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Infrastructure devt, social welfare top chart as Kwara Gov presents 2024 budget

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  • CAPEX takes 61% of budget, recurrent 39%
  • Roads, housing, health, education, minimum wage in focus
  • Gov to unveil 18,000 hectares Smart City project in new year
  • Gov thanks Kwarans for support, promises more

Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday laid before the parliament a N296.4bn fiscal plan for year 2024, with the capital expenditure guzzling a whopping 61% of the proposed spending and recurrents keeping the balance of 39%.

The budget is 15.5% higher than the budget of the outgoing year, and has an opening balance of N25bn, according to the Governor, who heralded his speech with “profound gratitude” to God, appreciation to the people of Kwara and his party, APC, for another win at the last general elections, and acknowledgement of the supportive role of the legislators.

Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi led the Governor’s entourage that also comprised top heads of statutory commissions, government officials; first class traditional rulers; security commanders; party elders; business executives; and citizens.

The budget session was presided over by the Kwara State House of Assembly Speaker Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi-Salihu.

“I begin this budget speech with profound gratitude to Almighty Allah for His enduring mercies that again saw us through the recent electioneering process with yet another resounding 100% victory. I dedicate that victory and the success of our first tenure to the good people of Kwara State who walked with and trusted us with another mandate, and to you, members of this hallowed chamber, for your understanding, maturity, and love for our state,” the Governor said.

“Together in four years, we brought socioeconomic and political stability to our state and restored the dignity of the human person. We have redefined public education in human resource and infrastructure, basic healthcare delivery, social security, public service, rural development, sports and recreational development, while measurable steps have been taken to make Kwara a hub of innovation, creativity, and viable economic activities in Nigeria.

“The next four years will serve to consolidate on the gains of our first term, expand the economic base of this lovely state through completion of ongoing infrastructural projects and commencement of new ones, make the state more self-sustaining by widening the revenue base, create more private sector-driven jobs, and better the lots of our people. In the new year, we will formally inaugurate our flagship projects like the garment factory, visual arts centre, Tunde Idiagbon bridge, innovation hub, sugar film factory, the two campuses of Kwara State University, sheabutter factory in Kaiama, among others.

“These, in shaa Allaah, will create tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the new year, and spread collective prosperity on a sustainable basis.

“This is why next year’s fiscal document has been christened the budget of ‘economic expansion and collective prosperity’. The size of the budget is N296.4bn, with an opening balance of N25bn. The capital expenditure takes the lion share of N180.0bn, representing 61% of the total fiscal plan, while the recurrent component gets N116bn, or 39%.

“This fiscal plan will prioritise the completion and unveiling of several of our legacy projects, and introduction of a few other ones that centre around the welfare of the people. I am glad to inform this Honourable House that the Ilorin Capital City Master Plan will officially produce what we call Ilorin Smart City Satellite Town, which will cover an area estimated at 18,000 hectares. This city is modelled after sustainable, green cities around the world, such as Washington DC. The groundbreaking of this huge project will be done next year, God willing.

“Some other highlights include the establishment of the Kwara State University Teaching Hospital; Kwara State University of Education; completion of the first phase of the industrial park at Eiyenkorin; MSMEs Support Funds; rehabilitation of Ilesha Baruba Waterworks and others elsewhere in the state; construction of statewide rural access roads through RAAMP; rehabilitation of Isanlu Isin Waterworks and extension of pipes; rehabilitation of Pampo waterworks and extension of pipes, among others; construction of new wards and expansion of maternity unit at civil service clinic; expansion of 13 hospitals across the state; construction of 250 housing units under the proposed mass housing scheme of the State Government; construction of CBT Centres across the 3 districts; wholesale curriculum revitalisation and training under KwaraLearn; payment of UBEC counterpart funds for 2022 and 2023; and some sports facilities statewide.

“Also covered in this document is our preparation for a new minimum wage, which is due for negotiation next year, completion of KWIRS modern headquarters, among other things. We will also begin the implementation of life-changing programmes like the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment (AGILE), livestock development centre at Lata; special agroprocessing zone and L-PRES project, which seeks to provide infrastructure and the environment to curb the conflict between herders and farmers.

“This document is predicated on the estimated crude oil price of $77.96; daily oil production of 1.78million barrel per day; exchange rate of N750/USD; GDP growth projection of 3.76 percent; and 21.4% inflation rate.

“Further details on the budget estimates are contained in the full version of the fiscal plan, which would be issued later.

“The budget will be funded from an assortment of sources, especially the internally generated revenue and receipts from the federation accounts, among other channels.”

Danladi-Salihu, for his part, said the Governor did so well in his first term to deserve the popular mandate he got to govern the state for another four years.

He said the legislature will peruse the budget and act in accordance with the public good.

“Let me acknowledge and commend Your Excellency for transparency, accountability, and fiscal discipline exhibited in the implementation of the budget in outgoing year 2023,” he said.

“It is on record that this administration has completed many people oriented projects in all parts of the state as captured in the budget. The desire is to consolidate on the modest achievements recorded during your first term seems to be on course, considering the religious pursuit of the overall development of the state that has come to be a cordial objective of your administration since your second coming.

“I feel fulfilled with the magnitude of completed projects, ongoing projects, and others nearing completion.

“It is also noteworthy and commendable that Your Excellency has sustained the zeal with which you resuscitated the fulfillment of the state to counterpart funds in all sectors. The result of these is visible to every Kwaran to energise sectors such as basic education, rural roads, water supply and sanitation, health and many others that were almost dead before you came on board and have since experienced a rebirth as the people of the state now have a new lease of life.

“It is my hope that the year 2024 appropriation bill contains realistic projections both on revenue and expenditure that all critical sectors of the economy are accorded adequate attention. It is only by doing this that the administration will consolidate on the achievements recorded in the first four years.”

He assured the Governor of the readiness of the House to work round the clock to ensure timely passage of the budget after thorough legisl

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Ecobank Partners Nigeria Chess Federation: To Host 2024 National Schools’ Team Chess Competition

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Lagos, April 15, 2024 – Ecobank Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Ecobank Group, has entered a strategic partnership with Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) to host the 2024 National Schools’ Team Chess Competition. The competition is scheduled to hold between 24th – 28th May 2024 at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Victoria Lagos. It is open to students from primary, Secondary and Tertiary education level with prizes of over N10 million to be won. Representatives of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Youth Development, parents, teachers, embassies and several others are expected at the event. Registration and participation are free, and School’s team can register by sending an email to: nationalschoolsteamchess@gmail.com Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, said the decision of the bank to sponsor the Chess competition was to further showcase Ecobank’s commitment to supporting intellectual and sports development in Nigeria, being part of Ecobank’s strategic human capital development drive.“Children and youth empowerment is part of our shared objective as the pan-African Bank. It aligns with our overall long-term vision of building a world class Pan African bank that contributes to the economic and financial integration of the continent. We are also using the opportunity of this competition to introduce and empower them with convenient, affordable, and accessible digital financial services they can access anytime and anywhere they are. Arrangements are in place to make the competition exciting and fulfilling for both the children and undergraduate students”. He stated.Vice President, Nigeria Chess Federation, Prince Adeyinka Adewole said Chess, the game of Kings and Queens, has proven to be more than just a pastime, stating that it is an educational tool that enhances critical thinking, concentration, and problem-solving skills. While commending Ecobank for being a good ‘corporate citizen’ for sponsoring the competition, he noted that the competition will promote and showcase the skill and talent of chess players from Nigerian schools, while promoting teamwork, fostering a spirit of sportsmanship among participants, and providing networking opportunities to players.He enjoined all the institutions to take advantage of this opportunity to participate in the prestigious event, adding that participation will undoubtedly contribute to the championship’s success and provide an enriching experience for the participating students.Ecobank has embarked on several initiatives to develop youths in the country. The bank through a collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), is currently providing training and support services on Agribusiness which includes aquaculture, horticulture, poultry, and value addition to 16,000 youths in Nigeria. Also, Ecobank recently partnered with Learntor to provide capacity building for youths through Agile, Scrum, Data Analytics, Business Analysis, Cyber Security, and Scrum Master Certifications. The bank has also refurbished and donated learning equipment, provided digital training for students and promoted financial literacy in several schools across the country.

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LAWMA Welcomes April Interns  

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LAWMA Academy, the educational arm of the Lagos Waste Management Authority, has welcomed a fresh set of candidates, for its one-month internship for the month of April.The interns were all recent graduates of various universities in the country, across different academic disciplines.Addressing the interns, the Managing Director/CEO of LAWMA, Dr. Muyiwa Gbadegesin, congratulated them for making the internship programme, as it would assist them, to learn as much as possible about waste management and inherent benefits.He noted that waste was really not waste but resource, urging them to embrace the business opportunities offered by the circular economy value chain, where so-called waste becomes wealth and blessing, to individuals, society and the environment.According to him, “This internship will go a long way in exposing you to the positive and rewarding side of waste management. I am sure you are aware that nothing is a waste until you waste them. What used to be waste is now a resource that can be harvested to make money and improve lives. Indeed, it’s a long value-chain you can tap into, depending on your area of interest. It is a promising and highly rewarding venture.”Speaking further, the LAWMA boss urged them to pay good attention to the practical aspects of their training and arm themselves with determination, to become change agents and champions of environmental sustainability.Speaking in the same vein, the Executive Director of LAWMA, Mr. Kunle Adebiyi, urged the interns to maximize the knowledge gained, to leverage their areas of interest along the value-chain, for personal enterprise and good reward.He said, “This is a good opportunity for you to acquire knowledge and make money from modern waste management initiatives. What is important for you here, is to pay attention to the various things you will be taught, so that you can decide where to key in, for future enterprise and handsome financial rewards”.Similarly, LAWMA Academy had last month ran a one-month internship programme for some graduate and post-graduate candidates, representing the first batch of interns for this year. The candidates who enjoyed in-depth training in modern waste management from various departments of the agency, received completion certificates, after presenting their group final project, an illustrative diagram on circular economy, relating to manufacturing industries, to the LAWMA boss.LAWMA Academy, has since the beginning of this year, taken environmental advocacy to more than 5,000 pupils of public schools across the state, in Eti-Osa, Ikeja, Mushin, Ijora –Olopa, Agege, Victoria Island, and other areas.The pupils were enlightened on LAWMA’s diverse operations, effects of indiscriminate waste dumping, making money from recyclables, usage of trash bags and cans, shunning cart pushers and the need to patronise assigned PSP operators.The founding objective was to expand the frontiers of knowledge on waste management, by teaching it as much as possible, to the younger generation for new cultural orientation and perception of waste management, for environmental sustainability. It is the basis for stretching the dragnets to bring in as many young people as possible into the fold, to form the vanguard of environment ambassadors, for a new culture and orientation, for a people-friendly environment.LAWMA Academy Internship, is a monthly programme of environmental and waste management education, for willing candidates.

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Cryptotimes Africa and 4 Other Crypto-Focused Publications shaping the narrative of cryptocurrency in Africa

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It’s no doubt that Africa has emerged as a hotbed for cryptocurrencyadoption and innovation. With a growing interest in digital assets andblockchain technology, several publications have sprung up to cater tothe information needs of crypto enthusiasts across the continent.Among these, Cryptotimes Africa stands out as a leading source of newsand insights on the African crypto scene. Let’s take a closer look atCryptotimes Africa and five other noteworthy publications that areshaping the narrative of cryptocurrency in Africa.1. Cryptotimes AfricaAs the name suggests, Cryptotimes Africa is dedicated to covering allthings crypto-related on the African continent. From news updates andmarket analysis to interviews with industry experts, this publicationoffers a comprehensive view of the rapidly evolving crypto landscapein Africa. With a focus on promoting blockchain adoption and financialinclusion, Cryptotimes Africa serves as a valuable resource for bothnewcomers and seasoned veterans in the crypto space.2. Bitcoinke.ioBitcoin Africa is another prominent publication that provides in-depthcoverage of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in Africa. With a teamof experienced writers and analysts, Bitcoin Africa deliversinsightful articles, guides, and reviews to help readers navigate thecomplexities of the crypto market. Whether you’re interested intrading strategies, regulatory developments, or technologicalinnovations, Bitcoin Africa has you covered.3. TechnextTechnext is a broad tech publication with a strong focus on Africanstartups, innovation, and trends, coverage includes articles onblockchain technology, cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin, and theirapplications in Africa.4. Tech CabalTech Cabal focuses on providing in-depth analysis and reporting on theAfrican tech ecosystem, including funding rounds, investment trends,and interviews with key players. While its primary coverage is notsolely focused on cryptocurrencies, Tech Cabal features insightfularticles on blockchain technology, cryptocurrency adoption in Africa,and the regulatory landscape. Targeting investors, entrepreneurs, andprofessionals working in the African tech sector, Tech Cabalcontributes valuable insights to the broader conversation on cryptoinnovation in Africa.5. NairametricsNairametrics is a financial and business news platform with a focus onthe Nigerian economy and markets. While covering a wide range offinancial topics, Nairametrics includes articles on cryptocurrenciesas an investment asset class, analysis of their impact on the Nigerianfinancial sector, and regulatory updates. Targeting investors,business people, and those interested in the financial sector inNigeria, Nairametrics provides valuable insights into the evolvinglandscape of cryptocurrencies in Africa’s largest economy.In conclusion, Cryptotimes Africa and the aforementioned publicationsare playing a crucial role in shaping the narrative of cryptocurrencyin Africa. By providing reliable news, analysis, and educationalresources, these platforms are empowering individuals and businessesto participate in the digital economy and seize the opportunitiesoffered by blockchain technology. As the crypto revolution continuesto unfold, these publications will undoubtedly remain essential guidesfor enthusiasts and professionals alike.

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