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FG Commences Payment of N30,000 Grant to Taxi, Bus Drivers, Okada Riders

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As the implementation of its Economic Sustainability Plan, ESP, continues, and in furtherance of its commitment to support small businesses to cushion the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government has also launched the transport support track under its MSME Survival Fund schemes for artisans and transporters.

The launch of the transport track last Monday follows the successful take-off of the Artisans’ Support track on October 1. While the Artisans track is under the Survival Fund, the Transport track is a different scheme also under the Fund.

While verified Artisans have started receiving the N30,000 one-time grants, Nigerians operating in the transport business – including Rideshare drivers (Uber, Bolt, etc.), Taxi drivers, Bus drivers, Keke Napep riders, Okada riders, cart pushers etc., now have the opportunity to benefit from the scheme.

The Artisan track is being implemented in three streams, and as of November 25, a total number of 59,000 individual Artisan beneficiaries have been paid across 24 states in Stream 1 and Stream 2 States.

They include FCT, Lagos, Ekiti, Kaduna, Borno, Kano, Bauchi, Anambra, Abia, Rivers, Plateau, Delta, Taraba, Adamawa, Bayelsa, Edo, Ogun, Ondo, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Enugu, Ebonyi.

While the verification process for artisans under Stream 3 states commenced on Monday, November 30. Stream 3 states comprise Akwa-Ibom, Cross-River, Zamfara, Yobe, Sokoto, Nasarawa, Niger, Imo, Oyo, Osun, Jigawa, Gombe and Benue.

Similarly, payment to beneficiaries under the Payroll Support scheme for different categories of MSMEs, ranging from education, hospitality to other sectors, has since commenced.

The payroll support scheme, which is designed to support vulnerable MSMEs, targets supporting 500,000 beneficiaries with payment of up to N50,000 per employee for a period of three months, starting from October. The disbursements to approved Payroll Support beneficiaries commenced on 17th November 2020.

So far, 207,319 individual beneficiaries drawn from 35,837 businesses/MSMEs nationwide have received their first monthly payment from the Survival Fund’s Payroll Support Scheme.

A breakdown of this figure shows that: N30,000 each was paid to 180,196 employees/Beneficiaries; while N50,000 each was paid to 26,353 employees/Beneficiaries. Out of this, 2.6 per cent of beneficiaries are with special needs, while 43 per cent are female employees/beneficiaries.

Under this Artisan Support scheme, a total of 333,000 Artisans and Transport business operators nationwide will get one-time operations grant of N30,000 per beneficiary to reduce the effects of income loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be a total of 9,009 beneficiaries per state for both Artisan and Transport beneficiaries. Of this number per state, there will be a total of 4,505 beneficiaries under the transport scheme, while the remaining 4,504 will be artisan beneficiaries.

For the Transport track, Nigerians are encouraged to apply through their registered Associations to be enumerated, such as the Nigerian Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Keke Riders’ Association, Okada Riders’ Associations and Unions, among others. All schemes are applied to beneficiaries on a first come first serve basis.

State focal persons, project field officers, enumerators and others will work alongside the MSMEs Survival Fund Project Delivery Office to properly identify and ensure that members of the respective associations are paid.

There is also provision for individuals who are members of Associations but will rather apply directly with the enumerators. However, such individual applicants in the transport cluster must show their proof of membership of an association to be enumerated.

Like all the schemes of the Buhari administration to support different categories of Nigerians, these schemes are absolutely free, and the grant will be paid directly to the beneficiary’s account.

Nigerians are encouraged to speak up if anyone tries to charge a fee or subvert this arrangement.

Also, the formalization support scheme (registration of 250,000 new businesses with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)) commenced on the 26th of October, 2020 and the registration by aggregators – CAC registration agents, has since commenced across the 36 states and the FCT. The ongoing scheme will run for a period of 3 months effective from the date of commencement.

The MSME Survival Fund, a component under the Nigerian Economic Sustainability Plan, NESP, is designed to support vulnerable Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in the MSMEs sector. The scheme is estimated to save not less than 1.3 million jobs across the country and specifically impact on over 35,000 individuals per State.

In the implementation of the Transport track the Federal Government is working with representatives of Keke Napep and Okada riders; Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN); representatives of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW); Uber and Bolt drivers, among others.

Laolu Akande
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity
Office of the Vice President
6th December 2020

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Buhari: We’ll Not Give Amnesty to Bandits, Terrorists, Others

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President Muhammadu Buhari has ruled out the possibility of granting amnesty to bandits, kidnappers and insurgents in the country.

He said his government would continue to deal decisively with such criminals whom he said constitute a threat to the country and its people.

Mr Buhari stated this on Thursday while declaring open a joint security meeting of Northern State Governors’ Forum, Northern Traditional Rulers Council and delegation from the federal government in Kaduna State.

The president’s stance is coming on the heels of agitations by some northern leaders that repentant bandits be given amnesty.

Prominent amongst those canvassing amnesty for bandits are the Zamfara State governor, Bello Matawalle, and an Islamic cleric, Ahmad Gumi.

Lawmakers from Zamfara have also called for amnesty for bandits who have killed and maimed others.

At the meeting in Kaduna, Mr Buhari said it was time to treat criminals as criminals and to stop ethnic profiling.

Represented by his Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, the president said security challenges confronting the nation had slowed down the emancipation of Nigerians from poverty and economic deprivation.

The president disclosed that he had already directed heads of security agencies to develop plans to end criminality in the country.

He said his government would continue to deal with insurgents, bandits and kidnappers.

“I must appreciate the efforts of the 19 Northern States Governors’ Forum for their contribution towards national growth and development, especially in this challenging period in our nation’s being where certain fundamental corporate existence needs to be frankly deliberated upon and actionable resolutions reached,” the president said.

“This meeting is coming at a time when the nation is making steady progress in addressing the many challenges impeding developmental and progress. We are providing critical infrastructure such as roads, railways, airports among others which are critical to economic prosperity of our people as well as opening up economic opportunities for our citizens to pursue legitimate aspirations that grow the economy.

“At the same time, we are confronting the various dimensions of security challenges that continue to slow down the emancipation of our people from poverty and economic deprivation. The Government shall continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers and other criminals who constitute a threat to innocent citizens across the country.

“Criminals are criminals and should be dealt with accordingly, without resorting to ethnic profiling. I have already tasked the new Service Chiefs to devise new strategies that will end this ugly situation where the lives of our people continue to be threatened by hoodlums and criminals.

“I expect that at this meeting, your Forum will also discuss and devise ways of building stronger collaboration with the security architecture and the people in defeating criminality across the region and the nation at large.

“It is pertinent to note that the increased realization of our security, democracy and development indices are inextricably linked. Democracy and rule of law promote stability and in turn reinforce the power to assert freedom and economic progress of our people.”

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Ondo Monarchs Urge South West Governors to Cage Killer Herdsmen

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The Ondo State Council of Obas, on Thursday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to caution his aides who comment on security of the country.

The traditional rulers, who reacted over the comments made by some aides of the President on the order of Akeredolu ejecting the herdsmen from all the forest reserves in the state, said the move was not to chase out the Fulani in the state but to save it from the activities of the bandits.

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of meeting of the monarchs in Akure, which was read by a former Chairman of the council and the Olukare of Ikareland, Oba Akadiri Momoh.

The monarchs said, “We are calling on President Buhari to show to the world that he is a father of all irrespective of ethnic affiliation as well as cautioned his aides to exercise restraints on issues that border on insecurity in the country.”

The obas urged “the governors in the South-West region, the South-West caucus in the National Assembly and state Houses of Assembly to use constitutional means to rein the rampaging criminals masquerading as herdsmen across the region.”

The state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Charles Titiloye, declared that the state had no plan to send anti-open grazing bill to the state House of Assembly at the moment.

He said what was on ground in the state currently was the order of the governor to be complied with within seven days.

Titiloye said, “I may not be able to reply whether the state is planning to send the anti-grazing bill or not because the governor has given an order and after the seven days ultimatum and there is no compliance, then we shall know what to do next.”

Reacting to the claim by the Northern Elders Forum that the herdsmen had freedom of movement, the commissioner explained that the governor’s order had not restrained anybody’s movement, but to flush out criminal elements among herdsmen in the state.

He said, “We are not restraining any movement. Forests have been turned to hideouts of criminals and in order to identify the real herdsmen and the criminal ones; that is why the order of the governor came.

“We know that after seven days, the criminal ones would not leave the forest reserves; and until then we shall know what step to take next.”

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Food for Living: You’re Work in Progress

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By Henry Ukazu

Greetings Destiny Friends,

Man, by nature, is insatiable. He is endowed with the tendency to always crave for more, especially the good things of life. And when he gets one, he immediately desires another, and the circle continues. That’s simply human nature for you. Progressive minds always set a target for themselves, and once they meet the target, they move to another target. Entrepreneurs are not left out in this struggle, in fact, they top the list in this category.

Entrepreneurs work day and night to develop a product, and in the process they experience challenges which makes some of them give up. According to Aditya Roy Kapur, “what we normally see is the finished product, someone’s performance on screen, but behind the scenes, a lot goes into it’. This is just the lifestyle of any entrepreneur or great mind who has been able to succeed. However, it is our human nature to always feel downcast whenever our demands are not met.

With the innovation of social media and technology, a lot of people have given up on life. The internet is awash with stories of people who have committed suicide just by watching other people’s lifestyles on social media. They had come to the conclusion that other people are living their best lives and exploring opportunities while they are merely existing. Some people have been pressurized to be what they are not; please relax, you’re on a different path and lane, everybody has their own race to run. According to Jesse Eisenberg “I don’t concern myself with thinking ahead to the finished product. I focus more specifically on what the character is experiencing. Once you relieve yourself of the very arbitrary and always punishing pressure of what an audience is expecting you to do, acting becomes a lot more fun and pure”. Moral:  You’re a product in the making, so maintain your lane.

Nobody, country, business, etc has it all figured out completely; they are all work in progress. Most people think some have figured it out completely either because they are rich or have life working smoothly for them. A typical example is the United States of America. Most people think USA has no problem. But that’s not the case, the USA has its own challenges. In the words of one of the most cerebral US Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt, ‘I do not look upon these United States as a finished product. We are still in the making”. That goes to tell you, daily, the USA seeks for better ways to improve their technology, health sector, business, and political environment.

It’s a well-established fact; nobody has overnight success, real success takes time and effort, just like the saying, Rome was not built in a day. As humans, we like finished projects because it looks attractive. When a product, car, food, cloth, or even education is not completed, it always appears unattractive and no one likes to be associated with such persons or product.

Even as humans, sometimes we feel the whole world has left us behind. If we are honest with ourselves, we have one secret frustration which the world wouldn’t even notice. We are the ones secretly having the pain. The pain/feeling can be not being married, not having money despite having a huge fan base on social media. It can also relate to medical challenges. Despite these challenges, I have good news for you; it’s not over until it’s over. You’re a work in progress.

Succeeding in life entails a lot of sacrifice, hard and smart work, a bit of luck, great networking, knowledge, wisdom and understanding amongst other skills. It may seem so painful when we do what we are supposed to do and still don’t get the desired result. If you have an ambition or desire to create a product, you may want to ask yourself, what’s your why? What’s your vision; and most importantly, what’s your passion? I say this because most people engage in business, academic endeavors, and even marital engagement without having a good foundation or understanding of what is required, and when they experience misfortune or have challenges, they begin to give up.

A practical way to succeed in an endeavor is by knowing yourself. Self-discovery is one of the hardest things we can do in life. When you know yourself, it will be easy to figure your path. When you figure out your path, the next thing you want to do is to maintain your lane. Focusing on your lane helps to build expertise in a particular field or industry. You may be wondering how to create a path and build expertise on a particular lane. A medical or law student may after graduation from college decide to specialize in a particular area of his profession. It can be surgery or internal medicine for a medical professional or civil right or criminal law for a law graduate.

What most people fail to understand is the difference between profession, vocation and ministry. Your profession is what you are trained to do, your vocation is what you are paid to do, your ministry is your calling and what you should be living for. Understanding these concepts will go a long way to figure out how you live your life because they’ll help you to finish your race and finish well.

As you forge ahead in your craft, try as much as possible to be at peace with yourself, trust the process, appreciate the mistakes, disappointments, failures and betrayals if any, because they are all parts of the success story. When you reach a crossroad, listen to your inner still voice and trust your gut/intuition. Don’t force or try to change what you cannot control or change. Let nature take its course because you are work in progress.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success and President of gloemi.com. He can be reached via info@gloemi.com

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