Group lauds removal of VAT on cooking gas

 

Group lauds removal of VAT on cooking gas

By Solomon Asowata

The Nigerian Association of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers (NALPGAM), says the removal of Value Added Tax (VAT) on cooking gas by the Federal Government will deepen market penetration, boost the country’s economy and protect the environment.

Mr Nosa Ogieva-Okunbor, President , NALPGAM, stated this during the association’s Governing Council Meeting held in Lagos on Tuesday.

He noted that the removal of VAT on the gas supply to marketers by Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) would attract more investors and reduce importation of gas into the country.

“This removal of VAT on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), popularly known as cooking gas, has crashed the price of cooking gas by about 30 per cent in the market.

“Currently, a 12.5kg bottle of gas which was N4,300 now sells for between N2,500 and N2,700 and has also deepened household usage of gas,’’ he said.

Ogieva-Okunbor said the association would take effective steps to deepen the use of LPG and increase local consumption from the current 700,000 metric tonnes to 1,000,000 metric tonnes annually.

He said that the target can increase to about five million metric tonnes by 2025 if stakehokders in the sector adhere to standards.

“If achieved, Nigeria will join the league of nations with high level of LPG consumption,” he said.

The President also stressed the need for the reduction of import duty on LPG equipment so as to encourage more investors to come in and deepen LPG consumption in the country.

He, however, expressed concern over growing indiscriminate establishment of gas plants in filling stations, which he said pose a great danger to the citizenry and the economy.

Ogieva-Okunbor said that the association is not against establishments of such plants but insisted that they must operate with the same Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) applicable to standard gas plants as laid down by the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR).

He noted that the right procedure for petrol filling stations to dispense cooking gas was for them to retail already filled gas cylinders.

Ogieva-Okunbor added that the DPR had given a directive for the removal of gas plants in filling stations by December 2020.(NAN)

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Kenya to host inaugural Africa Food Show in 2020

Kenya to host inaugural Africa Food Show in 2020
Kenya to host inaugural Africa Food Show in 2020

Kenya will in 2020 host the inaugural Africa Food Show that will bring together policymakers, industry executives, farmers and consumers to learn about emerging trends in trade on agricultural commodities, organisers said on Tuesday.

David Wang, the Chairman of MIE Groups, the event organiser, said this in Nairobi.

The premier event, which will take place in Nairobi from June 24 to 26 in 2020, will help showcase food products, processing and packaging technologies to investors as well as consumers.

“Africa Food Show will provide a platform for the next generation of entrepreneurs to gain a better understanding of the market for agricultural commodities in the continent,’’ Wang said.

Wang said that Kenya’s strategic position as a logistics hub informed the decision to host the inaugural continental food summit that is expected to unlock opportunities for local farmers, processors and distributors.

“Kenya has modern infrastructure, policy support, growing foreign direct investments that are an incentive for hosting African Food Show and highlight untapped opportunities to global agricultural commodity traders.’’

The inaugural Africa Food Show, which will be held concurrently with China Trade Week, is expected to position Kenya as an attractive investment destination for agro-processing.

Lucy Njenga, Director of Policy Research and Regulation in the Ministry of Agriculture, said the event would boost the government’s food and nutritional security agenda.

“We are open to hosting an event that will provide an opportunity for farmers and investors to exchange knowledge on technologies and innovations that are key to promote food security and incomes through value addition,’’ said Njenga.

She said that Kenya would leverage the Africa Food Show to attract additional investors in value chains such as storage, processing and distribution in order to lift the fortunes of smallholder farmers.

Fadi Kaddoura, Vice President in charge of Sales and Marketing at MIE Groups, said the event would feature exhibitions alongside the business-to-business meetings.

The meeting is expected to raise the visibility of the continent’s major agricultural commodities.

The commodities will including cereals, fresh produce, spices and nuts. (Xinhua/NAN)

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Health officers plan to disinfect Abakaliki, environs of yellow fever

Health officers
Health officers

By Uchenna Ugwu

Mr Sunday Nwonu, a Sanitarian and Senior Environmental Health Officer, Ministry of Environment, Ebonyi, says the ministry plans to sanitise Abakaliki and environs following the recent outbreak of yellow fever in the state.

Nwonu made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abakaliki on Tuesday during a programme to strengthen efforts in controlling the circulation of the yellow fever virus.

The Sanitarian said that the exercise was to ensure total elimination of mosquito vectors in dirty environments and to prevent further outbreak in the area.

Nwonu who is also the President, Environmental Health Officers Association of Nigeria, Ebonyi Chapter, said that it would also complement the long-term strategy of high coverage of yellow fever vaccination.

He said the association was collaborating with the state ministry of health to commence the exercise.

He appreciated the efforts of the World Health Organisation, (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Gavi, the state government, among other partners, in containing the situation.

“It is not enough to administer the vaccines to people because environments where the mosquitoes live is still a factor.

“We are making plans to interface with state government to embark on disinfection process around government property, drainages, residential areas and removing objects that will help the mosquitoes reside, among other factors.

“The exercise is the responsibility of the environmental health officers to attack the mosquito vector and eliminate the yellow fever,’’ Nwonu said.

He called on residents, schools and other public establishments to support government efforts by disinfecting their premises against yellow fever.

He, however, encouraged them to properly discard abandoned objects such as old tyres, cover empty containers and pots with water to avoid mosquitoes residing in them.

NAN reports that the state ministry of health reported that no fewer than 15 persons had died following the outbreak of yellow fever in Iboko community, Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi.

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Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers launch campaign against “Shisha” consumption

Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha
Campaign on dangers of consuming Shisha

By Emmaunel Afonne

Gatefield, a Public Strategy Firm in collaboration with an Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger  in Abuja launched a campaign on the dangers of Shisha consumption in the country.

Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube

Miss Ebiuwairo Uwagboe, Campaign and Media `Specialist, Gatefield, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that  rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, and other parts of the country was alarming and constituted a major health risk to residents.

“To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger today in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.

“The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.

She noted that Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes.

“Smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases”, she said

She said that Oliver’s Burger rebranded its trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign adding that the restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as “smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes” and  “smoking shisha in public places endangers others”.

She noted that the campaign’s Instagram page @pipedownNG, provided users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.

In his remarks, Oliver Naku, the Chief Executive Officer of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers live healthy lives.

“It is good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people around them.”

Maryam Hassan, a customer at the launch said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker but I didn’t know it was this dangerous.

“This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of Shisha.” She said

Also speaking to NAN, Mr Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said “This campaign is very important.

“There is a lot of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours; truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes,’’ he said

But Mr Sebastian Abegunde, a Tax consultant with Deliotte said, it is not about stopping the consumption of Shisha but moderation.

“I believe everything in the world needs to be taken in moderation. Shisha is not something you should take a lot or every day.

“Everything you take in excess has adverse effect in the body, like sugar, if you take too much, at the end of the day, you come down with diabetes.

“The campaign is necessary because people need to pipe down, people who take it should reduce the level of consumption, ” he said

The World Health Organisation has said that one hour session of Shisha smoke was equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes.

The world health agency added that that people are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.

NAN reports that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the recently approved tobacco control regulations 2019 prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places.

However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja. (NAN)

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UNGA: Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande takes over as president

Ambassador Muhammad-Bande: declares interest in UNGA Presidency

By Harison Arubu

Ms Maria Espinosa, the President of the 73rd UN General Assembly, on Monday handed over to Nigeria’s Muhammad-Bande, who will lead the 74th session of the assembly in the next one year.

The ceremony, held inside the General Assembly Hall of the UN headquarters in New York, marked the end of the 73rd session .

The 74th session will formally begin on Tuesday with the inauguration of Muhammad-Bande, who is the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN.

The handover ceremony was witnessed by top officials of the UN led by the Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

Nigerian officials, including a presidential team, comprising the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr Ahmed Abubakar, and presidential spokesman, Mr Garba Shehu, also witnessed the ceremony.

In a short address, Guterres lauded Espinosa for her strong leadership, describing her as a “champion for multilateralism”, who made the UN “relevant to all”.

“I commend her ambitious priorities for this session, which addressed crucial matters of international impact and concern.

“These include gender equality, migration and refugees, decent work for all, environmental protection, the rights of people with disabilities, promoting the voices of young people to advance peace and security, and revitalising the work of the United Nations.

“The commitment of Espinosa to the environment especially ending plastic pollution also stands out,” he said.

The UN chief said he looked forward to working with Muhammad-Bande to advance the organisation’s mission of building  more peaceful and prosperous world.

Earlier in a valedictory press conference, Espinosa said she was satisfied with her achievements within her one-year tenure.

She said her practice of formally reporting back to member states every three months, was very useful, especially for the smaller missions that could cover all the agenda items.

Espinosa said during the 73rd Session, no fewer than 341 resolutions were adopted, making it the highest number in several years.

She reiterated her call on member states to “read the resolutions we have adopted again and let´s deliver and implement them using this norm-setting power of the General Assembly”, she said.

Espinosa is the woman to hold the office of the president of the General Assembly. (NAN)

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GenCos releases 3,306 MWH of electricity to national grid – report

 

Electricity power line
GenCos releases 3,306 MWH of electricity to national grid – report

By Constance Imasuen

Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos), comprising gas-fired and hydro stations, said they released an average of 3,306 MegaWatts/Hour of electricity into the national grid on Sunday .

The Advisory Power Team, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this in a daily energy report made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Monday.

The report noted that the electricity sent out by the GenCos was down by 4.49 megawatts from the figure released on Saturday.

It, however, said that 1,591 megawatts could not be generated due to unavailability of gas.

The report noted that zero (0) megawatts was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure during the period.

Similarly, it said that 2,963.40 megawatts were not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

According to the report, zero (0) megawatts was recorded as losses due to water management procedures.

The report revealed that the power sector lost an estimated over N2 billion on Sunday  due to insufficient gas supply, distribution and transmission infrastructure.

On sector reform/activities, it said that the dominant constraint for Sunday was high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

The report noted that the peak generation attained on Sunday was 4 186.8 megawatts. (NAN)

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Affordable Houses: Stakeholders advocate good governance

 

Housing Esaste

By Franca Ofili

Mr Yemi Adelakun, Managing Director, Nigeria Integrated Social Housing (NISH) Affordable Housing Ltd has advocated good governance and a robust savings scheme to enable the country to deliver a proper cooperative housing scheme.

Adelakun made the call in Abuja on Monday at a stakeholders’ quarterly workshop on cooperative housing in Nigeria with the theme, “’Aggregating Off-takers’ Savings for Affordable Housing in Nigeria’’.

He called for a special savings scheme to ensure inclusive growth and development.

“The success factors of cooperative housing are good governance, trust, transparency and accountability, capacity building, respect and strict adherence to rule of law, checks and balances with continuous monitoring and auditing.

“Others are robust savings scheme, electronic data management and information communication technology,’’ Adelakun said.

He said the objective of the workshop was ‘’to organise, empower, and acquaint cooperative leaders with Innovative Cooperative Housing Principles.

According to him, the workshop will sensitise them to aggregate members’ equity contributions through saving for effective and sustainable delivery of affordable housing to co-operators.

Adelakun said the workshop was designed to strengthen the governance capacity, transparency and accountability of housing cooperatives through information and communications technology.’’

“The core inspiration behind the workshop is for NISH and partners to use this method to ensure that they develop a very strong and effective housing cooperatives system in Nigeria,’’ he said.

He identified six most critical challenges of affordable housing as land, technology, expert knowledge and skilled manpower; building materials, infrastructure and finance.

Adelakun said the lack of off-takers’ access to credit line was the major challenge that must be tackled for the country to achieve a successful affordable housing delivery.

Mr Anders Lindquist, Chief Business Development, EchoStone, said that every country had housing deficit but that Nigeria had the highest deficit.

EchoStone is an international provider of affordable housing solutions.

Lindquist called for more workshops to educate buyers and promised to work with the stakeholders to achieve their goals.

He called on government to be more interested in ensuring that affordable houses were made available to Nigerians.

Lindquist said that good governance was vital to achieving affordable housing.

He urged the workshop to ensure that action would be taken not just talk. (NAN)

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Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers intensify campaign against “Shisha” consumption

 

 

Gatefield, a Public Strategy Firm in collaboration with an Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger on Monday in Abuja created awareness on the dangers of Shisha consumption in the country.

Shisha smoking – also called hookah, narghile, waterpipe, or hubble bubble smoking – is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube

Miss Ebiuwairo Uwagboe, Campaign and Media `Specialist, Gatefield, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that  rising popularity of Shisha smoking among young people in Abuja, and other parts of the country was alarming and constituted a major health risk to residents.

“To help bring attention to this issue, Abuja’s leading Burger restaurant, Oliver’s Burger today in partnership with public strategy firm, Gatefield, launched campaign #PipeDown to inform young people about the health risks associated with Shisha by crashing the price of Burgers for one week.

“The #PipeDown campaign aims to educate people especially smokers of the flavored tobacco product about the implications of the behavior on public health and safety.

Shisha has been proven to be more harmful than regular cigarettes. Shisha smokers including second-hand smokers are at the risk of cancer and other respiratory and cardiovascular diseases,’’ she said.

She said that Oliver’s Burger rebranded its trucks and food packaging to reflect the campaign adding that the restaurant also shared branded posters at their stands to buyers carrying messages such as “smoking shisha for one hour is as bad as smoking 100 cigarettes” and  “smoking shisha in public places endangers others”.

She noted that the campaign’s Instagram page @pipedownNG, provided users with the relevant information and facts on the dangers of Shisha smoke.

 

Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers intensify campaign against “Shisha” consumption

In his remarks, Oliver Naku, the Chief Executive Officer of the Burger restaurant said that the company felt obliged to ensure that customers live healthy lives.

“It is good to let customers know that this not only endangers them, but the people around them.”

Maryam Hassan, a customer at the launch said: “I have never really been a shisha smoker but I didn’t know it was this dangerous.

“This campaign will help spread awareness on this issue because a lot of people are ignorant of the dangers of Shisha.” She said

Mr Michael Olaniyan, Technical Resource Officer of the Washington DC based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids said “This campaign is very important.

“There is a lot of misinformation around Shisha. People think it’s trendy and healthy because of its deceptive flavours; truth is that Shisha is as bad if not more dangerous than cigarettes,’’ he said

But Mr Sebastian Abegunde a Tax consultant with Deliotte said that it is not about stopping the consumption of Shisha but moderation.

“I believe everything in the world needs to be taken in moderation. Shisha is not something you should take a lot or every day.

“Everything you take in excess has adverse effect in the body, like sugar, if you take too much, at the end of the day, you come down with diabetes.

“The campaign is necessary because people need to pipe down, people who take it should reduce the level of consumption, ” he said

Gatefield, Oliver’s Burgers intensify campaign against “Shisha” consumption

The World Health Organisation has said that one hour session of Shisha smoke was equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes.

It added that that people are also at risk of hepatitis when they share Shisha pipes.

It will be recalled that the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the recently approved tobacco control regulations 2019 prohibit the smoking of cigarettes in public places.

However, this law is yet to be fully implemented as Shisha smoking in public places is still common in many public places in Abuja. (NAN)

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Shell deploys cameras to track spills, crude theft

 

Shell Worker

By Edeki Igafe

The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC) says it has deployed state-of-the-art high definition cameras for quick detection and response to crude oil theft and spills from its facilities.

Mr Igo Weli, SPDC General Manager, External Relations disclosed this at a workshop on Monday tagged: “2019 Pipelines Right of Ways Media Engagement” in Warri.

Weli, who was represented by Mr Alaye Dokubo, said the cameras would also help in tracking vandalism of SPDC Joint Venture (JV) assets.

“The cameras are attached to specialized helicopters, which carry out daily overflight over our facilities. This measure has improved the surveillance of our Joint Venture assets,” he said.

The general manager also said that SPDC had implemented anti-theft protection mechanisms on key infrastructure, such as wellheads and manifolds to address constant attacks from vandals.

He noted that the development would prevent and minimize sabotage-related spills.

Weli said the daily loss of over 11,000 barrels of oil per day in 2018 and the threat to the integrity of the SPDC JV assets necessitated the approach to protect critical national assets.

“We collaborate with community leaders, traditional rulers, civil societies and state governments in the Niger Delta.

“This is to implement several initiatives and partnerships to raise awareness on the negative impact of crude oil theft and illegal oil refining.

“Such public enlightenment programmes on the negative impacts to people and the environment help to build greater trust in spill response and clean-up processes,” he said.

Weli said that SPDC would sustain its air and ground surveillance to complement the efforts of government security agents in checking crude theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal refining.

He commended the effort of the Operation Delta Safe in protecting critical oil and gas assets and appealed to other government security forces to intensify their activities around oil and gas facilities.

“In its June 2019 monthly report, NNPC, which controls Nigeria’s 55 per cent interest in the SPDC JV, reported a 77 per cent rise in oil pipeline vandalism.

“Also, 106 pipeline breaches were recorded in June, up from 60 in May,” Weli said.

Also speaking, SPDC’s General Manager, Safety and Environment, Mrs Chidube Nnene-Anochie, said majority of spill incidents on SPDC pipelines were as a result of sabotage.

Nnene-Anochie, who was represented by SPDC’s Compliance Monitoring Leader, Temitope Ajibade said the company was worried by the continuous increase in cases of sabotage and theft.

“Oil spills due to theft and sabotage of facilities as well as illegal refining, cause the most environmental damage from oil and gas operations in the Niger Delta.

“SPDC removed more than 1,160 illegal theft points from its pipelines between 2012 and end of 2018.

“The attendant spills from the theft points are sometimes made worse by challenges of access to the incident sites to investigate and stop leaks.

“We track the progress of our spill response from when we learn about the leak to when clean-up is completed and certified by regulators,” she said.

Nnene-Anochie said that one of the key priority for Shell companies in Nigeria remained to achieve the goal of no spills from its operations.

“No spill is acceptable, we work hard to prevent them. However, SPDC cleans and remediates areas impacted by spills from its facilities irrespective of the cause,” she said. (NAN)

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Agricultural value chain crucial for jobs, productivity – Osinbajo

By Chijioke Okoronkwo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says that the greatest value for jobs and improved productivity lies in the agro-allied value chain.

Osinbajo made the assertion while declaring open the 2019 Annual National Management Conference of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) on Monday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the conference is, “ Managing the Challenges of Democracy.’’

He said that the central question especially in the public sector was not the lack of talent or well researched policies but the weakness in implementation.

The vice president said that the implementation of policies and programmes to address the challenges of poverty and wealth creation, jobs for millions of young people required collective thinking and action.

According to him the Federal Government has created appreciable value in agriculture, with the Anchor Borrower programme by adding new jobs and acreage in paddy rice, sorghum, millet, cassava and yams.

“But we recognise that it is in the agro-allied value chain that the greatest value lies for jobs and improved productivity.

“So a crucial component of that is our mechanisation of agriculture programme with the Brazilian government where we intend to build service centers in every local government to render extension services, leasing of farm equipment, provision of improved inputs.

”In addition to that there will be six assembly plants for tractors and other equipment. The enhancing of commerce in agriculture by the building of rural roads for access to markets and commodity exchanges are also priority items.

“The expansion of opportunities in manufacturing with the completion of the first phase of the special economic zones in Enyimba City in Abia, Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos and the Funtua Cotton in Katsina are priorities and good progress has been made thus far.

“In addition we are in collaboration with the BOI in investing in infrastructure in small businesses and commercial clusters all over Nigeria.

“Leather works clusters, shoe making, food processing clusters, printer clusters etc are to benefit from the provision of power, equipment, and other infrastructure.’’

He said that the issues of capacity in human capital development, affordable healthcare for all, education, especially getting out-of-school children into the school system, education of girls, and relevant educational curricular were front burner issues.

Osinbajo said that healthcare for all could not come from budget allocations alone as the government had taken major steps in the provision of universal coverage policy.

He said that the next level would be the implementation of compulsory health insurance for all Nigerians on a co-payment basis with government.

“We are working at the level of the National Economic Council to achieve the President’s June 20 charge to state governors to ensure full implementation of free and compulsory education in the first nine years of the school life of every Nigerian child.

“The Home-grown School Feeding Programme which is now in about 30 states and feeding over 9.5 million children daily has helped to drive enrollment figures upwards.’’

The Vice president said that under the energising economies scheme, the Federal Government licensed and ensured the provision of power on a willing-buyer willing-seller basis to large and medium scale markets, such as Sabongari in Kano, Ariaria in Aba and Sura in Lagos.

He said that Federal Government’s Social intervention Programmes had greatly enhanced access to credit and improved the inventories of petty traders.

Osinbajo said that the programme recently won the African Development Bank prize for financial inclusion.

The Vice President said that efforts were being made to scale up.

He added that after the presidential policy dialogue preceding the inauguration of ministers, President Muhammadu Buhari developed a list of specific mandates for each ministry.

“The full and effective performance of their mandates is of course an implementation challenge. We look forward to your contributions on the journey,’’ he said.

Earlier in his speech, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda, President of the institute, said the conference always presented a platform to discuss topical issues of national interest with a view to proffering solutions. (NAN)

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