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AFCFTA: Nigeria ratifies African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement

....approves Electronic Medical Records and Management ....N62.7b for Kano - Dadinkowa road

The Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, AFCFTA.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed announced this while briefing State House Correspondents on Wednesday, after the Virtual FEC Meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Mohammed who briefed on behalf of Ministers of Industry, Trade, and Investment, as well as Aviation, said the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment had presented a memo asking the Federal Executive Council to ratify Nigeria’s membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

Nigeria had on the 7th of July, 2019, signed the AfCTA agreement in Niamey during the 12th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU).

The effective date ought to have been July 2020, but was shifted as a result of the pandemic, to the 1st of January 2021.

As a result, all member-states were given up to the 5th of December, 2020, to ratify the agreement.

Mohammed announced that the Federal Executive Council approved ratification of the membership of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement.

“It was ratified and as such, we beat the deadline of the 5th of December. Effectively, we hope that by 1st of January 2021, the agreement will come into force”

The ratification has paved way for the Instruments to be forwarded to the National Assembly for Domestication in Nigeria, as it is required by the international regulations.

The Federal Executive Council also on Wednesday approved the introduction of Electronic Medical Records and Management in Nigeria, to strengthen the management of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire announced this while briefing State House Correspondents on Wednesday, after the Virtual FEC Meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The process, which will be referred to as E-NHIS, is to ensure that the operations of the National Health Insurance Scheme are done electronically, and will be managed by NIGCOMSAT and GalaxyBackBone under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.

The Ministry of Health presented a memo on behalf of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to introduce electronic medical records and management in a concept known as E-NHIS creating an electronic governance platform that will allow inter- operability with all other stakeholders including particularly the States Health Insurance Schemes, the Health Management Organisations and the hospitals who offer service to patients.

“So, this will be a platform for managing payments and claims and also patients records to install transparency and accountability.

“This is necessary because the basic health care provision fund as we know is going onstream and will include a large number of people being registered so that we move away from paper management to electronic management .

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola announced that the Council also approved the construction of Kano-Dawakin-Tofa-Gwarzo-Dariyo road in Kano. It was approved for N62.7 billion, to be executed in 24 months.

Also briefing, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami said approval was given for a National Policy for Digital Identification for Internally Displaced Persons, IDPS.

The policy prioritize the provision of identity, to enable government have accurate data of the over three million people residing in IDP Camps in parts of the country.

Pantami said all states of the federal have Internally Displaced persons with

1, 400,000 in Borno State while has the lowest figure of one thousand and twenty-four.

He added that FEC equally approved a National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurial Centre in Abuja, to cater for unemployment and help train youths to become ICT entrepreneurs.

The Centre is in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
For his part, the Minister of Information on behalf of the Minister of Trade Industry and Investment said FEC approved a memo for the ratification of the African Continental Free trade agreement signed by Nigeria in July last year.

Also briefing on behalf of Aviation Minister, Lai Muhammed said FEC equally approved contract for the procurement, installation and commissioning of the 3-D Dimensional Aerodrome and approach simulator at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos.

The project will cost over N470million with a time line of six months.

Based on the report during the formulation of the policy, we have around three million people living in IDP camps in Nigeria, which is more than 1% of our population. In addition, from the records that we have received in the course of the formulation, there is no single state in the country without IDPs; the highest is in Borno State with 1.4 million and the lowest is Ondo State with 1,024 persons.

Federal Government also declined to make any categorical statement on the ongoing trial of some organizers of the #EndSARS protest.

Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed who was fielding questions from State House Correspondents on Wednesday, said any comment on the issue will jeopardize the work of the various panels of enquiry set up by the various state governments.

He stressed that it would be wise to await the outcome of their inquest. You will recall that several million of naira worth of property was destroyed, as hoodlums hijacked the EndSARS protest to loot both public and private property.

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