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What Nigerians should know about NCDC – Buhari’s aide

An official of Buhari’s presidency, Tolu Ogunlesi, has offered clarifications about the functions and operations of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

There have been arguments about the agency’s modus operandi since the coronavirus outbreak in Nigeria.

NCDC was established in 2011 to tackle public health challenges.

But the body rose to prominence at the start of the pandemic. It now has nearly 1 million followers on Twitter from less than 100,000 in January 2020.

In a list of facts released at the weekend, Ogunlesi explained that the NCDC do not build, own or run COVID-19 Testing Labs.

He said apart from the National Reference Laboratory in Abuja, all other laboratories are owned/run independently by Federal, State Tertiary Hospitals, and the private sector.

The official noted that NCDC role is accreditation and technical support to qualified laboratories.

He clarified that the agency is not responsible for the collection of samples from patients, or the transportation of confirmed cases to Isolation/Treatment Centers.

“NCDC also does not build or operate Isolation/Treatment Centers. These are the responsibilities of State Governments”, Ogunlesi stressed.

“NCDC also does not make the results of Covid-19 tests available to patients. When a result emerges at any of the Labs, it is made available to NCDC and the State Epidemiologist. The task of informing a patient is the responsibility of the State Epidemiologist/Health Ministry.

“NCDC’s role in the dissemination of Test Results is this: They receive the numbers from the Labs (25 and counting), validate the numbers State by State, collate the figures nationally, and then make the national announcement.

“I have heard the NCDC DG say that sometimes, if they’re unable to validate test data (i.e. confirmed cases) with a particular State, before nightly collation, they will leave that State out of the announcement until the next day. That’s how important the validation is.

“The process is complicated somewhat by the fact that the Labs are carrying out tests for multiple States. You have to ensure that the State-level reporting is accurate and be in constant touch with each State, to minimize the risk of mix-ups or other errors,” he said.

In April, Dr Chinwe Ochu, NCDC Head of Prevention, Programmes and Knowledge Management, said that response to infectious diseases outbreaks such as COVID-19 at subnational levels are led by States.

According to her, NCDC supports States in preparedness and response to disease outbreaks through capacity building, training, guidance and coordination.

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N50,000, N30,000 To Be Distributed Among 433,000 Nigerians, Businesses By FG

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Tola Johnson, Special Assistant to  President Muhammadu Buhari on Micro Small and Medium and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs), says 100,000 small businesses will get N50,000 each.

NAN reports that the gesture is part of COVID-19 economic stimulus.

The presidential aide made the announcement at the inauguration of the Implementation of Survival Fund and Guaranteed Off-Take Stimulus Schemes for MSMEs on Thursday in Abuja.

Johnson, the Project Coordinator, said that the schemes were part of the Economic Sustainability Plan drafted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo-led committee and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.

“The Payroll Support targets 100,000 businesses. However, the number of individuals who will benefit from this is 500,000. What the government has done is to say that there a lot of MSMEs that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

“Afterward, there is a CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) free registration; it is free for the MSMEs but the government is paying the CAC for this. What the government has done is to say to the CAC, you do this regularly to the MSMEs at about N12,000 or thereabout; give it to us at half price, we will give it to the MSMEs free.’’

Johnson added that under the National MSMEs Clinic, Osinbajo and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment went to no fewer than 26 states.

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He said it was discovered that very creative businesses were not registered.

“They will tell you they don’t have N10,000 to N12,000 to register their businesses. The government had promised that at some point, we will do and I think the opportunity has come now; the opportunity cannot be better than now.’’

The official also announced that under the Survival Fund, the last strap would be the Transport and Artisans Support.

At least 333,000 beneficiaries will get a one-off N30,000 grant, Johnson said.

He added that the government will work with associations, individuals and the Ministry of Transportation to implement the scheme.

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