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South Africa Puts AstraZeneca Vaccine Rollout On Hold

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South Africa has put its roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on hold after a clinical trial showed it is not potent against the strain of COVID-19 most virulent in the country.

The country, Africa’s worst-hit, has already secured one million doses of Astrazeneca vaccine with another 500,000 doses expected soon.

The vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), has been found not to work against the 501Y.V2 strain of coronavirus.

South Africa is currently looking at options in the United States, although more doses of AstraZeneca vaccines are expected.

Through the COVAX facility, the nation which has a high burden with Africa’s highest number of cases, is expecting AstraZeneca vaccines.

Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize said vaccinations will begin with health workers next week, with an implementation study of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

“Why not sell the AstraZeneca to other countries, well it’s an option, … we will consider it. First our scientists will tell us what we do with it, can we use it within the time that’s available … before it expires,” Mkhize said while responding to questions from journalists.

“If not, can we swap it with anyone else, because we’ve discussed it with COVAX and with AVATT (the AU’s vaccine task team), so we will see what we will do.”

Growing concerns have merged over AstraZeneca’s vaccines with certain variants of the virus found to be too hard for its potency.

South Africa also has the option of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has proven to be 89% potent against severe coronavirus cases and 57% potent against moderate to severe cases.

AstraZeneca is yet to respond to the new founding, while the SII has not made an official stance also.

South Africa’s neighbours, Eswatini has said it won’t be accepting or procuring the AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Nigerian government, when quizzed on the vaccine said the South African strain of the virus has not been found in Nigeria and the country will accept AstraZeneca’s vaccine.

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Review: Selling Assets to Fund the National Budget is Irresponsible – Tunji Andrews

These assets are crucial to Nigeria but it’s not compulsory that they are owned by FG. Therefore, we could concession them to private hands, not sell them!

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The Nigerian government is proposing to sell or concession about 36 properties to raise funds to finance the 2021 budget. These properties cut across the energy, industry, communication and infrastructure sectors and are expected to be sold between January 2021 and November 2022.

Tunji Andrews, founder, Awabah Nigeria, thinks these assets are crucial to Nigeria but it’s not compulsory that they are owned by the Federal Government. Therefore, we could concession them to private hands.

But I don’t think we should sell assets to fund budgets. If we sell assets to fund the 2021 budget, what will we sell to fund the 2022 budget? The general problem is the government is DETERMINED not to cut down expenses.

“It’s very clear that if you have shrinking revenue, you should trim down expenses. But the government wants to spend within a reduced revenue. The fact is that we are not making enough money but borrowing or selling off assets is typical of an irresponsible father who has acquired a lot of properties over the years and now that he’s old, he wants to sell them off so he can continue to party and live largely”, Tunji added.

Our legacy and history as a people are as important as funding a budget, it’s worrisome that the government doesn’t see it that way.

Tunji concluded on the issue of government selling crucial national propoerties to fund the 2021 budget.

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Nigerian Military Aircraft Crashes In Abuja

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A Nigerian military aircraft has crashed in Abuja, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika revealed on Sunday.

Sirika in a tweet said the aircraft, a King Air 350 crashed at the Abuja runway, enroute Minna, after an engine failure.

He said the crash appears fatal with lives possibly lost in it but called for calm as the military investigates the number of casualties from the incident.

It is yet another military air crash with a few cases of such accidents recorded in the last three years.

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African development

“Nigeria Wouldn’t Have Gone Into Recession If Okonjo-Iweala Was Still Finance Minister” – Tunji Andrews

Dr. Ngozi would likely push for a lot of trade that would spur job creation and development in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world as well as create some sort of liberation for some of the poorest countries.

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The first woman and first African to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation has a track record of taking on seemingly intractable problems. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that she can be a ‘clear set of eyes’ for the global trade body.

Asides from reforming trade rules and counter protectionism heightened by COVID-19, her new responsibility would have her broker international trade talks in the face of persistent U.S.-China conflict. Financial expert and founder of Awabah, Tunji Andrews joined us on Breakfast Central to discuss Dr. Ngozi’s work experience in relation to her new position.

Andrews pointed out that jobs that have to do with linking communities or societies are more about the pedigree of the person holding the office. “She comes from a very long pedigree line and has a vast reach, therefore the position cannot be too difficult since she has experts under her. Her main job is bringing these superpowers together.”

“When she was the Co-ordinating Minister of the economy, she did so well that her exit left a vacuum. If she was there, it is unlikely that Nigeria would have fallen into a recession”, he added.

The financial expert also thinks Dr. Ngozi, being a big mackerel person, would push for a lot of trade that would spur job creation and development in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world as well as create some sort of liberation for some of the poorest countries. In his words, “it is one thing to say that Nigeria is suffering and another thing to know exactly what Nigeria needs to get out of hardship. It is important to have someone who has a unique understanding of the pinpoints of the people.”

In establishing the approach to her job delivery, Tunji Andrews suggested that the first point of call would be trying to help the EU and UK smoothen their trade conversations with BREXIT. Also, her job is to try to smoothen the relationship between China and the US. Around Africa, she has a hard nut to crack as regards free trade.

In conclusion, Andrews indicated trust in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s ability to do the job of WTO DG excellently. “Relationship is most important when it comes to world conversations and I believe this is what she’s bringing to the table, it’s just unfortunate that Nigeria did not observe it about her in good time.”

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