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How important is the Ease of Doing Business to Nigeria?

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Nigeria scaled up 24 spots in the Ease of Doing Business Index, moving from 169th (out of 190) to 145th on the rankings. The Ease of Doing Business is an index, developed by the World Bank, that scores and ranks countries based on how easy it is to set up and operate a business there.

Nigeria recorded progress in 8 out of 10 topics. Accordingly, Nigeria is amongst the 10 most improved countries for the 2018. The most notable increases were made in the ease of getting credit, enforcing contracts and dealing with construction permits topics.

The rising prominence of credit bureaus and the increased sophistication of the identity authentication system (Sim card registration, Bank verification number and national identity card) contributed to Nigeria’s jump in this index to 6 from 44.

This reduced the risk associated with lending, boosting credit availability. However, the net credit to the private sector from DMBs has contracted this year, due to high interest rates. This means that the large portion of credit available to businesses comes from Microfinance Banks and other nonbank financial institutions.

Also contributing to this improvement is the effective implementation of the goals laid out in the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP). The move from traditional means of registering a company (with papers) has been replaced with online processes. New companies can confirm name availability, get all the information needed, and download and submit registration forms – all online!

Other notable changes are: introduction of the visa-on-arrival option, airport infrastructure development and the removal of baggage check post in the checking-in process.

Why is a business friendly environment so important?
The Ease of Doing Business is indicative of how favorable an economy is for business operations. These are important considerations for Foreign Direct Investors who are not only interested in the macro-economy but are also interested in the existing regulatory framework, policy and security. Essentially, these investors are interested in anything that can affect the success of their investments.

This brings up the issue of competitiveness.

When international organizations are looking to enter into a new region, they examine a wide range of variables such as size of potential market, and the ease of doing business. Investors are looking to avoid markets with a strong presence of politics & bureaucracy, coupled with high operating costs.

 

In West Africa, for example, Nigeria’s growing middle class may attract a global organization that manufactures and sells clothing. However, Nigeria’s poor score on ease of getting electricity and trading across borders could deter such an organization. Alternatively, Ghana, which not only performs better on these fronts, but also boasts of a stable exchange rate and faster economic growth (9% in Q2’2017), might prove a preferred market.

 

The above also applies to investments by domestic businesses. The tough regulatory environment forces businesses to stay small and in the shadows. This is one of the reasons why Nigeria has one of the largest informal economies.

 

Gross fixed investments make up 14.5% of Nigeria’s total GDP. Investments possess the multiplier effect that has the ability to affect other components of the national identity equation. For example, increased investments into domestic sectors with export potential could boost forex earnings and create more jobs. This could, in turn, have positive implications for private consumption.

 

In summary, the friendlier an economy is to business operations, the more attractive it is for investments, which is a vital catalyst of economic growth and development. Therefore, Nigeria’s rise in the Ease of Doing Business Index is laudable and positive for the recovery path.

Ease of Doing Business: Ministry spends N700 million to develop portal

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#Kayode Fayemi
Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals

The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has spent N700 million to develop an Integrated Automation and Interactive GIS Web Portal to improve `Ease-of-Doing-Business in the mining sector.

The minister, Kayode Fayemi, disclosed this at the launch of the portal on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr. Fayemi said the portal was a cutting edge initiative that leveraged technology for the innovation, efficiency and effectiveness in the mineral sector governance.

He said the overall objective of the project was to increase provision of reliable information and knowledge, to enhance promotion of investments in the sector, using the technology-driven innovation and to increase the sector’s GDP.

The portal was designed for mining investors to perform business processes such as online mining licences and mineral titles applications, online payment of royalties and fees, database for revenue drive and to block revenue leakages.

The portal is credible and provides timely information about the mining sector, performs and responds to online queries, business intelligence/analytics, reports and statistical data generation.

Mining investors could view all existing mining titles and track them anywhere in the world through the portal, access all agencies information, global mining news, live chat and document library, among others.

Lists of mining operators with valid licences and related minerals trade on private mineral buying centre and renewal of private mineral buying centres could also be accessed through the portal.

According to the minister, the portal is designed to serve as an input and decision support system to other entities of governmentMDAs).

“This event is coming at a very auspicious time, on a broad scale; dividends of this administration’s commitment to turning around our economic fortunes,’’ he said.

He said Nigeria had moved up in the global market by 24 points in the ease of doing business index for 2018 in a recent report released by World Bank.

He said Nigeria was also ranked as one of the 10 most improved economies in the world.

Mr. Fayemi said 75 staff had been trained on GIS across the mining sector.

He said that operation of online application of mining title and licences issued by Nigerian Mining Cadastre Office, online application of licences and permit issued by Mines Inspectorate Department and GIS laboratory, among others, would commence in the first quarter of 2018.

Abubakar Bwari, Minister for State, Mines and Steel Development, said the integrated web portal was conceived as a means of making information more accessible to players and the public alike.

Mr. Bwari said the initiative was to revamp the sector, as the ministry was moribund before himself and the senior minister assumed the sector.

According to him, government is a continuum and as long as subsequent administrations keep to track, mining will become the crown jewel of Nigeria’s economy.

Mohammed Abbas, Permanent Secretary of the ministry, sought the support of the Ministry of Communication to assist with experts that would manage the portal effectively.

The ministers of communication, science and technology were represented at the event.

The Women in Mining and Miners Association of Nigeria also witnessed the event.

 

Protecting Nigeria’s wild and the environment

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By Isa Sago
There is no gain saying that our institutions have failed woefully in the past years in their efforts to secure the beauty , history and the rich values of the country. What we owe ourselves is the protection and preservation of those things that illustrates our uniqueness or sets our country apart from others.
Let’s take for instance the regulatory institutions for wildlife and environment in Nigeria. From your angel of hearts do you think they have tried in their mandate? No! They have not help abated the destruction of our environment and the wild.
bushmeat
 
Do you know that presently Nigeria does not have much animals in the wild anymore. In fact, they have all been eaten up. From bush to bush, they have been hunted down and savoured as local delicacies – known as bushmeat. Chop-chop nation! We like eating and don’t want to build. Worst still, constituting obstacles on the way of those who want to. I remember a story told to me by a chap. According to him, he said a wildlife activities who was fond of embarrassing hunters and villagers because of their penchant for bushmeat had an encounter with with pounded yam, eguisi soap- lavishly prepared with bushmeat. After eating the food, they started blackmailing him as a bushmeat marketer. He was pressured to changed the course of his campaign but he refused. Eventually the locals almost had him for lunch but for God. This I was told happened in small village at Ugeb – south-eastern part of Nigeria. After succeeding in eating all the animals in bush and none was left, they turned to the activist. Of course, not an achievement to say the least.
river
 
Hunting is legal and permissible to extent the law regulating such activity or game prescribes. There is nothing bad in the eating of bush meat but there has to be regulation and stiff penalty or punishment on anyone on a random chase and eating up of bush animals anyhow. It should not be that any squirrel or antelope that shows up ends up in the pot.
 
The wild is the better part of the beauty of the environment of any country that houses the pristine values of nature – spanning rare species of animals, birds, plants and varieties of uncommon creature.
The information now is that since no more animals in the bush, plants are next. Needless to stress that our lands are now barren. The near absence of kerosine and cooking gas has diverted total attention to the beauty of nature. Lands are been exposed out of their shades. Trees are been fallen and used as wood and charcoal for cooking.
 
We must not because of hardship destroy those things that could fetch us wealth through research, experience and adventure.

 
Isa Sago is the Founder/Executive Secretary
Welcome2Nigeria Initiative

Collective efforts to free our country from hunger

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It behooves on every Nigerian to strive through farming to stamp out hunger.

Hunger has been a major problem in our society As the poverty gap is getting wider by the day due to the absence of the basic need of life induced by corruption and lack of accountability more people in Nigeria are dying out of hunger. And children are the most vulnerable.

children_african
farming

Kenya Sets Tons of Ivory Aflame in Bid to Stop Elephant Poaching

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Plumes of smoke filled the air of a muddy Nairobi National Park as Kenya’s President Kenyatta presided Saturday over the burning of 105 tons of elephant ivory and 1.35 tons of rhino horns to send a message to the world that ivory is worth more on an elephant than it is in the market.

The torching of this stockpile made it the largest ivory burn in history.

“The height of the pile of ivory before us marks the strength of our resolve,” said Kenyatta. “Before you, ladies and gentlemen, is the largest haul of ivory and horn ever to be destroyed in this manner. And our reason is crystal clear. No one — and, I repeat, no one — has any business trading in any ivory, for this trade means death. Death to our elephants, and death to our natural heritage.”

The event marked Kenya’s commitment to stopping the poaching epidemic, which has resulted in tens of thousands of elephants across the continent being killed every year for their ivory tusks.

In total, the ivory at the burn represented tusks from an estimated 8,500 elephants, a Kenya Wildlife Service spokesman said. KWS said a significant part of the stockpile came from ivory and rhino horn captured from poachers or seized in transit.

The Twitter hashtag “#stopthetrade is displayed at Kenya’s ivory burn in Nairobi National Park, April 30, 2016. (J. Craig/VOA)
The Twitter hashtag “#stopthetrade is displayed at Kenya’s ivory burn in Nairobi National Park, April 30, 2016. (J. Craig/VOA)

Critics have argued that poor countries like Kenya should sell the ivory to improve the lives of their people. The Kenya Wildlife Service has responded that selling these illegal trophies dramatically increases elephant poaching, threatening the animals’ very existence. Living elephants have value, whereas ivory does not, it said.

Benefits of saving elephants

Heather Higginbottom, U.S. deputy secretary of state for management and resources, attended the event and said that saving elephants helps everyone.

“There are economic benefits to tourism, to ecotourism, and that creates jobs and stability and ensures that there will be more and more demand to see these amazing creatures,” said Higginbottom. “That helps the people of Kenya, as well as the habitat and the animals.”

Poaching has escalated to alarming heights in recent years, as 100,000 African elephants were killed between 2010 and 2012.

James Isiche, East Africa regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said such numbers represent a grave threat to elephants everywhere.

“If the killing continues as it is now,” said Isiche, “then we cannot sustain the elephant populations in the next 20 years.”

Kenya has had success in reducing poaching, from 384 elephants killed in 2012 to 96 killed in 2015. But conservationists say that this progress could quickly be reversed if people don’t remain diligent.

But if they do, then Peter Knights, CEO of the wildlife conservation group WildAid, might be right about Kenya’s 2016 ivory burn.

“This might be the image that represents the end of the ivory trade,” he said.

Kenyatta said he would seek a total ban on the ivory trade at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in September.

National Summit on Culture and Tourism -2016

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Group picture of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mrs Ayotunde Adesugba , fomer Minister of the defunct Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, Former Director of the Federal Ministry of Informer and Culture Pa Imokwuede, The Commissioner of Arts, Culture and Tourism Benue State - Mr Sekav Dzua Iyortyom, and former Sole Administrator of National Arts Theatre Iganmu, Chairman Committee House on Tourism and Culture and other dignitaries in a group photograph at the summit in Transcorp, Abuja. PICTURE BY WELCOME2NIGERIA/TELEVISION AFRICA NETWORKl
Group picture of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mrs Ayotunde Adesugba , fomer Minister of the defunct Federal Ministry of Tourism and Culture Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, Former Director of the Federal Ministry of Informer and Culture Pa Imokwuede, The Commissioner of Arts, Culture and Tourism Benue State - Mr Sekav Dzua Iyortyom, and former Sole Administrator of National Arts Theatre Iganmu, Chairman Committee House on Tourism and Culture and other dignitaries in a group photograph at the summit in Transcorp, Abuja. PICTURE BY WELCOME2NIGERIA/TELEVISION AFRICA NETWORKl
Group picture of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mrs Ayotunde Adesugba , fomer Ministers of the defunct Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation -Dr Aliyu Hong, Ambassador Frank Ogbuewu, Former Director Arts & Culture of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture Pa Imokwuede, The Commissioner of Arts, Culture and Tourism Benue State – Mr Sekav Dzua Iyortyom, and former Sole Administrator of National Arts Theatre Iganmu & Former House Leader -House of Representative -Hon. Tunde Akogun,Senate and House Chairmen Committees on Tourism and Culture respectively and other dignitaries in a group photograph at the summit in Transcorp, Abuja. PICTURE BY WELCOME2NIGERIA/TELEVISION AFRICA NETWORKl
National Summit on Tourism and Culture
Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Mrs Ayotunde Adesugba at the National Summit on Tourism and Culture.

 

Mr Danladi Bako and Chief Tom Adaba at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism. Photo by Welcome2Nigeria
Mr Danladi Bako and Chief Tom Adaba at the National Summit on Culture and Tourism. Photo by Welcome2Nigeria
Dr. Wanle Akinboboya
Dr. Wanle Akinboboye – Chairman Lacampagne Tropicana Resort – Lagos State
Mr Isa Sago -the Executive Secretary/Founder of WELCOME2NIGERIA INITIATIVE, or Director Art & Culture Federal Ministry of Information and Culture FPa Imokhuede and Mr Lewis -actor and pioneer Staff of NTA. Picture by WELCOME2NIGERIA
Mr Isa Sago -the Executive Secretary/Founder of WELCOME2NIGERIA INITIATIVE, or Director Art & Culture Federal Ministry of Information and Culture FPa Imokhuede and Mr Lewis -actor and pioneer Staff of NTA. Picture by WELCOME2NIGERIA

National Summit on Culture and Tourism, held at the Transcorp Hotel – Abuja . It was a three day event beginning on Wednesday 27th – 29th Friday of April, 2016.

Nigeria finalises plans to produce Yellow fever vaccines locally

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As part of activities to mark the World Immunisation Week, April 24 to 30, the Federal Government has advanced plans to locally produce essential vaccines in the country and refurbish the moribund in Yaba, Lagos.

Also, Nigeria has began the ‘switch’ from using trivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (tOPV) to bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (bOPV) in the routine immunization programme. The National Switch Committee commenced the historic switch in Nigeria on April 19, 2016, and is expected to complete the process and submit report to the World Health Organisation on May 2, 2016.

Also, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement ahead of the World Immunisation Week, noted: “Immunization averts two to three million deaths annually; however, an additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided if global vaccination coverage improves. Today, an estimated 18.7 million infants – nearly one in five children – worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for preventable diseases, such as diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus.”

Every year the world specifically dedicates a week in April 24 to 30 to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. The Global theme for 2016 is the same as that for 2015, which is “Close the Immunization Gap campaign.” For WHO Afro regional countries the week is named “Africa Vaccination week-AVW” and the theme for 2016 is “Close the Immunization gaps. Stay polio free!”

Executive Director, NPHCDA, Dr. Ado Gana Muhammad, told The Guardian in an exclusive interview to mark the World Immunisation Week that the Federal Government’s plan to locally produce vaccines is still ongoing.

Muhammad said: “Government plan is still very much on the table. With the coming of this new administration and on the need to be self-sufficient in local vaccine manufacturing, another round of meeting chaired by the Minister of Health (HMH) and attended by the Minister of State for Health (HMSH), Permanent Secretary (PS), NPHCDA and May and Baker (M&B) pharmaceuticals took place in March 2016, in Abuja in order to explore avenues to move this project forward. The FMOH is providing leadership to make it happen.”

On the planned resuscitation of Yellow Fever (YF) vaccine plant in Yaba, Lagos, the NPHCDA boss said: “The Government of Nigeria plan and in line with the global best practices is to resuscitate Yaba YF vaccine plant using a Public-Private Partnership arrangement. Since 2005, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the FMoH and a local pharmaceutical company, May & Baker that was followed by the signing of a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) in 2007.
This shows how serious the country is committed to in the production of YF both for our domestic use and subsequently for export.”

WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: “Last year immunization led to some notable wins in the fight against polio, rubella and maternal and neonatal tetanus.

“But they were isolated wins. Polio was eliminated in one country (Nigeria), tetanus in three, and rubella in one geographical region. The challenge now is to make gains like this the norm.”

World Bank president arrives Nigeria Tuesday

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International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde gestures as she speaks about the global economy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington April 2, 2014. The European Central Bank should ease monetary policy to combat the risk of "low-flation" that could crimp euro zone output and consumer spending, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS EDUCATION) - RTR3JO26

Barely four months after the visit of the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Ms. Christine Lagarde, the President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim is billed to arrive Nigeria this morning on a three-day visit.

Kim, who is expected to arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by 9a.m. is to be received on arrival by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, and some top government functionaries.

Although the details of his visit are not known, THISDAY gathered that Kim is coming to Nigeria in connection with issues pertaining to the economy and the support to the country’s efforts to rebuild the North-east, which has been ravaged by insurgency.

The World Bank announced recently that it was setting aside $800 million in support of the rebuilding of infrastructure devastated by years of Boko Haram insurgency in the North East.
The United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Fatma Samoura, who disclosed this, stated that the global body was increasing its presence in Borno State and other North-east states ravaged by insurgency.

The federal government had also last July obtained a $2.1 billion credit from the bank to rebuild the North-east zone when President Muhammadu Buhari visited Washington DC, United States.
Speaking after meeting with representatives of the World Bank and other donor agencies, Buhari hailed the decision to invest $2.1 billion in rebuilding the troubled region.

“The World Bank will spend the $2.1 billion through its (International Development Agency), which gives low interest rates loans to government. The first 10 years will be interest free, while an additional 30 years will be at lower than capital market rate. The World Bank is eager to move in quickly, give out the loans, and give succor to the people of North-east, long at the mercy of an insurgency that has claimed over 20,000 souls,” Buhari had said.

Nigeria is also currently seeking loan from the bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help fund the 2016 N2.2 billion budget deficit

3.2 billion people at risk of malaria globally

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The World Health Organisation (WHO), has said that about 3.2 billion people remained at risk to malaria attack globally.

This is contained in a report entitled: “Eliminating Malaria”, released on Monday on World Malaria Day, observed every year on April 25.

It stated that in 2015 alone, 214 million new cases of the disease were reported in 95 countries and no fewer than 400,000 people died of malaria.

The “Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030”, approved by the World Health Assembly in 2015, calls for the elimination of local transmission of malaria in at least ten countries by 2020.

WHO’s estimates showed that 21 countries were in a position to achieve this goal, including six countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest.

It added that the efficacy of the tools that secured the gains against malaria in the early years of this century is now threatened.

The WHO also said that mosquito resistance to insecticides used in nets and indoor residual spraying is growing.

It also warned of parasite resistance to a component of one of the most powerful antimalarial medicines.

It added that further progress against malaria will likely require new tools that do not exist today, and the further refining of new technologies.

“Since the year 2000, it showed that malaria mortality rates have declined by 60 per cent globally.

“It also showed that in the African Region, malaria mortality rates fell by 66 per cent among all age groups and by 71 per cent among children under five years.”

The advances, it added, came through the use of core malaria control tools that have been widely deployed over the last decade:

They are insecticide-treated bed-nets, indoor residual spraying, rapid diagnostic testing and artemisinin-based combination therapies.

WHO, however said in 2015 for the first time, the European Medicines Agency issued a positive scientific opinion on a malaria vaccine.

In 2015, it added, all countries in the European Region , for the first time, recorded zero indigenous cases of malaria, down from 90 000 cases in 1995.

Outside this region, it added that eight countries reported zero cases of the disease in 2014: Argentina, Costa Rica, Iraq, Morocco, Oman, Paraguay, Sri Lanka and United Arab Emirates.

Eight other countries, it added, tallied fewer than 100 indigenous malaria cases in 2014.

It also added that 12 countries reported between 100 and 1000 indigenous malaria cases in 2014.

WHO says vigorous leadership by the governments of affected countries is key.

It said that governments must strengthen surveillance of cases to identify gaps in coverage and be prepared to take action based on the information received.

It also said, as countries approach elimination, the ability to detect every infection becomes increasingly important.

“Reaching the goals of the “Global Technical Strategy” will require a steep increase in global and domestic funding from 2.5 billion dollars to an estimated 8.7 billion dollars annually by 2030.

“Through robust financing and political will, affected countries can speed progress towards malaria elimination and contribute to the broader development agenda as laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” the report said.

NAN reports that the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016-2030, launched in January, seeks to reduce the rate of new malaria cases, and malaria death rate by at least 90 per cent.

Others are eliminate malaria in at least 35 countries and prevent a resurgence of malaria in all countries that are malaria-free.

Sub-saharan Africa suffers highest malaria death

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Ahead of the celebration of the World Malaria Day (WMD), the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there are an estimated 214 million new cases of malaria and 438,000 deaths, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa as millions of people are still not accessing the services they need to prevent and treat the disease.

However, according to the “World malaria report 2015”, there has been a major decline in global malaria cases and deaths since 2000. The report noted that progress was made possible through the massive expansion of effective tools to prevent and treat malaria, such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets, diagnostic testing and anti-malarial medicines.

According to the WHO, there is still a significant challenge as globally, about 3.2 billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.

In Nigeria, the National Malaria Elimination Programme (NMEP) said the preliminary results of the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) conducted last year indicated that the prevalence had come even further down from 42 per cent in 2010.

The National Coordinator of NMEP, Dr. Nnenna Ezeigwe, told The Guardian : “… If you recall, before 2000, the prevalence of malaria was well above 50 per cent in most parts of the country. By 2010, the Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) demonstrated an average prevalence of 42 per cent. Recently in 2015, another MIS was conducted. The preliminary results we have from this survey indicate that the prevalence has come even further down. Finishing touches are being put in the survey report, and as soon as this is concluded, the result will be made public. I believe it will be exciting to all stakeholders.”

Ezeigwe said although Nigeria had attained 80 per cent coverage of Long Lasting Insecticide Net (LLIN), the usage was lagging below 40 per cent in most parts of the country.

She explained: “In spite of the progress recorded, there are many challenges that are slowing down the speed. Significant amongst this is the recalcitrance of people to uptake the interventions. Simple as it is, many people still do not use LLIN. Although Nigeria has attained 80 per cent coverage of LLIN, the usage is lagging below 40 per cent in most parts of the country.”

In a related development, Reckitt Benckiser’s (RB), in a bid to reduce the spread of malaria, has expressed its readiness to start an anti-malaria campaign in 20 local councils of Lagos. RB is the manufacturer of Mortein.

At an event to mark 2016 World Malaria Day in Lagos at the weekend, the Marketing Director, RB West Africa, Oguzhan Silivrili expressed concern over the spread of malaria. According to him, over half a million (627, 000) people die from malaria each year, 25 per cent of them in Nigeria, mostly among children under the age of five. ‘‘As I speak to you, millions of people are suffering from malaria all over Nigeria and every minute a child reportedly dies from malaria.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs) accounts for 27 per cent of total death in the country.

Speaking at this year’s National Heart – Health Nutrition Summit in Lagos, he said NCDs, primarily cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, are responsible for 63 per cent of all deaths globally.
Adewole who was represented by the Director General of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Prof. Innocent Ujah, said the burden of NCDs would increase unless strategies were put in place to arrest the situation.

He noted that risk factors of NCDs were aggravated by poor awareness, harmful cultural practices, beliefs and misconceptions by the public; hence “the excess consumption of red meat, saturated fats, salts, refined sugars and drinks among others.

“We need a robust collaboration to deliver quality, affordable, accessible and acceptable health services to Nigerians, therefore the need to strengthen the NCD surveillance system,” he expressed.

Adewole explained that in this regard, government through his ministry had established “a National Policy and Five-Year Strategic Plan of Action on NCDs.”The theme for the summit was “Lipids and Cardiovascular Health In The Nigerian Population.”

Also speaking at the summit, President of the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), Prof. Oladipo Akinkugbe, pointed out that the summit was organised in furtherance of the 2013 World Health Assembly which endorsed the NCD Action Plan 2013-2020 and recommended promotion of healthy diets by member states, international partners and civil society organisations.

According to him, “the summit was also intended to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) target of reducing heart attack and stroke by 25 per cent through the provision of practical tools to prevent cardiovascular diseases (CVD).

Addressing the theme, he said the rising prevalence of CVD in the country prompted the foundation to seek a consensus on the controversial issue of the relationship between lipids and CVD health in the Nigerian population. “Coronary heart diseases (CHD) have become a major public health problem globally, being an important cause of morbidity and mortality.”
Akinkugbe told journalists that high lipid was one of the several risk factors in CVD, others include high tobacco and alcohol consumption and low physical activities.

Reacting to questions about cholesterol consumption, Executive Director of NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye, expressed regret that “we don’t know what is zero cholesterol in the Nigerian definition and yet over 40 brands of vegetable oil in the country claim zero or low cholesterol in their labeling.”

Akinroye enjoined Nigerian scientists to go into research findings to give Nigerians what can be referred to as zero cholesterol, as the summit was to give room for further research findings in that regard.

In view of the enormous tasks of fighting NCDs in the country, Adewole called on other government parastatals like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Youth and Sports and Nigerian Customs Services to help in regulating cross-border marketing of foods high in saturated fats, fatty acids, free sugars and salts, among others .