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THE number of coronavirus cases in Italy is probably 10 times higher than the official tally, the head of the agency collating the said on Tuesday as the government readied new measures to people to stay at home.

Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 6,077 people have died from the infection in barely a month, while the number of confirmed cases has hit 64,000.

However, testing for the disease has often been limited to people seeking hospital care, meaning that thousands of infections have certainly gone undetected.

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“A ratio of one certified case out of every 10 is credible,” Angelo Borrelli, the head of the Civil Protection Agency, told La Republican newspaper, indicating he believed as many as 640,000 people could have been infected.

After four weeks of steep increases in deaths and cases, the growth rate has eased since Sunday, raising hopes that the most aggressive phase of the contagion might be over.

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The government has shut down all non-essential until April 3 and the cabinet was due to meet later today to tighten the screws still further, including hiking fines for people violating the to up to 4,000 euros ($4,300) from a maximum 206 euros at present.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Nigeria loses N2.5 trillion to fraud every year- Forensic body reveals

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The Society for Forensic Accountants and Fraud Prevention (SFAFP), a body that studies the management of funds by Government agencies, has revealed that Nigeria loses N2.5 trillion  yearly in the national budget to public sector fraud and corruption.

SFAFP Chairman Iliyasu Gashinbaki, revealed that in Africa, 25 per cent of annual budgets of countries are diverted through bad schemes by politicians.

 

Gashinbaki, speaking at a virtual induction of 192 associates of SFAFP at the weekend, revealed public officers mismanaged government money by unlawful use of public assets for private advances, underpayment of taxes and duties on export as well as import.

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Other methods of embezzlement include payment of salary to ghost workers; bribery and extortion; payment for air supply (goods or services not provided or rendered); over and under-invoicing; fraudulent court awards of financial compensations above damage suffered.

“Recent studies have shown that most African governments struggle with the huge debt burden, in addition to huge loss of revenue due to fraud and corruption consistently draining its little resources.

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“In Nigeria, N2.5 trillion is lost yearly to fraud using schemes like over and under-invoicing’. He said.

“Other ways include fraudulent court awards of financial compensations above damage suffered, fraud and embezzlement include payment of salary to ghost workers; bribery and extortion; payment for air supply and goods or services not provided or rendered.

 

According to Gashinbaki, the SFAFP, would continue to provide technical support for the public and private sectors.

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Electricity tariff increase won’t affect the poor – NERC

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The Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Monday said that the proposed tariff increase that has been suspended will not affect poor electricity customers when it takes effect.

In his presentation to the Senate Committee on Power at the commission’s head office in Abuja, the NERC chairman, Prof. James Momoh told the lawmakers who were in their oversight function that a mechanism has been put in place to absorb the masses of the adverse impacts of the hike.

Speaking with reporters after the event, he said “It is not going to affect the poor. We will make sure that the downtrodden and the people you feel for at the moment will not be affected by any increase we will be bringing forth

“It will be based on the hours of service and the quality of power available there. We don’t want the poor to subsidize the payment of the rich. In other words, we must make sure that the poor are not sacrificed in the process of tariff increase.”

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Meanwhile, the committee chairman, Senator Gabriel Suswan urged the commission to handle the tariff increase with caution because of the economic hardship it could inflict on the people.

He told Momoh to the Senate is opposed to the proposed increase in tariff but having viewed that most Nigerians cannot even feed themselves at the moment owing to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commission has “to make haste slowly” about the tariff.

Explaining what “to make haste slowly” meant, the lawmaker said the NERC has reviewed the tariff but the economy has contracted by over 2 percent due to COVID.

“By their own Programme, they (NERC) is supposed to activated tariff increase by 1st of July.

We met with them at the level of National Assembly and appealed that given the circumstances of the COVID they should tally awhile let Nigerians a beat recover from the economic shocks before they can activate that tariff.”

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According to him, the commission suspended the hike because of the pleas of the Senate. He insists at the suspend the hike does not rule out its eventual increase.

Suswan said the liquidity of the sector depends on a cost-reflective tariff.

The lawmaker said the commission is presently supporting the National Assembly for the enactment of the Electricity Act since the one in at the moment was pre privatization of the sector.

The new bill, said the committee chairman, is expected to be presented to the National Assembly before August this year.

The lawmaker said “these have gone beyond privatization. There has to be an electricity act that will set the framework that touches on energy theft: how people will be sanctioned. It gives potential investors the comfort to come here and invest knowing that legal framework protects them. NERC is supporting us financially to put that act together. By August we should be able to put that act before the National Assembly.”

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