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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

COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday

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Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.

Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.

The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.

OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.

This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.

Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.

The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.

President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.

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Economy

Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021

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The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.

The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.

Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.

According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.

The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.

He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”

He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”

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World Bank Expects Nigeria’s Per Capita Income to Dip to 40 Years Low in 2020

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The World Bank has raised concern about Nigeria’s rising debt service cost, saying it could incapacitate the nation from necessary infrastructure development and growth.

The multilateral financial institution said the nation’s per capita income could plunge to 40 years low in 2020.

According to Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for World Bank in Nigeria, the decline in global oil prices had impacted government finances, remittances from the diaspora and the balance of payments.

Chaudhuri, who spoke during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Government, said while the nation’s debt is between 20 to 30 percent, rising debt service remains the bane of its numerous financial issues and growth.

Nigeria’s problem is that the debt service takes a big part of the government revenue,” he said.

He said, “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’

“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”

Nigeria’s per capita income stood at $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It rose to $3,222.69 in 2014 before falling to $2,229.9 in 2019.

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