- FG’ll Complete Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project Payment Next Week
The Federal Government will next week complete payment for the construction of the new Lagos-Ibadan rail line being handled by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has said.
Amaechi, who spoke in Lagos on Tuesday during the inspection the project, reiterated that it would be completed in December 2018.
He said, “There are no funding challenges because they have their money. We have paid part of the counterpart funds and whatever is remaining, we will pay in the next one week.
“When we sign, they will collect their money from the China-Exim Bank. So, in terms of funding, there is no problem. In terms of capacity, they have to deliver and by next year June-July, we should be able to deliver the central line which starts from Itakpe to Warri.”
The new Lagos-Ibadan rail line with extension to Lagos Port Complex, Apapa, Lagos State, is expected to cost N458bn and will span 156.65 kilometres.
The agreement between Nigeria and the CCECC for the construction of the standard gauge line was signed in July 2016. The new rail line will eventually be taken to Kano and linked up with the already completed and running Abuja-Kaduna standard gauge rail track.
Amaechi also disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the sourcing of loan for the construction of another rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri, adding that the project would cover both the South-East and the North-East.
He said that the rail project from Lagos to Kano was capable of generating 250,000 jobs.
“You can imagine how many people they are already employing. More people will be employed as the rains stop. We are creating jobs and paying salaries through this process and the government’s intention is to ensure that all state capitals are covered,” the minister said.
He added, “The directive of the President is that we should ensure that the whole country can be accessed by rail. You understand that the economy cannot run without logistics; and logistics is transportation; for him, the roads will last longer if we transfer freight from road to railway.
“This is part of that directive that we should at least ensure the construction of the Lagos to Ibadan rail while we are negotiating for the Ibadan to Kano part of it and at the same time negotiating for the loan for Lagos-Calabar rail line.”
Amaechi said that the steel needed for rail could not be found in Nigeria and that was why the country was importing it.
The Chief Project Coordinator, CCECC, Mr. Leo Yin, said in Lagos on Monday during a visit to the Nigerian Railway Corporation headquarters by the Senate Committees on Land Transport, and Local and Foreign Debts that only 85 per cent of the payment had been released.
He noted that the delay in the release of the counterpart funds had been a major challenge to the execution of the project.
According to him, the first batch of 6,000 tonnes of rail out of 45,000 tonnes for the project will be ready for shipment to Nigeria from China next week.
He also said that 700 out of 7,000 workers required for the project had been mobilised.
The committee members led by Senators Gbenga Ashafa (Land Transport) and Shehu Sani (Local and Foreign Debts had visited the project site at Agege, Lagos.
Dangote Fertiliser Plant to Commence Shipment of Urea in March 2021
Dangote to Sells Petrol in Naira, Plans to Commence Urea Shipment in March 2021
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has said Dangote Fertiliser Plant will commence shipment of Urea in March 2021.
The CBN governor disclosed this during an inspection tour of the sites of Dangote Refinery, Petrochemicals Complex Fertiliser Plant and Subsea Gas Pipeline at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos on Saturday.
Emefiele further stated that Dangote Refinery would sell refined petroleum products in Naira when it starts production.
This he said would save the country from spending 41 percent of the nation’s foreign exchange on importation of petroleum products yearly.
“Based on agreement and discussions with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the oil companies, the Dangote Refinery can buy its crude in naira, refine it, and produce it for Nigerians’ use in naira,” Mr Emefiele said.
“That is the element where foreign exchange is saved for the country becomes very clear. We are also very optimistic that by refining this product here in Nigeria, all those costs associated with either demurrage from import, costs associated with freight will be totally eliminated.”
Emefiele explained that this will make the price of Nigeria’s petroleum products affordable and cheaper in naira.
“If we are lucky that what the refinery produces is more than we need locally you will see Nigerian businessmen buying small vessels to take them to our West African neighbours to sell to them in naira.
“This will increase our volume in naira and help to push it into the Economic Community of West African States as a currency,” Mr Emefiele said.
UK Budget 2021: Will Sunak’s Budget Run Into Unintended Consequences?
Rishi Sunak’s Budget will encourage higher earners to consider their “international financial options” and will drive businesses away from the UK, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organizations.
The warning from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as the Chancellor delivered his 2021 Budget in the House of Commons, his second since he took on the role.
Mr Green says: “The Chancellor has got an extraordinarily difficult hand to play as he tries to stem the economic damage caused by the pandemic, support jobs and businesses and, crucially, rebuild the public finances.
“Whilst Mr Sunak is being hailed a hero for the continued and unprecedented levels of support, it should also be remembered that he is – in a stealth move – dragging more people firmly into the tax net.
“He is raising taxes under the radar.
“Yes, there is no income tax rise. However, he is freezing personal tax thresholds, meaning as incomes rise and thresholds don’t, he is able to raise money by fiscal drag.”
Earlier this week, the deVere CEO noted: “Those most impacted by this stealth move will be looking at the financial planning options available to them, including international options, in order to grow and protect their wealth.”
Rishi Sunak also confirmed that corporation tax will increase to 25% from 2023, up from the current level of 19%.
Of this tax hike, Mr Green goes on to say: “Lower corporation tax helps job and wealth-creating business to survive and thrive. It also helps attract business to move and invest in the country.
“Instead of increasing taxes, Mr Sunak should have relentlessly focussed on growth and stimulus policies for businesses. This would have been of greater help to firms, the economy, jobs and, ultimately, the Treasury’s coffers.”
He adds: “Again, this corporation tax hike is likely to serve as a prompt for businesses to consider their overseas financial options.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “The Chancellor had to perform a tough juggling act. But stealthily dragging more people into the tax net and raising corporation tax might have negative, unintended consequences for the Treasury’s bottom line.”
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
Electricity Consumers Get 611,231 Meters Under MAP Scheme
A total of 611,231 meters have been deployed as at January 31, 2021 under the Meter Asset Provider initiative since its full operation despite the COVID-19 pandemic and other extraneous factors, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission has said.
NERC disclosed this in a consultation paper on the review of the MAP Regulations.
The proposed review of the MAP scheme is coming nearly four months after the Federal Government launched a new initiative called National Mass Metering Programme aimed at distributing six million meters to consumers free of charge.
“The existence of a huge metering gap and the need to ensure successful implementation of the MYTO 2020 Service-Based Tariff resulted in the approval of the NMMP, a policy of the Federal Government anchored on the provision of long-term low interest financing to the Discos,” NERC said.
The commission had in March 2018 approved the MAP Regulations with the aim of fast-tracking the closure of the metering gap in the sector through the engagement of third-party investors (called meter asset providers) for the financing, procurement, supply, installation and maintenance of meters.
It set a target of providing meters to all customers within three years, and directed the Discos and the approved MAPs to commence the rollout of meters not later than May 1, 2019.
But in February 2020, NERC said several constraints, including changes in fiscal policy and the limited availability of long-term funding, had led to limited success in meter rollout.
NERC, in the consultation paper, highlighted three proposed options for metering implementation going forward.
The first option is to allow the implementation of both the NMMP and MAP metering frameworks to run concurrently; the second is to continue with the current MAP framework with meters procured under the NMMP supplied only through MAPs (by being off-takers from the local manufacturers/assemblers).
The third option is to wind down the MAP framework and allow the Discos to procure meters directly from local manufacturers/assemblers (or as procured by the World Bank), and enter into new contracts for the installation and maintenance of such meters.
“Customers who choose not to wait to receive meters based on the deployment schedule of the NMMP shall continue to have the option of making upfront payments for meters which will be installed within a maximum period of 10 working days,” NERC said.
The regulator said such customers would be refunded by the Discos through energy credits, adding that there would be no option for meter acquisition through the payment of a monthly meter service charge.
“Where meters have already been deployed under the meter service charge option, Discos shall make one-off repayment to affected customers and associated MAPs. Such meters shall be recognised in the rate base of the Discos,” it added.
NERC urged stakeholders to provide comments, objections, and representations on the proposed amendments within 21 days of the publication of the consultation paper.
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