- FG Spends N2tn Annually on Goods
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that the Federal Government spends more than N2tn on the purchase of goods every year.
According to the Special Assistant to the Senate President on Print Media, Mr. Chuks Okocha, Saraki said this on Thursday when members of the Leather and Allied Products Manufacturers’ Association of Abia State visited him.
The visit of the APMAA was premised on the support of the Senate and the Federal Government of their campaign for the patronage of locally-made goods in order to cut dependence on foreign goods.
The law mandates the MDAs to give preference for locally-produced goods, especially during this period when the Federal Government has been campaigning for the patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods.
The Senate President also charged the Senate committees’ chairmen to ensure that the MDAs comply with the Public Procurement Law.
He also encouraged all military and paramilitary agencies to emulate the Nigerian Army by procuring items like boots and other locally-made goods so that a large part of the N2tn that the government spends annually in the purchase of goods ends in the pocket of Nigerian manufacturers.
He said, “We will make the campaign to buy Made-in-Nigeria goods to go beyond a trade fair and become a national agenda for all Nigerians. Today, we have made it a national project.
“I also promise you that we will amend the existing laws to give your efforts a solid legal backing that will ensure patronage for your products and that of other local manufacturers. That has also been done with the amendment of the Public Procurement Act.”
The APMAA coordinator, Chief Ben Hart, commended the Senate for its support in promoting locally-made goods.
He said, “We shall continue to improve on the quality of locally-made goods. Goods produced in Aba are indeed of high quality. There is nothing that can be manufactured elsewhere which cannot be produced in Aba.”
…says youths need urgent empowerment
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said that government, the private sector and the academia must redouble their efforts to empower Nigerian youths for entrepreneurship and greater self-reliance.
He said given the latest information released by the National Population Commission that more than half of Nigeria’s 182 million population is under 30 and another 40 per cent of that being under 14, one of the greatest challenges the country had to grapple with was the need to gainfully engage its growing youthful population.
Saraki, who was speaking about an upcoming skills acquisition, training and empowerment programme that would be launched in Kwara State on Saturday (today), noted that since the future of Nigeria’s economic security rests on how prepared the youths are today, they must be made entrepreneurs who would be employers of labour “instead of looking for non-existing jobs.”
A statement by his Media Adviser, Yusuph Olaniyonu, noted that under the programme, 40,000 youths would be trained for a period of four years in areas such as computer engineering, software development, animation, cinematography, event management and other areas where the participants could grow to be self-employed.
It added, “The goal of STEP is to make participants globally competitive in the sectors for which they will be trained. Such preparation is important for future employment, starting businesses, creating jobs and putting able-bodied and motivated youths to work.”
The statement quoted Saraki as saying, “We were able to craft a programme whereby participants will be trained by Nigeria’s best and most successful business leaders, technology entrepreneurs and other industry practitioners.”
Egypt Leads Nigeria, South Africa in Foreign Direct Investment
The United Nations Trade Association has Nigeria recorded a total of $2.6 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in 2020, below the $3.3 billion posted in the preceeding year.
South Africa, Africa’s most industrialised nation, reported $2.5 billion during the same year, slightly below Africa’s largest economy and 50 percent below the $4.6 billion attracted a year earlier.
The report also noted that Africa recorded a total of $38 billion FDI in the same year, representing a 18 percent decline from the $46 billion posted in the corresponding year of 2019.
However, Egypt led Nigeria and South Africa with $5.5 billion FDI, an increase of 38 percent from the preceeding year.
The report read in part, “FDI flows to Africa declined by 18% to an estimated $38 billion, from $46 billion in 2019. Greenfield project announcements, an indication of future FDI trends, fell 63% to $28 billion, from $77 billion in 2019. The pandemic’s negative impact on FDI was amplified by low prices of and low demand for commodities.”
UNCTAD also noted that global foreign direct investment declined by 42 percent to an estimated $859 billion, down from $1.5 trillion in 2019.
“The decline was concentrated in developed countries, where FDI flows fell by 69 percent to an estimated $229 billion. Flows to Europe dried up completely to -4 billion (including large negative flows in several countries). A sharp decrease was also recorded in the United States (-49%) to $134 billion.”
FG to Partly Fund Six Rail Projects Connecting All Regions
The Federal Government will pay a total sum of N71 billion to partly fund six rail projects connecting all regions of the country.
In the report obtained from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, the six rail projects marked for development this year are Lagos-Kano rail line (ongoing), Calabar-Lagos (ongoing), and Ajaokuta-Itakpe-Aladja (Warri).
Others are the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway, the new Kano-Katsina-Jibiya-Maradi line in Niger Republic and the Abuja-Itakpe and Aladja-Warri Port and refinery/Warri new harbour.
The Buhari administration will also spend N15.1 billion on the development of safety and security of critical projects, airport certification, runway construction, terminal building, among others in the aviation sector in 2021.
Last week, Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation, said the Lagos-Kano line would be connected from the Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan railway and would cost $5.3 billion.
“We are waiting for the Chinese government and bank to approve the $5.3bn to construct the Ibadan-Kano. What was approved a year ago was the contract,” the minister said.
He added, “The moment I announced that the Federal Government had awarded a contract of $5.3bn to CCECC (China Civil Engineering and Construction Corporation) to construct Ibadan-Kano, people assumed the money had come in; no.
“We have not got the money, which is a year after we applied for the loan. We have almost finished the one of Lagos-Ibadan. If we don’t get the loan now, we can’t commence.”
FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience
In a bid to improve the usage and enhance the convenience of train transport in Nigeria, the Federal Government on Thursday announced the launching of the Electronic Ticketing platform for the Kaduna-Abuja rail services.
The N900 million E-ticketing platform was introduced by the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike R. Amaechi, and the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Amaechi said the new platform would improve efficiency, promote accountability, reduce leakage and enhance economic growth, as well as save time.
The E-ticketing platform was a Public-Private Partnership project done in conjunction with Secure ID Solutions, who provide and would manage the system for 10 years in an effort to recoup its investment before the Nigerian Railway Corporation take charge.
Kofo Akinkugbe, the Chief Executive Officer, Secure ID Solutions, said as the new E-platform issued 25,000 tickets after a successful pilot test on Thursday.
Potential Travelers can book via three ways:
1. Mobile app
3. POS or Cash at the station
A validator would be used to scan the ticket barcode to ascertain its authenticity before boarding.
Amaechi further announced that self-service ticket vending machines at various train stations would be introduced soon.
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