The Federal Government has signed two contracts valued at $5.1bn with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for the construction and modernisation of rail lines in different parts of the country.
According to the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the two agreements are the Kano-Kaduna Segment 3 of the Lagos-Kano rail modernisation project with a contract sum of $1.68bn, and the Calabar-Port Harcourt Segment 1, which extends to Onne Deep Seaport of the coastal rail project at a cost of $3.4bn.
The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, said the government had commenced the segmentation of the same contract in line with its resolutions with the China-Exim Bank.
Amaechi, in a statement issued by his ministry on Thursday, said the Federal Government would release its counterpart funds as quickly as possible, adding that with the cooperation of the China-Exim Bank, the projects would be completed in November 2018.
“I have assured Mr. President that we need to complete these projects in two years,” the minister was quoted in the statement.
The Managing Director, CCECC, Mr. Jack Li, assured the Federal Government of his company’s readiness to complete the projects in two years as this would benefit the travelling public.
He added that with the completion of the standard-gauge Abuja-Kaduna rail project, Nigeria had entered a new era in the transportation sector.
On Monday, the China Railway Construction Corporation announced that it had won a $1.851bn contract to construct the Kano city light rail, as its directors had received a provisional letter of award from Nigeria.
The CRCC had stated that the rail, with a total length of 74.3km, was expected to travel at a speed of 100km per hour.
Rail transportation received a boost in Nigeria on July 26 this year when President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Abuja-Kaduna commercial train operation after a series of postponements.
The modernisation phase of the project had commenced with the signing of the contract for the construction of Abuja (Idu) to Kaduna (Rigasa) rail line in 2009.
Buhari had said the rail line would significantly enhance and provide affordable and safe movement of passengers and freight between the Federal Capital Territory and Kaduna State.
He noted that the train operation would also serve as a major catalyst for industrialisation and generation of employment.
Removal of Petrol Subsidy: NGF to Dialogue With Labour Unions Over Strike Threat
The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) under the chairmanship of Dr Kayode Fayemi has said it will meet with the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress(TUC) to discuss the removal of petrol subsidy.
The announcement of the minister of finance, Zainab Ahmed in November, 2021 that fuel subsidy will be removed in 2022 has birthed reactions from citizens and organised labour unions are threatening to embark on strike.
The federal government, however, promised that N5000 will be given monthly to poor Nigerians as a transportation grant while the subsidy is removed but the decision did not go down well with the unions, hence the strike threat.
Addressing newsmen after the forum meeting, the NGF chairman and governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi stated that the 36 states governors discussed major national issues, of which the removal of petrol subsidy was one.
Fayemi noted that on the fuel subsidy, the forum has decided to dialogue with the leadership of the labour unions with the aim of drawing a conclusion that will not affect the people and the Nigerian economy.
In his words, “we discussed the issue around petroleum subsidy and concluded to engage the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress.
“We will engage them on how best to address this issue without causing any disaffection but with a view to salvaging the Nigerian economy for the Nigerian people at the end of the day.
“So, we shall be engaging the NLC as sub-national leaders and with a view to ensuring that the outcome of our engagement will also be fed into the national discourse.”
Fayemi further said that the recommendation of the National Economic Council (NEC) that the price of petrol should be N302 per litre, was not the decision of the governors forum but the responsibility of the federal government.
He hinted that the governors got a presentation from the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) on business growth and ease.
“The presentation elaborated on the need to step up the reforms towards improving the investments and business climate at the sub-national level,” Fayemi said.
How Shell’s Exit Cost Nigeria $178bn Loss – Ogoni Group
Since the Royal Dutch Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) exited Ogoniland, Rivers State, in 1993, Nigeria has suffered a total loss of $178.85 billion or N72 trillion.
Members of the Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) disclosed this on Wednesday in Port Harcourt. The group blamed the federal government for mismanagement of funds, resources and the ensuing violence since the company’s exit from the land.
Shell, which began operation in Ogoniland in 1958, revealed that it drilled 96 wells to bring nine oil fields onstream. By the end of 1992, oil production from the region stood at 28,000 barrels of oil a day, about 3% of SPDC’s total production.
Sadly, the yield in production did not match the development of Ogoniland as its people suffered extreme oil pollution both on land and water.
However, after years of campaigning for greater control over oil and gas resources in the region to aid economic development and autonomy of their affairs, (including cultural, religious and environmental matters), MOSOP demanded that the petroleum company leave its land. Since then, SPDC no longer produced oil or gas from Ogoni fields. Nevertheless, Ogoni land continued to serve as a transit route for pipelines, transportation of both SPDC and third-party oil production from surrounding areas.
In his statement, while addressing the MOSOP Congress in Bera, Gokana Local Government Area of the state, factional head of the Ogoniland group, Fegalo Nsuke, stressed that the $178.85 billion loss in Nigeria’s revenue was from “oil revenue alone”.
According to him, the loss Nigeria has however procured from gas “are inestimable due to non-availability of statistical evidence,” and that Ogoni gas potentials and revenue generation capacity far exceeded that of its oil.
Nsuke gave further details saying that “Ogoni oil production stood at 350,000 barrels per day before the exit of Shell in 1993. At an estimated average $50 per barrel, Nigeria has lost some $178.85 billion for mismanagement of the Ogoni crisis”. He clarified that this fact is based on available evidence from the oil industry.
Blaming the government for mismanagement of the crisis in Ogoniland, Nsuke said that the government, “Rather than listen and engage with the people… opted for a repressive approach of killing, maiming and torturing, thus exacerbated and prolonged the conflicts.”
The group further appealed to the government “to accept the offers by MOSOP for implementation of an Ogoni Development Authority to pave way for peaceful resolution of the conflict. The continual delay by relevant agencies of government to accept the Ogoni demands and reach a deal with the Ogoni people does not only amount to economic sabotage but represents a threat to the security of the country.
“Money runs the government and so when those in government fail to take advantage of opportunities to resolve issues that affect the national economy, it does not only amount to sabotaging the economy but is also a threat to national security.
“The inability of decision makers to peacefully resolve the Ogoni crises in over 28 years leading to the loss of over $178 billion amounts to sabotaging the economy and national security,” he added.
The group factional leader further assured the Ogonis of MOSOP’s commitment to Ogoniland’s development, urging them to remain peaceful as the leadership of the movement, still committed, will continue to push forward the proposals for a peaceful resolution of the conflicts and the vision of the struggle.
Implementation of 0.5% GDP on Technological Innovation Will Enhance National Socio-economic Devt– Onu
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu has stated that the application of 0.5% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on technological innovation will boost socio-economic development in the nation.
Onu affirmed that the implementation of 0.5% GDP will bring about sustainable economic growth and industrial revolution.
He disclosed this on Tuesday, at the consultative meeting on the provision of a minimum of 0.5% of GDP to fund science, technology and innovation sectors in the country, held in Abuja.
Investors King recalls that at the 2021 edition of the Annual STI Expo, President Muhammadu Buhari stated that 0.5% of the country’s GDP will be used for the development of STI as a measure to grow the nation’s productivity and economy.
The minister noted that the ministry is strategising for its attainment which will improve creativity, innovation and development of the nation.
“Countries that have made giant strides in sustaining their economy invest heavily in STI Sectors, which has guaranteed their continuous growth as well as sustaining their industrial growth.
“The decision to increase the nation’s STI funding was taken at the African Union’s executive council in 2006 to establish a target for all member states to allocate at least 1% of the GDP investment in research and development,” Onu said.
In his remarks, the Minister of State, Barr. Mohammed Abdullahi stated that STI should be prioritised and properly funded in order to reap its benefits.
Abdullahi enjoined Nigeria to deliberately invest heavily in STI, adding that such step will boost the nation’s economy tremendously as done in some Asian countries like China, Singapore
“The Federal Government has resolved to allocate 0.5% to R&D sector in a bid to fully actualise her diversification agenda, as part of its effort to put the country on the pedestal of global competitiveness,” he said.
At the event, all the Commissioners of Science, Technology and Innovation from the 36 states of the nation, including the FCT as well as heads of agencies and directors in the ministry were present.
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