Following reports in some national dailies that Ebola fever had been detected in Nigeria, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday confirmed the statement made by the Health Ministry Tuesday that there was no Ebola fever in the country.

Briefing journalists after the weekly FEC meeting, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, said the Ministry of Health during the week, undertook quick checks to verify the reports of the alleged outbreak of Ebola fever and so far, all the tests showed clearly that there was no Ebola fever in Nigeria.

"Nigeria is prepared right now to curtail any outbreak particularly given reports that few countries on the west coast like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have reported cases of Ebola fever and given our proximity to these countries, Nigeria is ready, the ministry has every precaution including getting ready with vaccines and medicines to ensure that should there be any incidence in Nigeria ,everything would be dealt with with precision.

"So far, there is nothing like Ebola fever in Nigeria and council was reassured that every step has been taken to get the country ready to respond just in case infected persons come into the country from our neighboring countries which unfortunately have been reportedly affected.

"So citizens are reassured again that there is no Ebola fever in the country and all the checks so far undertaken declared clearly that we don't have it, yes there are two cases in two or three west African countries, the ministry has assured Nigerians that should there be anything like that within our boundary, it will be quickly tackled," Maku said.

He also said the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala briefed the council that after nearly 15 years, Nigeria is now ready to release its rebased GDP.

The minister noted that this was achieved after more than one year of hard work by the Ministries of Finance and National Planning, the chief statistician to the federation and the international agencies like IMF, AfDB, IDB.

"You will recall that the last time that Nigeria issued new statistics and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures was 15 years. And this is not supposed to be as we are supposed to be doing this every five years. Every country calibrates its own GDP data to show the progress made or challenges in their economy . "Right now the FEC was briefed today (yesterday), that on Sunday at the Transcorps Hilton by 2 p.m. Nigeria will formally release its GDP figures for the country which has just been worked by institutions in collaboration with international agencies, whose duties it is to work out GDP figures for the countries.

"So we hope that by Sunday, this new GDP figure will be released and the importance of this is that for the first time in 15 years, we will know scientifically what the new GDP figures are, the contributions of every sector to the economy, we will be able to know the sectors that recorded the most progress and which ones are lagging behind.

"We will also know the few economic sectors that have emerged in the last ten years which have not been captured properly in the last GDP figures. For example, the telecoms which emerged in the year 2000.

"We can know scientifically the impact the telecoms sector has made on the Nigerian economy and GDP growth. Secondly, the Nollywood industry is another huge sector that has blossomed particularly in the last 10 years making significant contributions to job creation, but we have not been able to, GDP growth because we have rebased the GDP to really know scientifically how much impact it has made on the economy.

"The importance of rebasing the GDP is to ensure that after every five years, every nation wants to know how much progress the GDP has made. What are the sectors' contributions? What are the challenges they are facing? Which sectors are moving forward, which ones are lagging behind? Without appropriate understanding of the GDP and the details of how the sectors are performing, it will affect policy.

"When the figures hopefully are released on Sunday, we will then be able to analyse sector by sector and that will improve our budgetary planning, and improve national planning, in order to know which sectors needed additional attention. Even the ones that are doing well, what do we do to keep them growing? The importance of this cannot be over emphasised. It will assure investors in some areas and in some others it will pose challenges," the minister conclude.


Source: This Day

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