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Ministry Official Alleges Neglect of Calabar Port

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From a money spinner, the Calabar Port is turning into a revenue loser following its littering with wrecks and an abandoned rig worth millions of dollars.

Activities were low. Two “critical” wrecks and the abandoned Delta Queen Rig were seen there.

A senior official of the Ministry of Finance (FMoF), who pleaded not to be named, said the Federal Government and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) should put the port into good use to revamp the economy.

The port, he alleged, has become an avenue for siphoning public fund.

He urgedPresident Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, and the NPA to transform the port because of its importance to the nation.

The official said the port used to ba a money spinner. He told The Nation that between 2008 and last year, NPA generated $117,178,000 and over N2.2 billion from the port.

The breakdown of the amount generated in dollars and naira as exclusively obtained by The Nation is as follows: $26,529,000 and N203,438,000 in 2008.

Between 2009 and 2011, it was $37,522,000 and N898,737,000. In 2012 and 2013, it made $26,946,000 and N581,109,000. Between 2014 and last year, the port realised $26,197,000 and N540,942,000.

The official said: “It is sad that the multi-billion dollar investment at the port was rendered useless by the past management of the NPA.

“The amount generated between 2008 and last year by the agency showed that if the NPA is compelled to pay adequate attention to the port, more revenue would accrue to the government.

“If the several billions of naira collected by the NPA were judiciously invested in dredging the port, the channel will not remain shallow and difficult for big vessels to approach.

“It is sad that up till today, its channel remains shallow, and investors at the port have continued to count their losses,” the official said.

He accused some top past NPA officials of only interested in awarding contracts for dredging and re-dredging of the port without corresponding development of its infrastructure.

He alleged that poor work was done on the dredging of the channel.

The government, the official, lost a lot of revenue through the frequent dredging of the port.

But investigation revealed that the port has a comparative distance advantage to the Northeast than any port in the country.

While the distance between Cross River and Taraba states is 711km and the transit time is nine hours, 58 minutes; the distance from Port/Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Taraba is 773km, 901km and 1,160km, and it takes 10 hours, 49 minutes; 12 hours, 4 minutes and 14 hours 24 minutes from each of the states to Taraba.

Findings also revealed that the distance from Cross River to Gombe state is 983km and the transit time is 13hrs,58mins; the distance from Port/Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Gombe is 1,060km, 1,034km and 1,240km respectively, and it takes 14hrs, 15mins; 14hrs, 40mins and 16hrs 39mins from each of the states to Gombe.

Also, the distance from Calabar to Bauchi is 910km and the transit time 13 hours, 14 minutes. Whereas the distance from Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Bauchi is 965km, 939km and 1,145km, and it takes 13 hours, 10 minutes; 13 hours, 36 minutes and 15 hours 34 minutes from each of the states to Bauchi.

Investigation further showed that the distance between Calabar and Adamawa is 865km with 11 hours, 57 minutes transit time. But the distance from Port Harcourt, Warri and Lagos to Adamawa is 927km, 1,055km and 1,314km, and it takes 12 hours, 49 minutes; 14 hours, 4 minutes and 16 hours 23 minutes from the states to Adamawa.

The story is the same from Calabar to Borno and Yobe states.

“There is no gain saying that Calabar Port is very strategic to the economic development of Nigeria particularly the Northcentral, Southsouth and Southeast regions of the country.

“Besides, when functional, it will increase the volume of vessel traffic and cargo throughput in the port, decongest Lagos ports and reduce cost of doing business for Calabar-based businessmen who spend additional transport cost to take delivery of their consignments in Lagos and Onne ports.

“The port is strategically located for imports and exports for distribution to other ports along the West/Central and Southern African coastline. The location of Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ) in close proximity with the port speaks volumes for itself,” the official said.

He identified erosion, the length and the dredging of the 84km channel, the wrecks, the abandoned rig, insufficient tugs and pilot cutters, the deplorable Calabar/Itu/Aba road and the low height limitation of the Ikom bridge as the port’s major challenges, which should be fixed by the government to turn it to profit.

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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Minister of Power Pledges 6,000 Megawatts Electricity Generation in Six Months

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Adebayo Adelabu has made a bold pledge to ramp up electricity generation to 6,000 megawatts (MW) within the next six months.

This announcement comes amidst ongoing efforts to tackle the longstanding issue of inadequate power supply that has plagued the country for years.

During an appearance on Channel Television’s Politics Today program, Adelabu said the government is committed to resolving the issues hindering the power sector’s efficiency.

He expressed confidence in the administration’s ability to overcome the challenges and deliver tangible results to the Nigerian populace.

Currently, Nigeria generates and transmits over 4,000MW of electricity with distribution bottlenecks being identified as a major obstacle.

Adelabu assured that steps are being taken to address these distribution challenges and ensure that the generated power reaches consumers across the country effectively.

The minister highlighted that the government has been proactive in seeking the expertise of professionals and engaging stakeholders to identify the root causes of the power sector’s problems and devise appropriate solutions.

Adelabu acknowledged the existing gap between Nigeria’s installed capacity of 13,000MW and the actual generation output, attributing it to various factors that have impeded optimal performance.

Despite these challenges, he expressed optimism that the government’s initiatives would lead to a substantial increase in electricity generation, marking a significant milestone in Nigeria’s energy sector.

Addressing concerns about the recent decline in power generation due to low gas supply, Adelabu assured Nigerians that measures are being taken to rectify the situation.

He acknowledged the impact of power outages on citizens’ daily lives and reiterated the government’s commitment to providing stable electricity supply within the stipulated timeframe.

The Minister’s assurance of achieving 6,000MW of electricity generation in the next six months comes as a ray of hope for millions of Nigerians who have long endured the consequences of inadequate power supply.

With ongoing reforms and targeted interventions, there is optimism that Nigeria’s power sector will witness a transformative change, ushering in an era of improved access to electricity for all citizens.

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Nigeria’s Economic Woes to Drag Down Sub-Saharan Growth, World Bank Forecasts

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The World Bank’s latest report on the economic outlook for Western and Central Africa has highlighted Nigeria’s sluggish economic growth as a significant factor impeding the sub-region’s overall performance.

According to the report, while economic activities in the region are expected to increase, Nigeria’s lower-than-average growth trajectory will act as a hindrance to broader economic expansion.

The report indicates that economic activity in Western and Central Africa is set to rise from 3.2 percent in 2023 to 3.7 percent in 2024 and further accelerate to 4.2 percent in 2025–2026.

However, Nigeria’s growth, projected at 3.3 percent in 2024 and 3.6 percent in 2025–2026, falls below the sub-region’s average.

The World Bank underscores the importance of macroeconomic and fiscal reforms in Nigeria, which it anticipates will gradually yield results.

It expects the oil sector to stabilize with a recovery in production and slightly lower prices, contributing to a more stable macroeconomic environment.

Despite these measures, the report emphasizes the need for structural reforms to foster higher growth rates.

In contrast, economic activities in the West African Economic and Monetary Union are projected to increase significantly, with growth rates of 5.9 percent in 2024 and 6.2 percent in 2025.

Solid performances from countries like Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, and Senegal are cited as key drivers of growth in the region.

The report also highlights the importance of monetary policy adjustments and reforms in supporting economic growth.

For instance, a more accommodative monetary policy by the Central Bank of West African States is expected to bolster private consumption in Côte d’Ivoire.

Also, investments in sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and telecommunications are anticipated to increase due to improvements in the business environment.

However, Nigeria continues to grapple with multidimensional poverty as highlighted by the National Bureau of Statistics.

Over half of Nigeria’s population is considered multidimensionally poor, with rural areas disproportionately affected. The World Bank underscores the need for concerted efforts to address poverty and inequality in the country.

Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole faces challenges in deepening and lengthening economic growth. Despite recent progress, growth remains volatile, and poverty rates remain high.

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Fitch Downgrades China’s Outlook to Negative Amid Real Estate Slump

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Fitch Ratings has downgraded China’s economic outlook to negative, citing concerns over the country’s mounting debt and the ongoing slump in its real estate sector.

This decision casts a shadow over China’s economic recovery efforts and raises questions about the resilience of its financial system in the face of mounting challenges.

The downgrade comes at a critical juncture for China as the government grapples with the fallout from a prolonged downturn in the real estate market, which has long been a cornerstone of the country’s economic growth.

Fitch’s decision underscores the severity of the challenges facing China’s economy and the urgent need for policymakers to implement effective measures to address the underlying issues.

Amid growing uncertainty about the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy, Fitch warned that the Chinese government is likely to accumulate more debt as it seeks to stimulate economic growth and mitigate the impact of the real estate slowdown.

The agency’s negative outlook reflects concerns that China’s debt burden could continue to rise, posing risks to the stability of its financial system.

The real estate sector, which has been a key driver of China’s economic growth in recent decades, has been experiencing a pronounced slowdown in recent months.

This downturn has been exacerbated by government measures aimed at curbing speculative investment and addressing housing affordability concerns. As property prices continue to decline and housing sales stagnate, fears of a broader economic slowdown have intensified.

China’s government has sought to downplay concerns about the impact of the real estate slump on the broader economy, emphasizing its commitment to maintaining stability and pursuing sustainable growth.

However, Fitch’s downgrade suggests that the challenges facing China’s economy may be more significant than previously thought and require a more comprehensive and coordinated policy response.

The negative outlook from Fitch follows a similar move by Moody’s Investors Service in December, highlighting the growing consensus among rating agencies about the risks facing China’s economy.

While financial markets initially showed little reaction to Fitch’s announcement, analysts warn that the downgrade could weigh on market sentiment in the near term, especially as investors await key economic indicators due to be released in the coming weeks.

China’s public debt has surged in recent years, fueled by government stimulus measures aimed at supporting economic growth and offsetting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With public debt nearing 80% of gross domestic product (GDP) as of mid-last year, according to the Bank for International Settlements, concerns about the sustainability of China’s debt levels have been mounting.

Despite these challenges, China’s sovereign bond market remains relatively insulated from external pressures, with foreign ownership accounting for a small fraction of total holdings.

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