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Reps urge FG to increase education budget from 2022

The House of Representatives has urged the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning to give further considerations to Education in the subsequent budgetary allocations, beginning from 2022 in order to attain the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)projection by 2030. According to UNESCO, for a nation to achieve the goal of providing quality education for all by 2030, the country would have to allocate at least 26 percent of its national budget to education. However, Nigeria’s budgetary allocation for Education in the last five years is 7.38% in 2017, 7.03% in 2018, 7.05% in 2019, 6.7% in 2020 and 5.6% in 2021, a far cry from the expected standards. It is based on this premise that the House called for Federal Government consideration on Tuesday while adopting a motion on; “Urgent Need to Address the Falling Standard of Education in Nigeria” moved by JohnsonGaniyu from Lagos. Moving the motion, Ganiyu noted that quality education is a crucial tool for the economic growth of any country, thus Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning opportunities for all. Read also: Reps move to remove police from contributory pension scheme He also noted that Section 18 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) provides that the Government shall direct its policy towards ensuring that there are equal and adequate educational opportunities at all levels. The lawmaker said he was: “Aware that Nigeria’s education system within the last decade has been on a steady decline, ranging from influx of illegal institutions of learning as well as unqualified teachers in the system to poor funding, overcrowding and plethora of decaying infrastructure in schools across the Federation. “Also aware that according to the United Nations, Nigeria has one of the largest populations of out-of-school youth in the world, with more than ten million Nigerian children, 60 per cent of them girls, not in school and will therefore not have the skills they need to get jobs and build secured and stable future. Ganiyu acknowledged that Nigeria has achieved some progress in expanding access to school under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the domestic Universal Basic Education (UBE) Scheme, however, the expansion has not resulted in improved learning, as the flat learning curve in Nigeria is a proof that getting children to school does not automatically translate to adequate infrastructure, qualified teachers, conducive learning environment, frequent attendance, grade progression, effective classroom governance and more importantly, learning. He expressed concern that the adverse effects of falling standard of Education to a nation is very grave, and the fall in educational standard in Nigeria implies a continued decline in its level of economic growth. The lawmaker also expressed concern that with the current population of about 200 million, 45 per cent of which are below 15 years, there is high demand for learning opportunities translating into increased enrolment which has created challenges in ensuring quality education since resources are spread more thinly. Ganiyu was worried that the burden on education in Nigeria has become even more overwhelming, resulting in more than 100 pupils to one teacher as against the UNESCO benchmark of 35 pupils per teacher; culminating in students learning under trees for lack of classrooms and other harsh conditions. He said if no urgent action is taken, the problem will gravely affect the young and future generations as well as stifle the economic and social developmental prospects of the country.

Corporate America needs to step up its climate commitments

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Lagos pushes for equitable revenue sharing formula

The Lagos State government has again demanded what it termed fair and equitable revenue sharing formula in Nigeria. The state, at the pre-Southwest stakeholders’ meeting on Tuesday to deliberate on the current revenue allocation formula by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), said it was high time the extant revenue formula is readjusted. Rabiu Olowo, the commissioner for finance, Lagos State, speaking at the event, said it was organised in line with the recent call in a publication made by the RMAFC under the caption “call for memoranda on the review of the revenue allocation formula”. He said sensitisation was critical considering happenings in the country at the moment. “For instance, he said the number of states and local government has increased from 30 to 36 states, and 589 to 774 respectively. Read also: UK institution commits $50m to boost rural connectivity in Africa “The constitution prescribes a minimum limit of five years to operate an agreed formula before further review,” he disclosed. Speaking also, Oyeyemi Ayoola, the permanent secretary in the finance ministry, pointed out that the review of the revenue allocation formula was long overdue as stipulated by the law and considering different variables that had emerged in recent years. Some members of the state executive council at the event were Samuel Egube, commissioner for economic planning and budget; Wale Ahmed, commissioner for local government and community affairs and Moyosore Onigbanjo, attorney-general and commissioner for justice, who was represented by Saheed Adebiyi Quadri, a director in the ministry. Participants at the workshop in a consensus agreed that Nigeria cannot have a sustainable public service with the kind of resources being shared at the moment; hence the urgent need to review the revenue allocation formula.

Analysis-JPMorgan's 2021 deal spree aims to fill the few holes left in its global operations

NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM) has been on a boutique-business buying spree this year, acquiring or investing in around 30...

FG, CSOs inaugurate technical group to monitor economic intervention for women

The federal government on Tuesday inaugurated a Technical Working Group to track, monitor and ensure accountability in the implementation of policies and budget allocation targeting women’s economic empowerment (WEE). The Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in collaboration with the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, and the Development Research (dRPC) and Projects Centre inaugurated the group which comprises Monitoring and Evaluation Officers from 10 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). Plangsat Dayil, consultant, dRCP project and director, centre for gender women studies, speaking at the event decried that government has lots of policies that ought to improve the lots of women economically, but the impact is not being felt. She added that these policies do not have specific targets for women which gives room for exclusion. According to her, there are still lots of gaps in the empowerment of women across the country. “If you read through government policies, you will not see specific issues targeted at women or people with disability. Most of these policies are just blankets and that gives room for a lot of exclusion. “In the past, there are no group monitoring these things, you can have pockets of civil societies that are not coordinated, but, we are bringing in a collective of all women organisations who are into business, entrepreneurship at the national and state level to ensure that government is actually doing what they said they are doing”, she said. Read also: ActionAid gets £1.3m grant to mobilise youths, women for governance Dayil said the TWG is working with the ministry of budget and planning to track the percentage of women that have benefitted in all economic policies and projects from CBN and many other organisations. She also informed that the TWG will monitor how many women are benefitting in terms of number and if the projects meet the desired impact. The Director-General of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Brigadier CJ Udaya, represented by Nasirdeen Usman, disclosed that the TWG is to support the accountability process of the piloting of the application of the Monitoring & Evaluation framework on WEE programs in Nigeria. According to him, NIPSS is partnering with the Budget Office and the Development Research and Projects Centre to support the accountability component of the development and implementation of the pilot M&E framework to track and rate women’s economic empowerment project/policies/interventions at the national and sub-national level. He also described WEE as a strong policy of the federal government that must be translated into action by the TWG. Nasirdeeen added that the TWG would also support NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE outreach and engagement activities; submit reports of its activities to NIPSS, FMFBNP & dRPC WEE at regular intervals; and carry out other ad hoc duties as requested by NIPSS, FMFBNP & the dRPC. While urging the 20 committee members drawn from the Federal Ministry of Budget, Agriculture, CBN, and other MDAs, to work hard to promote transparency in the implementation of women’s economic empowerment in the country, Nasirdeen said the nation stands to solve its economic challenges when women’s economic empowerment are given the required attention. ‘With 44.82 percent of the labour force in Nigeria, empowering this segment of our population is not the only key to achieving economic independence, but it is also critical in sustaining the nation’s overall economic development’ he said In his remarks at the occasion, the director monitoring and evaluation, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Zakari Lawal, while stressing the need to strengthen monitoring and evaluation of women’s economy in the country, he said the federal government is determined to set in mechanisms to promote transparency in the allocation and implementation of policies in the country. The event was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, under the Partnership for Advancing Women’s Economic Development, PAWED.

How the Child Care Crisis Became a Global Economic Fiasco

(Bloomberg) — The numbers are crushing: By the end of April last year, less than half of the women in Brazil were employed, the lowest level in 30 years. In Australia, around the same time, nearly a tenth of women exited the workforce, while in Japan, women lost jobs at nearly twice the rate of […]

Europe's gas crisis is also a renewables crisis, but there are ready solutions

Politicians are blaming the surge in prices on an increase in natural gas demand as the world wakes up from the pandemic, supply disruption caused by maintenance, and a less-windy-than-usual summer that saw a drop in wind-generated power. But really, Europe's crisis is in its renewables sector. The region has invested heavily in renewables, such as wind and solar, but it can't get enough of this green power to the people who need it.After the UN published its state-of-the-science climate report in August, warning the world must make deep and sustained cuts to greenhouse gas emissions this decade, there has been a growing understanding among political leaders that the transition away from fossil fuels needs to happen more quickly than planned. There are other incentives to moving faster on renewables, however. A fuller transition would free Europe from the disruption of volatile energy markets and reduce its dependence on other oil and gas providers, such as Russia. Europe could avoid its energy security getting tangled up in geopolitical storms. More than 40 European Union lawmakers, mostly from eastern and Baltic states, have appealed to the European Commission to launch an investigation into Russia's state gas company Gazprom. They suspect it had been restraining its supply to push up prices and pressure Germany to expedite the launch of Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline that runs from Russia and under the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gazprom told CNN Business that it was supplying gas to customers abroad "in full compliance with existing contractual obligations" and that supplies were "at a level close to the historically record high" over the past eight months. The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that Russian exports to Europe were down from 2019 levels and that the country could do more to increase supplies ahead of winter. "In terms of the Russian state, there is clear evidence that it uses its gas exports for its own geopolitical gain, it uses that strategically, it's not just a commercial venture," said Manchester University's Matthew Paterson, a professor of international politics who researches climate politics. "It's used gas to get leverage over Ukraine very, very aggressively, and it seems to use it in relation to other eastern central European states," he added.Europe has long been a world leader in renewables. Last year, the European Union and United Kingdom used more renewable energy than fossil fuels to generate electricity. But at the same time, the United Kingdom relies on gas for around 40% of its electricity and Europe is expanding and investing heavily in gas. The European Union currently has €87 billion ($102 billion) worth of gas projects in the pipeline, according to a report by the Global Energy Monitor (GEM). The bloc is looking to increase gas imports by 35%, which GEM says sits "at odds with the EU's stated goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050."Gas has been widely regarded as a "cleaner" bridging fuel to use during the transition from coal to renewables for electricity. But there are some problems with that. While gas emits less carbon than coal and oil, it is made mostly of methane, a very harmful greenhouse gas that leaks from pipelines and abandoned wells. Smart grids are part of the answerThe gas shortages are being felt more sharply in the United Kingdom, where prices have more than quadrupled and some small energy companies are going bust.Experts say the current energy crisis — exacerbated by a lack of wind in the North Sea this summer — underscores the need for Europe to build more renewable infrastructure in more places, and to diversify its sources. "Part of the answer is to put more windmills up in different places, because the wind will be blowing somewhere," Paterson said. The United Kingdom could explore more around hydropower and solar energy. "People make the quip about the UK being gray, but you don't need to know too much about solar cells to know that's irrelevant. You will get more if it is sunny, but even in Manchester, you'd get plenty of electricity and there's opportunity for that."Another part of the answer is focusing on the demand side, not just supply, said Lisa Fischer, who leads the climate think tank E3G's program on the decarbonization of energy systems."Europe has been building renewables quickly, and while we could go faster, what has been slow is critical action in cutting energy demand and making it more flexible," she told CNN Business. In England and Wales, data shows that homes that aren't newly built are not meeting basic energy efficiency standards. Many older properties have no effective insulation, with single-glazed windows that let too much heat out and cold air in. People also typically heat their homes with gas-fired boilers, though electric heat pumps run on renewables are growing in popularity. Smart grids are another big part of the solution, Fischer said. Smart grids are digital electricity networks that can intelligently assess the behavior of its consumers, then respond with the right amount and type of energy required.While Europe has strong mandates for smart grid developments, the bloc and the United Kingdom lag behind countries like the United States and China, which are leading investment in this technology, according to the IEA. Rooftop solar panels are another option. The UK government has flip-flopped several times on subsidies and regulations around rooftop panels for new homes. Better support in that area would allow residents to store energy themselves and sell unused power back to the national electricity grid, Fischer said. "If we don't harness that, then we will need fossil fuels as a backup. If we do, it's definitely possible to operate energy systems without a fossil fuel backup," Fischer added.China the new energy world's winnerWhile a full transition to renewables and low-emissions energy will mean more security independence for countries, the technology to harness the energy will create clear winners and losers in an energy-driven world order. A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency showed that China was in the best position to become the globe's "renewable energy superpower." It is currently the world's biggest producer, exporter and installer of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles, the report shows. Exporting and even building this infrastructure will give China's standing in the world a boost and increase its influence. "What China has been doing and will likely continue to do, is to export the equipment that is used to produce renewable energy," said Dominic Chiu, a China analyst with the Albright Stonebridge Group. "China has also been helping countries, such as Pakistan, build solar farms. Energy infrastructure, renewable or otherwise, plays an important role in China's Belt and Road initiative," Chiu added.That dynamic means that there is still lots of potential for energy security to get tied up in geopolitical tensions, or other thornier topics.An investigation published in May by the UK's Sheffield Hallam's University, for example, found that China was using forced labor from ethnic-minority Uyghurs in the production of solar energy panels. This prompted the United States to impose trade bans on five Chinese entities linked to the abuse. On a recent trip to Tianjin, US climate chief John Kerry said Chinese officials complained about the sanctions, arguing they limited how cooperative China could be with the world on climate. "That is a potential concern that many countries have with China's polysilicon production," Chiu said, referring to the material used in the panels. But sanctions haven't had a huge impact on the industry, Chiu said. Beyond the obvious climate benefits, there is an undeniable political advantage of renewables over fossil fuels such as gas. A country like Russia can cut off supplies for Europe with a flick of a switch, but once a solar panel or windmill is installed, that's that — no country can take the sun or wind away from another.

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