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Experts Call for Concession of Public Infrastructure

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  • Experts Call for Concession of Public Infrastructure

Experts in the built environment have asked the Federal Government to give out all public infrastructure in the country to private investors on concession basis to ensure their proper maintenance and management.

The experts noted that there was a need to move the management of assets from the public sector to private sector managers with an entrepreneurial outlook.

A senior civil engineer at the Lagos State Infrastructure Management Agency, Mr. Olusegun Oshinowo, stated at a seminar by the American Society of Civil Engineers, Nigerian International Section, with the theme, ‘Revamping the Nigerian economy: A look at investment in infrastructure, solid minerals and agricultural produce processing’, that the government alone would not be able to provide the money to adequately fund the development of infrastructure.

According to Oshinowo, public infrastructure that the government should consider handing over to the private sector include power generation and transmission/distribution networks; roads and bridges; ports; railway and inland container depots; and logistics hubs.

Others are gas and petroleum infrastructure such as storage depots and distribution pipelines; water supply, treatment and distribution systems; solid waste management; educational facilities; urban transport systems; housing; as well as healthcare facilities.

He said that history had shown that government had not been able to manage public assets properly.

The President, ASCE-Nigeria International Section, Mr. Blessing Oboh, said it had been widely agreed that Public-Private Partnership for infrastructure development or infrastructure concession held the key to bridging the abysmal infrastructure deficit in the country.

The Acting Head, Corporate Civil Projects, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Emem Abasiattai, who spoke on ‘Regional perspective on the strategic importance of highway infrastructure to sustainable development and economic diversification’, said there was a need to invest more in road infrastructure.

He noted that the importance of highway infrastructure to economic growth could not be overemphasised, adding that emphasis should be on deplorable roads in the Niger Delta region, which is the nation’s oil producer and world’s third largest wetland with great potential for economic recovery.

The Regional Coordinator, South West, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Mr. Babatunde Faleke, also noted that sustained low oil price had become a threat to the country’s economy, while other sectors such as agriculture and solid minerals must be developed.

Faleke added that export of non-oil products remained the country’s only source of supply of foreign exchange.

The Director, Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Vincent Nwani, said that with 43 minerals largely at industrial scale, the country’s mining industry had huge potential as a source of non-oil revenue.

He added that the industry had the capacity to generate about five million jobs and contribute 20 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product within 10 years from the current 0.3 per cent.

The Past President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Victoria Island Branch, Mr. Babagana Mohammed, said the number of unemployed engineering graduates was on the rise and called on the government and professionals in private practice to find a solution to the problem.

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.

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Amazon To Open African Headquarters In South Africa

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US retail giant, Amazon has announced that it would be opening its first African office in South Africa with a real estate investment of over R4 billion. This announcement is coming a week after Twitter choose to open its first African office in Ghana.

Authorities in Cape Town noted that Amazon would be occupying a new development in River Club, a prime section of the city. This new development will create 5,239 jobs in the construction phase alone. Along with 19,000 indirect and induced jobs.

The 15-hectare parcel of land will cost R4 billion and include two precincts. Authorities said the first precinct of 60,000sqm would occupy different layers of development, while the second section of 70,000 will hold Amazon headquarters in Africa.

“US retail giant, Amazon, will be the anchor tenant, opening a base of operations on the African continent. The development is envisaged to take place in phases, with construction set to take place over three to five years.

It is clear that this development offers many economic, social, and environmental benefits for the area. We are committed to driving investment to revitalize the economy, which is slowly recovering following the impact of Covid-19.” This was affirmed by Cape town city officials.

Earlier last week, Techcrunch had reported that Amazon announced the opening of Amazon Salon, the retailer’s first hair salon and a place where Amazon aims to test new technologies with the general public.

Amazon has had its web engineering giant AWS in South Africa for years, but its main e-commerce services have not been available anywhere on the continent.

This announcement came a week after Twitter announced the decision to set up its first African office and headquarters in Accra Ghana. Twitter claimed that Ghana’s democratic and economic strides made the West African country a highly competitive destination over Nigeria and other countries.

It was unclear whether Amazon considered Nigeria and similar parameters as Twitter while deciding its African base.

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Dangote Commits $700M To Sugar Production In Support of Backward Integration Policy

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The management of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc has said it is committing over $700m to its sugar projects to support the Backward Integration Policy of the Federal Government to make Nigeria self-sufficient in sugar production.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by Dangote Industries Limited, the company disclosed this to visiting members of the Nasarawa House of Assembly on Friday.

The company noted that Nigeria was one of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest importers of sugar, second only to South Africa with an annual import of over $337m.

The Dangote Sugar management however assured the lawmakers that with the completion of its sugar projects in Nasarawa and Adamawa under the BIP, the nation would be saved more than half of the forex expended on sugar imports annually.

It added that the investment would also lift its people as other people-oriented infrastructures would come with the sugar projects.

The state lawmakers commended the Dangote Group for the choice of the state for the project and the accelerated pace with which the project was being executed, despite occasional delays arising from communal disagreements.

General Manager for the BIP, Dangote Sugar, John Beverley said when the factory was fully operational, it would have the capacity to crush 12,000 tons of cane per day, while 90MW power would be generated for both the company’s use and host communities.

He also disclosed that some 500km roads in all would be constructed to ease transportation within the vicinity. He solicited the support of the lawmakers in controlling the menace of land encroachment by settlers and itinerant farmers.

The Speaker of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly, Ibrahim Abdullah, and his team members, who were conducted around the company’s 78,000 hectares BIP in Tunga Awe Local Government Area commended the company for the project.

Abdullah noted that it would not only open up opportunities in the state but in Africa as a whole, and said the lawmakers were ready to partner and support the company towards the realisation of the sugar project through the relevant legislation.

When phase II of the project is completed, according to the company, it will make it the largest sugar refining plant in Africa.

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French Trade Advisors pledge Massive Investment In Lagos Free Zone

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The Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur (French Foreign Trade Advisors) has expressed readiness to invest massively in the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) being developed by the Tolaram Group as they endorsed the zone as the ideal industrial destination for French businesses in Nigeria.

This was made known on Thursday, April 15, 2021, during a visit to the Lagos Free Zone. The delegation led by the Ambassador of France to Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier accompanied by his Economic Advisor, the Consulate General of France in Lagos and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur comprising of CEOs of several French businesses in Nigeria.

Speaking during the visit, the Ambassador of France in Nigeria, His Excellency Jerome Pasquier explained that the aim of the visit of the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur to Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) was to discover the opportunities in the Lagos Free Zone and the Lekki Port project, which is expected to have a huge positive impact on businesses in Nigeria.

Pasquier commended Tolaram Group, the promoter of the zone, for the foresight of integration of Lekki Port into the master plan of the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), which would serve as the gateway for import and export from the zone thereby giving businesses in the zone a competitive edge.

The Ambassador also commended the Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) for its Master Plan for the zone which includes world-class infrastructure that is in line with its vision to be the preferred industrial hub and investment destination in West Africa.

“I am impressed by the huge size of the Lagos Free Zone project. We are very happy that the French companies will be deeply involved in this Lagos Free Zone project. It is really impressive to see how ambitious this project is. The French Minister was in Nigeria yesterday and I explained to him that Nigeria is a country where we can have big projects. For us, this project means big opportunities and that explains why we need to be here. We are happy to be here and work with Tolaram Group”, he added.

It is noteworthy to mention that the first French company to be established in the Lagos Free Zone is the terminal operations arm of CMA – CGM which has established a subsidiary within the Lagos Free Zone and is the appointed operator for the container terminal operations scheduled to commence at Lekki Port next year.

In his remarks, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos Free Zone (LFZ), Mr. Dinesh Rathi assured the Ambassador of France and the Conseillers du Commerce Exterieur that the zone remains the best destination for investment in Nigeria and the West African sub-region given the seamless integration with Lekki Port and the world-class infrastructure provided by Lagos Free Zone.

Explaining the configuration of the zone, Rathi disclosed that the clustering is planned in line with the international best practices of Work, Live, and Play. He stated that the land-use plan of the Lagos Free Zone allocates 70 percent area towards industrial developments, 20 percent towards logistics and support services while the real estate will cover the remaining 10 percent.

He also stated that Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) has simplified the process of business entry and operation in the zone in line with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Ease of Doing Business policy.

“We have made it very easy for the business to berth and take off at zone by making our process less cumbersome and friendly, we are open for business 24/7 and willing to help investors to settle in very fast,” he said.

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