Ministers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region have recommended the gradual re-opening of the borders of member states in the first half of July. This is to allow travelers from countries with low or controlled levels of coronavirus cases by the end of July.
This new recommendation was contained in a communique from a virtual meeting that was held last week by Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministers from the West African countries. They called for coordinated efforts to re-open cross border trade that has been seriously hampered by the lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Ministers had recommended a gradual and phased opening of the borders.
The first phase involves the opening up of domestic air and land transport in the month of June which many governments within the region have started to do.
The second phase of the recommendation involves the opening of land, air and sea borders within the region by middle of July.
The third phase involves the opening of air and land borders to countries with low and controlled levels of coronavirus cases by July 31. However, this will depend on the evolution of the pandemic.
These recommendations by the ministers are expected to be presented to the ECOWAS heads of state at a forthcoming summit.
It can be recalled that countries across the ECOWAS trade bloc had imposed different levels of travel restrictions through the land, air, and sea borders as part of the measures to contain the dangerous spread of the coronavirus disease.
This has delayed the take-off of the African Free Trade Zone (AFCFTA), which has been referred to as the world’s largest free-trade zone. The implementation of the trade agreement which was to take off on July 1, 2020, had been postponed to January 1, 2021.
The border closure had negatively impacted on the cost of goods especially food prices. It has also affected exports among member states.
However, it remains to be seen, whether the recommendations will be approved by the heads of states of member countries as there has been reported spike in confirmed cases within the last week especially in a country like Nigeria, which is the largest country in the sub-region.
We don’t have $1 billion hidden account – NPA
The NPA said it does have an account with Unity Bank Plc, but has not operated it since 2010.
The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has denied the allegations of a whistleblower who claimed that the authority has a hidden $1 billion account with Unity Bank Plc.
The NPA, in a statement responding to a petition by a man named John Okpurhe to President Muhammadu Buhari, said the allegations that it operates such accounts are untrue.
The petitioner had also accused the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Salami (SAN) of allegedly refusing to reward him after allegedly exposing over $1 billion in a hidden account with Unity Bank Plc operated by the NPA.
The petitioner also claimed that an account number 0013680344 operated by the NPA with Unity Bank contains the hidden amount. However, the NPA vehemently denied the allegations and claimed that it only operates the bank account 0013670344 which had a total sum of $1,057,772.03 as of December 2019 and not the $1,034,515,000.00 as alleged by the petitioner.
The NPA also says the account has not been in operations since August 2010 due to a Garnishee Order placed on it in the Aminu Ibrahim & Co $ Anor vs Nigerian Ports Authority case, which went from Federal High Court to the Supreme Court in 8 years. Parts of the detailed statement released by the NPA said:
“The Judgment creditors continued with the Garnishee process which resulted in the credit of the amount $1,057,772.03 in favour of Suit No: FHC/L/CS/582/2010 GARNISHEE ORDER NISI – AMINU IBTAHIM & CO & ANOR vs NIGERIAN PORTS AUTHORITY on December 4rg 2019 in line with the Garnishee order absolute.
“The account under discussion was frozen on the strength of a court order in August 2010, following the completion of the case, the money was consequently transferred to the judgment creditor on December 4, 2019 in line with the Garnishee Order Absolute.”
NPA replies ‘whistleblower’: We have No Cloned Account Anywhere pic.twitter.com/zpZRmldWZP
— Nigerian Ports (@nigerianports) June 29, 2020
NPA also maintained that it is obvious no cloned account exists as speculated in the “alleged whistleblowing effort”.
N-Power opens batch C application portal, reveals requirements and how to register
The N-Power 2020 recruitment portal will re-open by 11.45 pm today Friday, June 26, 2020. See more details below.
The Federal Government has announced the reopening of the application portal of its social investment scheme, N-Power, for fresh registration of the June 2020 Batch C intakes.
This was disclosed in a series of tweet posts by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development on Friday, June 26, 2020.
According to the tweet posts, the N-Power 2020 recruitment portal will re-open by 11.45 pm today, Friday, 26 of June 2020. The ministry noted that those that all applications made prior to the re-opening date and time will not be recognised, but instead declared null and void.
The humanitarian affairs ministry also explained that all the processes involved in the application are free. As such, applicants do not have to pay anybody. Part of the post from the ministry said:
“Dear intending N-Power 2020 applicants. Here is how to prepare for the N-Power application. Remember Portal opens 11.45 pm, June 26, 2020, application is free. Do not pay anyone to apply on the N-Power portal. Get a printout or accurate details of your BVN.’
‘’We understand some people have attempted registration. Please note that your registration is null and void. It doesn’t’ count till the portal opens at 11.45 pm tonight.’’
Dear Intending N-Power 2020 Applicants,
Here is how to prepare for the N-Power application.
1. Portal opens 11.45pm, June 26th, 2020.
2. Application is FREE. Do NOT pay anyone to apply on the N-Power portal.
3. Get a printout or accurate details of your BVN.#NPowerNG pic.twitter.com/q9enxbvzCP
— N-Power (@npower_ng) June 25, 2020
The N-Power programme, which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 under the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP), has the mandate of lifting citizens out of abject poverty through capacity building, investment, and direct support.
Here are some of the requirements for registration for the N-Power 2020 Batch C
- Get your BVN ready.
- Ensure you are not an existing employee in any organization.
- A printout or current details of your Bank Verification Number (BVN).
- A current passport photograph (1MB) either JPEG or PNG files.
- A valid contact email address or a working phone number
- Your degree certificate and NYSC certificate (if you are a graduate) and want to apply for N-Teach or N-Health.
- Application is done online.
It should be noted that the N-Power 2020 application portal is npower.fmhds.gov.ng.
This is how to Register for N-Power 2020 Recruitment
- Input your valid contact information (email or phone number).
- The information will be redirected to your email for a confirmation.
- Once your email address has been confirmed, you are to fill in your 11-digit BVN and date of birth in the following format (dd/mm/yy). Note that if your BVN details are inaccurate, you will not be allowed to go past this interface.
(READ MORE: COVID-19 Update in Nigeria)
- Fill in your surname, first name, and middle name in identical terms to your BVN information for your biodata and contact page.
- Kindly indicate if you have received education or not on the education and programme page. The N-Power programme is open to all, however.
- The N-Teach and N-Health sub-programmes are however open to only graduates. ii. (In addition, please note that for N-Power Health, selection preference will be given to holders of Bachelor’s Degree, HND, OND in health sciences such as Medicine, Microbiology, Nursing, Public Health, Botany, Midwifery, Psychology or other allied disciplined in the sciences). iii. Where applicable, you will be required to upload your degree certificates and NYSC certificate.
- You will be required to answer some questions and upload your Government issued Identity Card on the employment and other details page. Kindly note that the acceptable Government IDs are International Passport, National ID Card issued by NIMC, Valid Driver’s License and Permanent Voter’s Card.
- Review all the information you have inputted and then submit on the review and submit page and upon submission, you will receive a unique ID number. write it down and keep it safe.
COVID-19 could impoverish additional 5 million Nigerians – World Bank
World Bank forecasts that the Nigerian economy will shrink between 3.2% and 7.4% this year.
The World Bank, on Thursday, said the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic could make an additional 5 million Nigerians poor, given the imminent recession which is expected to be the worst since the 1980s.
The crisis that is the pandemic, as well as the worldwide crash in oil prices, has set the nation on a downward trajectory. While on one hand, the oil crisis has hamstrung the largest crude producer on the African continent, the pandemic is set to further aggravate the extreme poverty level which already stood as the highest in the world.
Depending on how severe the outbreak of the pandemic is, the World Bank forecasts that the Nigerian economy will shrink between 3.2% and 7.4% this year. Where things do get even worse, the recession could continue into 2021 when the economy could contract 2%, it said.
In a report on Nigeria’s economic development, the World Bank said, “Today’s unprecedented crisis will require an equally unprecedented response from the entire Nigerian public sector (and) private sector to contain the outbreak and protect the lives and livelihoods of low-income and vulnerable communities.”
The World Bank had previously projected that 2 million Nigerians, particularly women, would become impoverished; the newly announced 5 million people that would be faced with poverty comes on top of the previously announced figure.
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With the threshold for poverty set at those living on less than $2 a day, it noted that in total, 42.5% of Nigerians will be poor. Further worsening the situation is the rise in inflation juxtaposed with a projected 70% hit to oil revenues.
The nation is currently having conversations around raising $6.5 billion in funding with the World Bank as well as other multilateral lenders.