Co-founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma, has offered to donate 1.1 million testing kits and six million masks to battle Coronavirus in Africa where about 27 countries have recorded cases of COVID-19, but not as widespread as in Europe, Asia and America.
Jack Ma said the donation is for Africa to prepare ahead before Coronavirus becomes a pandemic in the continent. According to him, it’s important to share experiences from other countries that have been able to battle the virus effectively with African countries.
The COVID-19 virus started in Wuhan province, a city in China before spreading across the world. The growth of the spread has made the World Health Organisation (WHO) declare it as a pandemic. However, despite the increasing spread in Europe and America, Africa has recorded lower cases.
In Nigeria, there are three known cases of Coronavirus – the unnamed Italian man, who was diagnosed with the virus a day after he arrived in Nigeria for a business visit with Lafarge; the patient that later tested negative to the virus, and a 30-year old lady discovered by the Lagos State Ministry of Health today.
[READ MORE: Tony Elumelu donates Technology Centre to AAU)
Regardless of the low cases recorded in Africa, Jack Ma believes precaution needs to be taken and it would be unwise for the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation to sit on the fence while the virus affects everyone directly or indirectly.
“We can take precautions now and get prepared ahead of time as Africa can benefit from the experience and lessons from other countries that were earlier hit hard by the virus.
“To combat the potential surging demand for medical supplies and equipment in Africa, Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation will donate to each one of the 54 African nations 20, 000 testing kits, 100,000 masks, and 1,000 medical use protective suits and face shields.
“In addition, we will immediately start working with medical institutions in Africa to provide online training material for COVID-19 clinical treatment,” Jack Ma said.
He added that “In total, 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks, and 60,000 medical use protective suits and face shields will be delivered to Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia.
”Now it is as if we were all living in the same forest on fire. As members of the global community, it would be irresponsible of us to sit on the fence, panic, ignore facts or fail to act. We need to take action now!”
The e-commerce boss said the Coronavirus had lasted longer than expected and proven to be more difficult. It was revealed that the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed Ali, would manage the logistics and distribution of the supplies to other African countries.
#DigitalSkillsTraining: FG announces conclusion of selection process
Only successful applicants that are contacted by the Ministry are to report at the training venue.
The Federal Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports disclosed that the selection process for the upcoming Digital Skills Training has been concluded for the #DigitalSkillsTraining from April 11th to 30th, 2021.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Ministry of Youth and Sport on Sunday evening.
“The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development wishes to inform the general public and all Nigerian Youths that the selection process has been concluded for successful applicants for the #DigitalSkillsTraining scheduled for April 11 to 30, 2021,” the statement said.
The Ministry added that only successful applicants that were contacted by the Ministry are to report at the training venue. Those who were not successful but arrive at the training would not be admitted.
“Upcoming #DigitalSkillsTraining Programmes of the Ministry will be widely publicized on youthandsport.gov.ng , on : noya.ng and on the Ministry’s social media handles,” the statement added.
What you should know
Recall that Nairametrics reported in November 2020, that the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development announced it will scale up its digital skills training to cover 500,000 youths across the country after securing funding under the COVID-19 stimulus budget.
Cost of building materials rise by over 60% in one year
The price of building materials in the market experienced a rise of over 60% in the last one year.
The cost of Cement, Steel, Tiles and Plaster of Paris (PoP) cement, among others have risen by over 60% between March 2020 and March 2021.
For instance, the cost of steel, which was sold at N234,000 per tonne as of March 2020, had increased to N380,000 at the end of March 2021. This represents a 62% increase within the period under review.
While Dangote Cement increased from N2,600 to N3,800 (though it is sold at N3,600 in some areas in Lagos), Lafarge Cement and BUA Cement increased from N2,400 and N2,250 to N3,600 and N3,250 respectively within the same period.
The price hikes are not limited to the cost of steel and cement alone but also to other materials like Tiles, PoP cement, and roofing sheets.
The cost of super white cement increased from N2,500 (25kg) to N3,700, and the cost of high-quality white cement (40kg) also increased from N4,000 to N6,500.
The cost of gravel increased from N80,000 to N140,000; that of 8mm diameter and 25mm diameter (imported) increased from N234,000 and N245,000 to N330,000 and N380,000 respectively.
Doors are not left out in the hike. Costs of Flush door (high quality), Panel door and Turkish steel door (1,500 x 2,100) also rose from N35,000, N40,000, N165,000 to N60,000, N75,000 and N235,000 respectively.
Why the hike?
Industry experts have attributed the hike to persistent depreciation of the naira and the rising cost of other building materials.
Tunde Oluwole, a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Builders, explained that the development was caused by high interest rate, inflation, increasing exchange rate and scarcity of forex in the country.
He said, “The increasing prices in Nigeria is a result of the combined effects of high-interest rates, devaluation of the naira, inflation, and non-effective distribution network of the materials.”
To Kolawole Adebisi, an Estate Developer, the development in the cement industry is caused by the ban of imported cement in the country.
He told Nairametrics that he is not against the ban, as the government’s intention is to boost local production of cement but explained that “the local manufacturers were unable to produce enough cement to meet the demand and this contributed to the rising cost of the product.”
Nairametrics | Company Earnings
Access our Live Feed portal for the latest company earnings as they drop.
- Cornerstone Insurance Plc notifies stakeholders of late submission of financial statements.
- NSE approves delisting of 11 Plc shares.
- Berger Paints Nigeria Plc reports a 67% decline in Profits in FY 2020.
- MTN Nigeria raises N73.5 billion from CP Issuance to finance operations.
- Jaiz Bank proposes dividend worth N884 million for shareholders.