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UK Prime Minister appoints minister for loneliness

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UK Prime Minister, Theresa May has appointed a “minister for loneliness” as part of the legacy of the murdered Labor MP Jo Cox.

Tracey Crouch, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, will lead a drive against a social epidemic that experts say can be as unhealthy as heavy smoking and is believed to affect nine million people in the UK.

Theresa May appoints minister for loneliness

The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, set up to tackle one of the issues the late MP cared most passionately about, published a report in December calling for a national strategy to combat loneliness and recommended the Government establish a minister to be responsible.

Theresa May announced the new brief ahead of a Downing Street reception to celebrate the life and legacy of Mrs Cox. Mrs May said isolation was a sad reality of modern life for too many people and she was keen to “shine a light” on the issue of loneliness.

Mrs May said: “For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones – people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with.

“Jo Cox recognised the scale of loneliness across the country and dedicated herself to doing all she could to help those affected.

“I am pleased that Government can build on her legacy with a ministerial lead for loneliness who will work with the Commission, businesses and charities to shine a light on the issue and pull together all strands of Government to create the first ever strategy.”

Theresa May appoints minister for loneliness

The Jo Cox Loneliness Commission’s co-chairs, Labour MP Rachel Reeves and Conservative MP Seema Kennedy, welcomed Mrs May’s announcement.

In a joint statement, they said: “We are really pleased to see that the Government is taking the issue of loneliness very seriously with its prompt response to our report. Jo Cox said that ‘young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate'”.

 

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Nigeria Customs suggest 35% levy on imported vehicles reduction to check smuggling.

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The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (retd.) has called on the Federal Government to reduce the 35 per cent levy on imported vehicles so as to check the rising cases of smuggled vehicles into the country.

Ali said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the unveiling of a Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative which was held at the Ministry of Finance.

He said already the Nigeria Customs Service had made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance on the need for a reduction in the 35 per cent levy on imported vehicles.



Ali said currently, any new vehicle imported into the country attracted an import duty of 35 per cent and an additional levy of 35 per cent.

This, he noted, brought the total duty payable on such a vehicle to about 70 per cent.

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He described the 70 per cent being charged by the government as high, adding that time had come for it to be reduced.

In achieving this, he said, the government could still retain the 35 per cent import duty while the additional 35 per cent levy could be tinkered by bringing it downwards.

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He said, “First, we must understand the fact that smuggling in most cases did not really occur because of the tariff that is placed on goods in Nigeria.

“When we talk about vehicles, yes, new vehicles attract 70 per cent duty; that is 35 per cent duty and 35 per cent levy but most of the vehicles that are being smuggled through our borders are not new vehicles, they are used vehicles.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who unveiled the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative, said that the government was concerned about the inability of some of its agencies to meet their revenue target.

She admitted that it had become a challenge for the government to mobilise fiscal resources to deliver on its developmental objectives, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that revenue generation needed to be enhanced.

According to her, while oil revenue to oil Gross Domestic Product ratio stands at about 39 per cent, non-oil revenue to non-oil GDP is about 4.2 per cent.

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24 days to Election in Nigeria, Obiageli Ezekwesili quits presidential race.

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The leading female candidate in Nigeria’s presidential election said on Thursday she had withdrawn from the race weeks ahead of the poll to help build a coalition to provide a viable alternative to the country’s two main parties.

Former government minister Obiageli Ezekwesili, co-founder of a group to raise awareness about more than 200 girls kidnapped by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram in 2014, said on Twitter that she had been in talks for three months with other candidates about a coalition.



Nigeria’s presidential election is scheduled to take place on Feb. 16. The main candidates in the race to head Africa’s top oil producing country are the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president who is representing the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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“I have decided to step down from the presidential race and focus on helping to build a coalition for a viable alternative to the #APCPDP in the 2019 general,” said Ezekwesili in a tweet.

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Ezekwesili was not considered to be among the frontrunners in the race. Analysts see President Buhari and Abubakar as the only genuine contenders due to the financial power and patronage networks provided by their parties.

Ezekwesili, a former government minister, is a founder of the civil society organization Transparency International. She was considered for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her anti-corruption work.

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