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FG Slashes Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Budget to N50bn

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Fashola

The Federal Government has cut its budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway from N66bn to N50bn in the 2016 Appropriation Bill, representing a drop of 24 per cent.

Currently undergoing reconstruction, the two contractors handling the project, Julius Berger Plc and Reynolds Construction Company (Nigeria) Limited, are being owed several billions of naira for the job executed.

They have vacated the road following the unpaid debts and a recent court injunction obtained by Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, setting aside a concession agreement granted Motorway Assets Limited to finance the project and manage it.

Not more than N50bn has been raised by the government for the N167bn road project, which is expected to be completed next year.

In the initial budget for 2016 presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammad Buhari, N66bn was voted for the highway among other road projects.

But in the reviewed copy obtained on Friday, the appropriation for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway had come down to N50bn.

Although no reasons were officially offered for the slash, it was learnt that this was to ensure judicious distribution of funds that would be available for the year in view of the dwindling revenue from the oil.

A total of N244.123bn has been earmarked for the construction and provision of road facilities across the country in the reviewed 2016 Appropriation Bill.

This also showed some adjustments when compared with what was contained in the former proposal earlier sighted by one of our correspondents.

For instance, an analysis of appropriations for the Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing showed a series of adjustments in the section that captured construction, provision and repair of roads across the country.

The latest report showed that N244.123bn was budgeted for the construction and provision of roads while the government earmarked N277.95m for the rehabilitation and repairs of other items aside from roads.

From the latest bill, it was clear that the government raised the appropriation for road construction/provision by N45.73bn when compared with the N198.39bn initially appropriated for the construction/provision and rehabilitation/repairs of roads in the first bill earlier presented by the President.

Under the construction/provision section in the latest bill for the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, the highest allocation was appropriated for the construction and provision of roads.

Out of a total of N326.886bn appropriated for the construction and provision of fixed assets in the ministry, the road sector alone received N244.123bn, representing 74.68 per cent of the total.

The remaining N82.763bn or 25.32 per cent was shared among other sectors such as housing and electricity.

Indeed, the construction/provision of housing got N49.53bn; the construction/provision of electricity received N25.1bn, while the vote for the construction/provision of office buildings was put at N6.16bn.

Others are the construction/provision of infrastructure, N1.1bn; water facilities, N686.95m; rehabilitation/repairs of public schools, N42m; and rehabilitation of office buildings, N171.25m, amongst others.

Senior government officials at the works ministry told one of our correspondents that the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, would soon give directives on the commencement of work on selected federal roads.

According to them, the minister is presently working out ways to settle some of the debts owed contractors in order to encouraged them to move to the project sites.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “Work will commence on our roads soon. The minister has been on tour for some weeks now, and he is trying to see how the government can settle some of the debts owed contractors so that they can return to project sites when called upon.

“So, on whether the government is ready to fulfil its pledge concerning road construction, I can assure you that very soon many contractors will resume work on these roads.”

While unveiling the Federal Government’s blueprint on infrastructural development in December last year, Fashola had stated that the present administration would give priority attention to the completion of major highways.

Fashola had said, “Our short-term strategy will be to start with roads that have made some progress and can be quickly completed to facilitate connectivity. We will prioritise within this strategy by choosing first the roads that connect states together, and from that grouping, we will start with those that bear the heaviest traffic.”

Punch

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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President Buhari Accuses Governors of Stealing LG Funds

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Muhammadu Buhari

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has once again accused state governors of stealing monthly allocation due to local government under them.

The president spoke at a parley with members of the Senior Executive Course of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, held at the State House Banquet Hall, Abuja.

Speaking at the event, the president stated that it beats anyone’s imagination how some governors collected money on behalf of council areas in their states, only to remit just half of such allocation to the council chairmen, who would further deplete the remittance by filching it. Investors King learnt. 

 ‘‘I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100m, N50m will be sent to the chairman, but he will sign that he received N100m. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with,” the president narrated. 

‘‘This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated. He was a qualified lawyer, he was experienced, yet he participated in this type of corruption.” he queried. 

Furthermore, the president clarified that state governors and local government chairmen should be held responsible for the underdevelopment in the rural areas noting that most of the local governments lack basic amenities. 

Similarly, the National Union of Local Government Employees on Thursday backed the position of the president on the embezzlement and mismanagement of local government funds.

Responding to Buhari’s position, the  President of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Hakeem Ambali, said Buhari was merely stating the obvious.

The NULGE President nevertheless admonished the president to go beyond the statement and ensure governors, especially those in APC to sign the local government autonomy bill into law.  

“He should go beyond that statement. He is the leader of the party, he should ask them to sign the autonomy into law; he is the leader of the governors,’’ he said.

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Ramaphosa Braces for Calls to Resign Over $580,000 Theft at Farm

The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.

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Cyril Ramaphosa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s allies are steeling themselves before a meeting of the governing party’s top leaders at which he’s likely to face calls for his resignation.

The African National Congress’s National Executive Committee will on Thursday discuss the findings by an advisory panel that there may be a case for Ramaphosa’s impeachment. The panel found the president may have violated sections of the constitution following a theft of $580,000 that was stashed in a sofa at a game farm he owns.

The release of the panel’s report on Wednesday night triggered a slump in the rand. The NEC meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Party officials met with the ANC’s chief whip and the speaker of parliament to discuss the report on Wednesday, according to people familiar with the matter. A group of NEC members sympathetic to Ramaphosa held a meeting of their own, said the people who asked not to be identified discussing private party matters.

Pule Mabe, the ANC’s spokesman, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent by text message.

Resignation Option

The meeting of Ramaphosa’s supporters was called by Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele. Two NEC members who are close to Ramaphosa expressed concern that the president may opt to resign — a replay of what happened in June when the scandal over the game-farm theft first erupted and he took advice on whether or not he should quit.

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Ibom MRO to Bring in Forex to Nigeria 

Akwa Ibom State to open a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport

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U.S dollar - Investors King

The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Governor Udom Emmanuel, has announced that the state is close to opening a cutting-edge smart terminal building at the Victor Attah International Airport and that this will generate foreign exchange for Nigeria. 

Investors King has also learnt that an MRO facility for aircraft would be operational from January.

This comes on the heels of praise from his Edo State counterpart, Gov. Godwin Obaseki, who attended the Tuesday reception in Uyo for two additional A320-200 Airbus aircraft that the state’s Ibom Air fleet had leased from a European company.

Speaking at the event, the governor of Akwa Ibom said that while there were already efforts underway to persuade the government to lease the MRO, the MRO is an investment because it was built with naira, despite its current depreciation, and will therefore generate income.

The Akwa Ibom governor said “Our terminal building is world-class in Africa, our MRO is world-class. If you find one today in the entire Gulf of Guinea, tell me I’ll disassemble this one and build another.

“Look at our MRO; what you see here can accommodate two 747 aircraft as well as eight CRJ aircraft, which we are flying for servicing at the same time.”

“This is the only MRO in this part of the world today, and these facilities are not built with local currency, but we are building this MRO with naira that has no value.”

“I invest in areas where we can see a return on our money. Right now without blinking an eye, I can make over $ 30 million with this MRO if we decide to sell but we are not selling, we will make a foreign exchange from this investment.

“Airbus is on us to come and lease our MRO for all their regional flights, but we are not selling.

“We are going to open up this place ( MRO facility) from January next year for commercial activities and we are going to earn in dollars.”

He thanked Ibom Air’s Board of Directors, Management, and Staff for making him proud, emphasising that “they have done very well.”

Gov. Obaseki, who spoke at the event, stated that Akwa Ibom has become the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and make significant strides in the aviation sector.

Obaseki described Akwa Ibom as the country’s flagship state for its efforts to invest in and expand the aviation sector. “Ibom Air is always completely booked.” Let me thank you on behalf of Nigerians,’’ Obaseki said.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of Ibom Airlines., Mr Mfon Udom announced plans to begin regional flights in 2023.

Udom said the new addition to the fleet of Ibom Air would expand its carrying capacity and boost employment opportunities in the state by 40 per cent.

“With this new capacity coming on board, we are delighted to inform our passengers that we have increased our offerings, providing more frequencies for their convenience.

“The Uyo-Lagos and Uyo-Abuja routes now have three frequencies each every weekday, while our Lagos-Abuja passengers will have seven frequencies to choose from both ways, every weekday,’’ he said.

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