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Covid-19: FG directs universities to suspend academic activities till further notice

The Federal Government has directed the Vice-Chancellors of universities to put on hold all academic activities in their schools.

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FG to review January 18 resumption date for schools across the country

The Federal Government has directed the Vice-Chancellors of universities to immediately put on hold all academic activities in their various institutions.

This new measure by the government is in compliance with the Covid-19 protocol, which prohibits activities or events that involve the large gathering of people due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

READ: Covid-19: FG directs isolation and treatment centres to get set to reopen

According to a report from Punch, the directive which is contained in a circular issued by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and signed by its Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), Chris Mayaki, said that classrooms, hostel accommodation, conference and seminars should be suspended.

The commission also asked the universities to remain shut during the intervening period, pending further directives from the government on the reopening of the various institutions.

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READ: NESG’s allegations, malicious attempt to tarnish the economic recovery program- CBN

The decision from NUC, which is coming barely a few days after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off its 9-month-old strike, seems to have dashed the hopes of university students to return back to classes as soon as possible after being at home for a long time.

READ: Lagos rolls out transportation guidelines to control second wave of Covid-19 pandemic

What the NUC is saying

Maiyaki, in his statement on behalf of NUC, said,

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  • Vice-Chancellors are to please note that the directive is part of the measures approved by Mr. President to mitigate the second wave of coronavirus infections in the country. The affected officers are expected to perform their duties from home while those on GL13 and above should strictly adhere to the extant preventive measures, including maintenance of physical distancing, regular washing of hands and/or sanitizing of hands, wearing of face masks and reducing the number of visitors to offices.”

READ: Sanwo-Olu directs worship centres to suspend all night services, no crossover events

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that following the reported outbreak of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic which has seen a surge in the number of infections across the country, the Federal Government reintroduced some measures to help curb the spread of the disease.
  • The government had directed civil servants from grade level 12 and below to work from home for 5 weeks, effective December 23, 2020.
  • The Federal Government, while advocating for strict enforcement of Covid-19 protocols, asked the state governments to ensure the shutdown of bars, nightclubs, event centres and so on.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. kenny chinegwu

    December 26, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Thanks for the update from the National Universities Commission

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Business

Covid-19: FG launches Rapid Response Register (RRR) for urban poor affected by pandemic

The FG has launched a Rapid Response Register (RRR) for urban poor affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Federal Government of Nigeria launched the COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), an emergency intervention database, for the urban poor made poorer by the pandemic.

This programme was launched by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday.

The scheme would see the FG share N5000 monthly to households as it says 1 million households would benefit from the scheme.

The Vice President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity, Laolu Akanda said: “Osinbajo today launched a technology-based Rapid Response Register which identifies urban poor people who in the next 6 months willl receive N5000 monthly. In all 1 million households will benefit from this especially cash transfer being implemented by the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry.”

While inaugurating the COVID-19 Rapid Response Registration (RRR) Cash Transfer Project, the Vice President said:

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“As of Dec. 31, 2020, we have identified and registered about 24.3 million poor and vulnerable individuals into the National Social Register; equivalent to about 5.7 million households.

“Through this project, we are currently injecting about N10billion directly into the hands of about two million poor and vulnerable households every month.

“This social protection method of targeting is the first strategy to be developed and tested in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and Nigeria will be the first country for its implementation.

“With the RRR, which uses a wholly technology-based approach, we are primed to achieve an end-to-end digital foot-print in cash transfers for the urban poor.”

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The Vice President added that the implementation of the scheme would enable Nigeria to achieve its financial inclusion policy under the Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access programme (EFInA).

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported last week that the Federal Government announced that it would inaugurate a COVID-19 Rapid Response Register (RRR), which would be a health emergency response for the poor living in urban centers that have been affected by the pandemic.
  • The register which is being built by NASSCO is an expansion of the existing National Social Safety Nets Project (NASSP). It targets small business owners, street vendors, petty traders, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and service providers.

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FIRS hits 98% of target as it collects N4.95 trillion for 2020 fiscal year

FIRS has announced that it generated N4,952,243,711,728.37 as tax revenue in the 2020 fiscal year.

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FG apologizes, says Self-Certification directive is not for everyone, FIRS introduces stamp duty on house rent and C of O transactions

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has announced that it generated N4,952,243,711,728.37 as tax revenue in the 2020 fiscal year.

This is about 98% of the tax target of N5.076 trillion that was set for the FIRS by the Federal Government, despite the economic challenges of 2020 caused by record low oil prices and the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

This disclosure was contained in a statement which was issued by the Director of Communications, FIRS, Mr Abdullahi Ahmad, on Tuesday in Abuja.

According to a report from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ahmad in his statement quoted the Executive Chairman of the Service, Mr Muhammad Nami, as saying that this performance was remarkable, considering the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the Nigerian economy.

He pointed out that some of the factors that negatively affected the operations of FIRS last year include, record low oil crude oil prices globally, business disruptions and lootings during the violent #EndSARS protests and the generous tax waivers granted to businesses to ease the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown.

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He also said that additional tax exemptions granted to small businesses in the 2019 Finance Act and insecurity in some parts of the country were other factors that affected collections.

In the analysis of the significance of the 2020 performance, the FIRS Chairman said that the oil revenue which used to contribute over 50% in tax returns through the Petroleum Profits Tax in previous years, accounted for only 30.6% of the tax revenue generated in 2020 due to low oil prices.

He also pointed out that the non-oil tax collection, which was 109% in 2020, was 9% higher than the previous year and attributed these achievements to many reforms initiated by the board and management of FIRS under his leadership.

He said, “The conscientious taxpayers in the country and dedicated members of staff of the FIRS nationwide for their support and devotion to work made this performance possible despite the numerous obstacles encountered in 2020.

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“The FIRS is optimistic that this current fiscal year will be better than in 2020. We shall perform well, given that our service reforms are expected to yield greater dividends, especially as different parts of tax administration are being automated.’’

“We are also optimistic that exploration activities will improve in the oil sector and increase the prospect of higher tax revenue from the sector.

“Similarly, the ongoing reforms together with increased stakeholder collaborations will brighten the prospect of improved voluntary compliance and consequently higher tax revenue generation for the country this year and beyond.’’

What this means

  • This means that despite the unprecedented crisis in the oil sector due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the non-oil sector performed beyond expectation in terms of tax collection.
  • This was made possible by incentives granted by the revenue agency to encourage taxpayers to voluntarily fulfil their obligations towards the government in addition to some reforms to aid efficient and effective tax collections.
  • Some of these reforms include the deployment of technology for tax operations, capacity building for staff, improved welfare for staff and so on.

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President Buhari has approved the expansion of the NSIP – Minister

Minister Sadiya Farouq has disclosed that President Buhari has approved the expansion of the NSIP.

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FG condemns Christmas terrorist attacks in Borno and Adamawa

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq, disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the expansion of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).

According to the disclosure by the Minister during the opening ceremony of the 4th annual review of the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, in Abuja, the FG hopes that the plan would lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.

She revealed that the expanded NSIP would include an additional number of 5 million pupils in non-conventional educational settings in the National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP), the Npower program is to create jobs for a total of 1 million beneficiaries; GEEP programme to provide loans to an additional 1 million traders, farmers and market people; and the Social Register is to accommodate an additional 1 million households.

Some other programmes in the scheme include: TRADERMONI, MARKETMONI, FARMERMONI, MSME Survival Fund, and N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund (NYIF).

What the Minister is saying

  • “It is therefore safe to say that we have been working tirelessly to ensure that vulnerable Nigerians are brought into the Federal Governments Social Protection umbrella which seeks to support, empower and level the playing field, so that they are better equipped to handle economic and social shocks while contributing their quota to society and to the betterment of our great nation.
  • “The National Home-Grown School Feeding Program is an important intervention because of the multiple wins it is capable of delivering. It is a vehicle for reducing hunger, promoting educational gains, health status improvement and economic stimulation.
  • “The long term benefits to our children and the future of the Nation cannot be overemphasised. Thus, we must resolve to remain steadfast in ensuring that this program reaches its objectives and improves the lives of its beneficiaries.”

What you should know 

  • Nairametrics reported that the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum, disclosed that over 300,000 beneficiaries under the Payroll Support scheme and 166,000 artisans had been impacted by the FG’s Survival Fund programme.
  • In October 2020, the President of Nigeria disclosed that the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) will be funded with N420billion in 2021, while the National Social Housing Programme (NISH) would be funded with N20billion from the 2021 budget.

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