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Osinbajo Inaugurates 2021 Survey on Children, Women, Vaccination Coverage

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Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday in Abuja inaugurated the 2021 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) and National Immunisation Coverage Survey (NICS) Report.

NAN reports that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) implemented MICS in 1995 aimed at providing data on child mortality, health, nutrition, education, child and social protection, women’s health care and empowerment, water, sanitation and hygiene.

While NICS assesses vaccination coverage provided through the health systems.

Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmed, said the survey was a comprehensive household survey also designed to track socio-economic activities as it affects the entire population.

The vice-president said the present administration had continued to make efforts to ensure the gaps reported in the last MICS survey in 2016 were addressed.

He said this had led to massive investment in the health care sector with particular emphasis on primary health care delivery and immunisation coverage.

“The government will continue to provide the necessary support to all sectors, particularly maternal health care.

” So as to mitigate the incidences of maternal mortality and safe delivery of our women and a better life for both the living and unborn children that are the future of our great country Nigeria.

“I want to assure that the government of Nigeria will continue to strengthen all sectors of the economy to ensure a balanced development at the national and subnational levels of government.

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“Government will continue to ensure the provision of primary health care to all Nigerians to help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and meet the 2030 agenda. ”

Osinbajo said there had been evident improvement in the immunisation coverage from 34 per cent in 2016 to 57 per cent as reported in the current survey of 2021.

Prince Semiu Adeniran,the Statistician-General of the Federation, said the 2021 MICS/NICS report provided evidence-based data for all key stakeholders to prioritise quality services for children and women with higher efficiency and effectiveness.

Adeniran said the survey served as a major source of data for assessing the implementation of the SDGs, with over 20 per cent of the indicators required for tacking the SDGs being sources from the exercise.

He said that the first round of the survey was conducted in 1995 and each round had come with new improvements and innovations, which had brought about excitement to the producers and users of the data.

According to him, this round of survey, which has more than 200 indicators, recorded the highest response rate in the MICS series, recording an impressive response rate of 99 per cent.

“It also has some notable improvements to it, making it the most comprehensive MICS survey ever to be conducted in Nigeria.

“These new improvements include a completely new questionnaire which focuses on children aged five to 17 was introduced under this round.

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“The questionnaire deals with issues such as foundational learning, child functioning, and parental involvement while the new modules include energy use, social transfers and food security, victimisation and financial inclusion.”

Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, said the MICS/NICS data would help Nigeria better assess the progress of its global and regional commitments which seek to promote the welfare of women and children.

According to him, the picture is a mixed one with some good progress that we should celebrate but we still have a long way to go toward ensuring the well-being of children in Nigeria.

Hawkins said the report revealed that child mortality had decreased from one in eight children in 2016 dying before their fifth birthday to one in 10 children.

” Immunisation rates have gone up with Penta 1 going from 65 per cent to 70 per cent and Penta 3 from 50 per cent to 57 per cent today.

“These are remarkable figures as they show increased access and delivery of immunisation services in spite the COVID 19 pandemic.

He said there had also been significant progress in exclusive breastfeeding and birth registration rates. The exclusive breastfeeding rate doubled from 17 per cent to 34 per cent.

“While 57 per cent of Nigerian children under the age of five have their births registered with civil authorities, compared to 47 per cent in 2016.

In addition, he said child marriage by women married before age 18, had dropped from 44 per cent to 30 per cent since 2016.

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“However, regional disparities still exist, under-five birth registration is almost four times higher in Lagos than in some other states.

” In addition, while exclusive breastfeeding has increased, breastfeeding within one hour of birth has dropped by 10 per cent, likely because skilled birth attendance has remained static at 50 per cent.

He said the report showed child marriage was about four times higher in rural areas than in urban areas.

The Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said the challenge of adequate human resources needed to be addressed at the primary health care level.

” For us to do better, we have to work to address the challenges as only 27 per cent of our primary healthcare centres countrywide have the wide complement of human resources.

“We cannot jump to 80 per cent or 90 per cent until we address this. We must engage with our governors and local government chairmen to address the issue of human resources at the primary health care level. ”

Prince Clem Agba, the Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning, said the government would continue to provide the necessary support to the national statistical system to ensure the production of reliable data for tracking development projects.

Newsmen report that the survey received support from UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance. (NAN)

Economy

CBN Moves to Save Naira, Raises Interest Rate to 15.5%

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By Tony Obiechina, Abuja 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), also known as interest rate, from 13.5% to 15.5% as a way of tackling inflation.

 CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele made the annoucement at a media briefing after that Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja. 

This is the highest rates adopted by the CBN after it held the Minimum Rediscounted Rate (MRR) at 15 per cent on August 17, 2003.

The MRR was the rate adopted by the CBN until it introduced a new Monetary policy framework in 2006 which replaced MRR with Monetary Policy Rate (MPR).

The CBN governor, who spoke after the 287th MPC meeting, said its decision was a move to save the naira and curb inflation, adding that the members voted unanimously to raise the rates.

Benchmark lending rate was as low as six per cent thirteen years ago in 2009.

When Covid-19 struck in 2020, the MPC reduced the MPR by 100 basis points from 12.5 to 11.5 per cent.

But this was increased to 13.0 per cent and by another 100 basis points to 14 per cent in May and July 2022 respectively.

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Currently, Nigeria’s inflation is at 20.52 per cent according to the National Bureau of Statistics Consumer Price Index for in August 2022.

During the meeting, the apex bank governor said high energy cost and electricity tariff pushed the inflation upwards.

According to him, the increase in US rates has also pressured the naira and making investors exit the Nigerian market.

Emefiele said broad outlook remains clouded due to headwinds of the Ukraine war and residual impacts of Covid-19.

He said the Nigerian economy will grow but at a “much subdued rate” due to the increased demand for money driven by the 2023 general election.

According to him, the rise in inflation over the past four months has been worrisome  stressing that loosening inflation would worsen Nigeria’s economic condition as well as naira depreciation.

He said a tight policy stand would help appreciate the naira.

According to analysts, the hike in interest rate for three consecutive times is a way of luring foreign inflows into the country and easing the pressure on the naira.

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Economy

FG to Deploy PPP Solution to Boost Excise, Tax Revenue

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The Federal Government says it is set to deploy an Integrated Secure Track and Trace Solution to boost revenue earnings through excise and tax collection.

The Director-General, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Michael Ohiani, said this while presenting the Outline Business Case (OBC) Compliance Certificate to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.

A statement issued by Ms Manji Yarling, the Acting Head Media and Publicity, ICRC in Abuja on Tuesday, said the project was aimed at mitigating the country’s dwindling revenue and foster more non-oil revenue streams.

“The PPP solution will adopt the Build, Operate, and Transfer option.

“It will allow the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Finance, to establish an effective and non-intrusive control on a broad range of goods and services subject to excise duty, safety, and standards,” Yarlling said.

While receiving the OBC certificate, the minister said the proposed solution was important at this time, as the government was currently constrained in terms of revenue and required an urgent boost.

According to Ahmed, the purpose of the project is to enable the ministry to have visibility over some key products that are made in Nigeria, in terms of the quantity and companies that produce them.

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“It is also to differentiate between the same products produced in Nigeria and the ones that are imported, the bottom line is for us to be able to maximise our revenue potential.

“Having had several meetings with the proposing company, we thought that the best way to do this is through a PPP model and I am glad that the OBC Compliance Certificate has been issued,” the minister said.

Ahmed said that as the fiscal authority of the government, the ministry of Finance had the responsibility to ensure that duties and taxes were paid.

She said the ministry’s responsibility was also to assist relevant agencies to make their work more seamless, hence the need to deploy the solution.

The minister promised that the solution was not going to put more burden on companies, as the duties to be collected were not going to disrupt manufacturing in any way.

“I am assuring that the manufacturing companies’ businesses will not be disrupted, they are not going to incur any additional cost, the excise duty that will be charged will be a pass-through cost.

‘We are convinced that this is the right thing to do,” she said.

Ahmed expressed confidence in the solution citing that the same infrastructure had been deployed by the same company in South Africa and Morocco to boost their revenue accruals.

Ohiani while presenting the OBC, said that the solution would bring about many benefits to Nigeria including stemming illicit trade and revenue leakages; and improving revenue generation for government.

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Other benefits he said include ensuring the circulation of high-quality goods and services; achieving economies of scale and synergies among ministry’s agencies; enhancing technology and knowledge transfer and generating employment opportunities.

“The proposed solution when implemented will allow the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish effective and non-intrusive controls on a broad range of markets.

“Markets such as goods and services subject to excise duty, and goods subject to conformity with health, safety, and quality standards.

“Additionally, the solution aims to reduce the levels of counterfeiting, sub-standard quality, tax evasion, and under-declaration in these markets,” Ohiani said.

He pointed out that the ICRC and the ministry would now proceed to the procurement stage.

“A Full Business Case (FBC) Compliance Certificate would be issued for onward submission to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for project approval,) (NAN)

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Economy

World Maritime Day: Nigeria Committed to Greener Shipping – Sambo

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The Minister of Transportation Mu’ azu Sambo says Nigeria is committed to achieving greener shipping to attain sustainable development in the maritime industry.

Sambo said this in a statement on Monday in Lagos.

The statement was signed by Mr Osagie Edward, the Assistant Director, Public Relations, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

He added that Nigeria would join the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to commemorate the 2022 World Maritime Day.

Sambo noted that Nigeria would not be left behind in the global move toward greener shipping.

“There is a need for stakeholders in the maritime sector to begin exploring ways to transition into a greener and more sustainable future,” he said.

On his part, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir Jamoh, noted that the theme for this year’s world Maritime Day celebration was in line with the Agency’s mission of achieving cleaner oceans in developing shipping in Nigeria.

Jamoh said that NIMASA was already working in line with the call by the IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, for developing countries to adopt green technology.

Jamoh quoted the IMO Secretary General as saying, “The theme for 2022 World Maritime Day: New technologies for Greener Shipping,” reflects the need to support a green transition of the maritime sector into a sustainable future, while leaving no one behind.

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“The theme provides an opportunity to focus on the importance of sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world.

“Nigeria, represented by NIMASA, as an active member state of the IMO is involved in the processes of creating new international agreements and protocols to address environmental issues such as marine pollution, oil spills and emissions from the shipping industry,” he said.

This year’s World Maritime Day theme is linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDGs 13 and 14 on climate action and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.(NAN)

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