieve sustainable development
  3. New policies and investment in all sectors to work towards child health and rights
  4. Incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions
  5. Tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet family of journals, said: “The opportunity is great. The evidence is available. The tools are at hand. From heads-of-state to local government, from UN leaders to children themselves, this Commission calls for the birth of a new era for child and adolescent health. It will take courage and commitment to deliver. It is the supreme test of our generation.”
“From the climate crisis to obesity and harmful commercial marketing, children around the world are having to contend with threats that were unimaginable just a few generations ago,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “It is time for a rethink on child health, one which places children at the top of every government’s development agenda and puts their well-being above all considerations.”

“This report shows that the world’s decision makers are, too often, failing today’s children and youth: failing to protect their health, failing to protect their rights, and failing to protect their planet,” Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization said. “This must be a wakeup call for countries to invest in child health and development, ensure their voices are heard, protect their rights, and build a future that is fit for children.”

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Friday, February 14, 2020

Kano to partner FG on Pfizer-inspired diagnosis centre - NaijaAgroNet

The Kano State government, would be partnering the Federal Government to bring back to live, the abandoned Pfizer-sponsored diagnosis centre in Kwanar Dawaki, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The centre, a multi-billion Naira establishment, NaijaAgroNet gathered, was funded by Pfizer for over 10 years, due to alleged gaps between the state and the company, which later in 2012 was given to the then Northwest University, Kano (now Yusuf Maitama Sule University), as Teaching Hospital, then, would be resuscitated to become fully functional.

This was disclosed by the governor of Kano State Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje when he paid inspection visit to the Centre with the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Emmanuel Enahire, who was in Kano, for 2020 Kano Primary Health Care Summit.

He said with the support of the federal government, on the facility his administration would do a great work there, adding that, "The real issue is that, the facility was built by Pfizer and then disagreement erupted between Pfizer and the then state government."

The governor made it clear that "We will try our best to see that we contact Pfizer and discuss with them, so as to see what are the gaps that need our attention. We will try and fill in those gaps, because it will be for the benefit of our people."

"We will also look at other areas like consumables to dialogue with the Pfizer. Even then management of the facility would be discussed with them, to have good landing for the facility to bounce back to good use. We will definitely dialogue with them. Because we cannot afford to waste the costly machines that are put in place," he assured.

Impressed by the types of machines he saw at the facility, the Health Minister, Dr Enahire, said he was moved by what he saw, some installed and some not installed, hinting that, "This facility will go a long way in further developing quality research for scholars and students."

"There is still opportunity for collaboration between this facility and similar ones across the country. For example there is a similar facility in Lagos. And in other similar places," said the Minister.

Being under the Yusuf Maitama Sule University, students of Anatomy, Physiology and Medical Biochemistry use the facility under Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences.

Some of the Laboratories visited by the governor and the Minister during the visit included Histopathology Lab, Immunology Lab, Chemical Pathology Lab and  Hematology Lab, among others.

The visitors were briefed that at Hematology Lab, the machines that were installed are Genotype Machine, Molecular and DNA Analysis Machine. At the Lab a Special Refrigerator that has Minus 50°C temperature, that has the capacity to keep samples for over 50 years.

At Chemical Pathology Lab, visitors were briefed that the Machines for Kidney and Liver test are superb and could take all tests under clinical research, sometimes at a time.

It was also revealed that, some of the Machines that came with consumables, the consumables were expired. While those Machines that were installed, needed trained staff to run them, those that were not installed, needed both installations and training of staff.

Another machine at Microbiology Lab, Microbacterial Growth Indicator Machine can take 7 days for diagnosis unlike the traditional 40 days, as obtained by other similar machines. This according to the explanation, could help to drastically reduce TB cases.

The Centre, as a Research Centre, as at now, attracts many scholars and students, PhD students particularly, even from far away Calabar city. Generally, it was observed and advised that, what was needed for the immediate utilisation of all machines, was largely installation and training, that was referred to going back to drawing board.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Sao Tome & Principe partners IFAD to improve nutrition - NaijaAgroNet

The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the United Nations (IFAD) is supporting a new project to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 34,800 rural farmers of Sao Tome and Principe, an island country highly affected by climate change, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Rising sea levels and climate disturbances put the poor rural people of the country at risk, impacting its agriculture and fisheries.

Micronutrient deficiency rates in Sao Tome and Principe are also alarming, with 96 per cent of preschool children and 18 per cent of girls and pregnant women suffering from vitamin A deficiencies. The malnutrition rate for children under five is more than 17 per cent.

To address these issues, the financing agreement for the Commercialization, Agricultural Production Nutrition Project (COMPRAN) was signed today by Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, Programme Management Department and Osvaldo Tavares dos Santos Vaz, Minister of Finance of the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.

With 69 per cent of the young people in Sao Tome and Principe unemployed, this €19.2 million programme will target young people, aiming for at least 50 per cent. It will contribute to livelihood development, improved nutrition and resilience, all of which are critical areas for the country to achieve food security, as well as meeting several Sustainable Development Goals, including no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and climate action (SDGs 1, 2, 5 and 13).

Funding includes an €0.9 million loan and €3.8 million grant from IFAD. In addition, the Government of Sao Tome and Principe is providing €0.4 million, with a further €0.5 million contributed by beneficiaries themselves and significant cofinancing from other development partners.

“COMPRAN is an innovative project that will also strengthen capacities of key rural public and private institutions in the country to catalyse and well manage investments and strengthen public-private and producer partnerships, at both central and decentralized levels. This will ensure the continuity and the sustainability of the gains of the former Smallholder Commercial Agriculture Project that registered huge achievements and impact on the livelihoods of rural populations through increased incomes,” said Emime Ndihokubwayo, Country Director for Sao Tome and Principe.

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Thursday, February 6, 2020

Nigerian govt must scale-up nutrition says CS-SUNN – NaijaAgroNet

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on governments at all levels to scale-up nutrition provision of basic package of nutrition services, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Making this call in Lagos, Wednesday at the end of a one-day media roundtable on Micro-Nutrient Deficiency Control in collaboration with the Federal Ministries of Health and Agriculture, the Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, said the government must scale-up nutrition across the Primary Health Care Centres in the country.

She also said that there is need for massive sensitization, education and awareness creation to provoke behavioural changes that will promote adequate Infant and Young Child Feeding practices in the country.

According to her, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six (6) months of life and adequate complementary feeding are key behavioural traits required for scaling up nutrition.

In addition, she said, provision of routine services in Primary Health Care centers will promote distribution of Micronutrient powder, Iron/Folic Acid supplements and Zinc including Vitamin A supplementation for Pregnant Women and Children respectively.

“We call on state governments to scale-up not only the provision and distribution of these supplements to hard- to- reach areas and across health facilities during the MNCH week but also counselling to ensure compliance. We urge Nigerians to diversify their diet and to ensure adequate nutrition by consuming a wide range of foods, including vegetables, proteins and fruits to improve their nutritional status,” she said.

CS-SUNN, Mrs Eluaka said, had supported some State Committees on Food and Nutrition including the Lagos State Committee on Food and Nutrition to develop and cost their plans. Low funding for nutrition has been one of the major setbacks to implementation of nutrition interventions.

“We again urge states without budget lines for nutrition to create such and ensure releases with specific funds allotted to interventions around micronutrient powder, biofortification, iron folate supplementation and Vitamin A supplementation among others. We also underscore the need to strengthen multisectoral coordination across institutional structures documented in the National Policy for Food and Nutrition to address the causes of MNDC and the need for promotion of the production of bio-fortified crops among Nigerian farmers, to ensure availability for consumption among Nigerians.

“Some of these measures, if in place will reduce the incidence of micro nutrient deficiencies and contribute to improving nutrition outcomes in Nigeria,” she said.

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Pix: Lagos State Coordinator Dr Mrs Modupe Akinyinka, Executive Sec. Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, SUN Nigeria Ambassador Mrs Lola Alonge and representative of Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), Mr Uruakpa John at the one day media roundtable in Lagos.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How Agrikore boosts diversification of Nigeria’s economy

When he assumed office in 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari made a passionate appeal to youth to engage in agriculture as a means of job and wealth creation as well as economic diversification.

His administration then introduced various initiatives to achieve this objective. They include the backward integration drive that birthed the directive to dairy companies to source local raw materials for their milk products, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s agriculture intervention/collaboration schemes. An excellent example of the partnerships is the 10,000 hectares oil-palm plantation in Kogi State between the CBN and Agro-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Stocks and Minas Agricultural Advocacy Network Africa (SMAANA).

However, the initiatives have only impacted food production and wealth creation in trickles, no thanks to the inefficient Agric value-chain.

Issues including poor storage, transportation and distribution have steadily retarded the sector’s growth and stopped it from achieving its potential as a foreign exchange earner. Though inputs including fertilisers, tractors, seeds and even loans have been made available to farmers, the nation’s dream to feed itself and export the rest is yet to be actualised.

How then can we reduce inefficiency and wastages in the Agric value-chain for the benefit of all stakeholders and Nigerians?

Innovation via technological advancement holds the key to unlocking the potentials of the agricultural sector.

To this end, leading pan-African technology company, Cellulant Corporation, operating in Nigeria and 19 other African countries, introduced and deployed a solution called Agrikore.

Agrikore is a blockchain-based smart-contracting, payments and marketplace system-based platform. It is an ingenious digital platform that ensures everyone in the agricultural eco-system; farmers, community aggregators, food processors, financial institutions, insurance companies, governments, development companies, and logistics companies, relate truthfully with each other.

Blockchain refers to a data structure that makes it possible to create a digital ledger of data and share it among a network of independent parties.

Cellulant, through Agrikore, provides the platform which farmers, logistics companies, wholesalers, community aggregators and others come aboard and carry out end to end transactions from the farmers to the consumers. It enables aggregators to organise cereal/grain farmers to focus on farming while the community aggregators ensure logistics companies can pick up the produce. They also ensure they are transported conveniently and that farmers receive fair value for their crops.

This helps make everyone in the Agric value chain to focus and perform their task optimally, ensuring value is created.

Cellulant recently held a partners’ summit attended by players across the Agric sector. Participants had nothing but praise for the company as they confirmed they have been reaping profits from signing up on the Agrikore platform.

The platform currently caters to cereal/ grain farmers, with plans to extend to other crops soonest.

Fittingly, Cellulant’s strides are being recognised by development partners and financial institutions. At the partners meeting, Wema Bank signed an agreement to provide N2 billion in loans via Agrikore to prospective farmers, thus improving the economic diversification drive.

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Moyamed Bin Zayed solar lifts West African PV complex - NaijaAgroNet


The African Energy Chamber ( addresses its heartfelt congratulations to the Republic of Togo for breaking ground on its 50MW Mohamed Bin Zayed Photovoltaic Solar Power Complex today in Blitta. The project was launched in presence of H.E. Faure E. Gnassingbe, President of the Republic of Togo, and Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, the company in charge of designing, financing, building, launching, operating and maintaining the facility.

The Moyamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex is West Africa’s largest ongoing solar PV project, and supports Togo’s ambitions to increase its rural electrification rate to 50% by 2022, and 100% by 2030.

“AMEA Power is a foreign investor who understands Africa and has demonstrated a commitment to supporting local content wherever it operates,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “As public and private sector interest for Africa grows in the Middle East, such players are most welcomed. Their work in and with Africa contributes to the development of a sustainable and prosperous future.”

The project further confirms the growing presence of AMEA Power in the continent. The UAE-based company has become a serious investor in Africa’s energy sector and represents the growing appetite of private players and investors from the Middle East to invest in Africa. At the end of 2019, Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power signed two long-term power purchase agreements for 250MW of solar PV projects in Ethiopia, while state-owned ADNOC is reportedly looking at several investments into the African upstream oil & gas sector.

Isaac Oyimah/Editor

Pix: Pöllö - Own work, CC BY 3.0, 

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Friday, January 31, 2020

EU lifts Jigawa, Kano States with water, sanitation facilities - NaijaAgroNet

Estimated one million people in six Local Government Areas (LGA) of Jigawa and Kano States will benefit from improved access to safe water and sanitation facilities following the completion of several water and sanitation facilities in the six LGAs, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Built with support from the European Union (EU), the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities will go a long way towards ensuring that people in Nigeria have access to safe WASH services.

Data from the WASH National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM) show that 47 million Nigerians practice open defecation, only 11 percent of Nigerians have access to complete basic water, sanitation and hygiene services and only 13 percent of schools have access to basic water and sanitation services.

The lack of WASH facilities in schools are of serious concern as children who do not have access to water, are most likely to lose interest in pursuing learning opportunities because they are forced to spend more time in search for water during school hours or stay out of school to recover from illness caused by frequent episodes of diarrhea. More than 100,000 children under five years of age die each year due to water borne diseases like diarrhea, of which 90 percent is directly attributed to unsafe water and sanitation.

Access to clean drinking water is a human right - just like the right to food and the right to live without torture and racial discrimination. And ending open defecation and making water, sanitation, and hygiene services available to all Nigerians is one of the biggest challenges as construction and management of facilities requires sustained investments and more partnerships, especially with the private sector. The Nigeria Government should invest 3 times more in the water sector making sure that every Nigeria has access to clean water and a toilet as the lack of access to water is impacting the wellbeing specially of the most vulnerable.

The EU, through UNICEF, is supporting the Government of Nigeria to achieve the objectives of the national campaign on an open defecation free Nigeria launched last year and the state of emergency declared on the WASH sector by the President in 2018.

The EU-funded programmes support WASH projects in urban and rural areas through the provision of water schemes, technical assistance and capacity development to sector institutions and agencies responsible, and improved access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene services in communities. The European Union has invested more than 250 million Euros in the Nigerian water sector, aimed at improving the WASH conditions of more than 10 million people in 14 States across the country.

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Ekiti gears up for total zero oil diversification - NaijaAgroNet

The Ekiti state government has disclosed plans to domesticate the Federal Government’s zero oil strategy for total diversification of the economy in its drive to reposition the state’s finances, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr Femi Ajayi, disclosed this during the presentation of the detailed analysis of the 2020 budget to stakeholders in Ado-Ekiti on Thursday.

Ajayi said the size of the 2020 budget of N124,724,869,355.95 made up of N53,538,093.59 and N71,186,775,549.36 capital and recurrent expenditures respectively was within the ambit of the requirements for the fiscally sustainable plan of the Federal Government

He explained that the budget was in line with fiscal policy of having a purposeful and all-inclusive budget that will serve as a tool for the implementation of socio-economic policy and prudent management of available resources.

The Commissioner said the 2020 budget preparation took into cognizance the interests of all towns, communities and interests groups, adding that the budget was woven round the five cardinal programmes of the administration to deliver on its electioneering promises to the people of the state.”

According to him, “The 2020 budget represents a reduction of N5,199,602,779.06 or (4%) from the 2019 budget size of N129,924,472,135.01. the operational dynamics of the 2020 budget was to reduce the budget performance variance in the 2020 fiscal year to ensure compliance with the requirement of the state fiscal transparency, accountability and sustainability programmes for results which allows only 20 per cent variance in implementation.”

Ajayi added that the reduction was also informed by the need to have a more realistic budget, considering the dwindling allocation from the federation account.

Analysing the 2019 budget of restoration upon which the 2020 budget of deliverables was hinged, the Budget commissioner said 2019 budget was prepared to restore the core values of Ekiti people and revamp the state economy which was designed to widen the scope of revenue generation by widening the tax net and blocking all leakages in the revenue accrued to government.

He explained further that the budget was financed principally from revenue from federal allocation, internally generated revenue, value-added tax, funds from international donor agencies, grants from the federal government and other sources.

The commissioner also explained that the focus of the 2020 budget, christened “Budget of Deliverables” was to establish a fiscal framework that would transform the socio-economic activities of the state and situate Ekiti in the right perspective in the committee of states in Nigeria. He added that the budget was to drive Ekiti towards agricultural, industrial and knowledge base of the Nigerian economy through completion of all ongoing capital projects across the state and commencing other legacy projects.

He highlighted the objectives of the budget to include consolidation of the achievements recorded in core values of the state; establishing a fiscal framework that will positively translate the present economic realities to a major viable agricultural and industrial base of the Nigerian economy; to pursue aggressive revenue generation drive within the ambit of the law and reduce the dependence of the state on allocation from the federal government; to invest in human capital and strengthen the human resources base through strategic investments in qualitative education and health care delivery to all as well as improve ease of doing business and provide enabling socio-economic environment required for the success of government reforms.

While seeking the continued support of the people for Governor Kayode Fayemi administration to bring its lofty ideas and programmes into reality, the commissioner noted that the implementation of the budget will further improve the lives of the people and stimulate economic activities in the state.

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