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Just In: Second Niger Bridge 100% Completed, Now Motorable Unimpeded; Says Fashola

The long-awaited Second Niger Bridge has reached 100 percent completion

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Agege Pen Cinema Bridge

In the early hours of Wednesday, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola stated that the long-awaited Second Niger Bridge has reached 100 percent completion. Although the minister noted that it is not yet opened for vehicular movement, he, however, revealed that the bridge is now motorable unimpeded.

Babatunde Fashola disclosed this at the ongoing scorecard and ministerial brief in Abuja. The briefing which is in its 3rd edition is a performance review of President Muhammad Buhari’s led administration. 

When it is opened for use, the Second Niger Bridge will significantly impact the socio-economic development of the hosting states. While the Federal Government said it committed more than N400 billion to the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, the bridge links parts of South-South and South-East zones to the rest of the country. 

Fashola however stated that the road linking the bridge which is under construction is the factor delaying its commissioning.

“I can confirm that the second Niger bridge itself is finished. People can walk through the bridge now unimpeded. What remains is the four-kilometre link road on the Asaba side”, he said.

Investors King had earlier reported that the Second Niger Bridge will be ready for use by Christmas. The bridge connects the cities of Asaba in the Delta state and Onitsha in Anambra State.

According to the Acting Controller of Works, Mr Seyi Martins, he noted that travellers will be able to use the bridge during the December festive period. 

It could be recalled that Julius Barger International was awarded the construction of the Second Niger Bridge. 

Historically, the Second Niger Bridge has often been used as a campaign promise. It was first proposed in 1958, then in 1967 and 1987. Upon the return to civilian rule in 1999, President Olusegun Obasanjo promised to deliver the second Niger River bridge.

Yet, no major activity was carried out on the bridge for eight years until five days to the incoming administration of Late Umar Yar’adua. 

Similarly, the bridge dragged on until the death of Yar’adua. In 2012, former President Goodluck Jonathan promised to deliver the Second Niger Bridge before the end of 2015. Yet, no significant construction was undertaken on the Second Niger Bridge.

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Economy

Federal Government Halts Cooking Gas Export to Lower Local Prices

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cooking gas cylinder

In a bid to stabilize domestic prices and meet rising demand for cooking gas within Nigeria, the Federal Government has announced a temporary halt on the exportation of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), commonly known as cooking gas.

This decision follows a significant surge in the cost of cooking gas, which has placed a strain on consumers across the country.

According to reports, the halt in LPG export aims to increase the availability of the commodity within Nigeria’s borders, thereby reducing its local price.

The move is part of broader efforts to address the challenges faced by consumers grappling with the high cost of living.

In recent years, the demand for cooking gas has steadily increased in Nigeria, driven by urbanization, population growth, and a shift towards cleaner energy sources.

However, despite being a major producer of LPG, Nigeria has struggled to meet its domestic demand due to insufficient local production and distribution infrastructure.

Data from the Nigerian Midstream Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority reveals that while the total consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria has been on the rise, the country has relied heavily on imports to bridge the supply gap.

The recent decision by the government underscores its commitment to prioritizing the domestic market and ensuring that Nigerians have access to affordable cooking gas.

Consumers have been grappling with escalating prices, with reports indicating a significant increase in the cost of refilling a 12.5kg cylinder of cooking gas in major cities like Abuja, Lagos, and Kano.

The decision to halt LPG exports signals a proactive measure by the government to mitigate the adverse effects of rising prices and alleviate the financial burden on households across the nation.

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Manufacturing Sector Records 7.70% Quarter-on-Quarter Growth in Q4 2023

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German manufacturing

In the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector grew by 7.70% year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The surge in growth reflects a significant uptick from the preceding quarter and underscores the resilience of the manufacturing industry amid economic challenges.

This growth trajectory indicates positive momentum and signals potential opportunities for economic recovery and development.

The manufacturing sector, comprising thirteen key activities ranging from oil refining to motor vehicles and assembly, demonstrated notable dynamism across various subsectors.

This growth surge is attributed to increased production, enhanced operational efficiencies, and strategic investments across the manufacturing value chain.

Despite facing headwinds such as supply chain disruptions and regulatory uncertainties, the sector’s robust performance underscores its pivotal role in driving economic diversification, job creation, and industrialization efforts in Nigeria.

Moving forward, sustaining this growth momentum will require continued policy support, investment in infrastructure, and efforts to address key bottlenecks hindering the sector’s expansion.

By fostering an enabling business environment and promoting innovation and technology adoption, Nigeria’s manufacturing sector can further catalyze inclusive economic growth and contribute significantly to the nation’s development agenda.

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Economy

Nigeria’s GDP Grows by 3.46% in Q4 2023, Driven by Services

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Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 3.46% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2023 on the back of robust performance of the services sector, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The GDP expansion though slightly lower than the 3.52% recorded in the same period of 2022, reflects a positive trajectory for the Nigerian economy amid ongoing challenges.

The growth rate surpassed the 2.54% recorded in the preceding quarter, indicating a rebound in economic activity.

The services sector emerged as the key driver of growth expanding by 3.98% and contributing 56.55% to the overall GDP.

This sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, encompassing diverse industries such as telecommunications, finance, and real estate.

Also, the agriculture sector experienced growth, expanding by 2.10% compared to the same period in 2022.

Meanwhile, the industry sector recorded a notable improvement, growing by 3.86%, a stark contrast to the -0.94% contraction observed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

On an annual basis, Nigeria’s GDP expanded by 2.74% in 2023 compared to 3.10% in the previous year, reflecting sustained but moderated growth.

The positive trajectory in GDP growth reflects resilience in the face of various economic challenges.

However, sustaining and accelerating growth will require continued efforts to address structural bottlenecks, foster investment, and promote inclusive economic policies across sectors.

Nigeria’s Oil Sector Growth

During the fourth quarter of 2023, Nigeria’s oil sector posted a real growth rate of 12.11% year-on-year, signifying a significant improvement from previous periods.

This was driven by the surge in average daily oil production to 1.55 million barrels per day (mbpd), a positive shift in the sector’s performance.

Despite challenges such as global market fluctuations and production constraints, the oil sector contributed 4.70% to the nation’s total real GDP in Q4 2023.

Nigeria’s Non-Oil Sector

Nigeria’s non-oil sector sustained growth momentum, posting a 3.07% real growth rate in Q4 2023.

This growth was primarily attributed to key industries including finance, telecommunications, agriculture, manufacturing, and construction.

Accounting for 95.30% of the nation’s GDP in the same quarter, the non-oil sector continues to drive economic diversification efforts and reduce dependence on oil revenues.

Despite facing challenges, such as infrastructure deficits and regulatory bottlenecks, the sector’s resilience underscores its pivotal role in fostering sustainable economic development and inclusive growth agendas.

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