By Dakuku Peterside
Criticism makes leaders wake up, and it puts them on their toes. It is a natural component of leadership. We all acknowledge that it is always easier to criticise than to appreciate; hence Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers and a political philosopher, has this to say, “any fool can criticise, condemn and complain and most fools do “.
However, when we see flashes of creative, courageous, and competent leadership, let us celebrate and encourage them. Amid challenges of acute insecurity, rising poverty levels and gloom and doom that have enveloped the country’s current climate and threaten the current administration’s legacy, some ministries, departments, and agencies have defied the odds to show that there is indeed hope for Nigeria.
These MDAs’ and dedicated Nigerians have demonstrated innovation, courage, and hard work to meet leadership challenges.
There are pockets of sweet tales here and there under this government that the man on the street feels is insensitive to his yearnings and aspirations.
These tales of sweetness from a handful of Ministries, departments, and agencies prove that visionary and transformational leadership can deliver giant strides and dividends even in chaotic and beleaguered environments.
It is also an affirmation that within the context of public service with bureaucratic challenges, it is possible to achieve a credible outcome that will significantly impact the socio-economic lives of the people.
An X-ray of three of these MDAs, amongst others, will show that honest, focused, and visionary leadership is all we need to change our growth trajectory as a nation.
The Federal Ministry of Transportation, through various rail projects, has been making immense strides in impacting the lives of Nigerians. Under the able leadership of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi (a driver of change and a man who chose to do things differently), the ministry identified rail transport as a catalyst for economic development.
Since the inception of the present administration, it has built 3,505km of Narrow Gauge (NG) rails lines; 186 km network of Standard Gauge (SG) lines, linking Abuja to Rigasa in Kaduna State; 302 km network of Standard Gauge (SG) rail lines from Itakpe, Kogi State to Warri, Delta State; and additional 185.5km Double SG Lagos to Ibadan Rail lines with extension to Apapa Sea Port nearing completion.
These rail lines connect different parts of the country to prosperity. New rail lines have had a small but significant impact on the lives of ordinary people who have come to see new possibilities in our county instead of just gloom that pervades the land.
Testimonials abound about how rail crisscrossing different parts of the country have affected many ordinary people’s economic fortune.
Another agency that has been quietly making an impressive impact is the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) under the leadership of Engr. Simbi Kasiye Wabote.
The creation of NCDMB, as a regulator and facilitator of deepening Nigeria content, in 2010 marked a critical turning point in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry landscape.
Engr. Wabote became the Executive Secretary in 2015, coming on board with clarity on the potential of Nigerian content to create jobs in a dimension never imagined by stakeholders.
Since then, we have seen the Board embark on many ground-breaking transformative projects and interventions. These include constructing a 17-storey headquarters building in Yenagoa within an unprecedented record time of five years. The edifice, named Nigerian Content Tower, is now in full use by staff of NCDMB.
His defining and intelligent leadership has also seen the construction and commissioning of a 10MW gas-fired Power Plant at Elebele, near Yenagoa, in partnership with Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), which provides 24/7days uninterrupted power supply to the edifice.
Most importantly, the current management team of NCDMB has created over 50,000 jobs in the last six years through various interventions and projects in different parts of Nigeria.
Another shining light of the current administration is the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), under the leadership of the incumbent Director-General/Chief Executive, Mallam Farouk A. Salim. One area of impressive achievements is in standards enforcement.
In recent times, SON has confiscated over N600 million worth of substandard tyres in Ogun State and seized two containers of stuffed imported used tyres in Port Harcourt.
They have also embarked on the prosecution of standards infractions relating to substandard lubricants, electric cables, forgery of SON clearing documents, mop-up of substandard LPG cylinders in Suleija and seizure of adulterated engine oils in Kano/Lagos.
This enforcement of standards has resulted in citizens’ confidence in the quality of products available in the market. They now know that standard-setting and enforcement is no longer business as usual.
These Nigerians in the three MDAs under review are making giant strides and lasting impact. They are employing dynamism and innovation to achieve measurable results.
In a nation where we celebrate ineptitude, mediocrity and crass opportunism, any genuine ray of light making an impactful difference deserves to be noted and encouraged. It is a great motivator and a way of reinforcing our desire for excellence.
These public servants are committed and resourceful leaders who care deeply about their impact on citizens’ lives, hopes, and dreams.
These are success stories worth celebrating, from standard-setting and enforcement to Nigerian content enforcement and transportation services re-engineering. These leaders and their likes are the reasons why we still have hope in our country.
KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months
- Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
- The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.
Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.
The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.
Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.
KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.
The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.
Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.
India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.
Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.
India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.
A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.
Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs
- Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
- Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
- Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.
The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.
Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.
Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.
The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.
TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.
Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.
The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.
Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.
Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud
- A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
- Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.
A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.
Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.
Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.
He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.
“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.
“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.
He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.
“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.
Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.