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Reps investigate NIMASA, NDIC over unaudited accounts

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The House of Representatives has placed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, on full status enquiry.

This followed the non-submission of its audited accounts for years 2015 to 2018 to the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).

The House Committee on Public Account took the action yesterday.

Also, the committee did not only place the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on full status enquiry, but also summoned the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, over the unaudited accounts of the corporation.

This was part of the resolution of the House Committee headed by Oluwole Oke at the continued hearing of the “Deliberate and Reckless Refusal By Non-Treasury and Partially-Funded Agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018”.

Julius Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session, confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts from both organisations.

Last week, the committee summoned the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, with the permanent secretary in the ministry, over continued shunning of the invitation of NIMASA Director-General Dakuku Peterside.

Others were also invited.

Peterside was still absent at Tuesday’s session.

Read Also: Reps urge Fed Govt to appoint more Supreme Court justices

But Gambo Ahmed, the agency’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, told the committee that Peterside was outside the country on an international assignment.

The committee rejected the excuse for his absence.

The committee rejected Saraki’s explanation for the non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency.

It expressed surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account; hence, could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.

“We cannot submit an audited account from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit,” the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bashir Jamiu, told the committee yesterday.

“Are you saying you don’t have a management account?” Oke queried.

“We don’t have,” he said.

The committee chairman asked if he was saying the agency did not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years.

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THE NATION

COVID-19: Lagos govt, GTBank launches 110-bed isolation centre in Lagos

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COVID-19: Lagos govt, GTBank launches 110-bed isolation centre in Lagos

Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has formally launched a 110-bedspace isolation centre for the Lagos Island located in Onikan Stadium, for (COVID-19)

The facility was built by the Lagos state government in collaboration with the management of Guaranty Trust Bank within the space of one week.

Speaking at the official collaboration and handing over ceremony, Sanwo-Olu described the centre as a world class facility put up in just one week. He commended the level of professionalism and level at which details were followed at putting up the facility.

He commended GTBank for partnering with the state government in its efforts at halting the spread of the dreaded Coronavirus code-named COVID-19 in the state and Nigeria at large. “We are impressed with the speed with which all of the various contractors at multi-level had worked tirelessly to put up this structure. This is a reflection of the strong can-do-spirit of Nigerians and more importantly the brand GTB,” he said.

The facility he said will complement the Isolation Centre at the Infectious Disease Hospital, (IDH), Yaba.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for health, Dr. Akin Abayomi thanked the private sector for assisting government in this very difficult moment, describing the facility as an incredible feat that has been completed in a very short space of time.

“The facility was completed in a very short space of time, which is the same speed with which the virus is moving; which means we are moving as fast as the virus. What this place is going to turn into is an isolation bio-security unit, so what we have to do now is create the movement flow that is going to protect the staff looking after the infected patients.

“So there is another phase that needs to kick in now, as we take possession of the facility, we are going to order the movement around it to make sure that the staff that are working in here are protected from being infected by Coronavirus. That in itself is a science and a precise discipline. In the next two or three days, we are going to implement that in here so that by middle of next week, this place would become operational,” he assured.

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THE NATION

COVID-19: Buhari directs finance minister to pay salaries, pensions on time

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COVID-19: Buhari directs finance minister to pay salaries, pensions on time

President Muhammadu Buhari has given directive for the protection of staff salaries, pensions of retirees and statutory transfer in spite of the challenge posed by COVID-19 that has affected the economy.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this when she appeared as a guest on Channels Television “Politics Today” programme monitored by News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Friday.

Mrs Ahmed said the president also directed that key infrastructure projects such as major roads, railway line and power that were critical to growth and development were also protected.

She admitted that the revenue had been threatened by the pandemic, adding that the country’s ability to implement the 2020 budget at the state and federal level would be significantly hampered.

According to her, with all the impact of COVID-19, it is clear that global growth is going to decline significantly and in worse case, the global economy may go into recession and Nigeria is not isolated from this.

“We made a review of the situation and we decided we need to scale back on our plans so as to bring it into the current reality.

“For instance, the crude oil benchmarks of 57 dollars per barrel in 2020 budget, we had to scale it back to 30 dollars.

“We have been reviewing the budget to look at where we can defer expenditures to another period when things pick up and we have done assessment to reduce the size of the budget by as much as N1.5 trillion.

“We are also looking at our debt service obligation by talking to our lenders to renegotiate repayment term or even seek stay of debt service to preserve them because of this current emergency,” she explained.

NAN

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THE NATION

COVID-19: No curfew in Lagos yet – Information commissioner

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COVID-19: No curfew in Lagos yet - Information commissioner
FILE PHOTO: Lagos State Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu (M), flanked by the state commissioner for health (L) and commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso (R) at a recent press briefing in Lagos.

The Lagos State government has clarified reports that it has imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew in the state starting from Sunday to allow the state carry out comprehensive disinfection of its metropolis, THE WITNESS reports.

The state governor, Babajide-Sanwo-Olu had said during a press briefing that statewide curfew will begin from 8pm to 6am, starting from Sunday until further notice. The governor also mentioned that traveling in and out of Lagos would be restricted on Sunday, adding that all inter-state motor parks should shut down for two weeks.

But clarifying the directives following recent developments, the Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a telephone chat with THE WITNESS on Saturday said: “It’s true that the governor gave these directives to enable the state disinfect its metropolis but relying on experts advice, it was discovered that the disinfectant is non toxic. As I speak with you, the exercise has commenced,”

“Just as the governor said during the live press conference, we have taken possession of over 200 disinfecting machines, and we have started disinfecting all major highways, bus stops, markets, parks and other public areas.”

“For now, no curfew in the state, but Lagosians should please stay safe.” he concluded.

THE WITNESS reported that Nigeria recorded 11 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 81 on Friday night.

The Nigeria Disease Control Centre said eight new cases were recorded in Lagos State, two in Enugu and one in Edo.

“11 new cases of #COVID-19 have been reported in Nigeria: Eight in Lagos State, two in Enugu and one in Edo.

“For a breakdown of cases by states in real time as of 11:55pm on Friday 27th of March, Lagos has 52 cases, FCT – 14, Ogun – three, Ekiti – one, Oyo – three, Edo – two, Bauchi – two, Osun – one, Rivers – one, Enugu – two,” the tweet added.

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