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Buhari Pays N72b to China for Lagos-Ibadan Railway

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  • Buhari Pays N72b to China for Lagos-Ibadan Railway

President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government has released N72 billion counterpart funding for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan modernisation railway project.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi made this known at the quarterly Presidential Business Forum which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Banquet Hall, Abuja, on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Lagos-Ibadan rail project which was awarded to China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation would cost about 1.5 billion dollars (N458bn).

Amaechi, who commended the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun for ensuring full release of the counterpart funds for the project, enjoined the National Assembly to ensure speedy approval of the 30 billion dollars foreign loans for various project.

“I think in the history of Nigeria this is the first time that we are releasing counterpart funding in full so that there will be no delay, since the Chinese loan appears to have been approved.

“The only thing we need to do, I thank God there is somebody from the National Assembly is to plead with the National Assembly.

“The National Assembly should please approve the 30 billion dollars loan.

“If you don’t respond, if you don’t encourage the National Assembly to make that approval, then, the economy won’t be making the kind of progress we want the economy to make.

“So, for me here, I will enjoin you to persuade the National Assembly to kindly make that approval because they are tied to projects,’’ he said.

He called on the National Assembly to approve the loans in order to enhance employment opportunities in the country.

On the concerns raised by the President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Frank Udenba-Jacobs, over the closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Amaechi said the airport’s runway would be reconstructed not rehabilitated.

“I don’t know if there is anything new you want to hear about the closure of the airport.

“The story is the runway was built to last for 20 years and now it has lasted for 34 years and government does not want to lose anybody.

“I heard that Lufthansa landed and damaged their gear. They have been grounded for three days, trying to repair it and fly back.

“Imagine if those three hundred and something persons had died. The first thing you will hear is Minister of transportation- resign; minister of state for Aviation – resign.

“We don’t want to resign’’ ’

According to Amaechi, the entire architecture of the runway from bottom to top has collapsed, insisting it is totally unsafe to continue to use the runway.

In his remarks, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, reiterated the determination of the Federal Government to inaugurate its Economic Recovery Growth Plan in February.

According to him, sustainable economic growth is only possible if it is private sector led.

“The main plan of our economic plan is the sustenance of a robust private sector partnership.

“Indeed it is our strong belief that sustainable economic growth is only possible if it is private sector led.

“And a good deal of attention has been paid as you will probably find in sustaining private sector leadership especially in the planning of our economic recovery and growth plan 2017, which is to be launched next month.

“I want to say that the pivot of that plan is private sector led recovery and a private sector led goal plan.

“So this forum is an important one for engendering the continuous engagement that this partnership will entail.’’

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

FG Launches E-ticketing Platform to Deepen Train Usage and Convenience

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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
2. Website
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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Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account (ECA) Balance Now $72.4 Million

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Zainab Ahmed Finance Minister

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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Economy

AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

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AfCFTA: Nigeria Customs Service Requested For Detailed Role In The Free Trade Agreement

Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) requested for a proper and detailed role expected to be carried out in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.

The NCS said detailed explanations of roles and responsibilities of all parties involved in the free trade agreement should be spelled out to avoid overlapping of duties and to achieve a seamless implementation of AfCFTA.

Mr. Joseph Attah the Public Relations Officer, on behalf of the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd.), issued a statement to address the call for a detailed role of the Customs.

“Our functions are highly automated and primarily systems-driven, hence the need to methodically harvest and integrate all data associated with AfCFTA into our system for easy deployment, access, and use by the trading public.

“We, therefore, await the National Action Committee (NAC) on the list of duties and charges waived for liberalised goods under AfCFTA. The list of the 90 percent liberalised national trade offers (NTOs); list of the 70 percent non-liberalised exclusive goods at the regional level; and list of the 3 percent non-liberalised sensitive goods.

“The appointment of a competent authority responsible for issuing and authenticating certificates of origin and registering enterprises and products within the region.” He said.

In the statement, NCS pledges commitment to the success of the trade pact and also identifies the transformational impact the free trade agreement would have on businesses in Nigeria and the Africa continent at large.

“Also, it is pertinent to inform the public about steps which must be taken to enable its smooth and full implementation,” He added

NCS recommended that the member-country of the free trade agreement should have a representative in the continental chamber, this is to ensure transparency and build the confidence of the members in the system.

“This, in our view, should be complementary to the activities of the various chambers of commerce of each country in the region. While awaiting clear directives concerning tariffs for all goods covered by this agreement, we want to assure the public of our preparedness to fully deploy our services at the shortest notice.

“Our desire is to imbue trust in the system while guaranteeing the economic safety and wellbeing of businesses within the country,”  NCS noted.

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