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FG Generates N5m From Abuja-kaduna Train Route In 2 Weeks

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The Abuja-Kaduna train service recorded N5 million within the first two weeks of operation, Fidet Ikhiria, acting managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), has revealed.

Ikhiria made this known to NAN while travelling on the train from Abuja to Kaduna on Saturday.

The federal government invested$1.46 billion on the train service, which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari on July 26.

Ikhiria said he did not have record of the daily income of the service.

“In the first week of operation, we made N2.2 million; in the second week, we made N2.9 million,” he said.

“This is the third week of operation; the last week report showed that we had almost 5,000 passengers in six days.”We have capacity for 320 passengers per trip; for now, the maximum we can carry per trip is 320.”

So, for a day, the maximum number of passengers we can haveis 1000.”

Ikhiria said fencing of the tracks would commence before the end of August.

He acknowledged that there were some operational lapses on the route, but said the management was working toward addressing them.

Ikhira said some of the staff had yet to get used to the seat numbering, as it was different from what was obtainable in the previous trains.

According to the managing director, the coaches are overwhelmed by the number of people coming on board.

“Some passengers with economy class tickets are coming to sit on the first class coach because the economy class is filled up,” he said.”

We are going to do more enlightenment on this at the station and communities levels.”On the speed of the train, he said the parameter for speed was not coach but track which, according to him, was designed according to specification.

He said the train moved at 90 kilometres per hour from the initial 70 kilometres per hour but would get to 150 kilometres per hour in due course.

“The slow speed of the train is to avoid accidents as people living close to the tracks have yet to get used to the movement of train,” he explained.

Ikhiria said efforts were being made to beef up security at the stations and on board the train.

“By next week, our scanners will be in place; I am also discussing with the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to deploy more men,” he said.

“We have armed policemen on board and some security personnelwithout uniform.”

He added that efforts were also being made to install internet facilities in the train.

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

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Nigeria Offers 12 Oil Blocks and 5 Deep Offshore Assets to Global Investors

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Oil

Nigeria has unveiled plans to offer 12 oil blocks and 5 deep offshore assets to global investors.

The announcement was made during the ongoing 2024 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, United States, where Nigerian officials presented the country’s vast hydrocarbon potential to an international audience of industry stakeholders.

Addressing participants at the African Oil Industry Opportunities Session, a side event at the OTC, Gbenga Komolafe, Chief Executive of the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission, outlined Nigeria’s significant reserves and emphasized the strategic importance of leveraging these resources for economic development.

With over 37.5 billion barrels of crude oil and condensate reserves, as well as 209.26 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, Nigeria stands as a major player in Africa’s energy landscape.

Komolafe highlighted the government’s commitment to conducting a transparent and competitive bidding process, in accordance with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and applicable regulations.

The 2024 Licensing Round, he noted, marks a significant milestone in Nigeria’s hydrocarbon development initiative, introducing 12 carefully selected blocks spanning diverse geological formations, from onshore basins to deep offshore territories.

Each block has been identified for its potential to enhance Nigeria’s reserves and stimulate economic growth, offering opportunities for investors to participate in the country’s oil and gas industry.

The bidding process, which commenced on April 29, 2024, is structured to ensure fairness, competitiveness, and transparency, with guidelines issued to guide prospective bidders.

In addition to the 12 blocks, Nigeria will also conclude the sale of seven deep offshore blocks from the 2022 Mini-Bid Round Exercise, covering approximately 6,700 km2 in water depths ranging from 1,150m to 3,100m.

This comprehensive offering underscores Nigeria’s commitment to maximizing the potential of its petroleum resources and attracting strategic investments to drive sectoral growth.

The bidding round, scheduled to conclude by January 2025, presents a significant opportunity for investors and companies to participate in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.

The inclusion of both new greenfield blocks and assets from previous bid rounds reflects the government’s dedication to fostering innovation, technological exchange, and capacity building within the industry.

With criteria emphasizing technical competence, financial capacity, and viability, the 2024 licensing round aims to be conducted in a fair, competitive, and non-discriminatory manner, in line with the provisions of the Petroleum Industry Act.

As Nigeria positions itself as a prime destination for oil and gas investment, stakeholders are optimistic about the potential for sustainable growth and development in the sector.

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Microsoft to Invest $2.2 Billion in Malaysia’s Digital Infrastructure

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Microsoft Corporation has announced plans to inject $2.2 billion into Malaysia’s digital infrastructure over the next four years.

This investment shows the company’s determination to harness the potential of Southeast Asia’s burgeoning technology market.

During his visit to Kuala Lumpur, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer, Satya Nadella, revealed the company’s ambitious agenda, which encompasses the construction of essential infrastructure to support its cloud computing and artificial intelligence (AI) services.

Nadella also outlined plans to provide AI training to 200,000 individuals in Malaysia and collaborate with the government to enhance the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities.

The move comes amidst intensified competition among tech giants, including Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., to gain a foothold in Southeast Asia’s rapidly digitizing landscape.

With a population exceeding 650 million people, the region presents a lucrative market for tech companies seeking to expand their operations beyond traditional strongholds like China.

“We are committed to supporting Malaysia’s AI transformation and ensure it benefits all Malaysians,” stated Nadella.

During his visit, Nadella met Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and discussed the importance of collaboration between the public and private sectors in driving digital innovation.

Microsoft’s investment not only serves to fortify Malaysia’s technological infrastructure but also aligns with the company’s broader strategy to assert its presence in the Asian market.

Nadella has previously pledged a substantial sum of $7 billion to bolster Microsoft’s services across the region, emphasizing the pivotal role of AI as a catalyst for growth and urging countries to ramp up investment in the technology.

In Malaysia, the southern region of Johor Bahru, linked to Singapore by a causeway, is emerging as a key hub for AI data centers.

The partnership between Nvidia Corp. and local utility YTL Power International Bhd. to establish a $4.3 billion AI data center park in the area underscores the region’s growing significance in the realm of digital infrastructure.

While AI adoption in Southeast Asia is still in its nascent stages, experts predict significant economic benefits with the potential to add approximately $1 trillion to the region’s economy by 2030.

Malaysia is poised to capture a substantial portion of this growth with estimates suggesting a potential windfall of around $115 billion for the country.

Microsoft’s commitment extends beyond Malaysia, as the company announced similar investments during Nadella’s regional tour.

In Indonesia, Microsoft unveiled a $1.7 billion investment plan, while an undisclosed amount was pledged for initiatives in Thailand. Notably, Microsoft intends to invest approximately $1 billion in a new data center in Thailand, as reported by the Bangkok Post.

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Investors Flock to Nigerian Treasury Bills, Subscriptions Soar to N23.75 Trillion

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FG Borrows

Nigeria’s Treasury Bills market has witnessed an unprecedented surge in investor interest with subscriptions soaring to N23.75 trillion in the first four months of 2024.

This increase represents a significant 292% Year-on-Year growth from N6.06 trillion recorded in the same period in 2023.

Treasury Bills, short-term government debt instruments issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), have become increasingly attractive to both local and foreign investors.

The double-digit interest rates offered on NTBs have lured investors seeking refuge from the uncertainties of the global economic landscape.

The surge in subscriptions comes amidst Nigeria’s efforts to bridge its budget deficit and manage monetary challenges amidst a scarcity of foreign exchange and double-digit inflation rates.

Investors’ confidence in the CBN’s ability to navigate these challenges has been bolstered by robust subscription rates, indicating a positive outlook for the country’s fiscal stability.

The 2024 Budget of ‘Renewed Hope’, proposed by President Bola Tinubu, outlines a total expenditure of N27.5 trillion, with a deficit of N9.18 trillion.

The high demand for NTBs underscores investors’ confidence in the government’s fiscal policies and its commitment to economic reform.

As interest rates on NTBs have risen in response to inflationary pressures, the CBN has capitalized on this demand by auctioning larger volumes of NTBs.

The move aims to address liquidity in the financial system while attracting foreign investors seeking higher yields.

Analysts view the surge in NTBs subscriptions as a testament to investors’ confidence in the Nigerian government and its reforms.

The massive oversubscription signals significant system liquidity and reflects the attractiveness of NTBs as a safe investment option amidst economic uncertainties.

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