Business, professional coalition wants enhanced investments in Enugu

By Alhassan Baba

T he Enugu Coalition of Business and Professional Association (ECOBPA) has urged the state government to implement the blue print recommended by the advisory Committee on Ease of Doing Business in the state. The chairman of the association, Mr. Emeka Udeze, made the call in Enugu on Thursday during the 3rd Annual General Meeting of the association. Udeze said that this had become necessary to boost economic activities in the state. “For example, the state government should improve on the infrastructures of the industrial layout at Emene so as to encourage more business investment,” he said. He however, commended the state government for his concerted efforts at ensuring that business owners in the state operate in a favourable environment. “ECOBPA will continuously play its part in ensuring that it delivers on its mandate and mission. Udeze, who also doubles as the President, Enugu Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ECCIMA), pledged the support of the chamber to ECOBPA in order to realise its objectives. The Commissioner for Commerce and industry, Mr. Sam Nwobodo, said creating an enabling business environment was one of the four cardinal points of the present administration. Represented by the Director of Commerce in the Ministry, Dr. Fidelis Okeke said the governor was very much interested in the business sector of the state. “It is this interest that birthed the committee on The Ease of Doing Business set up by the governor and which your chairman is also a member.
“We pledge the support of the government and the ministry in its quest to continuously create enabling environment for businesses in the state,” he said. A business mogul and member of ECCIMA, Chief Loretta Aniagolu, urged ECCIMA and ECOBPA to leverage on the current political season to draw commitment from intending political office holders.
“Use this political season to get the commitments of politicians in the state towards creating an enabling environment where businesses will thrive when they eventually emerge victorious,’’ she noted.
ECOBPA is an association of business heads and professionals for the purpose of advocacy and deliberation on surmounting business obstacles in the state and under the aegis of ECCIMA.

Unpaid allowance: We’re committed to your welfare, lawmakers tell protesting aides

Members of the National Assembly on Thursday said they were committed to the welfare of their legislative aides. Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, gave the assurance at a news conference in reaction to the protest staged by the National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum (NASSLAF) in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the NASSLAF, the umbrella body of about 3, 200 staff, who work for the lawmakers, had protested over nonpayment of their accumulated allowances. The aggrieved workers, who welcomed the lawmakers back from their annual vacation with the protest, insisted that the struggle would continue until their demands were met. Namdas, while addressing journalists, said the protest was uncalled for. Although he acknowledged that their aides had been giving them the needed support. He, however, explained that the protesters were not fighting a just course.”What we are saying here is that we agree they are doing a good job for us but when you go to the extent of staging a protest as if it is a right that your Duty Tour Allowance ( DTA) must be paid as a matter of fact, then it is not true and that cannot hold. ”But I think we should work as a team, we should not be combative. We should understand one another. There is no point seeing ourselves as if we are adversaries. ”We don’t want to look as if we are irresponsible or that we have not taken good care of our own aides that are really working for us,” he said. According to him, if there is need for their welfare to be catered for, we should be in the position to also push for it. He said the lawmakers would not have brought people to work with them without looking after their welfare. ”If it is the matter that we should sit with the management to see to the plights of our aides, it is understandable. ”But if you are talking in the context of you have the right, then it is not going to be so because nobody takes DTA in his own house,” he said. According to him, “you have to earn your DTA; you have to travel. ”We have witnessed series of protests and we have to put the record straight. ”We want to say that DTA is normally paid when you travel.”As a legislator, I will not be paid if I don’t travel. That is why it is called Duty Tour Allowance. ”However, for the smooth understanding between us and our aides who have been helping us, I think the National Assembly has been trying to see that once there are funds, they can be able to assist our aides. ”So I think it is very important that we put that to rest. The DTA issue should not create a problem.” The House spokesperson also said that the allegation on training allowance and procurement of laptops, which they alleged had been kept in the store for about three years, were untrue. Namdas, who read part of the engagement terms of the aides, said any appointment letter usually states the nature of allowances attached to it. According to him, the appointment of aides is non-pensionable and for short term. ”And in the appointment letter, there is no where the extant rules have stated clearly that these are the types of allowances you are supposed to get. ”So if it is a matter of privilege, we can understand. ”Therefore, we want to plead with our aides that we should continue with the good, harmonious relationship,” he said.

Students laud environmental education, trees planting projects in Oyo State

Secondary school students in Akinyele and Lagelu Local Government Areas of Oyo State have commended the Educate the Woman Initiative (EWI) for executing environmental education and tree planting projects in their schools. The students expressed the commendation in Ibadan on Thursday when an inspection team from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) visited the project sites. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that GEF supported EWI, a non-governmental organisation, with a grant of 47,083 U.S. dollars to educate secondary school students and communities about environmental sanitation and the importance of tree planting. The students, who noted that EWI began the implementation of the project in 2017, said that the project had encouraged them to keep their school premises clean and beautify their surroundings with trees. Prince Kolade, the President of Eco Club, Igbo Elerin Grammar School in Lagelu Local Government Area (LGA), said that apart from the fact that EWI trained the club in environmental sanitation strategies, it also provided them with tree seedlings to plant and nurse. According to him, the club has now started educating other students about environmental sanitation and tree planting. “We have started planting some trees; we planted trees in the school premises. We have also started educating other students on the conservation and protection of the ecosystem. “We also use a tracking device which EWI gave us to compile the names of these students and oversee their application of what we taught them. “We have also conveyed the message to our homes by telling our parents that instead of using firewood to cook, they can get coal briquettes because briquettes are pollution free,’’ he said. Paulina Kajola, who is also an official of the club, said the NGO’s environmental education had positively changed students’ mind-set toward the school environment. “Now, we teach students on the need to stop indiscriminate dump of waste and ensure that they put their garbage in the waste baskets which are provided by the school management.  updated 12 minutes ago