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FEC approves 3 new varsities for Kebbi, Yobe, Zamfara…approves new tourism slogan

By The Citizen
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The Federal Executive Council (FEC), at its first sitting in the new year Wednesday approved the setting up of three new federal universities.

This is even as President Goodluck Jonathan who presided over the meeting has given matching orders to all ministers to hasten to complete all projects this year but must not undermine quality.

Also FEC approve a new tourism brand identity for Nigeria which was presented to the council by the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke.

The new institutions will be sited in Gashua (Yobe); Birnin Kebbi (Kebbi) and Gusau (Zamfara), thus fulfilling government’s policy since 2012 to put a federal university in every state in the country.

Addressing State House correspondents, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, and his colleague in Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufa’i, said with the establishment of a federal university in each state of the federation, the situation where only 10 per cent of school leavers get admission into higher institutions nationwide, will now be a thing of the past.

Throwing more light on the benefit of sitting one federal university in each state of the federation, Rufa’i disclosed that about 1.3 million school leavers seek entrance to higher institutions every year in the country, yet not up to 200,000 spaces are available in existing institutions.

She explained that eight out of the nine federal universities approved in 2012 have taken off and even matriculated students, except the one in Otuoke, Bayelsa state, which takes off fully next month after delay caused by the floods.

She said skeletal services are to start as soon as possible in the new universities and that academic work should start by 2014/2015 academic year.

The establishment of the new universities complement efforts being made by the federal government towards tackling educational challenges at all tiers in the country, from almajiri schools to post primary institutions.

The Council also approve  a new tourism brand identity for Nigeria.

According to Duke,  the policy which seeks to give priority attention to exploiting Nigeria’s tourism potentials, was favourably received by the President and other cabinet members.

The new policy he further said got the nod of the president; adding that the president also commended the contributions of the creative industry to national development, and opportunity for expression of bountiful youthful talents.

The policy includes evolution of retail destinations with the hospitality sector properly dove-tailing into tourism.

The minister further hinted that  health tourism will be promoted.
He also told newsmen that FEC’s approved  new campaign adverts to showcase Nigeria’s tourism potentials.

Maku also disclosed that President Jonathan started the meeting by giving marching orders to work harder and faster in 2013 to deliver results.

The President acknowledged the good work done in last one and half years, but warned the ministers not to take anything for granted as there is need to consolidate on the foundation laid since last year.

Maku said directive is coming on the heels of the president’s recent  promise to make more impact this year.

“Mr President gave us a marching order to work harder, faster and deliver results. He said we must all buckle up and make sure all our agencies deliver results. Last year was very good for the country, by the grace of God Nigerians will see greater results this year.

“We should begin to commission some of the key power projects this year, going forward we are expecting greater activities. We are looking forward to greater synergies, we re looking forward to greater results this year. All is set for greater performance for government in the year 2013″.

Maku also noted that the president acknowledged that a lot of work has been done in key sectors and hence warned against complacency, cautioning ministers not to take anything for granted.

The minister also listed some areas where the government had done well which include transport sector where petroleum products are now conveyed by rail from Lagos to Kano.

He also assured that other routes will commence operation this year, which according to him will lead to greater activities.

Maku further hinted that in the area of power, the objective is to begin commissioning of most power projects.

In the area of Agriculture, he said the president demanded for improved strategising.

“These are Mr. President’s instruction and I can assure you that the ministers are ready for work,” he said.

He added that the Ministers in turn re-committed themselves to consolidate on the results recorded since the beginning of the administration.

Maku also assured that once the budget is passed anytime this month, the government will have the opportunity of 12 months implementation cycle.