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Nigerian, Chinese, Canadian experts point way to better education


Experts from Nigeria, China and Canada have come up with informed suggestions on how best the three sides would foster better and more beneficial higher education system.

At the Africa-China-Canada Conference on Higher Education that held at the University of Lagos this week, 19 experts in the academia, media, administration and others made presentations on how good, beneficial and standard higher education and integration between the three parts of the world would better exchange and strengthen quality education .

The trilateral body held its third conference and the first African forum on “The Role of Higher Education in Multi-level Cooperation and the Chinese Government Belt and Road Initiative” and challenged all the parties to see education cooperation and exchange between them as a way forward.

University dons from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada represented by Prof. Darcy Marciniuk, Prof. Liu Jinghui from China, the Nigerian and Chinese Directors at the University of Lagos Confucius Institute, Profs. Chimdi Maduagwu and Wang Yongjing also made presentations calling for better cooperation and synergy.

Also speaking on one of the topics of discussion, the Chairman, Editorial Board of The Sun Newspaper, Dr. Robert Obioha called for balance and caution in the way the world views the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. He noted that it is not his duty to antagonise China especially in her relationship with African countries regarding loans, but urged Africa to be wise and do her best to get the benefit in relating with China.

Obioha argued that Nigeria and other African countries should never forget to take from China the lesson of their growth from oblivion and liberate themselves from further teaching by others and start teaching herself and charting her own course of advancement.

Also presenting a paper on China and the Rest of the World in the 21st Century, international journalist and Executive Director of the Afri-China Media Centre, Ikenna Emewu challenged the Nigerian government and other African countries to learn strategy and consistent good leadership from China.

Emewu himself who has studied in two Chinese universities and practiced journalism in the country called on Nigeria to tap into the experience of China’s economic growth and sustained tenacity over the years and liberate herself through sound economy.

He said that: “China had lived insular and incubated her seed for years, between 1978 and 1999 all within or behind its iron curtain as the media in the West dubbed it.

For 21 years it cooked her recipe. In 15 years after serving the world the delicacies, her arrival was announced. Between year 2000 as the 21st Century dawned and 2015, China was announced the world’s second largest economy.”

“As the new century, the 21st Century debuted, China pulled back the curtains threw open the window panels, unhinged the doors to let in air, visitors and light from the outer world.”

Emewu reminded that: “China’s poverty reduction example and feat has been a reference to the world with a record of lifting about 760m citizens out of poverty since her reforms. By the time the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) ended in 2015, China was the only country that met the target of country poverty reduction and contributed about 92% of global poverty eradication.

Its work in this direction is the instance the UN and World Bank cite for the rest of the world to follow.

“As Nigeria relates with China and unfortunately dubbed the world poverty capital, it would be wisdom that Nigeria takes a cue from China and liberate her citizens from abject poverty,” he advised.

At last, NNPC strikes oil deposit in northern Nigeria


The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has announced the discovery of hydrocarbon deposits in the Kolmani River II Well on the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin, in the North-Eastern part of the country.

It would be recalled that drilling of the Kolmani River II Well was flagged-off in a colourful ceremony by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2nd of February, 2019.

A press release by the Corporation’s Acting Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Samson Makoji, stated that NNPC acquired 435.54km2 of 3D Seismic Data over Kolmani Prospect in the Upper Benue Trough, Gongola Basin. This was to evaluate Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) Kolmani River 1 Well Discovery of 33 BCF and explore deeper levels.

The well was drilled with “IKENGA RIG 101” to a total depth of 13,701feet encountering oil and gas in several levels. A Drill Stem Test (DST) is currently on-going to confirm the commercial viability and flow of the Kolmani River reservoirs.

The Corporation explained that on Thursday 10th October, 2019, at 18:02hours, one of the reservoirs was perforated and hydrocarbon started flowing to the well head at 21:20hours in which the gas component was flared to prevent air charge around the Rig.

Preliminary reports indicate that the discovery consists of gas, condensate and light sweet oil of API gravity ranging from 38 to 41 found in stacked siliciclastic cretaceous reservoirs of Yolde, Bima Sandstone and Pre-Bima formations.

Computation of hydrocarbon volume is on-going and will be announced in due course.

The Corporation has also acquired additional 1183kmof 3D seismic data over highly prospective areas of Gongola Basin with a view to evaluating the full hydrocarbon potential of the Basin.

NNPC has deployed world class cutting-edge technologies including Surface Geochemistry, Ground Gravity/Magnetic, Stress Field Detection, Full Tensor Gradiometry aerial surveys to de-risk exploration in the frontier basins. The NNPC plans to drill additional wells for full evaluation of the hydrocarbon volume in the Gongola Basin.

It would be recalled that during the spud-in ceremony of Kolmani River II, President Muhammadu stated the commitment of his administration to the exploration for Oil and Gas in the frontier basins in the entire length and breadth of the country. The basins include: the Benue Trough, Chad Basin, Sokoto and Bida Basins.

He also stated that attention would be given to the Dahomey and Anambra Basins which have already witnessed oil and gas discoveries.

The discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantity in the Gongola Basin will attract foreign investment, generate employment for people to earn income and increase government revenues.

Nigerian govt releases N10.33tr 2020 budget at 7.5% VAT revenue


  • Naira value still not looking good at N305/$ in projection


Nigeria’s federal government has released a budget of N10.33tr for the 2020 fiscal year.

The presentation of the budget before the joint session of the National Assembly Tuesday could be the earliest since 1999.

At the event of the presentation, President Muhammadu Buhari in line with the constitutional requirement gave a briefing of the current budget that came into effect in June this year due into late passage.

However, the projection of the 2020 expenditure document is already in the deficit of about N2.2 trillion.

A major concern in the figures of the budget is the projected total revenue earnings of the government that is at N8.155tr as against the government admitted earning of N2.02tr or paltry 58% of the 2019 budgeted earning. How the government would up the earning more than thrice to meet the target is yet not too clear.

Due to our over reliance on imports for finished goods, raw materials and machinery, the budget which pegged the naira exchange rate at N305 to one US dollar wasn’t cheery.

It didn’t also give an inkling of how the huge revenue would be realized.

Another curious fact of the budget was also basing the government earning on 7.5% VAT as against its present 5%. The complexity in the VAT projection is the fact that the proposal approving that new VAT regime has not become a law yet.

President Buhari had admitted also that VAT earning in 2019 was far below expectation.

On capital releases for the 2019 budget, he said that started in 2019 Q3 and as at September, only N294.64b had been released, as he assured that he would authorise a fell swoop release of another N600b by end of the year, which is more than double of what was released as at September.

Still on the 2019 spending, the president admitted that: “On the expenditure side, 2019 Budget implementation was also hindered by the combination of delay in its approval and the underperformance of revenue collections. As such, only recurrent expenditure items have been implemented substantially. Of the prorated expenditure of N4.46 trillion budgeted, N3.39 trillion had been spent by June 30, 2019.”

On how the government would realize money to fund the budget, the federal government said: “We have adopted a conservative oil price benchmark of US$57 per barrel, daily oil production estimate of 2.18 mbpd and an exchange rate of N305 per US Dollar for 2020.

“We expect enhanced real GDP growth of 2.93% in 2020, driven largely by non-oil output, as economic diversification accelerates, and the enabling business environment improves. However, inflation is expected to remain slightly above single digits in 2020.”

With this promise of driving budget from the non-oil sector, the heavy reliance on oil revenue, barrels of production per day and the international crude price benchmark was still the fulcrum of the expected revenue.

Buhari said: “This Finance Bill has five strategic objectives, in terms of achieving incremental, but necessary, changes to our fiscal laws. These objectives are:

a. Promoting fiscal equity by mitigating instances of regressive taxation;

b. Reforming domestic tax laws to align with global best practices;

c. Introducing tax incentives for investments in infrastructure and capital markets;

d. Supporting Micro, Small and Medium-sized businesses in line with our Ease of Doing Business Reforms; and

e. Raising Revenues for Government.”

Dangote Industries launches waste-to-wealth environment friendly initiative


As part of activities marking the 2019 Global Sustainability Week, employees of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Industries Limited flagged off an environment focused initiative tagged “Waste to Wealth initiative”, focused on managing waste disposal while generating income and giving back to communities wherein we operate.

The Company marked the Sustainability Week with the theme: “Our Community, Our Passion” with various activities held in the Lagos and across its Business Units and plants. These activities focused on investment programmes directed towards turning waste to wealth, and reviving reading culture in young children in host communities.

In Lagos, over 200 Sustainability Champions and employee volunteers across the business units, assisted five international facilitators to train the children on turning the most insignificant materials and waste in the environment into tangible assets of economic value to the nation.

Dangote employees took the initiative to St. George Primary School and Aunty Ayo International School in Ikoyi, where the facilitators, with additional help from the volunteers, trained the children on how to manage their wastes and create sustainable products that are marketable from their everyday generated wastes.

Speaking on the initiative, the Group Chief Sustainability and Governance, Dangote Industries Limited, Dr. Ndidi Nnoli, said the company’s sustainability approach is driven by a desire to contribute and impact positively towards the development of host communities and the society at large.

According to her, the 2019 Sustainability Week is directed towards safeguarding the environment by educating the host communities on how to turn waste to wealth to achieve sustainable development.

She said, “We chose St. Georges School because the school is a neighbour to Dangote Head Office building in Ikoyi. Charity begins at home. We started to engender the sustainability culture as an employee volunteering initiative. We honestly believe that people are at the centre of any organisation and sustainability needs to begin with the individual person. It is a culture in Dangote to celebrate the sustainability week every year and this year we decided to bring it to a neighbouring school”.

“It is so important that we bring the initiative to the schools around us because we need to be very concerned about our children, their future, and most especially, education outside the classroom. We need to be concerned about educating our children on sustainability beyond the definition”, she added.

President Kagame launches smartphone factory in Rwanda


Rwandan president, Paul Kagame has launched a smartphone manufacturing plant, the first of its kind in the African continent.

Kagame launched the factory (Mara Phones Production Plant) on Monday, October 7, at the Kigali special economic zone in Gasabo district

In a report seen by TUKO.coke by the Rwanda New Times, the Rwandan head of state said the project was part of the broader made in Rwanda initiative, which his country has embarked on.

“The Mara phone joins a growing list of high-quality products that are made in our country. Producing smartphones is not a simple matter. Around 1,000 individual components are involved as we have been taken through the whole process,” the chair of the East African Community said. “The plant is therefore a complex manufacturing operation requiring significant technical skill and expertise and is another milestone on our journey to high-tech made in Rwanda industry,” he added.

According to Rwanda’s ministry of information and technology, the number of phone owners grew from 33% in 2010 to the current 80.6%. “The smartphone is no longer a luxury item. It is rapidly becoming a requirement of everyday life. That trend is bound to increase in the years to come, as more and more services migrate to digital platforms,” Kagame said. The plant has so far employed 200 people with 90% of them being Rwandans.