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FEC Approves N10.2bn Projects For Water Resources, Aviation, Others

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the sum of N10.168 billion for the execution of various projects under the ministries of Water Resources, Aviation, as well as two agencies under the Presidency.

The virtual FEC, which was presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), held in the First Lady’s Conference Room of the Presidential Villa on Wednesday.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the virtual meeting, Ministers of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu; Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave details of the various projects approved by the Council.

In the Ministry of Water Resources, the Minister said Council approved augmentation for two contracts, which had been affected by time and inflation.

“The contracts, Bagwai Irrigation Project in Kano State and the Biu Water Supply Project in Borno State, according to Adamu, got an aggregate of N8.825 billion.

“The first one was for expansion and completion of Bagwai Irrigation Project on Watari Dan in Bagwai local government area of Kano State. We have sought an augmentation of N3.76 billion, which was approved.

“Therefore, Council was gracious to approve this augmentation with the sum of N3.762 billion, bringing the new contract sum from N5.4 billion to N9.2 billion, inclusive of 7.5 percent VAT, with an additional completion period of 24 months plus another 12 months liability period.

“The second memo was for requesting for augmentation for Biu Water Supply Project. Again, this is a project that was started in 2001 but is still yet to be completed. It ran into a lot of problems, mainly associated with the funding and the Boko Haram insurgency. So, we sought an augmentation.

“So, the total augmentation, like I said, is N5.063 billion, bringing the contracts sum now to N9.36 billion from N4.29 billion, inclusive 7.5 percent VAT, with a new completion period of 24 months. We hope that these projects will be implemented in earnest and hopefully, we’ll be able to get them completed by 2023 for the overall benefit of the people,” he said.

For the Ministry of Aviation, Council approved a contract for the procurement of a towable mobile office for the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) of the Civil Aviation Authority.

“The contract is for the procurement, equipment and installation of accident investigation towable mobile offices in favour of Messrs. Crases Integrity Services Limited. The total contract sum is N201,150,437.21.

“The purpose of this equipment, once purchased, if there is, God forbid, an accident anywhere, these mobile offices will be driven to the location and an office will be established for the purposes of taking data, collecting samples and gathering information regarding the incident and then analysing them on-site and tagging them and doing all sorts of things there and you know, this can take any time, sometimes a few hours, sometimes even weeks,” he said.

Also reporting two memoranda approved by Council in President Muhammadu Buhari’s name, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed said “I have two memos presented in the name of Mr. President. The first was a memo seeking approval of the Council for the enhancement of security at the newly completed premises of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission headquarters located at Jabi. You will recall that from 2011 upwards, there’ve been various attacks on federal government institutions and even multilateral institutions like the United Nations building.

“Consequent upon those attacks in 2011, 2014, 2018, the federal government set up what is called the Vulnerability Assessment Committee to see how we can better protect ministries, departments and agencies and it’s in line with this that the EFCC, today presented to Council a memo seeking approval for the procurement of four sets of automatic and static anti-crush boulder system, with automatic vehicle scanners and other accessors, linear meters perimeter fencing, intrusion detection system and human screening equipment, four walk-through metal detectors, two handheld metal scanners, one luggage scanner and three handheld explosive trace detectors, all at the value of N805,738,541.95, inclusive of the 7.5 percent VAT, with the completion period of 12 weeks. The memo was approved by Council.

“The second memo, which Mr. President presented today is a memo seeking Council’s approval for the procurement of 16 vehicles for the use of Federal Civil Service Commission. You know we have 16 members of the FCC; the Chairman and 15 commissioners representing the states and they normally embark on extensive advocacy visits and team oversight functions to ministries, departments and agencies across the country.

“So, they asked for replacement of the old unserviceable vehicles and the Council duly approved the purchase of one Toyota Landcruiser V8 and 15 Toyota Rush, all at a total of N336,216,198,” he said.

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Economy

Ogun Records N13.3B Internally Generated Revenue Monthly in Q1 of 2021

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Revenue - Investors King

Ogun State Government has recorded an average of N13.3billion monthly as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) in the first quarter of 2021.

The government said it is also planning to raise its yearly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate from the current single digit by 25 percent.

The Commissioner for Finance, Dapo Okubadejo disclosed this to newsmen in Abeokuta ahead of the state’s investment summit tagged: ‘OgunIseya21: Becoming Africa’s Model Industrial and Logistics Hub’, slated for July 13th-14th, 2021.

Okubadejo who doubles as the State’s Chief Economic Adviser noted that the state’s IGR had experienced an upward movement after last year’s shortfall due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the attendant lockdown.

“We had a significant turnaround in the first quarter of this year. In fact, as of April, we have done almost N40bn in the Internally Generated Revenue. Our target this year is to exceed all the previous records we have set in IGR. That’s why we have put in place, all these transformation initiatives, friendly policies and also facilitate this investment summit to further showcase Ogun State as the preferred industrial destination,” he said.

The Finance Commissioner was supported in highlighting the investment potentials of the summit by his counterparts from the Ministries of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Kikelomo Longe; Works and Infrastructure, Ade Adesanya; Culture and Tourism, Toyin Taiwo; Budget and Planning, Olaolu Olabimtan and the Director-General, Public-Private Partnership, Dapo Oduwole.

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Unemployment To Push More Nigerians Into Poverty – NESG

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Nigerian Economic Summit Group- Investors King

On Friday, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group said that many more Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap amid rising unemployment in the country.

The NESG, a private sector-led think-tank, noted in its economic report for the first quarter of 2021 that the country’s economic growth in the period under review was relatively weak.

It said, “Nigeria’s economic growth trajectory is better described as jobless and less inclusive even in the heydays of high growth regime in the 2000s.

“While the Nigerian economy recovered from the recession in Q4 of 2020, the unemployment rate spiked to its highest level ever at 33.3 percent in the same quarter.

“With the COVID-19 crisis heightening the rate of joblessness, many Nigerians are expected to fall into the poverty trap, going forward.”

The group noted that the World Bank estimated an increase in the number of poor Nigerians to 90 million in 2020 from 83 million in 2019.

“This corresponds to a rise in headcount poverty ratio to 44.1 percent in 2020 from 40.1 percent in 2019. The rising levels of unemployment and poverty are reflected in the persistent insecurity and social vices, with attendant huge economic costs,” it said.

According to the report, huge dependence on proceeds from crude oil, leaving other revenue sources unexplored, indicates that Nigeria is not set to rein in debt accumulation in the short to medium term.

The NESG noted that public debt stock continued to trend upwards, with a jump from N7.6tn ($48.7bn) in 2012 to N32.9tn ($86.8bn) in 2020.

It said public debts grew by 20 percent between 2019 and 2020, adding, “This is partly due to the need for emergency funds to combat the global pandemic and alleviate its adverse economic impacts on households and businesses.”

According to the group, Nigeria needs more than an economic rebound, and there is a need to improve growth inclusiveness.

It said, “Nigeria has struggled to achieve inclusive growth for many decades. Since recovery from the 2016 recession, the economy has been on a fragile growth path until it slipped into another recession in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This suggests that the country needs to attain high and sustainable economic growth to become strong and resilient.

“The relationship between economic growth and unemployment rate in Nigeria suggests that economic growth has not led to a reduction in the unemployment rate – jobless growth.”

The NESG said to reverse this recurring trend, there was an urgent need for collaborative efforts between the government and relevant stakeholders towards addressing the constraints to value chain development in high-growth and employment-elastic sectors, including manufacturing, construction, trade, education, health and professional services, with ICT and renewable energy sectors as growth enablers.

It noted that despite the re-opening of the land borders that the Nigerian government shut since October 2019, inflation reached a four-year high of 18.1 percent in April 2021.

“While we expect improved agricultural production in coming months to partially ease inflationary pressures, this positive impact could be suppressed by recurring key structural bottlenecks including insecurity in the food-producing regions, electricity tariff hike, fuel price increase and hike in transport and logistic costs,” it added.

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IMF Queries FG Strategies On Fuel Subsidy, Unemployment, Inflation

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IMF - Investors King

The International Monetary Fund has raised the red flag over Nigeria’s resumption of petrol subsidy payments, describing it as injurious to the economy.

It also reiterated the importance of introducing a market-based fuel pricing mechanism and deployment of well-targeted social safety nets to cushion any adverse impact on the poor.

In a report produced after a virtual meeting with Nigerian authorities from June 1 to 8, the IMF also expressed concerns over the rising unemployment and inflation rates, even as it admitted that real Gross Domestic Product was recovering.

The IMF team, led by Jesmin Rahman, further hailed the Central Bank of Nigeria for its efforts at unifying the exchange rate by embracing needed reforms.

The Fund said: “Recent exchange rate measures are encouraging, and further reforms are needed to achieve a fully unified and market-clearing exchange rate.

“The resurfacing of fuel subsidies is concerning, particularly in the context of low revenue mobilisation.

“The Nigerian economy has started to gradually recover from the negative effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Following sharp output contractions in the second and third quarters, GDP growth turned positive in Q4 2020 and growth reached 0.5 percent (y/y) in Q1 2021, supported by agriculture and services sectors.

“Nevertheless, the employment level continues to fall dramatically and, together with other socio-economic indicators, is far below pre-pandemic levels. Inflation slightly decelerated in May but remained elevated at 17.9 percent, owing to high food price inflation. With the recovery in oil prices and remittance flows, the strong pressures on the balance of payments have somewhat abated, although imports are rebounding faster than exports and foreign investor appetite remains subdued resulting in continued FX shortage.

“The incipient recovery in economic activity is projected to take root and broaden among sectors, with GDP growth expected to reach 2.5 percent in 2021. Inflation is expected to remain elevated in 2021, but likely to decelerate in the second half of the year to reach about 15.5 percent, following the removal of border controls and the elimination of base effects from elevated food price levels.”

The IMF also recognised that tax revenue collections were gradually recovering but noted that with fuel subsidies resurfacing, additional spending for COVID-19 vaccines and to address security challenges, the fiscal deficit of the Consolidated Government is expected to remain elevated at 5.5 percent of GDP.

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