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FEC Approves Federal Roads and Bridges Tolling Policy

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Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the federal roads and bridges tolling policy and regulation that will provide legal framework for its implementation.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola who briefed State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister said that tolling would not start until the roads were made motorable

“The Ministry of Works and Housing presented a policy memorandum for the approval of federal roads and bridges tolling policy and also a regulation that will provide legal framework for the tolling policy.

“You will recall that about three years ago, you have asked severally here when roads will be tolled and I told you there is a lot of work.

“So, we have taken another step; let me be clear, tolls are not going to start tomorrow; so, let us just be clear about that; but the bid step to actual tolling was taken today by presenting for approval the broad policy that would guide tolling.

“So, that local people, states, local governments, all those who manage roads, investors who want to come in, will know what our tolling policy is.

“And that will form the basis of their financial modeling, their investments decision.

“When will they start? Tolls will not start until the roads are motorable; there will be agreements that have to be in place; negotiated with government through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.’

Fashola presented some of the highlights that would be adopted in the tolling policy.

He said that an open tolling policy would be adopted as opposed to a closed tolling policy.

“The difference is that on the open tolling policy which is what we are used to before, you pay toll at barrier over a fixed or pre-determined distance.

“Closed tolls system means that you pay tolls over the distance you travel and the size of your vehicle; we have not that operated before; so, we are going back to what we know.

“We also approved that consultations must be done; willingness to pay; surveys must be done before specific roads are tolled.’’

He said that the council also approved that only dual carriage ways out the 35000 kilometres of road should be eligible for tolling by the Federal Government.

The minister said that the dual carriage ways represented only 5,050 kilometres out of 35, 000 kiliometres.

“We also got approval that the tolls will be used to maintain the roads; to construct new road as they accrue and also to pay the investors who invest in building or completing a road and then take a concession on it.’’

According to him, a process of largely electronic collection and management system for audit and transparency will be adopted.

He said, however, that there would be some cash payments at the very minimum; and hopefully, phased out as the process progressed.

Fashola said that it was proposed and council approved that certain types of vehicles be exempted from paying tolls.

“Those are bicycles, pedal cycles, tricycles, motorcycles and that modes of two or three wheeled transport used mainly by disadvantaged members of our community.

“They will entitled to full 100 per cent exemption as we will diplomatic vehicles, military and paramilitary vehicles,’’ he said

Dr Mohammed Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, said he presented a memo seeking for the ratification of an anticipatory approval received from the president, on the submission of the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

He said it was part of the commitment that Nigeria made in 2016 during the Paris Agreement; that every country, after five years, would revise the commitment the country made in cutting down emission.

“So, at the time we committed to reducing emission by 20 percent unconditionally, meaning we can do it by ourselves; that is by 2020.

“The 20 per cent is by the year 2020; at the same time, we are also committed to reducing 45 per cent by 2030; that’s again from the year 2016,’’ he said.

On his part, Sale Mamman, Minister of Power, said that FEC approved four contracts for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

He listed the contracts as the supply and installation of motorised portable hydraulic compressor for the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and supply and delivery of three sets of online partial discharge measurement and monitoring equipment for the TCN.

Others are repairs of 100 MVA and four sets of 60 MVA 132 33 power transformers for TCN and for the procurement of 10 sets of 330 KV and 30 sets of 133 KV circuit breaker for the TCN.

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Ekiti Governor Unveils Multi-Billion Naira Relief Programmes Amid Economic Crisis

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Biodun Oyebanji

Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, has announced a comprehensive relief package aimed at alleviating the hardship faced by the people of the state.

The relief programs encompass various sectors to cushion the impact of the economic downturn.

One of the key initiatives entails clearing salary arrears amounting to over N2.7 billion owed to both State and Local Government workers.

This move signifies the government’s commitment to addressing the financial burdens faced by its workforce.

Furthermore, Governor Oyebanji has approved a substantial increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions, including the Judiciary and tertiary institutions.

This augmentation is intended to enable these institutions to implement wage awards in alignment with State and Local Government workers’ salaries.

In addition to addressing salary arrears, the relief programs extend to pensioners, with the approval of payments totaling N1.5 billion for two months’ pension arrears.

Moreover, an increase in the monthly gratuity payment to state pensioners and local government pensioners will provide additional financial support, totaling N200 million monthly.

The relief initiatives also encompass agricultural and small-scale business sectors.

The allocation of funds for food production and livestock transformation projects underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing food security and economic sustainability at the grassroots level.

Governor Oyebanji emphasized that these relief programs are part of the state’s concerted efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of the economic downturn and foster shared prosperity.

The comprehensive nature of the initiatives reflects a proactive approach towards addressing the challenges faced by Ekiti State residents.

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President Tinubu Orders Immediate Settlement of N342m Electricity Bill for Presidential Villa

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power project

President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt settlement of a N342 million outstanding electricity bill owed by the Presidential Villa to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).

This move comes in response to the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and the AEDC.

The AEDC had earlier threatened to disconnect electricity services to the Presidential Villa and 86 Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) over a total outstanding debt of N47.20 billion as of December 2023.

Contrary to the initial claim by the AEDC that the State House owed N923 million in electricity bills, the Presidency clarified that the actual outstanding amount is N342.35 million.

This discrepancy underscores the importance of accurate accounting and reconciliation between entities.

In a statement signed by President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency affirmed the commitment to settle the debt promptly.

Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila assured that the debt would be paid to the AEDC before the end of the week.

The directive from the Presidency extends beyond the State House, as Gbajabiamila urged other MDAs to reconcile their accounts with the AEDC and settle their outstanding electricity bills.

The AEDC, on its part, issued a 10-day notice to the affected government agencies to settle their debts or face disconnection.

This development highlights the importance of financial accountability and responsible management of public utilities.

It also underscores the necessity for government entities to fulfill their financial obligations to service providers promptly, ensuring uninterrupted services and avoiding potential disruptions.

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Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Issues Ultimatum to 86 Government Agencies Over N47bn Debt

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Power - Investors King

The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has issued an ultimatum to 86 government agencies, including the Presidential Villa, owing a collective debt of N47 billion.

The notice comes as a response to the prolonged failure of these agencies to settle their outstanding electricity bills.

According to the public notice released by the AEDC management, some of the highest debts are attributed to prominent entities such as the National Security Adviser (owing N95.9 billion), the Chief of Defence staff barracks, and military formations (indebted to the tune of N12 billion).

Also, several ministries, including the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power, have sizable outstanding bills.

The AEDC has expressed its frustration over the inability of these government bodies to honor their financial obligations despite previous attempts to facilitate payment.

In response, the company has warned of imminent disconnection of services if the outstanding debts are not settled within 10 days of the notice.

The outstanding debts are attributed to various factors including the devaluation of the naira, cash scarcity resulting from demonetization programs, high inflation rates, removal of fuel subsidies, and foreign exchange challenges.

These financial burdens have adversely impacted the operations of the AEDC, contributing to a loss of N99 million in foreign exchange alone.

As the deadline for payment approaches, government agencies are under pressure to address their outstanding debts to avoid service disruptions.

The AEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all entities fulfill their financial obligations, underscoring the importance of prompt payment for uninterrupted electricity services.

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