- Buhari Approves Funds for Lagos-Algiers Highway
In a move to facilitate Trans-Saharan African trade, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday announced he has approved special funding commitment for the reconstruction of the highway linking Lagos with Algiers, the Algerian capital.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Minister of Police Affairs, Maigari Dingyadi, made the statement at the 70th Session of the Trans-Saharan Road Liaison Committee held in Abuja on Monday.
He said: “I am aware that the committee has made concerted efforts to execute the task of building the Trans-Saharan road, which is also known as the Trans-Saharan African Highway to link Algiers with Nigeria through Lagos.
“The road will also have routes and branches that link Tunisia, Mali and Chad. That highway is a pride of the African continent. This is why Nigeria is supporting and will continue to support (the project).”
He added that “The Nigerian government is currently upgrading the section of the Trans-Saharan road within its borders. Special funding consideration has been committed to the reconstruction work on the sections of Trans-Saharan roads from Lagos to Ibadan and Kaduna to Kano.”
According to him, other sections of the route like the Ibadan to Ilorin, Ilorin to Jebba, Jebba to Mokwa and Mokwa to Kaduna were either being rehabilitated or already made into a dual carriage to facilitate easy movement of goods.
This he said would ease the flow of traffic, especially for heavy-duty vehicles using those roads.
Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, explained that the reconstruction would deepen growth across the Sub-Saharan region.
Fashola said, “A total of nine highways at different stages of construction are meant to achieve this connectivity. Three of these highways pass through the territory of Nigeria.
“They are the Lagos-Dakar highway, through Seme in Benin Republic; Lagos-Mombasa, through Yaoundè in Cameroon; and Lagos-Algiers, which is the one supported by this committee and this is the subject of our meeting.”
The minister added that the road presently served 37 regions, 74 urban centres with over 60 million inhabitants in six nations of member committee.
NLNG Boosts Cooking Gas Production to 1.5 Million Metric Tonnes Annually
Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has announced a significant milestone in its operations, boosting its annual production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas, to over 1.5 million metric tonnes.
This surge in production underscores NLNG’s commitment to meeting the rising demand for clean cooking energy in Nigeria.
The entirety of NLNG’s 1.5 million tonnes production is now being sold domestically within Nigeria.
Moreover, the company has initiated a landmark shift by starting to supply LPG in naira, moving away from the traditional practice of trading in United States dollars.
This move aligns with calls from stakeholders in the oil and power sectors advocating for naira transactions, especially amidst the challenges posed by currency fluctuations.
During a panel session at the 7th Nigeria International Energy Summit in Abuja, NLNG’s General Manager of Finance, Fatima Adanan, highlighted the company’s dedication to enhancing LPG penetration across the country.
Adanan emphasized NLNG’s vision to make Nigeria a better place by promoting the use of cleaner energy sources like gas.
While NLNG’s production surge is commendable, Adanan acknowledged that Nigeria’s LPG requirements surpass the current output, necessitating imports to bridge the gap.
However, NLNG remains committed to expanding its production capacity to meet the nation’s energy needs and drive increased adoption of LPG as a cleaner cooking fuel.
CBN Raises Benchmark Interest Rate by 400 Basis Points to 22.75%
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised the benchmark interest rate by 400 basis points to a record 22.75%.
The decision made by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) comes amidst rising inflationary pressures and growing uncertainty in Africa’s largest economy.
Nigeria’s inflation rate rose to 29.90% in January 2024, the highest in over two decades while the nation’s unemployment rate quickened to 5% in the third quarter of 2023. Suggesting that the rising costs have continued to drag on both new job creation and the existing ones.
This coupled with a series of policy adjustments implemented by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has plunged economic productivity and eroded consumer spending as citizens grapple with high fuel prices, electricity tariffs, a record-high foreign exchange rate, and insecurities.
Therefore, it is surprising that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) led by the CBN will further increase borrowing costs by 400 basis points at a time when job creation is paramount.
While the economy reportedly grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, this growth is yet to crystalise as businesses and citizens have taken to the street protest against the harsh economic situation.
Economic experts have started questioning the data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) given its lack of correlation between the data and economic reality.
President Tinubu Unveils Geometric Power Plant in Aba After 20-Year Wait
After two decades of anticipation, President Bola Tinubu, through his representative Vice President Kashim Shettima, inaugurated the long-awaited Geometric Power Plant in Aba, a significant milestone in the city’s quest for reliable electricity supply.
The event, which also saw the commissioning of three rehabilitated roads by Abia State Governor Alex Otti, symbolizes the culmination of years of perseverance and determination to transform Aba’s power landscape.
Addressing the audience, Vice President Shettima hailed the project as a testament to the power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to progress.
He said the Geometric Power Plant exemplifies the transformative impact of strategic infrastructure investments on local communities.
Governor Otti echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the importance of the power project in positioning Aba as a hub for national and international business ventures.
He commended the efforts of Geometric Power Limited while urging them to uphold transparency and avoid exploiting consumers.
The inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant comes amidst growing concerns over Nigeria’s power infrastructure and the need for sustainable solutions to address electricity shortages.
The project, with a capacity of 188MW, holds promise for significant improvements in power supply across Abia State, benefitting nine out of seventeen local government areas.
The Managing Director of Geometric Power Limited, Ben Caven, underscored the scale of investment involved, totaling $800 million.
He highlighted the comprehensive nature of the project, which includes the installation of new power substations and a 27km natural gas pipeline, signaling a comprehensive approach to enhancing Aba’s energy infrastructure.
In conclusion, the inauguration of the Geometric Power Plant represents a transformative moment for Aba, offering renewed hope for economic growth and prosperity powered by reliable electricity supply.
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