Thursday , 20 June 2019
Latest
Home » 2019 » January » 10

Daily Archives: January 10, 2019

JAMB begins sale of 2019 UTME registration forms

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) commenced sale of registration forms, for the 2019 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, today Thursday, January 10, 2019.

Sale of forms will last for six weeks.

JAMB’s Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, has said the board will stop using cyber cafes for registration of candidates from this year.

He urged all prospective candidates to do their registration and access the board’s major services, in any of its 718 accredited centres in the country.

“We are no longer going to allow the cyber cafes to do the registration exercise for prospective candidates because they are extorting candidates and overcharging them.

“They also do services they do not have the capacity to do, coupled with the fact that there was no way of tracking them because they were not registered.

“Another major reason is the mix-up they create on the data of the candidates. Some will just ask the candidates to write their names and other details down for them.

“On accumulating such data, they now get all of them mixed-up, thereby creating problems for these candidates.

“We know there will be uproar because they make a lot of illegitimate money from these services, but we cannot leave the candidates at their mercy.

“Particularly when people will make noise that it is JAMB that was extorting them,” Oloyede said.

The 2019 UTME is scheduled to commence on March 16.

13 policemen arrested for raiding Lagos club

Thirteen policemen have been arrested for raiding Lakers Country night club in Ikorodu area of Lagos.

The policemen attached to the Anti Cultism unit of the command, were alleged  to have invaded the night club, Sunday and dispossessed some customers and workers of their valuables.

Irked by their indulgence, the command boss, Imohimi Edgal ordered for the arrest of all policemen that partook in the operation.

As at time of writing this report, their motive for the invasion was unknown. But the command revealed that 19 policemen were involved, out of 13 were arrested.

Commenting on the arrest, spokesman for the command, CSP Chile Oti, said ” the CP directed that all the policemen involved in the operation be invited for questioning.

“Presently, 13 out of the 19 officers that  raided Lakers County night club in the Ikorodu area of Lagos state have been arrested and are undergoing interrogation at the Command’s X-Squad Section while the rest are expected to report to the investigation body before midnight.

“Meanwhile, a team of detectives have been dispatched to the hotel to get   evidence that would aid Investigation and ultimately, the prosecution of officers found culpable.

“The CP said that the Command will never cover up for any officer who breaches the standard operating procedure of the Force while carrying out his duties. He therefore assures that at the end of the ongoing investigation, the Command would  as usual, inform  members of the public of the outcome of the probe

BREAKING: Train derails in Lagos, many trapped

A passenger train has veered off it tracks in the Agege area of Lagos State in the early hours of Thursday.

It was gathered that several persons were trapped after the accident with casualty figures yet to be ascertained as at the time of filing this story.

Lagos State Police spokesman, Olarinde Famous-Cole who confirmed the incident noted that the train also rammed into a trailer, injuring many and leaving unconfirmed number of victims feared dead.

According to Famous- Cole, “We just got the information. Our policemen and those attached to the railway command are in control of the situation. I cannot confirm any death, but I can tell you that some persons were injured. We shall be able to furnish you with details later please.”

Recall that this is not the first time a train will be derailing at the same location.

Several persons died, while many more sustained injuries two years ago at Abbatoir area of Agege outskirts of Lagos when a train derailed.

What Nigeria needs, by Olawale Duyile

 

As we approach the final stages of the campaign for the presidential elections, I am compelled to write this article in the hope that it captures the attention of some or all the aspirants, other politicians and decision makers in the next administration. The article is neither partisan, nor intended to favour one political party above the others.

I have seen a few manifestos where 1 or 2 aspirants have made privatisation a central plank of their economic strategy. Privatisation is not a bad thing in itself, but it must be executed at the right place and the right time. Let us look at some of the advantages of privatisation, which are:

– To generate income for the treasury;
– To enhance prosperity and foster enterprise democracy;
– To enable the government to discard liabilities and loss making ventures, thereby saving costs for the treasury;
– To improve cost-effectiveness and efficiency of a business / firm;
– Improvement in services for customers, making them more accessible and joined up;
– To reduce the impact of organisational fragmentation and minimise the impact of any perverse incentives that result from it; and
– In some cases, to facilitate capital injection into the business.

As attractive as these are, privatisation of state assets is not what Nigeria needs now and should not feature in the priority list of any credible economic strategy. For starters, what proportion of Nigerians will prioritise shareholding above job security, shelter and providing for their families at this point in time? Privatisation at this point can only benefit a tiny minority, who we cannot even be sure have the nation’s interests at heart. Asset stripping comes to my mind straightaway when I hear or read about privatisation in the Nigerian context. Examples elsewhere suggest that the new owners will simply carve up the business, focus on the viable aspects of it and discard the liabilities. The end result being that the Nigerian customers will end up being short-changed and customer service will be worse than before.

To understand this better, one needs to fully appreciate the intricacies of private finance initiatives. It may come as a surprise to hear that hardly any shrewd businessman or woman uses their own capital for any business endeavour, including the acquisition of shares in a company. All of them, without exception, and in an attempt to evade bankruptcy against their personal assets, go to lenders, who in turn carry out their due diligence by undertaking a viability assessment. In the UK, most banks and lending institutions require at least 30% profit margin as a safety net on top of capital repayment and interest.

The reason why I am elaborating this is to provide an understanding of the main drivers of privatisation – greed and profiteering. So if in error you mistakenly believe that the injection of private capital into a failing parastatal is the way forward, think again. Those who acquire shares and their lenders only have one thing on their mind – efficiency savings, which in turn leads to excessive profit, increase in share value and handsome returns on their investment. To hell with efficiency and improvement in service delivery to customers. In truth, privatisation at the wrong time and under the wrong circumstances actually worsen customer service and entrench the sharp divide between the rich on one hand and the impoverished, the dispossessed and the marginalised in the society on the other.

There are several examples of where privatisation has gone wrong. British Rail is a very good case in point. The delivery of train services by several franchises is far worse now than at anytime in history, so much so that some people are now openly advocating the re-nationalisation of the rail industry. Who is willing to hedge a bet that this won’t happen the way things are going?

The centrepiece of Nigeria’s economic strategy has to be INFRASTRUCTURE PROVISION in transport system, power supply and information & communication technology (ICT). Where is housing, health and education provisions you may ask? My conviction is that, although they are not less important, their efficient and effective delivery hinge upon adequate transport system (housing), adequate power supply and ICT for health and education facilities. If we are being honest, there is no Nigerian institution with enough gravitas to fund mega infrastructure projects. Therefore, the sources of funding have to be from either the IMF, The World Bank, from government bonds issues, from private capital & direct investment or a combination of all of them.

Whatever side of the political divide you belong, and unless you are disingenuous, you will agree that the present government has made great strides in infrastructure provision and enhance the nation’s infrastructure base. Notwithstanding, this is nowhere near enough. A country like ours, which has experienced several decades of neglect ought to have at least 80% of its gross budgetary allocation for capital expenditure dedicated, ring fenced and committed to infrastructure provision and improvement if we are to be taken seriously. Investors will not flock to these shores, as long as the basic infrastructure is moribund and belong to the 20th century.

I know of some business opportunities that have been squandered and I myself have been a victim of such unfortunate circumstance. My backers and I were about to enter into a joint venture with a university to build a 75-bed hostel within their campus. This, we later discovered would require us bearing the costs of new access road and an electricity sub-station (transformer as they’re referred to in Nigeria). The cost is so exorbitant that it effectively killed the deal. Such infrastructure are readily available and taken for granted in other countries. I am sure that mine is not the only sad episode as countless others are out there who have been frustrated and taken their business elsewhere. I certainly consider it as a blessing in disguise. It wasn’t meant to be.

I do not need to extol the benefits of adequate infrastructure provision. Aside from easing the burden of doing business, they galvanise all other sectors of the economy into action and create thousands of new jobs directly and indirectly.

Infrastructure funding cost does not need to be borne by the government alone. Housebuilding is one of the most lucrative ventures in Nigeria. Housebuilders themselves are acutely aware of the added value of adequate infrastructure provisions to land values and house prices and I suspect that many of them won’t mind giving a slice of this uplift in value if at the end of it things are better. In this respect, the government should introduce a Residential Infrastructure Levy (RIL), which will be payments made on completion of construction into a ring fenced treasury account solely for the enhancement and provision of infrastructure. If it is expedient and provided it does not undermine viability, a business equivalent could be established and called Non-Residential Infrastructure Levy (NRIL).

Another aspect that the incoming administration needs to focus on is the creation of a new environment for enterprise to flourish. By this I mean – easing the burden of business set up and eliminating bureaucracy and corruption. In the UK for example, you can register a business and open a business bank account in one day. To this end, it is suggested that the government of the day set up a National Enterprise Promotion Council (NEPC) tasked with facilitating business start-ups. NEPC will have representatives in key financial hotspots of the world – Europe, USA, Middle East, Far East etc. They will hold regular exhibitions at home and abroad to drive inward investment and their mantra would be NIGERIA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS. If necessary, tax holidays can be dangled in front of potential investors and the provisions in the Indigenisation legislation that requires Nigerian indigenes’ ownership of a certain proportion of business enterprise can be waived in respect of foreign investment unconnected to the exploitation of our natural resources. This need not be a permanent measure.

Finally, any government must endeavour to tackle the elephant in the room – corruption with everything at its disposal. Corruption is the single most important inhibitor to attracting inward investment to Nigeria. Many world leaders and officials from reputable international lending institutions have consistently highlighted this. Well- meaning and patriotic Nigerians know that there is some truth in this and should not be offended. Instead, the incoming administration should take up the challenge and confront it with a patriotic zeal. I personally consider the eradication of corruption and the injustice arising from and associated with it as the greatest challenge of our time.

Thank you for your time in reading this.

Duyile, a Certified Built Environment professional, writes from the UK