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Railway Workers Seek Repeal of NRC Act

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  • Railway Workers Seek Repeal of NRC Act

The Nigeria Union of Railway workers (NUR) has called for the repeal of the Nigeria Railways Corporation (NRC) Act of 1955. The law gives the corporation the monopoly of rail transportation business. The union is praying the government to encourage private investment in the sector.

It called for a law that would ensure a level playing field for public and private investors.

Its President, Saidu Garba, said the union would not stop the government from selling its assets, but the sale should be done transparently in a way to address the infrastructure deficit in the sector.

He expressed the hope that the National Council on Privatisation (NCP), which was headed by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo would address breaches of due diligence in NRC’s planned privatisation.

“We have not been fortunate enough to get privatisation or concession really right in this country probably because of our policy inconsistency, corruption and lack of political will. With the hasty way railway concession is being pursued, we feel that caution should be taken.

“We wonder why all the inventories on the entire assets of Nigerian Railways should be handed over to a preferred concessionaire whose document of expression of interest predates the newspaper advert for the bidding,” Garba said.

The union alleged that the Ministry of Transportation (MoT) dubiously concessioned the corporation’s 3,505-kilometre narrow gauge system to the American consortium, General Electric (GE).

Its Secretary-General, Segun Esan, in a statement, praised the government for NCP’s reconstitution, stating that the council would curtail MoT’s excesses in concession of NRC to GE.

It alleged that the ministry unilaterally concessioned the NRC to GE for 30 years.

The process, said the union, was not transparent and workers were not carried along in the exercise.

The NUR called on Prof Osinbajo to probe the process.

“GE’s expression of interest was dated September 2016 and advert for expression of interest for the bidding was in January 2017. Apart from this, GE requested for a zero per cent transfer of workers, while the Ministry of Transportation is saying that 20 per cent of the workforce would be absorbed by GE and the remaining 80 per cent of the workforce will be sent to a University of Railway Technology that will be established by the concessionaire,” said the workers’ union.

It argued that this was bizarre and indicated dishonesty. “An honest and public-spirited concession would squarely address all labour engagement and disengagement issues. It would be transparent enough to accommodate the workers’ union representatives to determine what happens to them before and after concession,” the NUR said.

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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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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