- Yam Export Won’t Affect Availability Locally – FG
The commencement of yam export from Nigeria will not result in the depletion of the commodity domestically, the Federal Government has said.
Last week, the government announced that a consignment of 72 metric tonnes of yam would leave Nigeria for Europe and the United States of America on Thursday, June 29, 2017.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, had stated that the export programme would set the stage for the country’s return to the global yam value chain as a dominant player.
Reacting to concerns that the move might affect the availability of yam locally, Ogbeh stated on Thursday that there was no reason to be anxious by the populace.
The minister, who disclosed this in a statement issued by his Media and Communications Adviser, Dr. Olukayode Oyeleye, stated that those who were apprehensive about the possible non-availability of yams for local consumption as a result of the export programme needed not be.
According to him, Nigeria has consistently been reckoned with globally as the largest producer of yam at various times, accounting for anything between 65 and 76 per cent of the total world production.
The statement noted that the Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in 1985 that Nigeria produced 18.3 million tonnes of yam from 1.5 million hectares, representing 73.8 per cent of the total yam production in Africa.
It stated that yam was being grown in vast areas of the country, covering many agro-ecological zones, from the coastal region in rain forests, wood savannah to southern savannah habitats, spreading over 27 out of the 36 states, in addition to the Federal Capital Territory.
“There are therefore more reasons to be optimistic about the prospects,” it added.
The government listed the yam-producing states to include Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Imo, Kaduna, Kogi, Kwara and Lagos.
Others are Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Taraba states.
According to the government, all the states have responsibilities to support production and post-production activities of yam, including trade and generation of on-field and off-field data.
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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