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Ekiti State Seeks Deeper Partnership with Australia

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 Ekiti State is desirous of a deeper and lasting partnership with the Government of Australia on the development of the state.

The state’s deputy governor, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi, expressed the desire on Wednesday in Ado-Ekiti when he received visiting Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr John Donnelly, on behalf of Gov. Kayode Fayemi.

Egbeyemi told the envoy that Ekiti State had institutionalised policies and legislations to protect women against violence.

“I believe that our association and partnership with the Government of Australia will be fruitful because your mission here is our passion and we shall give you full support to succeed.

“We are open to partnership that will bring development and our doors are open to investment in relevant sectors.

“Ekiti is investment-friendly and we are seeking a deeper and lasting partnership with your government on issues of development,’’ the deputy governor said.

Egbeyemi added that the state government would not relent in attracting investments and technical partnerships to accelerate the development of the state.

Earlier, the envoy hailed Ekiti State government for instituting policy frameworks and enabling environment that facilitated partnership and investment, saying that the Australian government would tap into it.

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Australia is partnering with Ekiti State on livestock breeding, ranching, marketing of agricultural produce, women empowerment and elimination of violence against women and children and promotion of gender equality.

Donnelly said part of his visit was to synergise with the state on its approach to women and children and to rub minds on the 16 days global activism on Gender Based Violence.

He lauded the Ekiti State for ensuring the domestication of the Gender Violence Law which, according to him, had made Ekiti State a role model to other states in Nigeria.

Donnelly added that the Australian High Commission in Nigeria was also working on women advocacy for gender equality, growth and empowerment amongst others.

He explained that the Australian Mission in Nigeria had reached out to governors’ wives through the Nigeria Governors Wives’ Forum to look at projects being run for women and for youth development.

The diplomat said his team was also working with the lawmaker representing Ekiti South Senatorial District, Sen. Biodun Olujinmi, whom he said is championing a Gender Equality Bill at the National Assembly.

While appreciating the government and people of Ekiti State for the reception accorded his team, Donnelly assured of the cooperation of his home government on issues of partnership with Ekiti State.

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Donnelly was accompanied by his wife, Sunita and the Third Secretary in the High Commission of Australia, Miss Annabelle Simpson. (NAN)

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NPA seeks Partnership with Media to Publicise Port Activities

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The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has solicited partnership with the media to positively project its activities, particularly at the Calabar Port to Nigerians and the world.

The NPA Calabar Port Manager, Chief Festus Olumati, said this in Calabar on Wednesday when he received the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Cross River State Council in his office.

According to him, the insinuation that Calabar Port is dead is not true.

He said that the port recently received a large vessel and is currently expecting more of such vessel.

The port manager noted that this was coming after three years, saying that efforts were being made to see that importers nearby patronised the port.

Olumati said, “You will recall that activities at the Calabar Port were boosted recently as a general cargo vessel berthed with 204 heavy-duty trucks, pipes and other containers.

“The port is still viable and of economic benefit to the state and to Nigeria and it is safe for berthing, hence the need for customers to patronise it to clear their general containers.

“The significance of the berthing of this vessel is to tell the world that Calabar port is active and working. The rumour going round that nothing is happening in Calabar Port is not true.”

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Olumati said that some infrastructure were being put in place to ensure the safety of vessels and others patronising the port.

“We have installed 36 buoys to give proper direction to vessels coming into the port and also security boats and marine police have been approved for the port,” he stated.

Speaking on the need to patronise the port, the manager said that the management was talking with stakeholders.

“We have resumed discussions with importers in Aba, Nnewi, Anambra and others to make them understand why they should start patronising Calabar port.

“The Nigerian Export Processing Zone was built in Calabar because of this port and not because of Port Harcourt.

“It will make more meaning for importers around here to patronise Calabar port instead of Lagos or Port Harcourt,” he said.

On the dredging of the port, he said that it would resume once the issues around it were settled out of court.

Earlier, the NUJ Chairman, Mr Gill Nsa, promised the management of the port that newsmen would be fair and just in their reportage of the port’s activities. (NAN)

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Envoy Lauds NADDC for reviving Automotive Industry

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The Nigerian Ambassador to Japan, Mr Husaini Moriki, has commended the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr Jelani Aliyu, for reviving the Nigerian Automotive Industry.

Moriki made the commendation during Nigeria’s delegation meeting with key Japanese automotive manufacturers in Japan.

According to him, Aliyu had successfully brought many reform initiatives to the industry that have yielded results in terms of investment capacity building of Nigeria’s auto industry players.

The ambassador, therefore, urged the Japanese companies to identify areas of focus that the companies would like the Nigerian government to intervene in.

Moriki added that the intervention will be aimed at providing a better business environment

He said that this cannot come at a better time than now when the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) and the Auto Policy were being reviewed by the council.

He urged the Japanese companies to collaborate with the council in training of Nigerian youths at the 18 Automotive Training Centers built by the council across the country.

Speaking earlier, the NADDC boss called on Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Suzuki and Yamaha to set up mega production and assembly plants in Nigeria.

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According to him, Honda West Africa, Nissan/Stallion, Toyota/Elizade, Mitsubishi/CFAO, Suzuki/Boulos, Isuzu/Kewalrams and Yamaha/CFAO were already building vehicles in the country.

Aliyu said, “these larger investments would come at a time when the need for diversification in Nigeria is paramount to the country’s economy as the population continues to grow.”

The DG added that the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA, was also opening up Africa-wide opportunities for Nigerian automotive manufacturers.

“The discussions with the companies were very fruitful, with strong potential for the various manufacturers to significantly increase their operations and market footprint in Nigeria.

“This will contribute at an even higher level to the growth and
sustainability of the Nigerian Automotive space,” Aliyu dis.

He added that the council had engaged an international firm, KPMG, to support with the review of the Auto Policy.

This, he said, is in order to beef it up to the current pattern of global and regional automotive production and distribution.

He said: “KPMG is getting good support from the AAAM – African Association of Automotive Manufacturers.

” As soon as the draft policy is done by KPMG, it shall go as an executive bill to the National Assembly.

“The Senate and House Committees on Industry are giving their full support towards having this reviewed policy be backed by a legal framework.”

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While highlighting some of the key areas of the reviewed policy, Aliyu said ”when the draft becomes law, it would further boost the financial advantages of local production/assembly.

“It will also provide clear import duty differential between locally
assembled vehicles and those imported fully built and also provide tax waivers.

“Other key areas would include facilitating the establishment of dedicated customs corridors/services, provision of single digit capital financing for both manufacturers and buyers.

“It will also entail mandatory government patronage, all in favour of local production/assembly,”Aliyu added.

On his part, the Chairman, House of Represenatatives Committee on Industry, Mr Enitan Badru, promised to provide necessary legislative support to the new auto policy.

He said,”so that it gives the investors the confidence and stability to invest in Nigeria.”

Badru underscored the importance of the vehicle financing scheme, saying it would bolster the purchase of locally produced vehicles. ( NAN )

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2023: 260 Enugu Councillors Pledge to Deliver PDP Candidates

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 Councillors in the 260 electoral wards in Enugu State have pledged to deliver all the PDP candidates in the state in the 2023 general polls.

They assured Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State that they would work round-the-clock and mobilise massively in their respective wards to ensure that the party wins the elections.

They gave the assurance on Tuesday when they paid a ‘Thank You’ visit to the governor at the Government House, Enugu.

They unanimously declared their support for the governor, the PDP governorship candidate, Mr Peter Mbah, and all the other candidates of the party.

They expressed gratitude to the governor for the uncommon leadership role he played in their emergence as councillors .

The councillors said that if not for the magnanimity and selfless leadership style of the governor, none of them would have emerged as a councillor.

They also appreciated the governor for always believing in youths, disclosing that 99.9 per cent of the present councillors in the state were youths.

Speaking on their behalf, the Coordinator of 260 Ward Councillors in Enugu State and Leader of Udenu Legislative Council, Mr Nnamdi Odo, said Ugwuanyi had done well for them.

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According to him, the past councillors during previous administrations did not enjoy the privilege they enjoyed during the selection process leading to their emergence, stressing that they emerged without godfathers.

“Your excellency, we came to thank you and to assure you that we are going to deliver our wards to the PDP come 2023.

“There is no ward in the 260 wards that will be lost to the opposition,” he said.

Stressing their eagerness to work as grassroots mobilisers, Odo said they had the strength to work and were eager to work.

“It is not that of social media. We are on the ground at the grassroots.

“The debt we owe you our father and leader and our great party, the PDP, is come February 2023 we will deliver all the candidates of our party starting from you, our governorship candidate, Mr Peter Mbah, and other candidates.

Odo lauded Ugwuanyi for his youth-friendly initiatives.

“You are the only governor in this state who came and accommodated many youths in your administration through political appointments and election into public offices,” he said.

He thanked the governor for the prompt payment of salaries.

“At the end of every month our parents receive their salaries, workers are not being owed and you constructed projects in all nooks and crannies of Enugu State,” he said.

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In his remarks, Speaker of Enugu State House of Assembly, Mr Edward Ubosi, encouraged the councillors to remain focused, steadfast and committed to the ideals of the PDP and progress of the Ugwuanyi-led PDP administration.

He thanked them for opting to work for the victory of the PDP at the polls in 2023, assuring them that they stood to benefit more in the future.

Responding, Ugwuanyi appreciated the councillors for the solidarity and support.

He attributed their emergence as councillors to the will of God.

The governor thanked them for their contributions towards the peaceful atmosphere in Enugu State and reiterated his administration’s commitment to their well-being.

Ugwuanyi disclosed that Enugu was not among the eight states in the country listed to be owing workers at least six months salary arrears.

He called on the councillors to continue to pray for his administration, the state and a peaceful transition in 2023. (NAN)

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