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NASRE Review: Lagos’ Discount Food Initiative Propels National Call for Economic Resilience

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As Nigeria grapples with staggering inflation rates, reaching a distressing 31.7%, Nigerian Association of Social and Resourceful Editors, NASRE, stress that Lagos State emerges as a beacon of hope with its innovative approach to tackle the dire economic situation.

In response to the escalating cost of living, Lagos has pioneered the “Ounje Eko” food markets initiative, offering discounted prices on essential commodities across the state. This groundbreaking initiative, spearheaded by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, not only alleviates the financial burden on its residents but also sets a precedent for nationwide adoption amidst the prevailing economic turmoil.

The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) paints a grim picture of Nigeria’s economic woes. Headline inflation has surged to 31.7%, the highest level recorded since April 1996, exacerbating the hardships faced by ordinary Nigerians. Of particular concern is the soaring food inflation, which stands at a staggering 37.9% in February 2024.

This relentless upward trajectory in food prices has triggered protests and heightened the risk of food insecurity, with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warning that 8.0% of Nigerians are at high risk of food insecurity.

Amidst this economic turmoil, Lagos State has taken proactive measures to cushion the impact of high food prices on its residents through the “Ounje Eko” food markets initiative. Operating exclusively on Sundays across 57 locations in the state, these markets offer a 25% discount on staple food items, including rice, beans, garri, bread, eggs, tomatoes, and pepper.

The initiative incorporates innovative measures to ensure transparency and prevent exploitation, such as the introduction of a voucher system and careful selection of independent payment solution providers and food vendors. Prices of staple food items have been clearly outlined, fostering transparency and accountability.

The success of the Lagos Discount Food Initiative underscores the urgent need for similar interventions across the nation. State governments are urged to emulate Lagos’s proactive approach and establish discounted food markets to ease the burden on their citizens.

Furthermore, the federal government must lend its support by providing financial assistance and logistical support to scale up these initiatives nationwide. Expanding the initiative to all states across Nigeria holds immense potential to alleviate the burden of skyrocketing food prices and mitigate the widespread economic hardships inflicted by inflation. Adopting this model nationwide will help ease financial strain and enhance food accessibility for all socio-economic strata, fostering social cohesion and stability.

Finally, a nationwide rollout of discounted food markets would stimulate consumer spending, boost local economies, and contribute to the overall well-being and resilience of communities nationwide. By embracing this initiative, all states have an opportunity to demonstrate proactive governance, prioritize the welfare of their citizens, and contribute to the collective effort of building a more equitable and prosperous Nigeria.

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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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