Everett Dirksen once said, “When all is said and done, the real citadel of strength of any community is in the hearts and minds and desires of those who dwell there.” This quote is epitomized by VFD Group Plc in its recent outreach to the Olowogbowo Community of Lagos Island.
The widespread of the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer news. With communities and economies everywhere affected by the growing COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria and the World is facing an unprecedented challenge. With a surge in the increase in infected citizens and a need to reduce the rate of spread, the President has issued a lockdown in Lagos State and two others.
Asides the direct effect of the pandemic, other indirect effects have been observed, such as amplified poverty and starvation due to the lockdown.
Group Executive Director, VFD Group Plc, Niyi Adenubi, said, “VFD Group Plc is a brand that is empathetic about the people and the community in which it operates, hence today’s activity.
READ MORE: VFD MFB bridges banking gap, unveils V
Families are stranded and facing critical shortages of meals every day. We have provided the Olowogbowo community with these…our own way of giving back to our community during these very challenging times.
A special thanks to our team and everyone who joined us in this initiative. Special thanks to our team headed by Toyin Abel, Head of Sales, who drove the initiative from inception to implementation”.
The chairman Lagos Island Local Government, Hon. Adetoyese Olusi and Councillor ward A1 Olowogbowo, Hon. Lookman Omobolanle Thomas were present at the event.
Before the directive for the lockdown was given in the state, the company* had already encouraged its staff to start working remotely as the virus had begun to spread globally. The launch of its Virtual Bank (V Bank, a product of its Microfinance Bank) has also made it very easy for our customers to continue to get great service from us without having to come to our offices.
“The management team is dedicated to staying up to date with the NCDC and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to make the best adjustments to business operations and policies as needed”, said VFD Group Plc GMD/CEO Nonso Okpala. “We advise that everyone maintains calm and keep safe even in this period.”
NNPC opens bid for repairs of pipelines and depots on a finance and operate basis
The project is expected to be operated on a public-private partnership basis.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) declared open on Tuesday, August 11, bids by interested private investors to repair the pipelines and depots that are serving the refineries.
These pipelines, built almost 4 decades ago, are very critical in the successful movement of crude oil to the country’s 3 refinery complexes located in Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Warri, and the subsequent movement of the finished petroleum products to the consumers.
The pipelines, which according to NNPC are in dire need of comprehensive repairs, have experienced years of incessant theft and vandalism as well as ageing.
This project is expected to be operated on a public-private partnership basis as the bidders are expected to finance and execute the project, then operate for an agreed number of years before transferring back to the NNPC. In other words, the bidders for the extensive repairs of these pipelines would have to finance them independently and operate for a defined period in order to recover their investment costs with throughput tariffs.
It must be noted that this model is similar to the one that had been in place by the state oil giant for the refineries. The NNPC had also announced plans to get private investors to invest in the repair of the 3 refineries on a repair and operate basis, as they do not want to be involved in the management of these refineries.
The NNPC Group Managing Director, Mele Kyari, had said that the ultimate plan for these refineries was to allow it to run on the LNG model, where the shareholders would be free to decide on the fate of these refineries going forward.
The refineries, which have only run sporadically, were shut down by NNPC earlier this year while awaiting repairs and upgrade. These 2 projects are expected to be handled separately according to information made available on Tuesday.
In addition, the new pipelines would need intrusion detection systems, as well as deep burial, to stop theft or vandalism. The deadline for the submission of these bids is due by September 18.
WTO Job: Okonjo-Iweala reveals how to resolve the rift between US and China
Mrs Iweala revealed how she hopes to resolve the rift between the United States of America and China.
As the jostle for the top job at the World Trade Organization (WTO) becomes more intense, the Nigerian candidate, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has disclosed some of her plans for the institution. The former Nigerian Finance Minister recently had an exclusive interview with CNBC Africa.
Speaking during the interview, Mrs Iweala revealed how she hopes to resolve the rift between the United States of America and China, the 2 biggest economies in the world, especially as regards trade issues. She also noted that part of her vision is to build a trade institution where there is greater trust among its members. She also stressed that the WTO, at this critical time, is needed to ensure that trade and global markets remain open.
On healing the rift between the US and China, Okonjo-Iweala admitted that it is going to be challenging and not be easy. She said:
“Well this is not going to be easy, if it was easy, it could have been done a long time since. So it would be very challenging but it is not an impossible job. It is very clear that both the US and China have been helped and benefitted from the multilateral trading system in the past. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty. They have experienced shared prosperity in the economies and their countries.’’
The Nigerian candidate pointed out that it is important to remind the US and China of this shared prosperity. She then disclosed that she would listen to both countries to find out what really are the issues causing distrust among them. She said that she will not want to be involved in the larger political problems, but will rather separate the trade issues and focus on them and build this trust.
Going further on how to settle their rift, Okonjo-Iweala said, “You need to begin to find areas where there can be confidence-building and trade. Building trust is not talking about it, you have to have areas where both can work together and agree and we have a golden opportunity in the fisheries subsidies negotiations that are going on now because the US is a party to it, China is a party, the EU, all other members.’’
“It is a multilateral negotiation, so if they can sit around the table with others to negotiate this and have a successful outcome, that is one thing that will be shared in common between the 2. So that will begin to build confidence. Then reaching out both in the US and in China to talk to the policymakers, go where the decisions are made, talk to congress also in the US and begin to show the benefits of the system again.’’
She also said they will look at reasons why they need to work together because their rift may be causing negative externalities for other members. She is of the opinion that exposing all of these, working with them, and listening carefully will begin to build confidence.
She believes that while achieving this will be difficult, focusing seriously on trade issues can create room for a breakthrough.
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US hands over 200 ventilators to Nigeria
The US Ambassador to Nigeria said USAID and Nigeria will work very closely over the next couple of weeks.
The United States of America, on Tuesday, August 11th, handed over some 200 ventilators to the Federal Government of Nigeria. This was disclosed by the Federal Ministry of Health via its Twitter handle, following the handover ceremony in Abuja.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, at the handover event, explained that the ventilators are compact & portable & can be easily mobilized to reach those patients with the most severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The US Ambassador to #Nigeria Her Excellency Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard at the handover event stated that "the 200 ventilators being transferred today are compact & portable & can be easily mobilized to reach those patients with the most severe symptoms of #COVID19". pic.twitter.com/4nSgYVoEHk
— Federal Ministry of Health, NIGERIA (@Fmohnigeria) August 11, 2020
Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Ambassador said, “Their arrival fulfills the commitment discussed between US and President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this year. Our support includes; training on the use & maintenance of this equipment, ensuring that the ventilators can address other respiratory illnesses in the years beyond.”
According to her, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Nigeria will work very closely and energetically over the next couple of weeks, with the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, to bring these ventilators across each of Nigeria’s states & the Federal Capital Territory.
“The United States has been pivotal in supporting Nigeria’s membership in the ‘Every Breath Counts’ Coalition. Nigeria is now one of 2 countries in Africa to have an “oxygen roadmap” that seeks to fight against pneumonia, hypoxemia, & now COVID-19,” she stated. She then added that as the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, she remains proud of the strong friendship between the two countries.
The Backstory: Last April, Nairametrics had reported when the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, said that “President Donald Trump assured that the United States stands in solidarity with Nigeria in this difficult time and promised to send ventilators to support the country in its fight against the pandemic.”