- External Debt Servicing Gulps $1.62bn in Five Years
Amid attempts by the country to borrow more from external sources, Nigeria has in the past five years spent $1.62bn to service its external debts that include loans secured for what turned out to be white elephant projects.
In the past five years, Nigeria has spent $1.62bn for servicing of external loans contracted by both the federal and state governments.
A breakdown of statistics obtained from the Debt Management Office showed that the country paid $293,003,540 for external debt servicing in 2012. The following year, the amount stood at $297,329,300.
In 2014, a total of $346,723,290 was paid to external creditors. The amount came down slightly in 2015 to $331,059,850, but moved up a bit to $353,093,540 last year.
Nigeria’s external debt stood at $6,527,070,000 on December 31, 2012. However, over the past five years, it has grown to $11,406,028,000.
This means that within the period of five years, the country’s external loan commitment has grown by 74.75 per cent.
If the service fee of $1.62bn in the past five years is checked against the principal at the peak of the debt, $11.41bn in 2016, it means that 14.21 per cent of the total has been paid in debt servicing obligations.
In 2016, 44 per cent of the debt service commitments were for multilateral loans. These include loans secured from the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank Group, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the European Development Fund, and the Islamic Development Bank.
Eighteen per cent of the amount for debt servicing was paid to bilateral agencies, including the EXIM Bank of China, French Development Agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency, EXIM Bank of India, and Kreditanstalt fur wiederaufbua.
Commercial loans consumed 26 per cent of the debt servicing commitments, while oil warrants and agency fees were responsible for the rest nine per cent.
What observers may not know is that some of the foreign loans for which the nation has been servicing were obtained for ill-conceived projects, some of which are not yet completed or have been abandoned, while the impact of others cannot be felt on the economy.
One of such white elephant projects is the National Rural Telephony Project. The project was conceived in 2001 to extend telephony services to 218 of the 774 Local Government Areas in the country.
By the time the contract for the project was awarded in 2005, the digital mobile services championed by the Global System for Mobile Communication service providers was already making waves across the country.
The contract was awarded to two Chinese firms, ZTE and Alcatel Shanghai Bell, while a $200m loan for its execution was secured from the China EXIM Bank. The implementation of the project lingered beyond the given timeframe as a result of several issues and payment of counterpart funding.
The project was said to have been poorly implemented in some locations, while in a few others, it was not implemented at all as a result of difficulties in securing project sites.
By the time the project was completed around 2007, it was clear that the government did not have a model for its management. When it eventually decided to give out the project as a concession and divided into six operations according to the geopolitical zones in the country, six firms emerged victorious.
However, that was the beginning of another controversy with letters being exchanged between the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission.
The consequence of the bureaucratic bottleneck is that 17 years after it was conceived, the NRTP has not been put into use and Nigeria is repaying principal for the loan borrowed for the project as well as the interest.
Another project for which a loan was secured from China is the Nigeria National Public Security Communication System. A total of $399.5m was secured from the China EXIM Bank and the contract was awarded to ZTE. The Federal Government paid a counterpart funding of $70.5m.
The project is meant to install cameras and monitoring stations in three cities of the federation and to give the police a technological capacity for monitoring and prevention of crimes. Some of the installations for the controversial project have since been vandalised.
For the Abuja Light Rail Project, the Federal Government secured $500m from the China EXIM Bank. The project has yet to be completed, that is if it has not been abandoned.
For the Nigeria Communications Satellite, a loan of $200m was secured from the China EXIM Bank. The satellite constructed by a Chinese firm was put in the orbit in May 2007.
However, the communications satellite failed in the orbit on November 8, 2008. Another satellite known as NigComSat-1R was launched into the orbit on December 19, 2011 as a replacement for the first, which developed a power problem in the orbit.
The utilisation and contribution of the satellite to the economy remain controversial as authorities in the satellite firm say that the company needs at least two more satellites to run profitably.
World Bank loans, on the other hand, are difficult to evaluate as the group concentrates on poverty alleviation projects such as in agriculture.
As Nigeria bids to secure more foreign loans, experts say the importance of the citizens monitoring the projects they are to be committed to cannot be overemphasised.
NCDMB To Hold Virtual Oil And Gas Opportunity Fair
The Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) has announced that the 2021 edition of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Opportunity Fair (NOGOF) will be held virtually on May 25 and 26, 2021.
The Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote revealed this last week during a press conference organised in Lagos, adding that the Board decided on the virtual option in compliance with the Federal Government’s guidelines on curtailing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the subsisting travel restrictions in some countries.
While admitting that hosting the conference virtually was new for the Board and other stakeholders, Wabote expressed excitement that it offers an opportunity for participants to join from anywhere in the world without incurring logistics costs, thereby recording increased participation. He explained that the core objective of organizing NOGOF is to showcase the opportunities that are likely to emerge from the short to medium-term plans and activities of operators and project promoters operating in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian Oil and Gas industry.
“We must as NCDMB continue to give hope to Nigerians and the industry and show them that even when you have a pandemic like this, there are still opportunities for people to look forward to and invest,” he said.
He added that the showcase of upcoming projects by operating companies gives Nigerian service companies ample opportunity to build relevant capacities that might be required to execute the projects in-country, thereby creating employment opportunities and retaining spend in-country.
He stated further that “hosting NOGOF is line with the key thrusts of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 (“NOGICD Act”) which charged the NCDMB to build and support the development of local capacities and capabilities in the oil and gas industry, to foster institutional collaboration, maximizing the participation of Nigerians in oil and gas activities, linking oil and gas sector to other sectors of the economy, maximizing utilization of Nigerian resources, among others.”
He noted that this year’s edition of the bi-annual fair would be the third in the series with the theme “Leveraging Opportunities & Synergies for Post Pandemic Recovery of The Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry”.
He said the theme acknowledges the industry wide disruption caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic and it encourages constructive discussions on recovery and the way forward, especially within the context of the energy transition.
He said the fair would feature technical and opportunity sessions from various stakeholders, virtual networking opportunities, an award ceremony in recognition of distinguished industry players and a virtual exhibition opportunity for registered organisations to present their activities and products to delegates.
He recalled that the maiden edition of NOGOF in 2017 at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State had over 1,200 delegates and 33 exhibitors, while the 2019 edition in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State had over 1500 delegates and 52 exhibitors and more delegates would likely partake in this year’s edition.
Dwelling on the impact of NOGOF on the industry over the years, Wabote said some of the projects unveiled in the previous editions were already underway like the Nigeria LNG Train 7, while some others were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and would soon start to be executed.
He assured that Nigeria would record impressive local participation in the Train 7 project.
He said: “When we executed Train 1-6, there was minimal Nigerian participation. But today the Nigerian Content and out-country scope are split 50/50. Most of the cryogenic areas would be done outside the country because we do not have capacities in those areas. But 50 percent of the whole project activities would be done through Nigerian business and must be in-country. That is the value that would be retained in the Nigerian economy. We would achieve more in the upstream sector of the project because we have developed capacities in that area.”
Speaking further, the NCDMB boss indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic was the biggest test and confirmation of the need to develop local capacities in the oil and gas and other key sectors of the economy. He said the pandemic forced nations to depend on their local productions to survive, expressing delight that local capacities developed in the oil and gas industry proved capable of sustaining crude oil productions.
He added that First E&P Company -an indigenous operating company completed its project and started producing oil during the pandemic because of local content. “NCDMB insisted that they must build platform in-country. They thanked us later for that decision because their platform was completed even during the pandemic and deployed to work. If the project were being executed overseas, it would have been suspended during the period.”
Responding to questions from the media, the Executive Secretary clarified that Local Content implementation was not at all costs. He maintained that every project has its economics and the return on investments must be viable, which was why the Board adopts pragmatism in its implementation of the NOGICD Act. He added that building local capacities takes some time and that Nigeria’s Content was not about the Nigerianization of personnel, rather it focuses on domestication and domiciliation of industry activities.
Lagos Extends Development Plans To 30 Communities
Lagos State Ministry of Physical Planning and Urban Development said it has extended development plans to 30 communities across different Local Government Areas of the state.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr. Idris Salako, stated that the ministry prepared local/ action plans for the communities through the Lagos State Physical Planning Permit Authority.
A statement by the Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Mukaila Sanusi, on Friday titled ‘LASG extends development plans to 30 communities’ said this was to ensure that no part of the state was without a plan.
The communities that had their local/ action plans prepared, it stated, were Lafiaji Action Area Plan(2021-2031) in Eko District, Abule Oja Action Area Plan (2021-2031), Ajiwe Action Area Plan(2021-2031), Review of Maiyegun and Action Area Plan of an Extension to Aparakaja Casia/Abiodun Dada.
The ministry also undertook the review of the Ojodu Core Action Area Plan and prepared Ilo Awela Community Action Area Plan, Igbogbo Core Action Area Plan, and Ologunebi Excised Village Action Area Plan as well as Shasha Oguntade Action Area Plan and Ladipo Osoro Action Area Plan among others.
Salako noted that the state would derive maximum benefits from the preparation of the action area plans, including the effective control and proper development guide within its jurisdiction, functional land use pattern and arrangements, good road networks while urban regeneration of the slum environment would be achieved.
Other benefits were the provision of enabling environment for categories of land uses such as industrial, commercial, institutional and residential as well as investments in a sustainable manner.
The commissioner also explained that the development plans would bring about the provision of quality infrastructural developments within the planned area and guarantee a sustainable physical environment during the stipulated planning period.
He added that in pursuit of the THEMES agenda, the ministry also prepared development guide plans for some excised villages in the state.
“In the same vein and with due cognition of the need to extend physical planning administration to non-schemed areas, development guide plans are being prepared to make the excised villages more sustainable,” he said.
According to the commissioner, development guide plans were prepared for villages in different Local Government Areas of the state.
The areas included Onimedu Eleputu, Lakowe, Adeba, Bogije, Igando-Oja and Awoyaya in Ibeju-Lekki LGA; Ajangbadi, Kemberi and Ketu Ijanikin in Ojo LGA; Parafa and Gberigbe in Ikorodu LGA and; Sangotedo and Langbasa in Eti-Osa LGA.
Development guide plans were also extended to Suberu-Oje in Alimosho LGA; Apa (Parcel A) in Badagry LGA; Ibowon in Epe LGA and Tedi in Amuwo-Odofin LGA.
World Bank In Partnership With Lagos State Plan To Construct 13.16km Farm Access Road
Lagos State Government says its World Bank-assisted Agro-Processing, Productivity Enhancement, Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) Project will construct 13.16km Farm Access Roads (FARs) in four cluster areas.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, said this on Thursday during the activities to commemorate the second year of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
Olusanya noted that the four farm cluster areas were Igbodu in Epe, Araga also in Epe, Erinkorodo in Ikorodu, and Afowo in Badagry. She said the access roads when completed would ensure smooth movement to and fro the farms.
Olusanya added that it would reduce losses encountered by egg farmers as a result of the bad road and also improve the productivity of the concerned farmers.
She said the evaluation and engineering design for the four roads had since been finalised and construction would commence immediately.
“APPEALS Project is a World Bank-assisted project aimed at enhancing the productivity of small-scale farmers in the three identified value chains of poultry, aquaculture, and rice through capacity building, provision of infrastructure, and empowerment.
“The project will be rehabilitating and constructing 13.16Km farm access roads already identified in four different clusters across the state. The design of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation for the four FARs is at the final report stage.
“The advertisement for potential contractors and subsequent implementation will be carried out once the work plan is approved by the governor,” she said.
According to Olusanya, 1,621 regular beneficiaries under the Project’s Women and Youth Empowerment Programme (WYEP) has been trained in agribusiness management and other soft skills within the last two years.
“Of the number, 462 have received “No Objections” on their Business Investment Plans and are presently implementing their projects. Other beneficiaries will equally be supported before the end of the year, “ she said.
Olusanya added that the APPEALS project had equally identified and verified 9,942 farmers and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, while 8,156 of them had received at least one form of training in relevant areas of agribusiness. She said this was with a view to enhancing their agricultural productivity and improving value addition. Olusanya noted that no fewer than 460 beneficiaries were sponsored for training, workshop, and conferences out of which 425 of them were farmers.
“A cluster of fish farmers at Badagry have adopted the production of fish crackers and fish cakes. Over 1,000 packs (696 Kg) of fish fillet and crackers had been produced and sold during the period under review.
“Use of nets for the control of birds in rice farming had since been adopted by our farmers. Over 100 rice farmers in Ganyingbo, Badagry are presently trying this technology with other agronomic practices learnt through the state collaboration with AfricaRice, IITA, Ibadan,” Olusanya said. (NAN)
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