Sunday, 13 June 2021

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Items filtered by date: April 2021

By Faith Yahaya and Frank Ikpefan, Abuja/ THE NATION

The Federal Government on Friday stated work would soon begin on some selected rail projects for which contracts have been awarded.

The government listed some of the rail projects to include the Ibadan-Kano, Port Harcourt Maiduguri, Kano-Maradi and Lagos-Calabar rail lines.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed this while speaking in Abuja at the annual ministerial briefing on programmes, projects and activities of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and its agencies.

He was joined at the briefing by Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.

The Minister said government has solved the financial problems associated with the rail projects.

Amaechi said: “We have awarded the following contracts and we are about to start and we have even tried to solve the financial problems. This is because we have the problem of having to hire consulting engineers.

“The ones we are about to start are Ibadan to Kano, that we are waiting for funds from China.

“We are about to start Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, we are waiting for the cabinet to approve consulting shares. We are also to start the Kano-Maradi and Lagos to Calabar.”

He added: “But one thing that is unique about these contracts is that the President early enough directed that all rail lines must stagnate at the sea ports.

“That is why there may be a bit of adjustment in the pricing of Kano-Maradi because we have to adjust it to link up to Kano-Lagos so that it can terminate at Lagos seaport.”

Amaechi said the 185.5km Lagos-Ibadan double standard gauge line with extension to Apapa seaport was nearing completion while the 186km Abuja-Kaduna and 302km Warri-Itakpe standard guage lines had been completed and were functional.

He frowned at the ticket racketeering perpetuated by some employees of the Nigeria Railway Corporation and directed the management of the NRC to deal decisively with anyone found culpable.

Amaechi, however, stated that with the introduction of the online ticketing system on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, the NRC had been able to raise its earnings by about N50m after deducting its operational cost.

On the refund of loan, the Minister said the government had “paid a total sum of N420.46m into the escrow account from revenue received from Abuja-Kaduna train services over the period of the ERGP (Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017-2020).”

Published in Headliners

By Ekaete Bassey/ THE NATION

Davido’s fiancée, Chioma Avril Rowland, also known as Mama Ifeanyi or the Chefchi, has been spotted on a date with a talent manager and Special Adviser to Cross River Governor on tourism, Ubi Ekapong Ofem, popularly known as Ubi Franklin.

Amid rumour of her split from the 30GB boss, Chioma was seen in the company of her friend, Nayomee having a good time out with Ubi Franklin who got divorced from his wife, Lilian Esoro, a Nollywood actress, in 2020.

In the video making rounds on social media, Mama Ifeanyi was seen showing off her beautiful body and making different facial expressions.

Published in Entertainment

By Samuel Oamen/ The Nation

The Nigerian Correctional Service has released the names and faces of 36 of the over 1,800 inmates that escaped from the Correctional Centre in Owerri on Monday during an attack by suspected members of the proscribed Indigenious Peoples of Biafra(IPOB).

The service released the names and faces on his official twitter handle

It said: “Faces of persons who escaped from Owerri Custodial Centre, Imo State.
Please note that more photographs of the Escapees on the way and efforts are on to get clear pictures for the black spaces.”

It said efforts were on to release more names and faces of the fleeing inmates for the public to assist in their re-arrest.

Published in Business and Economy

By Chinyere Okoroafor/ THE NATION

The National Universities Commission (NUC) on Thursday gave provisional licences to 20 new private universities.

The private universities were established and approved by Federal Executive Council.

With these newly approved varsities the total number of universities in Nigeria is now 193.

Below are the 20 new universities that were recently given licences

1.Topfaith University Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom

2. Thomas Adewumi University, Oko-Irese, Kwara

3. Maranatha University, Mgbidi, Imo

4. Ave Maria University, Piyanko, Nasarawa

5. Al-Istiqama University, Sumaila, Kano

6. Mudiame University, Irrua, Edo

7. Havilla University, Nde-Ikom, Cross River

8. Claretian University of Nigeria, Nekede, Imo

9. NOK University, Kachia, Kaduna

10. Karl-Kumm University, Vom, Plateau

11. James Hope University, Lagos

12. Maryam Abacha American University of Nigeria, Kano

13. Capital City University, Kano

14. Ahman Pategi University, Kwara

15. University of Offa, Kwara

16. Mewar University, Masaka, Nasarawa

17. Edusoko University, Bida, Niger

18. Philomath University, Kuje, Abuja

19. Khadija University, Majia, Jigawa

20. Anan University, Kwall, Plateau

Published in Business and Economy

By Ekaete Bassey/ THE NATION

In the recently published Forbes 100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons from Africa list is

Social media users have reacted to the award-winning singer, Davido topping Forbes 100 Innovations, Inventions, and Icons Africa list.

The Nation had earlier reported eleven notable Nigerians made Forbes 2021 Africa Icons’ list.

Among them Davido, who has been described as one of the most influential artists in Africa.

Forbes tweeted: “@Davido remains the Biggest, Best and the Most Influential person in African 30/30 GOAT.”

Meanwhile, fans on social media have expressed their delight with pride stating he remains the best in Africa and that was why Forbes Africa had to make him number one on their list.

@_Oyebolanle tweeted: “It’s #Davido topping Forbes African Icons of 2020 for me. Ori Ade Baba Imade.”

@symplyDAPO tweeted: “Even Ellen knows what’s up. The highlights of today goes to Ellen holding #davido “A Better Time” album.”

@Rozapepper said: “The Global Sensation – Davido, Tops the list of Forbes Africa Icons’ 2021 list. No Denial, Davido has been a real supporter of Young Upcoming Artistes in Africa. He is an inspiration to many young African artistes. Congrats King Davido #30BG.”

@AMMESOMATADO stated: “The social distancing Davido gave his mates on that Africa Forbes list is top-notch.”

@DeraNwako tweeted: “Just an early reminder that @davido is still the Biggest Artiste in Africa. Number 001 on Forbes 2021 Africa ICONS List. When I say he’s the Biggest, I ain’t capping.”

@Wytemajeke said: “When Forbes said “ #davido is without no doubt one of Africa’s the biggest musicians” I felt that.”

@GramKcee tweeted: “Forbes Africa Icons’ list, 2021 1 – DAVIDO 10 – Wizkid 15 -Burnaboy Afrobeat to the world.”

@temi_ofLagos tweeted: “-Davido tops list of Most Influential African -Davido is without a doubt one of Africa’s biggest musician according to FORBES Davido and Influence.”

Published in Headliners

Morgan Freeman delivered a damning critique of anti-vaccine campaigners on Tuesday and urged people to “go get the freakin’” coronavirus vaccine.

“The only wishes I have is those people who are refusing to take these dadgum shots would change their minds and realize this is one of those things we really have to do,” the movie star said on Tuesday’s episode of “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.”

“I don’t understand, to tell you the truth, anyone who has some issues with the idea of being vaccinated against this scourge, you know?” the actor continued. “The facts are in. We know that all those dead people are dead and why they’re dead.”

“But if you don’t, it’s really up to you,” Freeman added. “Except that now I have to avoid you. And I will, of course.”

Freeman earlier this week became the latest celebrity to appear in a public service announcement encouraging uptake of the COVID-19 shot.

“I’m not a doctor, but I trust science. And I’m told that, for some reason, people trust me. So here I am to say I trust science and I got the vaccine,” Freeman said in the spot, released by the nonprofit arts advocacy group The Creative Coalition.

“If you trust me, you’ll get the vaccine,” he added, urging people to “help make our world a safe place for us to enjoy ourselves again. Please.”

Published in Arts & Culture

The government says more than a half million Americans have already taken advantage of the Biden administration’s special health insurance sign-up window that’s keyed to the COVID-19 pandemic

Biden campaigned on a strategy of building on the Obama-era health law to push the United States toward coverage for all. As president, he’s wasted no time.

Those sweeteners are available the rest of this year and through the end of 2022. Consumers who were already covered by the health law at the beginning of this year are also entitled to the increased financial aid, but will have to go online or call to update their plan. People on average could save $50 a month, the government says.

The numbers released Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that 528,005 people newly signed up for government-sponsored private plans from Feb. 15 to Mar. 31.

But those figures are incomplete because they cover only the 36 states served by the federal HealthCare.gov insurance market. National enrollment will be higher when totals are factored in later on from states such as California and New York that run their own insurance websites.

The new report also showed that more than 870,000 people who went to the HealthCare.gov website or reached out to the call center were found to be eligible for Medicaid, the federal-state health program for low-income people.

Although President Donald Trump spared no effort to overturn the Obama-era law, more than 20 million people remained covered under it at the end of Trump’s term. That number combines those with HealthCare.gov plans as well as low-income adults covered through expanded Medicaid. But with the economy shedding jobs because of coronavirus shutdowns, the number of uninsured Americans has been on the rise. Biden sought to stop the erosion, and hopes to ultimately reverse it.

Among the states showing strong gains in enrollment are several big ones that went for Trump in last November’s election, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. Florida recorded the biggest gain, with more than 146,000 sign-ups.

The CBO estimates about 3 million people lost coverage as a result of the pandemic. Some private experts estimate higher numbers, in the range of 5 million to 10 million.

Published in News & Stories

By Adebisi Onanuga/ THE NATION

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Chief Mike Ozekhome on Wednesday described the appointment of the new acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba as illegal and unconstitutional.

Ozekhome contended Baba’s appointment negated provisions of Federal Character as enshrined in the 1999 constitution, as amended.

He stated this in a statement titled “Buhari’s Northernisation of Nigeria Police.”

The activist lawyer argued the President lacks the power to single handedly appoint the IGP.

He said the President can only appoint an IGP in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Council comprising Mr. President as chairman, all the 36 state governors, the chairman of the Police Service Commission and the IGP.

He argued the appointment of Baba, as the new acting IGP “is capricious, arbitrary, whimsical, unconscionable, illegal, unlawful, wrongful and unconstitutional.”

The senior advocate wondered why the President chose to ignore and disrespect the Federal Character principle enshrined in section 14(3) of the 1999 Constitution.

He lamented the appointment DIG Usman Alkali Baba, a northern Muslim, as acting inspector-general of police, to replace Adamu Mohammed, another northern Muslim.

He said: “With Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, another northern Muslim as the minister of police affairs, the circle of policing in Nigeria is complete.

“Of course, Buhari controls the police by virtues of sections 214, 215 and 216 of the 1999 Constitution. It is the same situation with the ministry of petroleum resources and NNPC, the entire security architecture of Nigeria, and other key sectors and commanding heights of the economy.

“The illogical and puerile argument is always that the president only appoints people he can trust and that such persons are qualified in any event. That argument is insulting and insensitive to the intelligence, sensibilities and plurality of Nigeria.

“Can’t President Muhammadu Buhari for once, just for once, in his opaque appointments look beyond his religion and immediate and forsake sectionalism, cronyism, prebendalism, tribalism, favouritism, and act as a true statesman?

“Is he truly saying he cannot trust any of the other over 15 million Nigerians who voted for him, or that he cannot find any of them that is qualified to be made an IGP?”

Published in Business and Economy

Kim Kardashian West is officially now a billionaire with a net worth of $1 billion, according to Forbes business magazine.

The American media personality and businesswoman made the Forbes’ annual “World’s Billionaire List” for the first time on Tuesday. The magazine said West’s booming businesses, KKW Beauty and Skims, helped put her over the top to achieve the billionaire benchmark when added to her television show and endorsement deals.

Kardashian West launched KKW Beauty in 2017, and Coty acquired a 20% stake in the cosmetics line in a deal last year that valued the business at $1 billion. Forbes said her remaining stake in the business is worth about $500 million.

Her other business, Skims, a collection of figure-hugging shapewear and bodysuits. Forbes said she has a majority stake in the private business, which hasn’t disclosed revenue — but a source told the magazine the company is valued “north of $500 million.” That means her stake is possibly worth $225 million, which is “enough to lift her fortune to $1 billion,” according to Forbes.

Kardashian West also holds assets in cash, investments and real estate. Forbes added that she earned at least $10 million pretax every year since 2012, thanks to paychecks from “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” endorsement deals and endeavors like her now-defunct Kimoji app. She’s also got three properties in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, and a portfolio of blue-chip investments, including shares of Disney, Amazon, Netflix and Adidas that her soon-to-be ex-husband Kanye West gifted her for Christmas in 2017.

But Forbes maintained that it is the companies that Kardashian West launched herself that landed her on the World’s Billionaires list.

Jenner, the youngest member of the Kardashian family empire, fell out of the Forbes rankings in 2020 after the magazine claimed the 23-year-old had been inflating the size of her own cosmetic business. She had been named the world’s youngest self-made billionaire in 2019 at age 21.

The family’s hit reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is set to end this year after a 20-season run, as news also emerged earlier this year that Kardashian West had filed for divorce from rapper Kanye West.

Published in Entertainment

Everybody has that one movie that they really want to see out of all the films that have seen their release date continually delayed, and for some, that one movie has to be Ghostbusters: Afterlife. The movie, that will reunite most of the original cast of the first two Ghostbusters movies was originally on a fast track to theaters when it was first announced, but then it, like everything else, was delayed. However, those fans who are waiting for something have been given a little treat, as a short scene of the new movie has just dropped, introducing Paul Rudd to what are being called “Mini-Puffs.” Check them out in the clip above.

Of all the returning characters that we knew we would see in Ghostbusters: Afterlife, and those we hoped we might see, I’m not sure anybody was expecting the return of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And yet, that’s basically what we have here, as Paul Rudd’s character who is seen in a grocery store in the clip, comes across a bag of marshmallows where something strange is happening. Then out pops a tiny version of the Stay Puft character from the first Ghostbusters film. But he’s not alone, the store is apparently full of the little guys.

Also, is it a coincidence that Paul Rudd is buying Baskin Robbins ice cream, or is that an intentional Ant-Man reference?

More to come…

Published in News & Stories
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