No fewer than 80,194 persons across Edo and Delta has so far been impacted in the free eye care medical services provided by Seplat Energy PLC, operators of the NPDC/SEPLAT joint venture.
Dr Chioma Nwachukwu, Director External Affairs and Sustainability, Seplat disclosed this in her remarks in Benin, on Tuesday.
She was speaking at the nineth edition of the annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS) programme of the company tagged “Eye Can See Initiative” at the palace of the Oba of Benin.
Nwachukwu explained that the figure was from the commencement of the programme nine years ago.
According to her, Seplat has, through the programme, impacted 80,194 persons; dispensed 35,755 reading glasses, and performed 3,456 cataract and related surgeries.
She noted that ensuring sustainability of the communities where Seplat operates remains top in the agenda of the company particularly the health and well-being of their people.
“We are committed to partnering with our host communities with the view to touching lives. The Eye Can See programme has been on since 2012, and every year, the company brings a dedicated team of medics to ensure it makes the right and needed impacts.
“Our focus on the good health and well being of our people is unwavering, and this is in line with Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing of all at all ages”.
She revealed that the programme which witnessed large turn out of people from within and outside of Benin commenced last Thursday.
She added that those who showed up would have their eyes checked, obtain prescription glasses or get operated upon to remove visual impairing cataracts.
“The programme will be deployed in different centres across Delta and Edo states.
“Thousand of Nigerians will be screened for eye ailments, surgeries performed, and eye glasses dispensed”, Nwachukwu said.
Welcoming the company and dignitaries to the palace, Chief John Oviesoge, the Eribo of Benin Kingdom, representing the Oba of Benin, Eware II.
He lauded Seplat for supporting and enhancing the physical and mental wellbeing of members of its host communities and pledged his kingdom’s support to the Company and its activities.
He also commended the Company’s resolve to continue to invest in its areas of operation, saying the move had helped to boost the fortunes of the areas.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Eye Can See programme was in addition to other yearly social programmes deployed by Seplat in her areas of operation.
Some beneficiaries of the programme received free eye screening and treatment with and had their sights restored following surgery.
They commended Seplat for bringing hope to their lives and giving them the opportunity to maximise their potential.
The programme, which offers free premium optical care is open to anyone that comes to any designated venue whenever it is being deployed. (NAN)
3rd time in a row CBN raises lending rate to rein in inflammation
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday raised its main lending rate by 150 basis points to 15.50%, its highest level yet and more than forecast, forging ahead with efforts to rein in inflation and ease pressure on the currency.
The lending rate decision comes after annual inflation rose for a seventh straight month in August, to 20.52% from 19.64% in July.
The decision by the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was the third time in a row the Apex bank would raise its interest rate.
With the inflation at its highest in 17 years, the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele at the end of the meeting said the Committee had to continue with an aggressive stance.
According to the CBN governor, using the interest rate hike is the easiest and most preferred option, stressing that the option has been adopted globally.
“If you want to rein in inflation, the option is to raise the interest rate to a level that is equal or possibly higher than the inflation rate, so that inflation rate must lag policy rate,” Emefiele told a news conference
He further stated that if the inflation rate does not lag the interest rate, it becomes a negative interest rate and a disincentive to investors.
The Apex bank Governor is of the view that as long as inflation keeps rising, not raising interest rates will retard growth and leave the people poorer than they could have been.
“Therefore it is imperative that you must raise interest rate in order to rein in inflation,” Emefiele further said.
He, however, admitted that though raising interest rates may retard growth all the same but the reason for raising interest rates is not to help slow down inflation but compensate for an aggressive rise in inflation.
According to him, if the CBN does not raise the rate, consumption and expenditure would be affected because the purchasing power of individuals would be eroded or dissipated.
He added that the quantity of goods people will be able to buy would also shrink and this will invariably increase the level of poverty.
He, therefore, concluded thus: “You don’t have a choice but to raise interest rates.”
The Apex Bank adjusted Asymmetric Corridor at +100 & -200 basis points around the MPR (interest rate), raised the Liquidity Ratio to 30 per cent and also increased the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) of banks to a minimum of 32.5 per cent and stressed that commercial banks will be debited from their reserves by Thursday at the most.
Export Rejects: NEPC, other Inter-Agencies on a fact-finding mission to UK
In a bid to curb the incidences of export rejects, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is leading an Inter-Agency team to the United Kingdom (UK) as part of strategic effort to address the issue which constitute a major constraint to the growth of the non-oil export sector.
The National Food, Drug and Administration Control (NAFDAC), Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited (SAHCOL) Federal Produce inspection Service (FPIS) and Federation of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) are among the Agencies participating on the fact-finding mission.
The Executive Director/CEO of NEPC, Dr. Ezra Yakusak who led the team lamented that these cases of rejection had resulted in stricter inspection regime on Nigerian exports in the importing countries and in some cases led to the suspension or ban of some products.
According to him “It also attracts unfavourable international media attention, gives the country a negative image as well as constitutes financial burden to the exporters who have to bear the cost of either reshipping the banned product to Nigeria or destroying the product.”
A statement by Ndubueze Okeke, the Head Cooperate Communication of the NEPC, the objective of the 5-day visit is to provide Nigerian export-regulatory and facilitating agencies the opportunity of observing the processes of agricultural commodities import procedures and interface with Port Health and Food Import Regulatory Agencies at the Border Control Points (BCPs) in the UK.
Other areas to be visited by the team are, Southampton Port (the second busiest port in UK), Spitafield Market – a one-stop aggregation and distribution centre for imported food in the UK as well as the Food Standards Agency (FDA), the parliament among others.
The team also held an interactive session with some Nigerian food importers in UK as part of effort to address the challenges encountered in importing food items from Nigeria to UK. It will be recalled that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) Otunba Niyi Adebayo recently inaugurated a Technical Committee to address the incidences of export rejects with view to proffer solutions to the problem.
SON Commends FAO, NCC on review of food standards
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has commended the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the National Codex Committee (NCC) for critical role played in the elaboration of food Standards at the International level especially at the various committees of the Codex Alimentarius Commission where Standards are adopted at the National level.
The Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Mallam Farouk Salim disclosed on Thursday while speaking at the awareness and advocacy workshop organized by the National Codex Committee (NCC) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).
for high level policy and decision makers and public presentation of the 4th Edition of the revised National Codex Committee Procedural Manual in Abuja said the review was apt in order to keep abreast with the growth of Codex activities.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Olobayo Kunle, SON Director General said NCC has also contributed to the review of the Food safety policy and Food safety Bill in Nigeria.
“The National Codex Committee Procedural Manual was first prepared in line with CAC procedural manual published in 2002, with further revisions in 2007 and 2012 to guide the activities and improve functions of all the stakeholders involved for effective operations.
“The review of the NCC Procedural Manual was necessary to keep abreast with the growth of Codex activities over time, incorporate major changes, improve and strengthen Codex structure in Nigeria
“The National Codex Committee (NCC) Nigeria successfully applied for the Codex Trust Fund (CTF) 2 support to build strong, solid and sustainable national capacity to engage in Codex activities through the organization of annual awareness and advocacy workshops with political decision-makers, targeted competent authorities and other stakeholders to disseminate more information on Codex.
“The overall objective of the activity is to sensitize public decision-makers and competent authorities on the need to engage more in the national codex and to regularly provide all the support to increase its actions in favour of food safety at national level” he said.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Representative to Nigeria, Fred Kafeero said since the inception of CAC, FAO has worked with World Health Organisation in the development of international food standards, guidelines, and codes of practices to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices in the food trade using the principles of risk analysis and scientific advice provided by joint FAO/WHO expert bodies and consultations.
Represented by the FAO Assistant Representative Administration, David Fehintola said its country office in Nigeria with support from the regional office for Africa has continued to partner the Government and the National Codex Committee towards creating effective and efficient policies and strategies to eliminate hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.
He said FAO believe that ensuring the supply of safe, quality and nutritious foods is as important as ensuring the availability of foods and food standardization as “Poor quality foods do not ensure food security” he said.
The FAO Representative to Nigeria said the agency has been supporting the National Codex Committee (NCC) in Nigeria, which has members from all the MDAs and the Private sector through the execution of the Codex Trust Fund 2 activities with a focus on the implementation of the Codex Strategic Plan 2020-2025.
“We, at FAO believe that it is vital that the NCC commits itself to the core values of the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) in its Inclusiveness, Collaboration, Consensus Building and Transparency in all its work.
“FAO in its support through the CTF2 project endeavors to ensure the participation of all Codex members in the country in standard setting process to ensure these core values are met.
“A lot has been achieved this year in terms of capacity building of codex members, advocacy, sensitization and public awareness as well as in the review, finalization and dissemination of the NCC procedural manual” he said.
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