- FG Considers Asset Sales, Others to Revamp Economy
The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udoma, on Monday gave further insights into the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan due to be launched next month.
He said the government planned to privatise some selected national assets and restore the 2.2 million barrels per day oil production and possibly raise it to 2.5mbpd by 2020 as part of the plans to revamp the economy.
Udoma spoke at the Second Presidential Business Forum held at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, and presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
He, however, did not disclose the national assets slated for privatisation.
Apart from the planned privatisation and the restoration of the oil production capacity, the minister said 10 other strategies had been prioritised based on their importance to the ERGP.
The strategies, according to the minister, are to accelerate non-oil revenue generation; drastically cut costs; align monetary, trade and fiscal policies; expand infrastructure, especially power, roads and rail; revamp the four existing refineries; and improve the ease of doing business.
Others are to expand social investment programmes; deliver on agricultural transformation; accelerate implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan using special economic zones; as well as focusing on priority sectors in order to generate jobs, promote exports, boost growth and upgrade skills.
Udoma said the ERGP, which will run between 2017 and 2020, was being finalised to address current economic challenges, restore growth and reposition the economy for sustained inclusive growth.
He said its implementation would be driven by strong political will and close partnership and strong collaboration between the public and private sectors, especially in the areas of agriculture, manufacturing, solid minerals, services and infrastructure.
Osinbajo said the main objective of the Federal Government’s economic plan was the sustenance of the robust private sector partnership.
He said, “It is our strong belief that sustainable economic growth is only possible if it is private sector-led and a great attention has been paid as you will possibly find in sustaining private sector leadership, especially in the economic recovery and growth plan 2017, which is to be launched next month.
“The pivot of that plan is private sector-led recovery growth and plan. So, this forum is an important one for engendering the continuous engagement that this partnership will entail.”
The President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Frank Jacobs, who spoke on behalf of the Organised Private Sector, said the operators were aware of the current state of the economy and the efforts the Federal Government was making to revive it.
He also commended the government for the effort at curbing the security challenges the nation had been encountering and the determination to rid the country of corruption.
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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