- Ondo Partners Firm for Rice Production
The Ondo State Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an agro-allied firm, Africa Red Crest (Nigeria) Limited, for the mass production of rice through the cultivation of 500 hectares of land and the establishment of a rice mill with capacity for 37,500 tonnes per annum at the Owena Dam area of Akure, the state capital.
At the signing of the MoU, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Aderotimi Adelola, explained that the project would bring about large-scale and mechanised production of rice and related activities in the state.
He stressed that the government remained committed to promoting food production and agro-allied activities in the state, especially ventures that would lead to sufficient availability of food and job opportunities for residents.
The SSG described Africa Red Crest as an expert in the mass production of rice, using the black soil farming system.
“Upon the cultivation of 500 hectares in the first two years, there will be a later acquisition of further 7,500 hectares of land and the establishment of a rice mill simultaneously for the processing of 37,500 tonnes of rice per annum in Ondo State,” Adelola said.
The SSG disclosed that the project, which will cost over N4.9bn, would be fully funded by the company, while the Ondo State Government would only provide land for lease for 20 years.
He, however, noted that if the company failed to start work on the land within one year, the government might terminate the lease agreement.
In his own remarks, the Coordinator, Directorate of Public Private Partnership, Mr. Nekan Olateru-Olagbegi, said that with the full operation of the project, the state would be one of the biggest producer of rice in the nation by the middle of this year.
He gave an assurance that the government would assist the company in the acquisition of necessary facilities as well as guarantee the security of the technicians and skilled farmers who would work on the project.
Responding, the Managing Director, Africa Red Crest, Mr. Aladenoye Akinloye, said in the next few months, the company would employ at least 250 residents of Ondo State, while local farmers would be trained and regularly patronised to boost local production of rice in the state.
Commending the government for the support, Akinloye expressed the company’s preparedness to immediately develop and operate the project for the benefits of the state.
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.
Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Thursday said Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) stood at $72,411,197.80 as of January 20th, 2021.
The minister disclosed this at the first National Economic Council (NEC) meeting of the year presided over by Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President and had in attendance State Governors, Federal Capital Territory Minister, Central Bank Governor and other senior government officials.
Ahmed said “Excess Crude Account (ECA), balance as at 20th January, 2021, $72,411,197.80; Stabilization Account, balance as at 19th January, 2021, N28,800,711,295.37; Natural Resources Development Fund Account, balance as at 19th January 2021, N95, 830,729,470.82.”
The minister also said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N6.45 billion for the setting up of gas plants in 39 locations nationwide in an effort to increase COVID-19 treatment.
What is Excess Crude Account (ECA)
Excess Crude Account (ECA) is an account used to save the disparity in the market price of crude oil and budgeted price of crude oil as stipulated in the Federal Government Appropriation Bill.
Key Takeaways of Excess Crude Account (ECA)
- Excess Crude Account (ECA) was established in 2004 by the Federal Government to stabilize Nigeria’s economy and smooth out the effect of crude oil fluctuation on Africa’s largest economy.
- The ECA rose to its highest of $20 billion in November 2008 during the global oil boom when prices were above $100 per barrel.
- Controversy, allegations of corruption, and uncertain performance have trailed the ECA since creation.
- The balance plunged from $20 billion in 2008 to $72.4 million in January 2021.
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