- FG Raises Panel on New Lagos-Ibadan Rail Construction
The Federal Government has set up a steering committee to monitor the construction of the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line and ensure the delivery of quality job by the contractor.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Mr. Fidet Okhria, who disclosed this on Tuesday in a telephone interview with our correspondent, also said the construction work had commenced on the standard gauge rail line with the demolition of all structures on the NRC’s right of way from Apapa, Lagos to Ijoko, Ogun State.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had performed the ground-breaking of the N485bn rail project in Lagos and announced that it would be handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and be ready in December 2018.
Okheria named the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, as the chairman of the committee, with members comprising the permanent secretary in the ministry, director of rail services, the managing director of the NRC, managing director of the construction company and the project manager.
According to him, the project is the segment two of the new Lagos-Kano rail line, with extension to the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
He also said that about 80 per cent of the workers handling the construction work would be Nigerians.
Okheria stated that the NRC had envisaged that its right of way would be required in the future and was therefore careful in granting approval to people for erection of buildings.
He said, “We intentionally did not give approval to many people, because we know that one day, the land will be required. So, we have already mapped out those places we need to remove and the squatters are aware.
“We have told them to remove their valuables before the bulldozers start work. The clearance is going to be total.”
Okheria, however, said the affected occupants/owners of any demolished building with valid documents would be duly compensated.
According to him, the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line will commence operations in January 2019, adding that the project will not affect the running of the narrow gauge line.
“The standard gauge will not affect the narrow gauge. We will continue to run that and improve on it. The normal schedule of train service will not stop because of the new project. The funds are available; it is just for the work to commence,” he said.
Over 2,000 shanties were reportedly demolished along the NRC’s right of way, including five churches, three mosques and two preparatory schools, to clear the area for the project.
The demolition, led by the Chairman of the NRC Committee for the Removal of Illegal Structures, Mr. Anthony Onyokoko, was said to have started at 8am on Friday.
CBN Predicts 2 Percent Growth for Nigeria in 2021
Despite the economic recession and numerous uncertainties encompassing Nigeria in recent months, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the nation will grow by 2 percent in 2021.
Speaking at the 2020 bankers’ dinner organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Godwin Emefiele, the Governor, CBN, said implemented government intervention programmes will aid the nation’s recovery by next year.
Emefiele further stated that the intervention efforts represent around 3.5 percent of Nigeria’s current Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said, “Our actions in 2021 would be guided by the considerations that emerged from the Monetary Policy Committee meeting of November 23 & 24, 2020, which sought to address the major headwinds exerting downward pressure on output growth and upward pressure on domestic prices.”
On fast declining foreign reserves, the Governor said the institution has adopted a demand management framework designed to boost the production of items that can be produced locally and aid conservation of external reserves.
“Due to the unprecedented nature of the shock, we continued to favour a gradual liberalisation of the foreign exchange market in order to smoothen exchange rate volatility and mitigate the impact which rapid changes in the exchange rate could have on key macro-economic variables,” Emefiele stated.
The CBN projection came few weeks after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)’s report showed Africa’s largest economy contracted by 3.62 percent in the third quarter following a 6.10 percent decline posted in the second quarter. Nigeria officially slid into the worse economic recession in almost 30 years and the second economic recession under the current administration.
While, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, has projected that Nigeria would rebound from the recession in this final quarter or the very first quarter of 2021, falling revenue generation, rising capital flight amid weak demand due to the negative impact of coronavirus on earnings, household incomes and lack of jobs remain a concern.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.
Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.
OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.
This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.
Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.
“The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.
“President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.
The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.
Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.
According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.
The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.
He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”
He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”
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