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Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project Almost Completed –FG

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  • Lagos-Ibadan Rail Project Almost Completed –FG

The Federal Government on Tuesday announced that the construction work on the Lagos-Ibadan rail line project was gradually coming to an end.

It said the project was being finalised as train ride would commence from Iju in Lagos State to Abeokuta in Ogun State by the first week of January 2019.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who disclosed this while inspecting the rail project alongside some members of the House of Representatives, further stated that the target of the Federal Government was that by the end of January next year, the train service would also start operations in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Amaechi said, “We are gradually coming to the end of the project because we are 6km away from Abeokuta and I have been assured, even though sometimes they may not keep to their promises, that we will be able to ride from Iju to Abeokuta at least by the first week of January.

“The idea is to bring the Vice-President and some ministers to join us in the ride. When we do the ride we will then allow passengers to use it up to Abeokuta. Our target is that by the end of the month we should get to Ibadan by rail.”

The minister stated that after the completion of the rail lines, the government would put pressure on the contractor handling the project to fully carry out work on the train stations.

Amaechi added, “We can begin to put the pressure on them (contractors) to build the stations, for as you drive past the stations, you’ll see that they are working but they are slow because I’ve told them that emphasis should be on the tracks.

“In fact, I will tell them not to continue to build the two tracks, but to focus on one so that while we are using that one, they can be building the second track. Because as they take the two, it’s slowing down the construction period.”

Providing further proof that the $1.6bn project had recorded appreciable progress, Amaechi said, “Don’t forget that when we started, it was a huge forest. In fact, as we traverse this area, most places are no longer known to us. There are now bridges in the little waters we used to drive across; there are now valleys in the hills we used to climb. There are changes.”

The minister added, “While we congratulate the Chinese for their technologies, one thing Nigerians must learn is how to build for ourselves our own roads and railways. Other countries did it. We cannot continue to depend on other peoples’ technology. The earlier we learnt that, the better.”

He also stated that the Lagos-Ibadan rail project would get about eight locomotives from the Ajaokuta Steel Company, adding that wagons were also being expected from the steel firm.

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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Economy

Nigeria Records Trade Deficit of 8.9 Trillion in Nine Months

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) released a report that showed that Nigeria recorded a trade deficit of 8.9 Trillion Naira between January and September 2021. 

A trade deficit occurs when a country’s imports exceed its exports over a period. Within the period, foreign trade was 35.09 Trillion Naira which comprised imports of 22 Trillion Naira and exports of 13.1 Trillion which led to an 8.9 Trillion trade deficit.

A breakdown of the data by quarters shows that trade stood at 9.76 Trillion Naira in the first quarter, which represented imports of 6.85 Trillion Naira and exports of 2.91 Trillion Naira, this resulted in a trade deficit of 3.94 Trillion during the period.

The data went on to show that the majority of the goods imported in the first quarter were from China (valued at 2 Trillion), the Netherlands (valued at 726.09 Billion) the United States (valued at 608.12 Billion), India (valued at 589.1 Billion), and Belgium (valued at 238.5 Billion) while the majority of exports were to India (valued at 488.1 Billion), Spain (valued at 287.2 Billion), China (190.1 Billion), the Netherlands (160.0 Billion) and France (133 Billion).

In the third quarter, Crude oil dominated exports with 78.47% of exports, this was followed by natural gas with 9.5%. Imports were mainly motor spirit with 12.91% of imports, Durum wheat with 3.87%, gas oil with 2.77%, and used vehicles with 2.27%.

A renowned economist, Pat Utomi said the country’s huge appetite for imports was because of insufficient domestic production which is driven by worsening insecurity and stringent government regulations. He went on to say that although there were interventions introduced by the Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce imports and increase exports, the initiatives are fraught with inconsistencies and corrupt practices that prevent any real impact.

He went on to say that it was scandalous that Nigeria’s top imports were food products and motor spirits as those are products the country should be exporting because Nigeria is a food-producing nation and has oil in abundance.

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Economy

World Bank Calls on Nigeria to Impose Special Taxes on Alcohol and Tobacco

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The World Bank Group has made a call to the Federal Government of Nigeria, urging the government to impose special taxes on alcohol, cigarettes and beverages that are highly sweetened in order to improve primary healthcare conditions in the country.

Shubham Chaudhuri, who is the Country Director for Nigeria in the World Bank Group, said that an improvement in healthcare in Nigeria will come by taxing the things that are “killing us.” He said that the economic rationale for the action is quite strong if lives are to be saved and a healthier Nigeria achieved.

Chaudhuri made the call on Friday, at a special National Council on Health meeting which was organized by the Federal Ministry of Health in Abuja. Chaudhuri stated that placing special taxes on tobacco, sweetened beverages and alcohol would reduce the health risks which come with their consumption and expand the fiscal space for universal health coverage after COVID 19.

The country director also said that investing in stronger health systems for all would make significant contributions to the fight against inequality and the rising poverty situation in the country. He went on to add that increasing health tax would provide an extra advantage of reducing healthcare cost in the future, by hindering the growth of the diseases which are caused by tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The representative of the WHO in Nigeria, Dr Walter Mulombo said that he could confirm the large health needs of Nigerians, as well as the efforts being made to meet those needs. He said this was based on the fact that he had been to over half of Nigeria’s states in less than two years of being in the country.

Mulombo then noted that although the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the global economy (not excluding health), it could be considered as a unique opportunity for a thorough examination of existing resources and mechanisms to prepare for a more resilient future.

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Economy

Nigeria’s VAT Revenue Falls to N500 Billion in Q3 2021, Manufacturing Sector in the Lead

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Value added tax - Investors King

In the third quarter of 2021, Nigeria generated a total sum of N500.49 billion as value-added tax which represents a 2.3% decline when compared to the N512.25 billion recorded in the second quarter of the year.

This is as seen in the VAT report which was recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The report revealed that the manufacturing sector was in the lead as it remitted a total of N91.2 billion, representing about 30% of the total local non-import value added taxes in that period.

In spite of the quarter-on-quarter decline of VAT collections in the reviewed period, it grew by a further 17.8% when compared to N424.7 billion generated in the same period of the previous year. The report also shows that an amount of N1.5 trillion has been generated from value added taxes from January 2021 to September 2021.

That is 40.2% higher than the N1.08 trillion recorded in the same period of 2020, and 72.3% higher than what was recorded in the same period of 2019.

To break it down, the Value Added Tax collected in the first, second and third quarter of 2021 was recorded at N496.39 billion, N512.25 billion and N500.49 billion respectively. It is higher than the corresponding figures of 2020, which sat at N324.58 billion, N327.20 billion and N424.71 billion for the first, second and third quarters respectively.

In the third quarter of 2021, the Manufacturing activity accounted for the largest share of total revenue collected across sectors, with a huge 30.87% (N91.2 billion) coming from that sector. The Information & Communication sector came in second with 20.05% (N53.9 billion) contributed, while the Mining & Quarrying sector came in third with 9.62% (N28.4 billion).

Nigeria has continued to ramp up its efforts to increase revenue from non-oil sectors by increasing its tax collection rates, which has recorded largely significant growth since the federal government increased the VAT rate from 5% to 7.5% in the 2019 Finance Act, which was signed and made effective in 2020.

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