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Energy crisis: minister denies Kwasi Kwarteng lied over Treasury claims

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Energy crisis: minister denies Kwasi Kwarteng lied over Treasury claims

A minister has sought to play down splits between government departments over support for firms struggling with fast-rising energy prices, denying that the business secretary had lied and blaming a spat between the Treasury and business department on “unnamed sources”.

In extraordinary events on Sunday, after the business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said he was consulting the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, about what help could be offered, Treasury sources openly rejected this and accused Kwarteng of “making things up”.

Asked if this meant Kwarteng had lied, the Home Office minister Damian Hinds said: “Of course not.”

Hinds, who also defended Boris Johnson’s decision to go on holiday to Spain for the week, told Sky News: “These unnamed sources stories come out from time to time. The fact is, government departments, government ministers, talk to each other the whole time, and of course with an issue like this, with these rising global prices and business having to grapple and deal with it to make sure they break even and can make a margin, of course that is something that the business secretary – and of course the energy secretary – is going to be totally focused on.”

Many businesses, particularly those with high energy needs, have expressed alarm at the pace of increase in energy prices, warning they could affect production. Some have said the businesses department did not seem aware of the extent of the crisis.

However, after pressure from businesses, which said they were likely to be forced to suspend production if costs remained high, he had promised to examine their suggestions and ask the Treasury to consider some of their demands, including a cut to green levies and a request that the energy regulator, Ofgem, replicates the network tariff discounts offered to competitor industries in the EU.

Gareth Stace, the director general of UK Steel, which represents the sector, said companies wanted parity with trading conditions experienced by EU competitors. “We’re asking very much the same, because when government says, ‘We’re not going to do any bailouts’, that’s not what we’re asking for,” Stace said.

“What we’re asking for is, ‘Hey, government, we’ve been telling you for a decade that your policies add something like £55m that we pay in the UK, as the steel sector, that our competitors in, say, Germany don’t pay.’ Historically that puts us at a competitive disadvantage.”

He called on Johnson to “bang ministerial heads together, take control and remember that if he does nothing, then his levelling-up ambition will be left in tatters”.

The prime minister is on holiday this week, reportedly staying at a luxury villa in the south of Spain owned by Zac Goldsmith, the Conservative former MP who Johnson made a peer and kept on as a government minister after he lost his Commons seat.

Hinds defended the timing of the holiday, telling Sky: “When is the right time? I think it is important that people do have an opportunity to be with their families to have some relaxing, unwinding,

“But I wouldn’t want to overstate the amount of unwinding and relaxing you get to do as prime minister because, as I say, you are constantly in touch, you are constantly being briefed and you remain in charge of the government.

“What is important for the rest of us actually, for the whole country, is that the prime minister does get to have some family time, does get to have a break.”

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NSCDC To Deploy 30,000 Officers For 2023 Elections

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has disclosed that it will deploy 30,000 operatives to ensure peace during the upcoming general elections in Nigeria.

This was disclosed by the Commandant- General of the NSCDC, Dr Ahmed Audi at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday,

He said the operatives would be deployed nationwide to maintain peace.

He said the NSCDC has perfected plans to deploy all resources needed to provide security during the election.

“The corps is poised fairly, and ready to apply all the arsenals needed to provide security and safety for the elections.

“We have an operations department of over 30,000 personnel but then we will also deploy others when the time comes.

“Normally we have the bulk of our people in operations and those who are in operations partake in election processes,” he said.

Audi said that the corps had also perfected plans to begin seminars and workshops in October to discuss the preparedness of the organization towards the general elections.

“We want to tell our people that if you go and involve yourself by becoming partisan you are on your own.

“There are certain things we have introduced in our Standard Operating Procedure — that once you go partisan and you are caught, you will face sanctions and you are on your own.

“So we are ready to partake in the election like I said because we are apolitical and we are going to provide a level-playing field for all citizens to be involved in the elections and exercise their franchise.”

Audi said that the NSCDC partook in election activities because it’s a member of the Inter-agency, Consultative Committee on Election Security.

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NSIA Not Stakeholder In Nigeria Air- F.G

Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, has declared that the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) is not an investor in the Nigeria Air project.

Sirika made the clarification in a statement issued by James Odaudu, his special assistant on public affairs, on Saturday.

The minister had listed NSIA as part of the local investors with stakes in the national carrier.

He said the NSIA is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, adding that the error was made during his media briefing.

“We wish to clarify that the Authority (NSIA) is not part of the private equity ownership of the airline, being a government establishment,” Sirika said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the equity ownership structure of Nigeria Air stands as Ethiopian Airlines 49%, Nigerian private investors (SAHCO, MRS and other institutional investors) 46% and the Federal Government 5%.

“The public, especially the business community and the media, should please note”, the statement added.

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Nigerians Not Ripe Enough To Bear Arms- NSCDC

Nigerians are not ripe to be allowed to bear arms.

This is according to the Commandant General of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr Ahmed Audi who made the observation when he attended the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja.

“I strongly disapproved of it. Even now that there is no law in existence, you still have proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the hands of people.

“It has to do with civilisation and education.

“Even in Europe and America where they have that law where virtually everybody once you can drive can have arms, they are trying to control it now because of how some events unfold.

“In the world, especially in Europe and America, somebody will just wake up and just go to a school and open fire on kids. You know that is madness.

“And so for me, I don’t think we are there yet to allow citizens carry arms” , he said.

 

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