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FG Signs $5.1bn Contracts With Chinese Firm

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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.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

World Bank In Partnership With Lagos State Plan To Construct 13.16km Farm Access Road

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Lagos State Government says its World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project will construct 13.16km Farm Access Roads (FARs) in four cluster areas.

The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said this on Thursday during the activities to commemorate the second year of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

Olusanya noted that the four farm cluster areas were Igbodu in Epe, Araga also in Epe, Erinkorodo in Ikorodu, and Afowo in Badagry. She said the access roads when completed would ensure smooth movement to and fro the farms.

Olusanya added that it would reduce losses encountered by egg farmers as a result of the bad road and also improve the productivity of the concerned farmers.

She said the evaluation and engineering design for the four roads had since been finalised and construction would commence immediately.

“APPEALS Project is a World Bank-assisted project aimed at enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the three identified value chains of poultry, aquaculture, and rice through capacity building, provision of infrastructure, and empowerment.

“The project will be rehabilitating and constructing 13.16Km farm access roads already identified in four different clusters across the state. The design of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation for the four FARs is at the final report stage.

“The advertisement for potential contractors and subsequent implementation will be carried out once the work plan is approved by the governor,” she said.

According to Olusanya, 1,621 regular beneficiaries under the Project’s Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) has been trained in agribusiness management and other soft skills within the last two years.

“Of the number, 462 have received “No Objections” on their Business Investment Plans and are presently implementing their projects. Other beneficiaries will equally be supported before the end of the year, “ she said.

Olusanya added that the APPEALS project had equally identified and verified 9,942 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, while 8,156 of them had received at least one form of training in relevant areas of agribusiness. She said this was with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity and improving value addition. Olusanya noted that no fewer than 460 beneficiaries were sponsored for training, workshop, and conferences out of which 425 of them were farmers.

“A cluster of fish farmers at Badagry have adopted the production of fish crackers and fish cakes. Over 1,000 packs (696 Kg) of fish fillet and crackers had been produced and sold during the period under review.

“Use of nets for the control of birds in rice farming had since been adopted by our farmers. Over 100 rice farmers in Ganyingbo, Badagry are presently trying this technology with other agronomic practices learnt through the state collaboration with AfricaRice, IITA, Ibadan,” Olusanya said. (NAN)

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Foreign Sponsors Drives Infrastructure Projects In Nigeria – World Bank

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Projects with foreign sponsors have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria, the World Bank said on Thursday.

The World Bank said this in its report titled ‘Private participation in infrastructure 2020 annual report’.

It said sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.

The report said, “Nigeria has managed to report PPI investment commitments for five consecutive years since 2015. Sizable 2020 PPI investment commitments in Nigeria were mainly due to a big-ticket natural gas pipeline project.

“The $2.6bn pipelines will transport up to 3,500 million cubic feet of gas a day from various gas gathering projects in southern Nigeria.

“Projects with foreign sponsors, especially from China, have played an important role in developing sizable infrastructure projects in Nigeria.”

According to the report, there are four natural gas projects in some countries with $6.9bn in investment commitments in 2020.

It stated that one of them was the Ajaokuta–Kaduna–Kano pipeline, which was being developed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to transport natural gas from southern Nigeria to central Nigeria.

“The $2.8bn pipeline project represents phase one of the 1,300-kilometer Trans-Nigerian Gas Pipeline project, which is being developed as part of Nigeria’s Gas Master Plan to utilise the country’s surplus gas resources for power generation as well as for consumption by domestic customers,” it stated.

It said Mexico’s $4bn natural gas pipeline, storage, and corridor project was another one.

The report said it would be the largest natural gas storage facility in North America.

“The pipelines will provide a faster, more economical means of delivering natural gas to locations around the world,” it stated.

According to the report, investment commitments in 2020 stood at $45.7bn across 252 projects, marking a 52 percent decline from 2019 levels.

Private investment commitments had not fallen to these levels since 2004 when investment totaled $31.3bn, it stated.

Nevertheless, it added that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, investments in the second half of the year increased by 15 percent from the first half of the year.

It stated that private investment commitments in 2020 fell in all regions except for Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

According to the report, the impact of COVID-19 was most severe in East Asia and the Pacific, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe and Central Asia, and South Asia.

It stated, “Investment commitments in International Development Association countries in 2020 totaled $6.2bn across 30 projects in 16 countries.

“This compared to $8.4bn across 27 projects in 18 countries in 2019. It is notable that there were more projects in IDA countries despite the pandemic.”

Also, it added, 2020 investment commitments in IDA countries were 21 percent higher than the 2015-2019 average of $5.2bn.

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16,000 Jobs Will Be Created After National Theatre’s Renovation – Sunday Ododo

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The National Theatre will have the capacity to employ about 16,000 Nigerians at the completion of its ongoing renovation. This was revealed by Prof. Sunday Ododo, the General Manager of National Theatre.

He said the 44-year-old complex will provide over 16,000 jobs during and after its ongoing renovation, according to a report by NAN. Mr.Ododo said on Thursday that most of the jobs would come from the fields of music, movies, fashion, and information technology.

“Some of the jobs will be direct. Others will be indirect. The National Theatre will definitely be a hub for lots of activities,” he said.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Federal Government recently signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the renovation of the complex. Under the MOU, the CBN, through the Bankers Committee, will invest N21.894 billion to renovate the National Theatre, refurbish it and run it profitably.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, at the signing of the MOU, said that revamping the complex would unlock a mass of creative talents of thousands of Nigerian youths in various fields. Information minister Lai Mohammed, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government, had also said that the Private-Public-Partnership arrangement would stimulate growth in various sectors of the economy.

Mr. Ododo, while assessing the progress of the project, said that work had begun with the contractors fully mobilised to the site. He said he was particularly excited at the prospects of many youths securing jobs at all stages of the renovation.

“The jobs will come directly and indirectly through the ongoing radical restoration, revamping and renovation of the edifice. When completed, the complex, which is 44 years old, will be a huge business centre. It will be the place to be. Food sellers and other petty businesses will not be left out. Those coming for events will be served.

“Administration after administrations have ensured the edifice stands. And I must salute our predecessors; I give them kudos. If not for their dedication and efforts, National Theatre would have collapsed long ago. It is capital intensive to maintain. So you can now imagine if a huge sum of 21.8 billion naira is being invested to restore the complex.

“If, for instance, we had maintenance support of a billion naira or even half a billion annually, we will not get to this point where so much is required to fix the edifice. That is why we are glad to inform Nigerians that with the new arrangement, there’s a component that says that once the work is finished, a company will be engaged to maintain the facility every day for the next five years.

“If its work is good, it will be re-engaged; if otherwise, another company will be brought on board. So, maintenance is part of the new arrangement so that we don’t go back to Egypt,” he explained.

He regretted that hospitality outfits had taken over the business of the centre. According to him, these outfits make huge profits that could have been taken by the National Theatre.

“When the National Theatre is up and running, some of these event centres will have to be more creative to be in business. Though we don’t want to send anybody out of business, our own prime target is international businesses because we have facilities that can host international events which many of these event centres don’t have.

“Also, we will be making available a media centre that can take care of multi-language interpretation and all that. We have a 5,000-capacity main bowl. That one can take any UN event, any World Bank event, and any international event. National Theatre will be the centre to beat,” he declared.

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