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News headlines for the 30th of March 2021.

News headlines for the 30th of March 2021.

Buhari leaves for London medical holiday today as doctors set for strike

  • The Nigerian Association of Resident Doctors on Monday insisted on its plan to begin a nationwide strike on Thursday, saying the Federal Government was not sincere in implementing agreements.
  • The First Vice-President of the NARD, Dr Arome Adejo, who spoke on behalf of the President of the association, Dr  Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, in an interview in Abuja, said government failed to implement an agreement it reached with the doctors at a meeting held three weeks ago.
  • The NARD first vice-president stated this as the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, urged the association to put on hold its planned indefinite strike.
  • But while the Federal Government was trying to convince the doctors not to go on strike, the Presidency said the President, Muhammadu Buhari, would travel to London on Tuesday for medical treatment.
  • Recall that  NARD had on March 18 said that families of frontline doctors, who died of COVID-19, had been abandoned by the Federal Government and that was among the reasons for their planned strike action.

Buhari, National Assembly in closed-door meeting over security, vaccine budgets.

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  • The President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday met behind closed doors with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan; and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
  • Lawan later told State House correspondents that the meeting discussed “issues of serious national concern.”
  • Specifically, he said they discussed the issue of coming up with supplementary budget to cater for security and vaccine production.
  • Lawan claimed that security situation was gradually improving in the country.
  • When asked if the National Assembly is ready to make money available to a vaccine candidate who is demanding $100m for trial, he said the government was not thinking in that direction.
  • On security challenges, he said the National Assembly would be ensuring approval of funds for the purchase of platforms, weapons and equipment for security agencies.
  • On the Petroleum Industry Bill, Lawan said a joint committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives had been working hard on the bill.

Senate invites ministers, NAFDAC DG over syringe, needles importation

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  • TWO Joint Senate Committees, Health, Industry Trade and Investment, have summoned the Minister of Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo; and his counterpart in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.
  • Also to appear before the joint panels are the Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye.
  • They were being invited over importation of syringes and needles from China and India despite policy guideline against it in Nigeria.
  • The chairman of the Health Committee, Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, issued the summon on Monday at a public hearing organized nised by the panels.
  • He said despite the capacity of the local firms to meet the market demands, an estimated one billion units of syringe and needles were being imported into the country per annum making the country to lose huge foreign exchange.
  • The committee therefore asked Trade and Investment Minister to appear before it on April 15 to explain reasons the Backward Integration Policy, which was validated in 2017, had not been presented to Federal Executive Council for approval.
  • It also mandated NAFDAC to furnish it with the list of companies that had been importing syringes into the country in the last 15 years, the quantity imported, evidence of checks on licensed foreign companies and licensing fees.
  • The committee directed the Health Minister to explain why public-own hospitals were not using locally-manufactured syringes.

Kogi ready to administer COVID-19 vaccine

  • The Kogi State Government has expressed readiness to start administering the COVID-19 vaccine to residents.
  • The state Commissioner for Health, Saka Haruna, said on Monday that Kogi would receive doses of the vaccine on Tuesday.
  • He noted that residents would be given “unhindered access to receive the vaccine”.
  • Kogi is the only state yet to start administering the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to residents three weeks after Nigeria began its rollout.
  • The National Primary Health Care Development Agency attributed the delay to two factors: the state’s concerns around the contradictory information about the vaccine and the non-repair of its cold-chain store.
  • When the vaccine doses arrived in Nigeria, Governor Yahaya Bello, who had repeatedly denied the existence of COVID-19 in Kogi, said, “I’m not going to subject the people of Kogi State to vaccination; I will not make them guinea pigs.”
  • But speaking with TheCable on Monday, Haruna said, “We have done the micro-planning and everything has been completed with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency.
  • “Anybody that is willing to receive the vaccine (will receive it); nobody is exempted. And nobody will be forced to receive the vaccine.”

Artisans with pension accounts now 62,463, says PenCom

  • Two years after the Federal Government launched the Micro Pension Plan for the informal sector, 62,463 artisans have opened Retirement Savings Accounts with Pension Fund Administrators.
  • Statistics obtained on Monday from the National Pension Commission on ‘Micro pension registration and contribution’ showed that 62,463 artisans had embraced the Micro Pension Plan as of the end of December 2020
  • According to the commission, the artisans have a cumulative contribution of N89.68m.
  • The commission stated that in the fourth quarter, 20 PFAs registered 3,663 contributors under the Micro Pension Plan.
  • It earlier disclosed that as of the end of third quarter of 2020, Cumulatively, a total of 58,800 informal sector workers had registered under the MPP and contributed a total sum of N64,662,323.38 from inception in March 2019 to 30 September 2020.
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