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Senate Approves $1.806b Chinese Loan for Rail Projects

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  • Senate Approves $1.806b Chinese Loan for Rail Projects

The Senate yesterday approved part of the 2016-2018 External Borrowing Plan pertaining to the Lagos, Kano railway modernisation project (Lagos-Ibadan segment double track).

The upper chamber also endorsed the World Bank-supported reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Northeast at $1.806 billion.

This followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts on the proposed Federal Government 2016-2018 External Borrowing (Rolling) Plan presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shehu Sani.

Sani, in his report, noted that the committee resolved to consider the project due to its importance and urgency to fast track the development of critical infrastructure.

The committee received briefs from Ministers of Transportation and Finance, Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Chairman, Fiscal Responsibility Commission and Managing Director, Nigeria Railway Corporation.

The projects to be financed by the China Exim Bank include Lagos-Kano Railway Modernisation (Lagos-Ibadan segment); Lagos-Kano Railway modernisation project (Kano-Kaduna segment) and Coastal Railway (Lagos-Calabar segment).

On the World Bank-supported projects, Sani listed polio eradication and routine immunisation, Community and Social Development project and Nigeria States Health programme investment.

Apart from approving the loan request, the committee’s recommendations adopted by the Senate included that the: immediate negotiation for the Eastern corridor (Port Harcourt-Maiduguri) and same submitted for approval by the National Assembly; and that the committee “do recommend for approval by the Senate the remaining segments of the Rail modernisation project as soon as these are approved by the Board of China-Exim Bank, namely (Lagos-Calabar segment) and the Port Harcourt Maiduguri line (the Eastern corridor rail project)”.

The committee also recommended that the Senate “do emphasize effective oversight by relevant committees on the implementation of all the projects for which the loans is being approved.”

It said that the projects, when fully implemented were sure to stimulate economic development and create both direct and indirect jobs for Nigerians, particularly youth.

On the World Bank supported loan, the committee said that the projects, which are mainly proposed for the Northeast region, will facilitate the much needed rehabilitation of the people and allow schools to be reopened.

The Senate also approved a $750 million Islamic Bank loan request by some states. These are: Enugu, Ebonyi, Kano, and Ondo states.

Ebonyi’s $80 million loan request was earlier rejected but following strident pleadings by Senator Obinna Ogba (Ebonyi Central) the upper chamber made a U-turn to approve the request.

The Senate also approved the $750 million medium term external loan requests for six states, out of the Federal Government’s request of $1.49billion for 10 states.

The states whose loan requests were approved are Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kano, Ondo and Plateau.

The committee said there was a need for phased approval of the loan requests for the other states which are: Ogun, Jigawa, Kaduna and Katsina.

A breakdown of the approved loans are $70 million from African Development Bank (ADB) for Ebonyi Ring Road Project (to be co-financed by Islamic Development Bank), $200 million ADB facility for Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) in Abia State, and $200 million IDB loan for Kano State Integrated Agricultural and Water Resources Development.

It also approved a $100 million request for Enugu and Kano from the French Development Agency for the third National Urban Water Sector Reform (NUWSRP-III).

“That the remaining four states in the borrowing plan be deferred,” the report read.

The railway project, which includes the Lagos-Ibadan segment double track is to be funded by China Export-Import Bank for $1.231 billion, while the Northeast rehabilitation is to be funded by the World Bank for $575 million.

The terms of the China EXIM bank loan include a maturity enure of 20 years with a moratorium of seven years at interest rate of 2.5 per cent. It also includes a management fee of 0.5 per cent, a commitment fee of 0.2 per cent, and a duration of three years.

The committee in its report observed that the railway project would link the North to the South by rail and promote trade, create jobs and also reduce pressure in roads infrastructure.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Vice-President Harris Gathers Momentum as Democratic Nominee

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Kamala Harris

Vice-President Kamala Harris has secured the support needed to become the Democratic nominee for president.

This was after President Joe Biden announced he would not seek re-election, endorsing Harris as his successor.

According to CBS News, Harris has received endorsements from over 1,976 delegates, surpassing the threshold needed to clinch the nomination in the first round of voting at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) scheduled for August.

Delegations from at least 27 states have expressed full support, showcasing a strong backing across the nation.

In her address to campaign staff in Wilmington, Delaware, Harris expressed gratitude for the widespread support, adding that she committed to uniting the party and the country.

“We have 106 days until Election Day, and in that time, we have some hard work to do,” she stated.

Harris laid out her vision for America, contrasting it with that of her likely opponent, Donald Trump.

Speaking on the direction of the campaign thus far, she said “Our campaign has always been about two different versions of what we see as the future of our country. One focuses on the future, the other focuses on the past.”

She acknowledged the accomplishments of the Biden administration, highlighting her pride in serving as vice-president.

“My time serving as vice-president was one of the greatest honors of my life,” Harris said, underscoring her dedication to continuing the work they started.

In a phone call to his campaign team, Biden praised Harris, urging his supporters to rally behind her. “I’m hoping you’ll give every bit of your heart and soul that you gave to me to Kamala,” he said.

Despite stepping back from the race, Biden vowed to remain actively involved in supporting Harris and emphasized the importance of defeating Trump, calling him “a danger to this nation.”

Harris’s nomination marks a significant milestone, but challenges remain. The campaign will focus on addressing key issues such as healthcare, climate change, and economic inequality.

With millions of dollars pouring into her campaign since Biden’s announcement, Harris aims to capitalize on the momentum and build a coalition that appeals to a broad spectrum of voters.

As the DNC approaches, Harris is expected to formally accept the nomination, solidifying her position as the Democratic leader.

The coming months will be crucial as she works to unite the party and reach out to undecided voters. With her historic nomination, Harris stands poised to make a lasting impact on the future of American politics.

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President Declines Nomination, Endorses Harris for 2024

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In a significant political announcement on his X.com account, President Joe Biden has decided to forgo the opportunity to seek re-election in 2024, instead throwing his full support behind Vice President Kamala Harris.

The surprise move, shared with the public this morning, represents a pivotal moment in the Democratic Party’s journey toward the upcoming presidential election.

In his statement, Biden said that his choice to step aside is driven by a desire to concentrate on his remaining duties as President.

He expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside Harris, calling her selection as his Vice President in 2020 “the best decision” he has made. “My fellow Democrats,” Biden began, “I have decided not to accept the nomination and to focus all my energies on my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”

The President’s announcement signifies a strategic shift in the 2024 election landscape. By endorsing Kamala Harris, Biden not only aims to consolidate support within the party but also to set the stage for a unified front against former President Donald Trump.

“Today I want to offer my full support and endorsement for Kamala to be the nominee of our party this year,” Biden declared. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump. Let’s do this.”

This endorsement comes as a surprise to many, given Biden’s earlier commitment to seeking re-election.

However, it reflects a broader strategic maneuver to ensure party unity and strengthen the Democratic position in the face of a formidable opponent. By focusing on Harris, Biden aims to leverage her growing popularity and political acumen to fortify the party’s chances in the upcoming election.

Kamala Harris, who has served as Vice President since January 2021, will now be thrust into the spotlight as the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Her campaign is expected to build on the legacy of the current administration while addressing key issues facing the nation.

The move also raises the stakes for the Republicans, who will need to prepare for a robust campaign from a seasoned political leader in Harris.

As the 2024 election cycle ramps up, Biden’s endorsement is likely to reshape the dynamics of the race, influencing both Democratic strategies and Republican responses.

The coming months will be critical as Harris and her team work to solidify their platform and rally support from voters across the nation.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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