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Abia Govt to establish innovation park – Commissioner



Alex Otti

Last Updated on July 26, 2023 by Fellow Press

Mr Okey Kanu, the Abia Commissioner for Information and Culture, says plans are underway to establish an “Innovation Park” to accelerate socio-economic development in the state.

Kanu disclosed this during a news conference on the outcome of the State Executive Council at the Government House, Umuahia.

He said that the decision to embark on the project was informed by the resolve of Gov. Alex Otti to fulfill his campaign promises to the people of Abia.

Kanu said the initiative would provide an avenue for the state government to address the issue of youth unemployment in Abia.

“A lot of investors are showing strong interest to partner with government to establish the Innovation Park.

“The park will house an incubation centre.

“Those involved in manufacturing, logistics, power, modular refinery will form part of this park,” he said.

On payment of pensions in the state, he said that the government was committed to resolving all hitches in the payment.

Kanu added that thr state government was making serious efforts to ensure payment of 100 per cent pension to pensioners.

He, however, apologised to pensioners over the shortfall in the June payment and attributed the shortfall to the historical method adopted by the past administration.

Kanu said the method was being reviewed to ensure that pensioners would be paid 100 per cent of their pension and subsequently their outstanding before the end of the year.

On environment, Kanu said that in line with the rebuilding agenda of the present administration, the government would commence a “Clean Abia Programme” aimed at improving the cleanliness of the state.

He said that the government was focused on encouraging the people of Abia to imbibe the culture of keeping their surrounding clean and actively participating in the monthly clean-up exercise observed in the state.

The Commissioner for Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Prof. Joel Ogbonna, said that efforts were being made to rehabilitate the road leading to Osisioma Depot to make the facility functional and accessible to oil marketers.

Ogbonna said that the state government was making efforts to effect repairs on the vandalised Port Harcourt-Osisioma pipeline damaged by suspected vandals.

He said the ministry would set up an effective monitoring team to ensure that filling stations provide the public with good quality product.

Ogbonna added that plans were underway to set up a modular refinery in Ukwa West through Public-Private Partnership as part of government’s efforts to address the issue of high cost of petroleum products.

Also, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Poverty Reduction, Mrs Ngozi Felix, said the ministry would hold the annual Abia Women Delegates Conference (AWADEC) on August 13.

Felix said that the conference would be attended by over 2,000 participants from across the three senatorial zones of the state who would be trained in different areas of life and in turn would go back to teach women in the various local communities.

She added that the event would feature empowerment of vulnerable groups, widows and physically challenge persons.

Felix said that plans were in top gear to establish a Sexual Assault and Refferal Centre to take care of victims of sexual assault and other violent acts in the state.

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Food inflation soars by 61 per cent in one year– NBS



Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Nigerians are finding it more difficult to feed themselves, as food inflation rose to 40.66 per cent in May.

This was as the cost of food rose by 61 per cent from 25.25 per cent in June 2023 to 40.66 per cent in May 2024, highlighting a steady rise in the cost of living.

This is according to an analysis of the latest Consumer Price Index and Inflation report released by the National Bureau of Statistics.

The CPI measures the average change over time in the prices of goods and services consumed by people for day-to-day living.

On Saturday, the NBS disclosed that headline inflation moved by 0.26 per cent to 33.95 per cent from 33.69 per cent recorded in April.

The report noted that the inflation rate climbed to a 28-year high since March 1996 on higher food and transport prices.

It said, “In May 2024, the headline inflation rate increased to 33.95 per cent relative to the April 2024 headline inflation rate which was 33.69 per cent.”

The statistics agency also reported major contributing items to headline inflation in May 2024 including food & non-alcoholic beverages (contributing 17.59 per cent), housing, water, and electricity, gas & other fuel (contributing 5.68 per cent), and clothing & footwear (contributing 2.60 per cent).

A breakdown of the data showed that the price of food commodities increased steadily from 25.25 per cent in June, to 26.98 per cent in July, 29.34 per cent, 30.64 per cent in August, 31.52 per cent in September, 31.52 per cent October, 32.84 per cent in November and 33.93 per cent as the end of December 2023.

The rate further increased to 35.41 per cent in January, 37.92 per cent in February, crossed the 40 per cent mark in March, 40.53 per cent in April and 40.66 per cent in May.

NBS said the rate rose to 40.66 per cent in May, compared to the 24.82 per cent reported in the same month last year — indicating an increase of 15.84 per cent points.

The bureau said semovita, oatflake, yam flour prepackage, garri, bean, etc (which are under bread and cereals class), Irish potatoes, yam, water yam, etc (under potatoes, yam and other tubers class), contributed to the year-on-year increase in the food inflation rate.

Other contributors are palm oil, vegetable oil, etc (under oil and fat), stockfish, mudfish, crayfish, etc (under fish class), beef head, chicken-live, pork head, and bush meat (under meat class).

“The food inflation rate in May 2024 was 40.66 per cent on a year-on-year basis, which was 15.84 per cent points higher compared to the rate recorded in May 2023 (24.82 per cent).

“The average annual rate of Food inflation for the twelve months ending May 2024 over the previous twelve-month average was 34.06 per cent, which was 10.41 per cent points increase from the average annual rate of change recorded in May 2023 (23.65 per cent),” the report said.

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Omokri tackles Peter Obi over his criticism of ‘new’ presidential jet for Tinubu



Peter Obi

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, on Monday accused the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, of lying over the reported purchase of a presidential jet for President Bola Tinubu.

Omokri said, contrary to Obi’s claim, the Nigerian government has no plans to buy a new private jet for Tinubu.

He clarified that the idea to change Tinubu’s presidential jet did not emanate from the presidency.

On Friday, the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence asked the FG to purchase new aircraft for Tinubu and Shettima.

Reacting, Obi said: “It’s on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford basic necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need.”

However, Omokri faulted Obi’s comment, which he described as “another Gbajue lie.”

Posting on X, Omokri wrote: “The statement by Peter Obi condemning the Federal Government’s plan to buy new presidential jet for President Tinubu is another Gbajue lie from a man who has elevated lying to an art.

“The reason for this is because there is no such plan. It was the National Assembly that mooted the idea, as is their right. The Executive did not make such plans and has not budgeted any money for such a purpose.

“It is the same way he lied and blamed the Tinubu administration for spending N21 billion on the new residence of the Vice President. What he failed to tell his gullible supporters is that that project was initiated and funded by previous administrations, dating to when our party, the Peoples Democratic Party, was in office. Please note that Peter Obi was then our card-carrying member, but he did not attack the project.

“Mr. Peter Obi counts on your gullibility and refusal to research what you read before believing him. That is why he tells such fibs.”

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